General Manager of Marriott hotel Islamabad, Mr. Maurizio Romani took full advantage of the light November chill in the capital and infused two completely different cultures at the pool side Marque, inviting guests to witness what was baptised as “Beyond Borders”, a theatrical celebration of art and food with performances by a classical Chinese dance troupe and a ballet dance from the USA along with a specialty dinner buffet.

The event was being held to celebrate Islamabad Art Fest IAF-19, which has been creating a buzz in the tinsel town, a cultural extravaganza running from November 18-30. Till date, the denizens of the capital had a full appetite of cultural bonanza witnessing dance performances from Indonesia, Chinese and Pakistani dancers, art exhibitions from across the globe, a dialogue on Traditional and Modernity and various other cultural treats showcased by artists from Pakistan, USA ,Indonesia, China, Switzerland, Austria, Iran, France and Spain participating in this 13-day event.

The good thing about this festival is that is not limited to dance performances only. Educational institutions, art galleries and art associations from across Pakistan along with foreign embassies have all put their minds together to chalk out the 13-day event calendar. IAF President and Chief Curator Jamal Shah said IAF-19 was a collaborative project held on several locations including art galleries, museums, schools and public parks. It engages not only art or performing art lovers, but general public of Islamabad and Rawalpindi as in a much broader extent. The IAF-19 also showcased painting, sculpture, drawing, print making, textile, design, fashion and film exhibition to quest the thirst of culturally aesthetic individuals. Hunger for cultural delight cannot be filled without poetry and literature gathering. Conference and a poetry gathering, a qawali night provided with the much needed food for thought.

The Marriott General Manger also did not lag far behind as the attendance on his invite Beyond Borders was full to capacity. The round tables sit-down dinner gave a very festive look at a glance.

In the first half of the evening, the guests were treated with dances from Native American, Mexican, ballet whereas the second half of the evening included an eye-opening performance by Chinese troupe, leaving the audience spellbound.

A scrumptious dinner representing different countries traditional cuisine was on the display. It was interesting to observe that while Pakistani guests were making their way towards Chinese, Brazilian and American counters witnessed a beeline formed by the foreign guests to savour Chicken Biryani, Mutton Karahi and chicken curry. Piping hot crumb fried fish accompanied by crunchy potato fries and mayonnaise brought smiles on the faces of many guests. Brazilian roast beef shank, garnished in butter and garlic cloves was too good to be true. The chef at the counter was cutting the beef in thinly sliced portions, thus making it convenient for the gastronomical diets to sallow. It melted in nanoseconds as it touched the pallets.

The Chinese counter was no doubt the showstopper on this cuisine walk. The Dynasty Chef was tossing the egg fried rice in one wok, while putting the chicken drumsticks on a strainer to drain oil. There was a full stretched salmon in white sauce, which was succulent on the very first bite. Chicken Chow Mein in garlic sauce was the usual whereas the dessert bar was continental.

-The writer is a freelance conributor