ISLAMABAD: Nestled in the heart of F-8 overlooking the Margalla Hills is a quintessential Pakistani restaurant with a twist, House of Bombay.
Nida Aamir and Aamir Akhtar, the owners, have converted a part of their living quarters into an eatery that aims to change the outlook of Pakistani food for many residents of the city. With a modern outlook and an essential fine dining experience, the new eatery focuses on homemade Pakistani and Indian cuisine.
The homemade delectable dishes are sure to tantalise your taste buds granted that you know what to order. Bombay Biryani, the eatery’s famous colourful and flavourful dish, tastes nothing like the conventional biryani mix. Indeed, Nida does not oversell her biryani as being the best dish she has to offer.
From the light frothy texture of the Daal Makhani to a new flavour of Dhuan Ghosht, it is advised that customers go in with an open mind to experience a new flavour palate. The recipes have been inherited from generations of food lovers.
“My grandmother infused recipes from the Bohri and Memon community and they became a part of our everyday cooking,” said Nida, adding that her ancestors ended up living in a community of “Bombaywalas” and the concoctions have a hint of “that specific flavour”.
Nida, a housewife, runs a small boutique business from home. Aiming to run a more enterprising outlet, and after a lot of support from her husband, Aamir, she decided to take her home cooking out to the public. After over a year of planning and reconstruction, House of Bombay is now operational.
The name of the restaurant can throw off potential clients regarding the kind of cuisine being offered; however, residents familiar with the Akhtar family would know that the owners used to run one of the oldest cloth houses in Rawalpindi, the Bombay Cloth House.
Apart from the name, Bombay doesn’t play any role in the theme of the restaurant as the owners have gone for a more contemporary look. “The restaurant is the catharsis of our old family business that’s why we are honouring its name,” said Aamir. He complained that there are no Pakistani restaurants where people can go enjoy a good meal and relax. “The ambiance to the crowd that most Pakistani cuisine eateries attract is not conducive to a relaxing environment.”
The most striking aspect of the restaurants interior is not its furniture but rather the artwork housed. Aasim Akhtar, known for his impeccable taste and a keen eye for aesthetics, has ensured that his sister-in-law’s restaurant is accentuated by some of the most interesting artworks. Pieces by Saqiba Suleman, Ubaid Syed, Abid Hasan, Alia Bilgrami and Afshar Malik adorn the walls.
The hardwood tables sagged as platters of food kept on piling on and after a two-hour eating fest it was evident that House of Bombay is a place worth visiting over and over again. Even if all hope fails you can rest assured that one of the best homemade biryani can be found in F-8 now.
With an iftar package of Rs 949, the eatery offers some unique dishes such as Pasanday, steak seasoned with onions and salt, a delicacy found only in limited houses. The menu also offers Kohlapurri Curry,
Fried Qeema, Goan Balti, a special homemade lemonade and a refreshing tamarind cooler.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.