Table talk: A treat from Afghanistan

Published: February 14, 2013
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The eatery offers meat delights including Kabuli pulao, Afghani tikkas

The eatery offers meat delights including Kabuli pulao, Afghani tikkas

Sahar Habib works as a content writer and researcher at a communication design company and manages a blog at www.chaipluscake.com in her spare time. The eatery offers meat delights including Kabuli pulao, Afghani tikkas
The eatery offers meat delights including Kabuli pulao, Afghani tikkas
The eatery offers meat delights including Kabuli pulao, Afghani tikkas
ISLAMABAD: 

When the Afghans started to migrate to Pakistan in the wake of the Soviet invasion in their country, they brought with them what is still celebrated in the F-7 neighbourhood of Islamabad — great food. Kabul Restaurant, which opened in 1989, still manages to draw in food lovers even though the capital has now a wide variety of cuisines to offer.

Although a few more restaurants, including Khiva in F-6 and Hujra in F-7 opened up in the city, Kabul Restaurant had created its niche well before them. People who go to this restaurant don’t care about its no-nonsense simplicity as the food remains the highlight of the place. Located on College Road, the restaurant, which is usually bustling with people during lunch and dinner hours, guarantees to serve your food on time as their grill is always on.

The number of items offered on the single-page menu at Kabul Restaurant might be limited , but the quality of food is extremely high. It’s a meat-lover’s heaven, you will mostly find beef and lamb dishes, while white meat does not feature prominently on the menu. I rarely eat red meat but the food is so delicious that I devour it without giving it a second thought.

One thing I love about Afghan cuisine is that it is incredibly flavourful without being too spicy. It is quite difficult to stop eating the salty Afghani tikkas, cubes of beef fat skewered alternately and cooked to perfection.

The Kabuli pulao is a complete meal in itself — a rice dish served with a portion of beef and topped with carrots and raisins. However, it can be eaten along with Afghani kofta (meatball) in a lentil curry. If I had to possibly pick one dish out of all, it is the Special Afghan Manto — dumplings stuffed with minced meat and topped with lentils and a thick yogurt-sour cream mixture.

The eatery does not only offer flavoursome Afghani food, but is also easy on your wallet, with an average price of Rs300 to Rs500 per person.

Sahar Habib works as a content writer and researcher at a communication design company and manages a blog at www.chaipluscake.com in her spare time.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2013.            

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Fahad Raza
    Feb 14, 2013 - 10:38PM

    Afghani Tikaa is Awsome..

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  • Acha Bacha
    Feb 15, 2013 - 12:48AM

    I have seen Afghani Koftas and they are simple Koftas of Indian SubContinent present around Punjab, SIndh and in India too and sometimes Afghans make Nargasi Koftwas and then claim that dish to be own because Pukhtoons have a problem to identify as different from locals on all accounts.

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  • Abc123
    Feb 15, 2013 - 1:06PM

    Quality of Kabul Restaurant has come down in recent years. Now there are many other Afghan places that deserve a go over Kabul.Recommend

  • Stranger
    Feb 15, 2013 - 1:27PM

    you could have given some Vegetarian recpies of Afghanitan in this article. It would have helped.

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  • Blithe
    Feb 15, 2013 - 1:45PM

    @Acha Bacha:
    They should monitor this restaurant to catch illegal Afghans and throw them back into Afganistan. Islamabad has long been a centre of illegal Afganis who have now bought prime property because of opium money and American aid.

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  • Rana
    Feb 15, 2013 - 3:00PM

    I never miss a chance to grab a full platter of Kabuli Pulao due to its special recipe full of dry fruits specifically with kishmish!! There are too many restaurants in Islamabad offering the same but I am unable to find a mentionable place at Lahore! It’s simply awesome!!!

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  • Umer
    Feb 15, 2013 - 6:20PM

    @Blithe:

    Afganis who have now bought prime property

    Mehnat kar hasad na kar…learn from hard working Afghans.

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  • Zalmai
    Feb 15, 2013 - 6:43PM

    @Acha Bacha

    Afghans and Uzbeks brought kofta, naan, dum pukht, kebab, pulao, and everything else with a Farsi name to the sub continent. But you would not know that because you probably think Persian civilization started in Punjab.

    @Blithe

    They should monitor the restaurant for bigots and refuse to serve them especially all those former Indians now known as Pakistani because they consider themselves descendants of Abdali, Ghori, Ghaznawi and Babar.

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  • Anon
    Feb 15, 2013 - 7:10PM

    I am from Islamabad and must say that this place is real treat. Its a restaurant with a culture and a character with being very good on price.

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  • Feb 15, 2013 - 10:24PM

    Interesting that you write about Kabul Restaurant in Islamabad. I have heard much about it here in Tampa from friends and family who have visited Islamabad recently. What is amusing is that a friend who was recently in Kabul asked someone to recommend a good Afghan restaurant. His friend recommended, “Kabul Restaurant’ in Islamabad. That says much out this place! I will definitely try it when I visit Islamabad next.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET-United States Central Command
    http://www.centcom.mil/ur

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  • Maria
    Feb 16, 2013 - 9:24AM

    @Umer: It’s funny you call Afghanis “hard working” because the majority of them in North America, especially in Canada live on social assistance or state khayrat precisely because they don’t work but live off the tax dollars of working citizens. The majority of Pakistanis in Canada on the other hand do work and pay taxes! I suspect if that many of the Afghanis living in Islamabad have black money that has been obtained illegally from smuggling, prostitution or some illegal act since they are known to be involved in such things. Take a good look at Afghan society in Kabul – whether they are Hazara, Tajik or Uzbek and you will see that corruption there is far greater than anything you can imagine in Pakistan.

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  • stevenson
    Feb 23, 2013 - 6:50PM

    @Zalmai: Have you also forgotten the former Hindus rulers of Kabul before Islam? If you are an Indian, you already know that Afghanistan has more Hindu influence than Pakistan. After all Kabul was ruled by Hindu Rajas before they converted to Islam and we all know that Islam came to Sind before anywhere else in South Asia or Central Asia. It’s so funny when an Afghani talks about Hindu influence in Pakistan but forgets about Hindu influence in Afghanistan – especially since Kabul is still being ruled by India but now indirectly!

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