Chaaye (tea) like never before!

Tossdown had the most exquisite and unique experience at Islamabad’s very own Chaaye Khana (tea-house), some days back. As the name “tea-house” suggests, the menu is bombarded with hundreds of flavors of tea with only a few carefully selected delectable savories. On our previous visit we only managed to get hold of the cafe’ details all the while saying to ourselves; “hmmm nice place, we should have it on tossdown”. So this time when our tossdown team was in Islamabad, Chaaye khana was an obvious destination after a hearty lunch.

Chaaye Khana

The best Tea in town!

The first thing to notice when you enter is the aesthetic mounting of tea canisters on the wall – ‘nicely done’. The place also had a library of sorts and an interior separated by a semi circled book case that has seating on either side. We sat in the only place available at the corner infront of an English fireplace. It made us wonder if that fireplace actually worked or not. The mystery casually revealed itself when we caught sight of the slightly emerging black tar on wall. Imagine coming here in winter, faces aglow with the warm hue of the fireplace and sipping delicious tea. Great, another excuse for a future visit!

Beautiful arrangement of tea canisters

Beautiful arrangement of tea canisters

Getting down to business, we asked the courteous waiter to help us with the order and he confirmed Roasty Almond and Mint & Lemon was a good way to start. Even the most exquisite tea is incomplete without some goodies or dessert to munch on. So we ordered a Walnut Toffee, again highly recommended by the waiter and proclaimed as the best dessert  on the menu *thumbs up*.

Chaaye Khana ambiance

Chaaye Khana ambiance

While our camera left no nook or corner of the cafe’ unexplored, the aromatic aroma of the tea house simply took our breath away. Never before was sipping tea in the afternoon such a royal experience! The tea arrived in the most contemporary and beautiful kettle we had ever seen. A kettle like that would make you want to have tea all day exaggeration! Really impressive.

Roasted Almond Tea

Roasted Almond Tea

Roasty Almond was pink and the mint was obviously green. We poured our respective kettles and assured each other about the greatness of this tea. Beautiful flavor and gorgeous fragrance. And yes the walnut dessert was one of the best desserts we have had during our dessert hunting across cities.

Walnut Toffee

Walnut Toffee

To sum it up, Chaaye Khana has a great ambiance, amazing tea & goodies, and is good on the pocket as well. This place is a ‘must-go’ if you are visiting Islamabad and if you are already a faithful Isloo resident and still have not been here, you need to seriously consider changing cities.

its raining pakoras and samosas!!!!

Citizens of Lahore need an excuse to  eat. And what better way than to indulge in specialties apt for respective seasons of the year.  Soothing our scorching summers with bundles of cold mangoes, Bidding farewell to chilly winters with hot, sweetly scented halwas …. oh well the list is a long one and demands an article on its own. With monsoon rains crashing down like candy from a broken piñata, its again time for the people of Lahore to concentrate on what they do best i.e.,  EAT. The pitter patter of rain immediately send our hearts thumping with joy. We begin to fantasize about tempting, crispy concoctions that are hard to put down once you start eating. “Pakoras” are all time favorites in the South-East Asia region; Vegetables or chicken pieces coated with a generous amount of deliciously spiced gram flour and then fried. You can’t possibly fathom a nice rainy evening sitting on the front porch without a heap of sizzling pakoras on your plate. Another delicious snack from the pakora clan is the well-known “Samosa”. Thin flour rotis wrapped over minced meat, veges, cheese etc. Now places that boast of the best tasting pakoras & samosas are situated in the inner city of Lahore. Places like Data Darbar, Gawaal Mandi, Liberty have some of the oldest and finest little establishments offering these sinful treats.

Pakoras being made in the Data Darbar area (Lahore)

Some of the best Pakoras in the city - Data Darbar area (Lahore)

Runners up in the list of tantalizing appetizers on any typical rainy day are hot syrupy jalebis, namak paaray and well…like I said earlier, If you’re in Lahore then there will always an endless list of delicious foods to soothe your taste buds!

and the step mom bids farewell…..

We at tossdown have a confession to make. While busily scurrying around town (and well other cities of the country too) like madmen and women trying to make tossdown the king of all eatout portals in the country, we unfortunately assumed the role of the long-familiar step mom of the movies who almost always ends up ignoring her step child, which in our case was our poor little blog.  This we desperately needed to get out of the system because a guilty conscience is just not cut out for this sort of grueling work. To the tossdown team, if you are all reading this, you are free to collectively sigh with relief!! We have officially been given penance. Its time to get down to some serious scribbling because there is  just so much to write about and well lets just say we don’t want another episode of the horrible step mom creeping up now do we….?!

A lot has been happening. Facebook, with its complete invasion of our lives, has been the perfect little boy scout by helping tossdown cross the street and get down to some serious interaction with the public. By introducing new and tempting competitions, we have opened the gateway to our ever-excited, hyper younger generation that is always looking for ways to satiate their hunger for “FUN” & “FOOD”.  Our discount privilege cards have gathered a pretty decent (modesty is one of our greatest virtues if you haven’t noticed already) number of restaurants among the city’s better if not best eateries. Tossdown events at schools, colleges, expos, shopping malls etc. have given a great boost to our portal. This of course is a really small list of our current happenings and the rest of the ‘Top-Secret’ stuff shall be disclosed when the time is right. After all, with such teeth-clenching , aggressive competition these days, its better to secretly tip-toe around the market until you’re absolutely ready to pounce with your new found strategy and ideas.

I think its time we introduced you to our tossdown team. How does that sound? Alright in the coming issues be sure to catch the tossdown team hard at work and well in our jargon, hard at food. We’ll keep  you loyal tossdowners updated with all that is happening in the big, beautiful world of “Food & Eating out”!!

Till next time,

Happy eating and before you go, here’s a penny for your thoughts:

Next time you eat out and decide to leave a big portion of your meal untouched because you’re either watching your weight, or you’re out with friends who would make fun of your massive appetite, think twice. Its better to grab a doggy bag on your way out and hand it over to the nearest deserving and hungry person, than wasting all that good food :) . I learnt this from an expert and so should you;)