Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 60, Tuesday October 10, 2006



Eating Out

Fasting & feasting

Inflation has paid havoc, I can see. Almost exactly a fortnight short of a year ago I wrote a similar article to this one, outlining which of Dhaka's countless food outlets were offering their special marketing ploys i.e. iftar deals. Not much has changed in the three hundred or so days since except of course that now there are more shops and more importantly the price of everything has gone up. But what to do? I, for one, seriously doubt whether the rise in prices is going to put anyone off even a little bit. So come maghrib all of you will flock to the shops you so love and eat to your hearts (read stomach's) content.
So where are these shops and what do they offer us?

Pizza Hut
Exhibit A is Pizza Hut. And I list them first because they are the only shop to have not raised their prices from that of last year. So Tk.299 it still is for unlimited supplies of Pan Pizza. Add that to a Tk.50 splash of bottomless Pepsi and you have yourself a meal fit for a king (almost). Speaking personally, I miss the garlic bread that they had on offer the last time around but that shouldn't give anyone much cause for complaint. So flock to Gulshan and grab yourself a slice of pizza. Judging by the amount congregated their each day though, you haven't been waiting for this article to do just that! So good on you!

Efes & Topkapi
Hopefully I have not committed heinous injustice by putting both these restaurants under the same heading. That said both offer quite similar cuisine and at a price that is exactly the same Tk.290 plus tax. So there are factors in my defence. Their iftar plus dinner offer is quite a hit though and although the novelty has worn off from Efes it still commands a great deal of regular customers. Topkapi too caters to a similar style of people and both these places and their shisha have also become hugely popular. So if its iftar cum dinner followed by a puff on the shisha that you are seeking, do check out Topkapi and Efes. The latter is located at Gulshan 1 while the former rests safely in Gulshan Avenue. And just so you know you can just cross the street from Topkapi and get yourself ice cream from Move n Pick.

Le Saigon
With so many value judgements coursing through the previous paragraphs it would be a shame not to waste another one on Le Saigon. Yours truly is very fond of this place, a small Vietnamese restaurant tucked away into a corner between bigger brothers Golden Rice and Mercantile Bank(don't mistake the latter for a food shop!). At Tk. 350 inclusive of all taxes this place offers a pleasant retreat from the humdrum of the 'mainstream' restaurants and a more viable option for people who look for peace and quiet. And plus you even have a prayer room.

There are many more places to mention but that would use up too much space. Look around and there will be iftar offers staring you in the face. Make use of them. And remember, drink a lot of water, only make sure you do so after you have finished eating. You don't want to miss out on the food by filling your stomach with water. Happy dining and Ramadanul Mubarak.

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

Mexicana Chics

Ever wondered how it would feel to walk into a store and find out that the items on display are all variations or derivatives of the same thing? At Mexicana Chic's, the only thing on sale is chicken. Yes you heard that right. Chicken is about the only thing on the menu. Hence the name chic, one assumes. Anyhow that has not stopped this place, located in North Avenue (right by BFC) from capturing quite a few hearts, and stomachs in the city so far.

Spacious and decorated with a quiet air of subtlety, Mexicana offers a perfect retreat for people from all walks of life. Its well laid out floor plan and roomy seating arrangements provide the perfect backdrop for a laid back meal. Not essentially a restaurant or even a fast food zone, it provides the in-between. Or as one customer called it, “a Mexican hangout zone.”

Although there is slight trouble with accessibility, it has still so far proved a popular choice with students and corporate men and women. There is a nice balcony as well in the first floor to add to the mostly wooden decorations and poster walls but who sits outside in these hot summer months anyway? Come winter, you might be clamouring for seats in the cool weather of the night.

So the place gets good marks for décor. However, that's not all there is to it.
The most important part comes next. The food is quite up to the mark. Perhaps not the best in the world, but it's quite good by most people's standards. Almost all the items on the menu are derivatives of chicken peri peri and for the benefits of the customers each can choose their own flavour.

Or to put it into more common man parlance, each can choose the (for want of a better term) ' level of hotness' of the food.
So your group can have the crazy Mexicano gorging down jalapenos by the handful, choosing to have the most spice while us lesser mortals contend ourselves with something a lot milder.

The food offers good value for money and while the quantity is appreciative there is little or no compromise on quality. The 8 piece jumbo meal for Tk. 1000 will do most groups justice. Your taste buds will remember this place for a while, and urge you to return. And don't worry, if the flavour gets too much to bear for you, there is always the delight of being able to dip into considerable helpings of Baskin Robbins once your main meal is over.

One detrimental factor may be that a customer may not go back to Mexicana too often considering the fact that most of the items on the menu are very similar. So with a lack of choices no one but the most ardent fan of chicken or an astute food connoisseur would necessarily go back to it time after time.

That aside, its idea of innovation is widely appreciated and if you are nearby you should drop in to take a look. Overall, new in town, Mexicana Chics is all set to be a hit. How long it holds on to its concept of originality is what remains to be seen.

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Photo: Mexicana Chics



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