Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 64, Tuesday April 21, 2009



Eating Out


In the past five years, fast food lounges have practically become de rigueur for urban folks who want to unwind after a hard day. Marrying the chilled atmosphere of the cafes and parlours frequented by teens with the creative menus of the restaurants preferred by older adults, lounges make for the perfect place for friends and families to hang out at. This is the kind of effect that you can experience at Fiesta, the new diner in town.

Stepping into the place, you are greeted by glass walls and an open layout demarcated into different zones by split levels; benches and tables arranged back to back against the walls for family groups, open circular spaces with customised low seating for large gatherings of friends, and two seaters in a separate section for couples.

Muted lighting, set on a timer to change colours every now and then, add to the visual entertainment of the almost Spartan decor. A plasma screen television tuned into the sports channels or the cartoon channels, and an eclectic assortment of songs playing softly in the background complete an atmosphere where you can let your hair down and relax.

Just like the decor and music, the menu has a variety of items to offer. There are light snacks and starters, like the Fiesta Platter, which provides an assortment of rolls and bite-sized munchies, continental goodies like the American steak for those looking for a good binge.

If you're in the mood for something more close to home, there's an extensive list of kebabs and naans to sample. The house specialties of Kerala Kabab and Kashmiri naan are definitely worth checking out.

There's something for everyone, and while not all the items might appeal to you, you're sure to find something on the menu that will.

Keeping in mind that the bulk of its clientele comprises of students who have tight budgets, the prices are kept reasonable. The service is also decent, considering that at least one of the six owners of the venture are always present to personally oversee things.

While it's too soon yet to say whether Fiesta's a keeper, it definitely has all the ingredients that make a lounge a must-try, so if you're in the mood for something new, and just happen to be cruising down Banani Rd# 11, be sure to swing by and check it out.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Investors Club Greenview Tavern

In terms of good, innovative business ideas, the Investors Club Greenview Tavern is certainly a pleasant illustration. The owners sensed a demand, and provided the goods. Located in Gonokbari, on Savar main road, the restaurant is almost camouflaged from view by the high walls and the concrete environment surrounding it. Step through the gates, and the strip of mango trees on the right will usher you into a more peaceful place.

Savar has become the prime place for industries to set up factories in. This requires a lot of industrialists to live there. M. Ershad Hossain and his brother Shuvro, who also own established restaurants such as Red Fort, Canton, and Bronx café in Dhaka, realized that there was a demand for a good restaurant in Savar with its upscale industrial clientele.

The restaurant, which seats a hundred and fifty customers, has been open for about a year, and in terms of the food on offer, is in no way less than Dhaka's finest, while not as expensive. This is to be expected from such experienced restaurateurs. Offering Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisine, it is sure to meet and likely satisfy the demands of most customers. Among its staff of chefs is an Indian, and the kebabs here are very popular, judging by the contents on a majority of the diners' plates. The menu boasts a wealth of items (over three hundred) in the three cuisines. The restaurant also has a Wi-Fi zone.

“You might have noticed that there really isn't a good restaurant around here,” Hossain said. “At the same time, because of all the factories in the area, there are many here who want to be able to go to a place and relax and have a good meal.

The Investors Club provides a bit more than that. The compound, spread over three acres, has a tennis and basketball court, as well as the equipment needed for the sports. This is where it differs from most other restaurants in the country. Although not a club per se plans of issuing memberships are still in the works it provides patrons the feel of one, as it is located in an area where the clientele is limited but ensured.

“We do not need to attract attention to the restaurant. Our target clientele already know of our existence and most of them have become regulars,” Hossain said, and added, “The tennis court is very popular, especially among foreign nationals.”

Hossain's younger brother Shuvro talked about a different clientele who sometimes stumble upon the restaurant. “We have had people coming in, after having stumbled upon the restaurant on their way to or from Nandan Water Park. We also get some customers from Fantasy Kingdom. People can also call us and order their food on their way over here, and when they reach, the food is ready and waiting.” Both theme parks are located within six or seven kilometres of the restaurant.

“We are planning to start a gym, build a swimming pool, and introduce memberships in the near future. Also, we plan to offer rooms for overnight stay, or just a place to kick off your shoes after lunch and take a nap before playing a game of tennis. We want people to come here and spend the day enjoying themselves in a relaxed atmosphere. We also accept reservations for parties and events,” Shuvro added.

The Greenview Tavern is definitely a place worth checking out. It is a bit hard to notice, lost as it is among concrete giants. So, the next time you are in the area, just cross Ashulia Thana on Savar road and keep an eye out for a gate with “Investors Club' written in large letters above it. It will not disappoint.

Contact: Dhaka EPZ, Gonokbari, Savar #7788181


On The Cover

After clocking out from work, where do the urbanites of this city head to for fun? Flip to the center to find out…
Photos: Zahedul I Khan


Pardon from poverty

This was last night. I returned home from a party, a gathering of socialites that makes you want to believe that we live in a different world, far from the ones we see in our everyday life. Ideas for possible charities were chalked, paintings hanging on the walls appreciated and drinks served. Men smoke their cigarettes in the balcony and women draped in laced saris walk around the room like Greek goddesses.

As I stepped out of the elevator of my apartment building, a youth - few years older than I - in ragged blue shirt and tatty lungi said, “bhaiya bhalo asen?”

It took me a while to identify him for I had not seen Alam in the last few years. His appearance had changed considerably.

Alam is a cousin. Lives in our home village, where as a rickshaw puller he finds it hard to make both ends meet. He often comes to Dhaka asking for money from his wealthy relatives. These days our home serves as the lodging for Alam and his family while they go door to door for money. Our fate, as it seems, had changed too. This was not the least we could do, but actually the only thing we can do.

Incidentally, my mother was away from town. As Alam and his family made the journey from Barail, Bansarampur to Dhaka, my mother took the road to Barail, all in the same day. Knocking on our door, Alam found an empty house and was waiting for someone to rescue him from the misery. I was hardly the person he was looking for.

I called my mother and asked her what I should do and I was categorically instructed to not let them spend the night at our place. She also asked me to hand over some money to Alam and ask him to find lodging at a nearby hotel.

Alam however declined to take the money. After my sincere insistence, he accepted.

As he extended his hand, I saw the plastered, bandaged arm. He had an accident while pulling his rickshaw, Alam told me. He also told me he was not lying. I failed to understand why. I shut the door as he helplessly stood in front of me. I had no idea how he could find lodging along with his wife and child. Standing for my Isha prayers, I went on prostrating and prayed to Allah, 'O lord pardon me from poverty'. For my day just might come.

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif



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