|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 17, Tuesday, April 27, 2010|
Cheese lashings; irresistible beef delights
If one is looking for a popular pizza joint, “Arabian Fast Food” is your pick. Established 18 years back, today this cosy corner is teeming with students, young couples, women on a break from shopping and mothers enjoying the occasional snack while on their chaperoning duties.
Teenage birthday parties appear to take place here almost every day. The yummy pizzas, made before your eyes by Mizan, with extra toppings of cheese, tomato or olives, simply melt in your mouth. Here, for about Tk.500, one can have large sizes of pizzas, which serve four people very comfortably. Jolly and exuberant Selim and Sharif are always there to bring in your sizzling chicken fry with bun and French fries with dashes of tomato sauce, sweet chilli and mayonnaise for Tk.130 only. You couldn't get a full meal any cheaper in another Dhanmondi cafe. The sitting arrangements too are fairly comfy for the price.
The choice of the mouth-watering, mesmerising pizzas vary in “Four Seasons”, which include cheese, beef, chicken, mushroom and black olive to a “Chicken Supreme” that includes cheese, corn and capsicum apart from the conventional chicken and cheese lashings. Foreigners are said to have a special hankering for “Veggie Lovers” which costs only Tk.350 to serve four persons and includes baby corn, capsicum etc. Also available are chicken salad sandwiches made from the pizza bread to suit 2 people for Tk.180.
We move on to the new venue of “Escape from Shanghai”, which has its black and red interior walls, ceilings, and window arches. Bamboo screens, bar stools, groovy benches, an open space with plants and view of the city traffic down below make this yet another haunt of snack lovers of all ages. Giggling women recounting their student days, shy, ardent courting couples and people catching up with their office work on laptops are all found here.
The cuisine at “Shanghai” is also delectable. Its cookies, cakes, and plates of “Chateau Briand” with tossed salad, boiled veggies, mushroom, salad and six pieces of meat for less than Tk.500 (serves two) is worth trying out. It costs about the same to have a mouth-watering bowl of “Chow mien “ with chicken, shrimp and veggies. The food is clean and the ambiance is unique with its light and shade spaces; the black and white sofa covers in the cane chairs are soothing too for nerves frayed by city existence.
In order to enjoy piped music and a setting of inviting paintings in muted colours, one has to visit the new setting of Café Mango at Road #5, Dhanmondi. This is even more outlandish than the last setting with its extension with bamboo poles and surrounding of leafy trees and blossoming shrubs. This makes you feel as if you have come out to the Hill Tracts, even though cement jungles overwhelm your everyday routine existence and you can't seem to take more than perhaps an hour's break for a salted `lassi' with ice toppings in a wine glass. One is compelled to believe that the architect Salahuddin sure did some good thinking.
With scorching heat prevailing outside in Boishakh days, this is just the retreat for workaholic office-goers, and women about town with tight schedules. Here, working lunches and dinners can be worked out at reasonable prices. The menu fits the requirements of anything from breakfast to dinner while the eager, smiling staff is another attraction. While waiting to be served, one can read the latest magazines on fashion, art and literature, available both at “Café Mango” and at “Escape from Shanghai”.
By Fayza Haq
LS Editor's Note
Sing a song for summer
Summer is a delightful season, if only people would stop complaining about the heat and take time to enjoy it. For one thing, April and May, the two summer months, are windy; throughout the day a light summer breeze blows which is actually very soothing.
They say summer is for the West and winter is ours. In their defence they would bring forth a list of reasons to celebrate winter, but for summer it would be just a glass of iced water or having a midday break with a bar of iced lollies or a choc bar. The long relaxing bath or frequent quick showers, the dive in the pond or few scores of laps in the swimming pool are certainly amongst summer's high notes.
The colour for summer is definitely white. No other colour is more appropriate for this blazing season. On a scorching hot summer's morning you choose light cotton white weaves as office wear, for an important afternoon working lunch, the elegant yet power look that you seek means white starched cotton saris; there is simply no alternative. And summer evenings are always about white muslins or French chiffons with white flowers in beautiful vases, cucumber sandwiches and iced tea, sitting under the green canopy of your lawn or on your roof top garden or even on your tiny veranda, with a gentle wind blowing away the day's worries.
The garden blooms of the season are mostly the lovely fragrant white lilies, gondhoraj, beli, hasna hena, rojoni gondha to name a few. The city parks and green patches display the proud krishnochuras, soft radhachuras and sornalu, swinging to the summer breeze; the lively green all around you is bound to give you the respite from the dull grey winters. If you look at the sun, even with all its rage, the rays are an almost translucent pearly white colour, lending a serene look to the city.
Taking an afternoon nap, nothing beats a lazy snooze on the floor with the old fan making its staccato rounds. There is something romantic about that sound on a quite summer's afternoon when not a soul stirs on the streets and the city is dozing. Even the farmer in the village tending the paddy fields would give a sigh of relief when he lies under the banyan shade for an afternoon nap after a meal of piping hot rice and lentil soup.
Load shedding, though, brings us to the ugly side of summer. It just drains you of any vivacity; you become tired, sweaty and dull, and as a result start cursing the season's wrath. All the suffocation that you complain about is just a metro-based issue. This urban slum that we call our city chokes us because there is no breathing space, no green patch around, hardly any tall trees to aerate the still air. In fact if you go to any place outside city limits you'll find tall trees: coconut, betel leaf, banyan, mango, tamarind. Their shade ushers in the cool summer breeze and soothes away the heat.
You'll fall in love with summer if for once you sit under a tall tree and listen to the rustle of leaves, or experience a dip in the village pond and while cooling yourself on its pier you'll understand the true meaning of the simple pleasures of life.
By Raffat Binte Rashid
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