Islamabad-To experience Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine all under one roof is a treat for the foodies in Islamabad, especially those into the Asian cuisine. The newly coined word “chillaxing” fits perfectly well in the picture as weekends are meant to be a laid back affair for many. The recently introduced Asian Brunch at Dynasty restaurant of Marriott Hotel is a treat on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 4:00pm. By the time, one is out of bed with a hot mug of coffee, skipping breakfast and opting for late brunch is like killing two birds with one stone.

We chose to be there around 1:00 pm and the hall was half full. The Chinese, Japanese and Thai stations were placed from an arms distance from each other, defining the border lines between the three Asian countries explicitly.  The manager guided us to the salad corner to warm up our appetite. The bar had mostly Thai salads like Calamari salad, and wild prawn salad with glass noodles. There was also Greek salad and beetroot salad which do not fall under the Asian salad list yet they looked more appealing than the others. Calamari salad, soaked in light lemon juice, seasoned with Thai chili powder brought joy to the taste buds.

Chinese section also had a lot to offer. Kung Pow Prawns, Mutton chili with black beans sauce, steamed Red Snapper, Chicken in oyster sauce, beef buns and Chinese white reddish pudding were several offerings. But the ant up the sleeves was the world-celebrated Beijing Duck. The craftsmen behind the table serving the sought-after Chinese delicacy knew what he was into.

With a special knife, he was slicing thin portions of the duck to be rolled into thinly flour wrap and prepared in a frying pan. The whole package was luscious and a treat for the eyes.  “In China, Beijing duck is prepared with five Chinese spices and lazed with honey, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Nowadays, these five spices come in a powder form, making life easy for many Chinese households,” informed the Dynasty chef. The wrap roll smothered with hoisin sauce carried a strong punch and oomph of the taste of the sweet and crispy bird.

The pride of the Japanese corner was the sushi bar. Norwegian Salmon, red snapper from Thailand and Tuna from Vietnam were some of the specialties. Sashimi and Uramaki platters placed in the cold container were to die for. As the eyes spotted, chicken Tapanyakia and   beef Teriyak, it became rather difficult to dig into the sushi novelties and keep space for hardcore Japanese and Thai food.  Mario, the chef at Marriott’s Japanese restaurant, Sakora explained the difference between the two. Sashimi is just meat, served without other ingredients. Sushi also uses rice and other ingredients, which are rolled up in a sheet and sliced into pieces.  He did accept the fact that Chinese is the most popular cuisine in Pakistan, followed by Thai and then Japanese.

 “Pakistanis like spicy food and the Chinese food here is infused with local spices. Authentic Thai food, however, is spicy,” he added.

Green Thai curry with steamed rice, Thai beef stir-fry and Tom yum Goong, constituted a complete Thai menu.

The wielding woks on the burners at Thai station were oozing out the aroma as basil wilted like green leafs in crushed and Thai chilies. A delicious marinade for beef chucks steak blending the flavors of vegetables with crushed coriander seed, lime juice and soy sauce was sinful.

However, a word of caution for the guests inching their way to the dessert area. Although there is plenty to choose from, do not punish your wallets for desserts which are available pretty much everywhere. An advice for the management would be to make additions to the dessert choices. Chocolate soufflés, moose, kheer, caramel pudding, and creamy black forest cake are now Stone Age desserts and a hotel like Marriott can definitely do better than these items. So let’s welcome 2018 with Crème Brulee, Sorbet, and Pecan pie.