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PF Chang’s meets Lahore

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PF Chang’s is a Pan Asian restaurant chain that many Pakistanis are fond of because of the chain having multiple branches in UAE, a place where so much of the population is Pakistani. So naturally, when the restaurant finally opened in Lahore, we went crazy for it. I being one of the Pakistani’s who has been to the Dubai branch countless times decided to go and check it out and see whether it meets my expectations and the international standards in comparison to the Dubai branch.

My first attempt at finding a table was unsuccessful thanks to the long line that spread out to MM Alam Road. My second attempt a few days later was successful. For a day (November 1st) when everyone was scared to leave their houses and most of the roads were blocked, I did not expect such a big turnout. Nonetheless, I got a table in a few seconds, something that takes about 20 minutes in Dubai or any restaurant in Lahore for that matter. The huge building and seating capacity can be thanked for that.

The décor was perfect but the lighting was a lot brighter than a typical PF Chang’s which has a dark vibe to the environment and the atmosphere of the restaurant was excellent apart from the typical aunties screaming , “Ye PF Chang kya cheez hai,” “ye halal hai ke nai?,” The service was remarkably good and when I say this, I’m comparing it to Dubai, where you can’t get your food in under 30 minutes at least. Despite the place being busy, I was served my order in under 10 minutes.

PF Chang’s is famous for two things: the horses installed in the main entrance and the divine Dynamite Shrimp. For starters, I ordered the Chang’s Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup Bowl and Dynamite Shrimp. The soup was delicious and fulfilling and exactly like the one I have been having in Dubai for years now. A mishap occurred when the soup was spilled by one of my companions. The staff was super nice and friendly about it and offered us a replacement.

The Shrimp although nearly as good as the one in Dubai, did not have the same quality of shrimp. The quantity was less than what I was expecting which resulted in me ordering two more servings for us. In some PF Chang’s in other places in the world they offer larger servings. What seemed a bit weird to me was that the next two servings were larger in quantity than the first one and had the exact same taste and quality as the Dubai ones.

For my main course, I ordered the Kung Pao Chicken with white rice which again was excellent apart from the quality of the meat which in my opinion was the only downside.

I also ordered 8 pieces of California Rolls as a sushi main course which I have no complaints against. The taste was great and the fish was of amazing quality.

For dessert, I ordered something I had never had before: The Great Wall of Chocolate or in another word ‘heaven’.
Six rich layers of frosted chocolate cake with semi-sweet chocolate chips is just what everyone needs in life.

Overall the food was great, the atmosphere, the décor, the staff everything is up to standard. But on a side note, there was a certain hygiene issue involving one of the drinking glasses smelling of egg and one of my knives being dirty.

On a scale of 1-5, I give it a 4 star rating.

Entertainment Food

Restaurant Review: The Patio

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When ‘The Patio’ first opened, it appeared to be a transformed house with the porch and side yard turned into a lovely alfresco dining experience. This homey feeling along with the inclusion of fresh ingredients and impeccable service generated word of mouth for this unassuming restaurant. Since then, The Patio has grown into a favorite, constantly reinventing itself, and its latest menu showcases a kitchen that continues to evolve.

Located in the same lane as Koel and Cafe Flo in Clifton Block 4, Karachi, The Patio is good for walk ins, with reservations only necessary for special occasions (such as Mother’s Day, Eid).

The latest renovations have transformed the formerly casual joint into a modern space with good lighting, minimalist interiors and fun art. The atmosphere is low key and informal, making it a go-to spot to relax with friends and family.

The menu is well thought out overall, but especially remarkable is the tapas section. Patio’s tapas menu goes beyond the average appetizer and includes rarities like ‘Honey Crunch Lotus Stem’ and ‘Paneer Calamari’, as well as the more conventional ‘Wasabi Prawns’ and ‘Soy Glazed Chicken’. Those so inclined can make a meal of these bite size morsels by creating a platter of their favorite four tapas.

The stuffed mushrooms are new on the menu and the presentation is lovely, but they are bland and the texture leaves a lot to be desired.

We’ve always thought of laksa as the ideal winter dish, but The Patio’s version is so good, it can be enjoyed in any weather. Creamy, full flavored broth with just the right amount of spice and coconut flavor is the winning base for prawns, noodles, bean sprouts and crunchy peanuts.

In a land of meat lovers, it’s nearly impossible to find a vegetarian or pescatarian-friendly restaurant. The Patio fills that niche with assurance.

That is not to say that chicken and beef dishes are not delicious (a restaurant could hardly be expected to survive in Karachi without them), but the fresh take on vegetables and seafood is unique and appreciated.

The ‘Paneer and Mushroom Kuzhambu’ was anything but ordinary. The aromatic gravy was piquant, yet delicate in flavor with just enough texture to make it interesting. Fluffy, tender steamed rice was the perfect accompaniment.

The ‘Patio Prawns’ come with a creamy sauce which is a touch overwhelming. Some spice would have balanced it well. The garlic rice with it also lacked a zing, and the garlic flavor could have been more pronounced.

It’s easy to be tempted by the dessert menu. Instead of the run of the mill molten chocolate cake and bread and butter pudding, The Patio shows innovation here as well. The ‘Peanut Butter Cup’ was a deep, rich and creamy peanut butter mouse in a dark chocolate cup that cut the sweetness.

Though the food is impressive, it is the impeccable service that drives us to visit the restaurant again and again.

Rating (4.25 out of 5):

Food: 4 | Ambiance: 4 | Service: 5 | Value for money: 4

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Bombay Gardens Offering Exceptional Hi-Tea With a Rather Large Menu

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We’ve all heard of Bombay Chowpatty, a family favourite for desi food and quite famous for its Chicken Biryani. And just last week it opened its buffet restaurant, Bombay Gardens, that received an overwhelming response upon its launch.

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Located in the heart of the city, right next to the Bombay Chowpatty on MM Alam Road, the new restaurant has a cosy, clean look. Looking to attract a family customer base, the restaurant has ticked just the right boxes. The decor is simple with brown suede chairs and tables with yellow ceiling lights keeping the indoor seating area well-lit. It also has a rooftop terrace that would be perfect for the coming autumn/winter months.

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The food exceeded everyone’s expectations. The buffet is absolutely lavish with a vast variety of dishes ranging from Desi to Chinese to Continental Cuisine. Starting from the salads to the desserts, there is a wide array of choices available. Our favourites were the potato balls, mini-burgers, crispy beef with veggies and thai noodles. As much as we wanted to try everything there was on the table, it is not possible because of the variety available. Each dish we tried had a scrumptious, well-cooked flavour and it was after a long time that we tried such a splendid buffet.

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For those of you looking to enjoy a yummy, hearty evening meal in a budget, Bombay Gardens is definitely worth visiting. It has won 4 out of 5 stars from us! The only downside of the restaurant is the elevator issue. Even though there is a lift to get to the restaurant which is on the upper floor, a person has to take the stairs to go down. So, if you’re planning to go with your family, make sure the elderly are okay with taking the stairs.

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We at Brides&You wish Bombay Gardens all the best!