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review

Features Food

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

Entertainment Music

Tera Intezaar – Music Review

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‘Tera Intezar’ starring Sunny Leone and Arbaaz Khan is mainly a classical-inspired music album composed by Raaj Aashoo with lyrics by Shabbir Ahmed.

The title song ‘Intezaar’ is a slow romantic track. Shreya Ghoshal’s melodious voice and her sheer skill, tries to lift this average number. The chorus has an alaap and additional vocals are by Shabab Shabri & Arun Daga.

‘Barbie Girl’, is a peppy track sung by Swati Sharma and rapped by Lil Golu and Hritiqa Chheber. Khali Khali Dil, a love-duet by Armaan Malik and Payal Dev. Armaan is commendable, but he does not get to experiment much in the formulaic romantic track.

‘Mehfooz’, a slow rhythmic love song, sounds like some forgotten early 90s number, but is melodious and could be counted amongst one of the better compositions in the album. Probably that is the reason Mehfooz has three versions in the album – one sung by Yasser Dessai, another by Palak Muchhal and a third one featuring Hrishikesh Chury.

‘Abhagi Piya Ki’, is a Sufi track with a soundscape comprising some commendable harmonium strains and tabla beats. This qawwali is one of the rare slow, classical-based numbers of Kanika Kapoor, who is otherwise known for her fast, peppy chartbusters Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan and Baby Doll. Ustaad Ahmed Hussain, Ustaad Mohammed Hussain and Raja Hasan’s expert vocals add to the track. The song’s reprise version has been sung by Javed Ali and Payal. Javed’s rendition is laudable.

Entertainment TV

Khaani – Review

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Khans are often tagged as a brave and headstrong community in our society. But the central character of this new drama Khaani, Sanam Khan is a pragmatic girl, even her younger sisters consider her to be a coward and tease her with the title “Khaani”. Her one and only brother Sarim, about to graduate has to share the burden of house.

On the other hand, Mir Hadi is a rich brat; a short-tempered fellow belonging to an influential family. He somehow gets into a clash with Khaani’s family after an incident.

When influential offender Mir Hadi approaches Khaani’s family to settle the issue, surprisingly pigeon-hearted Khaani shows immense resistance. Mir Hadi issues death threats, terrifies them with his intimidating behaviour, but Khaani stands like an iron wall in front of him. Khaani’s chivalry and bravery melts Mir Hadi’s heart and he falls in love with her.

This new drama airs every Monday at 8:00 PM on Geo TV. 3 episodes have been aired and have stirred up our interest episode by episode.

The first episode certainly seemed promising. Story seems a little cliched as a happy middle class family collides with a powerful man and his spoilt son with unlimited money and animalistic pride. These two collide in the worst possible way, in which the weaker side suffers and has all their happiness snatched away from them before justice is served. The second episode was a bit slow and tragic. Nothing much happened in the story except the sadness and tragic scenes. The recent and third episode was the best of all, the performances were brilliant especially of Rashid Farouqi and Salma Hassan. Mehmood Aslam and Saman Ansari are totally owning their characters as always.

Feroze Khan’s acting as Mir Hadi is honestly fantastic, and a display of the potential the drama holds and can unfurl. The stone-cold look that befalls Mir Hadi’s face is simply brilliant, and Feroze is already the brooding antagonist we want to know more about. How can he so heedlessly shoot someone he barely knows over something so awfully insignificant? While we think the drama might end up being Mir Hadi seeking redemption with Khaani, there must be more to it, and more to what events molded Mir Hadi into such a terrible person. Feroze Khan has played an antagonist before, but Mir Hadi is really something.

We are excited to watch his acting skills more in the upcoming episodes of Khaani as well as the curiosity of this drama is getting higher now. To see, Will Khaani seek revenge or love, watch Khaani on every Monday at 8 PM on Geo.

Additional info…

Written by: Asma Nabeel

Directed by: Anjum Shehzad

Producers: Abdullah Kadwani & Asad Qureshi

Production house: 7th Sky Entertainment

Cast with respective character names:

Sana Javed as Khaani

Feroze Khan as Mir Hadi

Qavi Khan as Hamid Malik

Mehmood Aslam as Mir Shah

Saman Ansari as Sitara

Salma Hassan as Sonia

Seemi Pasha as Iffet

Rashid Farooqui as Salman

Mohammad Ali as Saarim

Shehzad Mukhtar as Mithal

Khushi Naeem as Raima

Entertainment TV

Drama Review

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HUM TVs drama O Rangreza is not just a love story of two people but also a tale of life changing experience for many. All the characters are tangled and beautifully interwoven into the plot, each one of them having a different story to tell, thus making O Rangreza unique.

The plot revolves around the relationship of a father and daughter and highlights how a daughter aims to be everything her father idealizes. Born into a poet’s family, Sassi (Sajal Ali) despises her mother for not being able to win over her father Khayam’s heart. But, the real struggle starts when Sassi starts copying her father’s thinking and idealizes the glamorous actress Sonia Jahan. Sassi’s innocent efforts to make her father happy backfire as he refuses to accept his daughter. This insincerity incites the rebel in Sassi and a conflict between a father and daughter rises like a storm and changes everything in the Haveli.

Direction by Kashif Nisar is brilliant; he has seized that artistic feel to the plot quite well and that is what has made us hooked onto the play as well as its storyline. More often than not, with the start of any drama, one can predict what may happen next, but not here, as we can hardly wait to see what the future holds for Sassi and Qasim.

Nauman Ejaz needs no praise, he is absolutely the best. The simple role suited Irsa Ghazal; so far we saw her play rather vampy or loud characters in various plays. This drama unfolds without the story being clear on its purpose, that’s why it is enjoyable to watch. Even though the message that the writer is trying to convey has now become a bit too repetitive, we still had a good time watching recent episodes.

It was interesting to see in the recent episode how Khayyam and Sassi were both struggling to be who they were as they both were falling short of the confidence they had in themselves only because they gave too much power to others over them. Sassi & Khayyam’s argument hasn’t subsided but it has settled for now but it was notable that the father-daughter duo was faced with the similar sort of situation. For the first time Khayyam was unsure of himself because of Sonia and similarly, Sassi was unsure of herself because of Wajih. The upcoming episodes are going to be interesting as the story is getting intense. Stay tuned to find out more that happens next!

Additional info…

Written by: Saji Gul

Directed by: Kashif Nisar

Produced by: Moomal Shunaid

Cast: Nauman Ijaz, Sajjal Aly, Irsa Ghazal, Bilal Abbas, Sonia Mishal, Omair Rana, Sana Fakhar, Fareeha Jabeen, Hamza Firdous and others.

Date & Time: Every Friday at 8 pm

Entertainment Music

‘Simran’ Music Review

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Kangana Ranaut is the main lead in the movie ‘Simran’ which is directed by Hansal Mehta and it can be counted amongst those having one of the most refreshing six-track albums of recent times.

Composers are Jigar Saraiya and Sachin Sanghvi who have come up with a winner, in spite of the fact that some parts of a few songs have a weird resemblance to the signature tunes of Amit Trivedi and Pritam.

The first song of the movie, ‘Lagdi Hai Thaai’, is a perky number by Guru Randhawa and Jonita Gandhi, which has a catching foot-tapping beat that urges you to join in the wedding shown on screen as Kangana breaks into a performance. This song has been on the Top 20 Charts since the last three weeks.

‘Baras Ja’ written by Priya Saraiya is one of those typical dreamy songs that will have most Mohit Chauhan fans always hitting replay.

The next song, ‘Meet’, is a slow, breezy, romantic number that a singer like Arijit Singh can certainly, sleepwalk through, and he does. The melodic song has lyrics by Priya. The female version on this track by the talented Aditi Singh Sharma is pleasing to the ears. The most refreshing thing about this song is that Aditi adds her signature touch to it, very smoothly.

Sunidhi Chauhan completely owns the next track which is ‘Pinjra Tod Ke’. This motivational song starts with a soft piano prolog after which Sunidhi’s skillful form takes over. Kalyan Baruah’s guitars, Tejas Vinchurkar’s flute and Jitendra Jawda’s violin just adds to the score.

‘Majaa Ni Life’ by Shalmali Kholgade begins with Kangana’s ‘Hi I am Maniben, Shakuntla, Kanta ki badi ben’, setting a humorous mood. Vayu’s worthy lyrics are easy to recall and most single girls would relate with the conditions. This high-energy song with ‘Naach cutie naach cutie’ by Divya Kumar and the catchy rap parts by Shalmali, make it fun.

The title song rendered by Jigar is a verse to the lead character and defines her personality intensely. Playful and lively, the soundscape takes you back to Ranbir Kapoor’s ‘Barfi’ (2015) song.

Sachin-Jigar and Vayu jammed on the lyrics together and it was Jigar’s idea to make this a chatty song. And so, keeping the phonetics in mind, the creators decided to go with these lyrics.

Overall, Simran is a good bunch of songs and one of the better albums this year.

Entertainment Movies

Spider Man-Homecoming

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IMDB rating: 8.2

Spider Man- Homecoming directed by Jon Watts, written by Jonathon Goldstein and starring Tom Holland (Peter Parker), Micheal Keaton (Vulture), Robert Downey (Tony Stark) is a combination of adventure, action, drama, sci-fi and fantasy.

Tom Holland is a 15-year-old who gains spider-like abilities after being bitten by a genetically-modified spider. He made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, and is now Peter Parker who with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

Peter, having had a taste of full-on super heroism, is back to being an ordinary, not terribly popular high-schooler in Queens. Well, not quite ordinary. He still has his superpowers, the high-tech suit with which Stark outfitted him, and a desire to fight crime.

Peter lives with his Aunt Maya (Marisa Tomei) and is thrilled by his newfound identity. However, he does not realize that in playing Spider Man what he values most and what is most important to him is at stake and will be lost.

According to a critic: “Spider-Man: Homecoming is a Marvel superhero film done in the style of Tom Sawyer or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, one of the liveliest characters in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, now has an entire movie devoted to him – one with plenty of youthful snap and crackle.”

And the latest news is of Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel that is already scheduled for July 5, 2019 and Tom Holland recently confirmed a third film is also in the works! So if you like super hero films then don’t miss any of the Spider Man movies!