Rabiya BashirSrinagar, May 20:
While many restaurants remain closed during the day in Ramadan, there are few who keep their doors open for their customers at Iftaar time in Kashmir, to serve special varieties of food.
The young café owners in Kashmir this year have come up with the creative ideas to provide space for the people, where they can make social gatherings and relish the Iftaar meals.
From Butter Chicken to Kadhai, from Zeera Rice(rice flavoured with cumin) to Falooda, the owners are pulling out all the stops by offering special menus and dishes to tempt the taste buds of diners.
In Srinagar, Parsa Foods, Hard Rock Café, Food Mania have come up with special dishes for Iftaar and are getting a good response from the customers.
Javaid Parsa, owner of Parsa Food at Sarah City Centre, said the trend of breaking fast outside the home is picking up in the valley. He said that they are offering Mughlai, Butter chicken, Mutton and Chicken Korma, Kadhai chicken, Hyderabad biryani, Zeera rice and other dishes. He also offers sweets for free. “Youngsters and families are often visiting us during the month of Ramadan. I am getting 30 orders every day. We also have arrangements for offering prayers. Due to traffic jams after Iftar, people are facing problems. So I have provided a space for them to offer prayers,” he said.
He said that his food outlet is known for Kathi rolls but during Ramadan they offer special dishes to the people. They also offer Iftar and different sweets for free.
“Initially the culture was different people were hardly going out to break their fasts. In the first year of my business venture in 2014, I used to get 5 orders in the holy month of Ramadan, Now the response is very good and people are visiting my place,” he said.
Like Parsa, the concept of blending the contemporary with the traditional to cater to different generations was also behind the Hard Rocks Cafe new Ramadan set menu.
“We receive around 30 to 35 people every day. We offer shakes, gulf drinks, and sweet dishes like Firni, Gagar Ka Halwa and Bakewell Tart dates, special dishes like chicken steaks, grilled fish with lemon pepper Sause and rice. We also offer appetizers like falafel, Hamas with pita bread and mushroom duplex,” said Syed Mujtaba Qadri, owner of the Hard Rocks Café.
Like Café Pirates and Parsa foods and Hard Rocks Cafe, the 26- year- old Iqra Aijaz’s ‘ Food Mania’ offers special ‘ Khajoor ka Ladoo’ ( Date balls) and other Ramadan cuisines. She also offers Mughlai and Kashmiri traditional cuisines, continental, desserts, sweets, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes.
She began selling her food products by receiving orders on Instagram and Facebook pages under the name of ‘Food Mania’ in 2015.
“Traditional and Mughlai dishes are ‘must-have’ dishes during Ramadan. I mostly make dishes as per the orders and requirements of people. It is a time to relish all traditional and Mughlai dishes and forget all about the modern things,” she said.
She said that she wanted to bring together the young and old to enjoy new and traditional dishes.
Away from the city ambiences, Café Pirates of Baramulla too remain open for customers at Iftaar time. “We are offering complimentary welcoming Iftar drink and dates. For Ramadan only we serve special Faluda and other combo meals. We have Iftar takeaways from 5 pm,” said Faisal Bhat, one of the owners of the Cafe Pirates.
He said that cafe holds the privilege of being first of its kind in North Kashmir where you can eat and relish till late night hours. “We are also encouraging people to have Iftar parties at the cafe only,” he said.