The moment you step inside the restaurant, several distinct aromas of barbecue platters, roasted chicken and tea will come wafting through your nose. The entrance is almost always occupied by a group of Pathans – sometimes including the owner of the restaurant – performing Attan (a traditional Pashtun dance usually performed at weddings and other festive occasions) with utmost zeal. As the dhol beat gets louder, the Attan becomes more and more intense. The main hall inside has an LCD installed so that visitors can relish the food while enjoying Attan at the same time. Cherry on top: little lamps with small candles fixed inside them – one or two placed on each table – exude warmth and soft light, giving a cozy atmosphere.
Qabail has the most deliciously authentic Pashtun food to offer. Most platters consist of Kabuli Pulao, Barbecue, Chicken Sajji (roasted to perfection, along with the skin), Chappal Kebab, Lamb Karahi, Chicken Karahi, Peshawari Naan and Roghni Naan in different combinations. The platters are enough to satisfy over 8 to 10 people. The price of these lavish food platters ranges from Rs. 6,000 to 7,000, making them relatively affordable, considering the generous quantities. The steaming Green Tea at the end of the meal is complimentary, adding to the delight of the already satisfied foodie.
Qabail’s Chicken Sajji is a must-try. The light-brown crispy skin – with roasted juicy chicken underneath – is garnished with fresh tomatoes and lettuce leaves, while the rice is interspersed with sweet chunks of carrot, leaving a pleasant taste in the mouth.
Behind the main hall is a shelf displaying tea samples from all over the world, in plastic containers, each labelled with the country name. The tea from Kenya consists of dried rose petals, while Afghani tea contains sandalwood. As soon as you open the container, you’ll get a whiff of the soft, woody, milky scent.
Cordial staff, cozy ambience and delightful food, Qabail is highly recommended for anyone who has even the slightest taste for Afghani or Qabali cuisine. As Faizaan Qayuum, one of the founders of Hum-Aahang, said and I quote, “I have travelled through all of Pakistan. This is, hands down, the most authentic Qabali food I have ever had in this part of the country.” It indeed is.
All images have been taken from the ‘Qabail’ Facebook page.
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