Ok, so I was actually staying in Rawalpindi, the capital’s rather scrappy sister city, but with the MetroBus now a reality (for better or for worse), transport between the two metropolises has never been easier! I was shown a great time around the city by a few good friends who live there.
While in Lahore, dining and entertainment is open for all, in Islamabad it’s more about quality than quantity, and its possible to have a rather fancy weekend away in the planned, orderly city of leafy avenues that seems to be the antithesis of everything else in the country.
First stop was the lovely Kohsar Market, a break from the Pakistan we all know and love, to sip lattes with carrot cake near the Margalla Hills. We went to Mocca, a chic cafe around the side of the market with an upstairs area.
Later that day I headed with Jawad to Kuch Khaas, which translates to English as “a little bit special”. Kuch Khaas is a function centre, social club, entertainment venue and restaurant even further up towards the hills; so close in fact that it’s across the road from forest!!
There was a karaoke contest on, in which I missed my opportunity to sing the only English song on the list (Why This Kolaveri Di?). We then headed inside, just in time to miss the impending monsoonal downpour, to The Lime Tree, Kuch Khaas’ restaurant. We dined on beef pepperoni woodfired pizza, and a creamy Asian-fusion fettuccine carbonara.
The next morning it was off to the Margalla Hills for a walk in the monsoonal mist followed by a barbecue.
The Margalla Hills are the backdrop to Islamabad, and although they’re not nearly as lofty as the peaks further north, the clouds descending through them seem to bring (placebo) cool respite in the summer months.
Before heading back on the overnight bus to Lahore, we made one last stop at Centaurus Mall for dinner and an invent-your-own Magnum for dessert. Yum!
See Islamabad with Pakistan Traveller!