Courtyard- a term usually denoting an enclosed, open to sky space, has often been a design feature in most architectural masterpieces all around the world. Its initiation is from our rural roots, where no cluster of houses lacked “উঠান”. However, with the rapid urban sprawl, the concept of courtyard had been replaced with rigid skyscrapers. Presently, the concept of courtyard is regaining popularity in spatial design in an attempt to bring in a part of the open into the built environment. Bay’s Park Heights in Dhanmondi is an example on how to create sellable open spaces for the public in spite of being a commercial building. Almost hidden within the site, the park side plaza of this building houses “The Courtyard” that offers a unique leisure space amidst the monotonous concrete jungle.
Indoor seating arrangement with food counters; Photo © Itminan Tasneea
With their passion for food and art, the space caters to art fanatics and food lovers, by being an art gallery and a multi-concept restaurant.
Vibrant greens, brightly lit atmosphere with delightful water features welcome you to this place. What awaits inside is a well-designed restaurant with attention to details reflected in every corner. The lush greens peaking from concrete offers a soothing atmosphere for individuals, be it the youngsters who are visiting for chill, or workers meeting up for official meetings.
Water plaza view from drop-off; Photo © Itminan Tasneea
The monochromatic tone of furniture and the pop of colors in the display add to the chicness of the restaurant. The expression of exposed bricks is a fantastic focal point in the space adding texture to the interiors, where else, the exposed concrete material brings a warm atmosphere to the restaurant, making visitors feel welcomed and relaxed.
The frameless glass walls open up to its highlight ‘the courtyard’. Shaded with a glass canopy, the outdoor space is full of natural daylight and ventilation, which one often forgets residing in glass towers. The curved enclosure acts as the wall for displaying art. In their own language,
Landscape feature with concrete treads and greens; Photo © Itminan Tasneea
“Imagine walking through a garden, with works of art hanging amidst greenery and flowers. This coalescence of spaces and of purposes would teleport guests into a distant wonderland that is available in no other space in the capital.”
The restaurant has already gotten its fair share of popularity after its launch among architecture enthusiasts, youngsters and office workers. Even though it’s located in the busy Mirpur Road, being below road level, helps in noise reduction. The transition of the indoor and outdoor seating gives off a European food street vibe.
Peeking into the courtyard from higher plinth; Photo © Itminan Tasneea
The restaurant is also thinking to add another level of seating arrangement in their park side plaza that merges into the landscaped greens and designed stairway elements.
Besides, there is a secluded seating arrangement that can be used for official meetings. The walls are well decorated with art, and pots of green peeps through every space. Different sized vintage bulbs are suspended from the ceiling for additional lighting during the night, which turns the evening setting into a much romantic one.
Lighting arrangements in the double height space, Photo © Itminan Tasneea
The Courtyard stars as a community space in the heart of Dhanmondi with an emphasis on rooting creative cultural communities to the space with the unison of art and food. Its opening hours are from 12:00 pm to 10:00pm.
Having lived so close to Bihari camp (also known as Geneva camp) at Mohammadpur, I have always wanted to try the area’s food items other than Mostakim’s Chaap. Thus, I jumped at the opportunity of getting inside the camp and experiencing the scene there first-hand.
Right beside the chaap shops is a road so narrow that it’s hard to believe that an entire community resides there. From tailoring shops to residential area, this place has it all. After walking through the clothing shops for about 10 minutes, we came across a big banner where it’s written ‘Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation’. You start hearing murmurs of Urdu being spoken by almost everyone here and the area makes you feel like you are in a country of its own.
One of their highlights in terms of food is Boba’s Biryani. Run by a mute chef, who also happens to be the one serving the biryani, you will be greeted warmly by him. We signed him to provide us with 2 packets for takeaway and he was happy to show us some of his stunts with the potatoes while packaging the food. The biryani was slightly oily but had good amount of beef. Why I like their biryani so much is because of the kick of mustard which is obvious in every bite. Next we had puris and cha from a random tea stall. They were frying the lentil/daal puris right there so we got to try fresh and warm ones. For Tk 5 each, they were an absolute delight; not too oily and neither spicy. Their milk tea was also a pleasant companion to the puris. Had the place been not so deep inside the camp, I would be a regular there. Right beside that stall was a shop selling Egg Buns. It’s exactly what the name seems like, scrambled egg with onions and green chilis placed inside warm and toasted buns. The buns looked extremely fresh and I could honestly imagine it to be served as burger buns. I wish they sold them individually too! You can also find Chaat Potatoes, Salted Pomegranates, Quail and Chicken Boiled eggs, amongst other interesting food items.
We ended the day at Muslim Variety Kabab and Soup since Mostakim didn’t have any seats available there. We ordered the 10 soft Luchis, a Beef Boti Kabab, a Brain fry, and 2 cold drinks for Tk 250 only. While the taste wasn’t as good as Mostakim’s, it was perfect to end an eventful foodventure.
If you are a big fan of sandwiches or meat, there’s a high chance you have heard of Katz’s Delicatessen. Located at East Houston Street in New York City, this Deli has been around since 1888 and was made popular by the immigrants who would gather there on Fridays to enjoy beans and franks. Fast forward a few hundred years, Katz’s now holds multiple awards among which the biggest one is perhaps their name on the Bib Gourmand list. According to the Michelin website the Bib Gourmand list spotlights restaurants that serve “high-quality meals which include two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.” Thus, when I visited New York last summer, I made it a must to try their famous Pastrami Sandwich.
I won’t deny that upon entering the deli, I wasn’t really pleased. It isn’t necessarily the cleanest but with hundreds and even thousands of tourists coming from all over the world just to try one of the best selling sandwiches on Earth, you can’t expect the cleanest environment. You get handed over a ticket which you cannot lose at any cost. You are to hold on to it with your dear life till you are to leave as they take it back at the door (which is quite an inconvenience if you ask me). We didn’t have the best experience ordering either, it was confusing with many lines to go to, the cutters were rude, and it was hard to get a seat too.
We ordered the Pastrami sandwich with a side of fries and a canned coke. Katz’s uses meat that comes from the navel end of a cow which is where the best pastrami comes from. They cure the meat for 2-4 weeks, apply a secret rub, and then smoke it for several days. The master cutters’ at Katz’s have been doing their work for a very long time with perfection. You can ask them for more fat or more meat if you want but I let them do their regular work.
Now comes to the taste, I was slightly disappointed that the rye bread wasn’t slightly toasted. The deli sandwich looked very simple; had layers of pastrami and some pickles on the side. At first bite, I was honestly shocked; it was way too bland. After adding some mustard to it (which I highly recommend) it gave some flavor to it but was still too bland for my taste buds. I know that food fanatics might be after my life for saying so but I had to convey my personal opinion that for South Asian taste buds, this may be a sandwich which is too bland. I would at least prefer to have toasted bread for the sandwich. The fries were good but it was just fries, you can’t really mess that up.
In all, to me, Katz’s Delicatessen is a hype and tradition made for and by tourists. With a price tag like that, there are many other Delis in New York that sells better options for sandwiches.
I always avail the unlimited pizza offer during Ramadan (guilty). So when I had moved to Dhaka back in 2016, Pizza Guy was one of the most hyped places to redeem the unlimited pizzas and soft drinks offer. However, the experience at their Banani Branch back then was underwhelming to say the least. The crust was getting thicker with every order and the toppings were decreasing. I wasn’t willing to pay so much for mediocre pizzas with other great pizza places existing.
However, after almost 3 years, I came across one of their newly opened branches at Shimanto Shambhar right after watching a movie. They have their regular menu as well as an express menu (smaller portions) there. As there were two of us who have a humongous appetite, we ordered the Mozzarella Sticks, Jalapeno Poppers, Honey Glazed BBQ Wings, and Spicy Garlic Mushrooms as starter, Evil’s Nightmare, and Mushroom Lovers Pizza (7 inches on their Express Menu) as mains, and Tiramisu for dessert.
The food started arriving within 15 minutes. At first I had started with the Jalapeno Poppers. They are mozzarella cheese, corn, and bits of jalapeno stuffed balls which are deep fried. I cannot emphasize enough on how good this starter was. The popper was soft to the touch; almost as if it was stuffed with cream inside. When you bite into it, the cheese oozes out and hints of spiciness and tanginess can be tasted. The Mozzarella cheese was equally cheesy however, what it missed was a Marinara dipping even though a mayo-ketchup dip is provided with it. As for the BBQ Wings, I wouldn’t say they were the best I have had. The BBQ sauce was overly sweet and less smoky. Maybe I should opt for the Naga Wings next time? Another miss was the Spicy Garlic Mushrooms. Almost all pizzerias serve this starter now. This one was way too oily but the seasoning made it hard for me to resist from finishing it.
Now came the mains; the pizzas. To start off, beef isn’t my favorite choice of topping but I still tried a slice from my friend’s Evil’s Nightmare pizza. The pizza was loaded with beef sausage, beef chunks, spicy chicken, pepperoni, mushroom, caramelized onion, loaded up with lots of spices and parmesan. They really didn’t kid when they mentioned spices. It was loaded with green chilies which gave me severe stomach burn later that day but I have to give it to Pizza Guy for how good their meat is! Absolutely loved the way the pepperoni was baked. However, the Mushroom Lovers Pizza wins for me. I thoroughly enjoyed their use of 3 kinds of mushroom and the bits of roasted chicken that came abundantly as toppings. It was not only cheesy, but the meaty mushrooms gave every bite a different taste. Lastly, for dessert we picked a small Tiramisu cup. It was quite creamy and the layer of biscuit was equally delicious but it lacked the coffee taste that Tiramisus are supposed to have.
I don’t regret giving Pizza guy another try and especially now that they have an express menu, I wouldn’t feel forced to spend a lot since they have smaller portions for an affordable price. If you ask me, it’s one of the best picks at Shimanto Shambhar for you to binge at after a movie!
New York, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — Eating red meat is linked to cancer and heart disease, but are the risks big enough to give up burgers and steak?
A team of international researchers says probably not, contradicting established advice. In a series of papers published Monday, the researchers say the increased risks are small and uncertain and that cutting back likely wouldn't be worth it for people who enjoy meat.
Their conclusions were swiftly attacked by a group of prominent U.S. scientists who took the unusual step of trying to stop publication until their criticisms were addressed.
The new work does not say red meat and processed meats like hot dogs and bacon are healthy or that people should eat more of them. The reviews of past studies generally support the ties to cancer, heart disease and other bad health outcomes. But the authors say the evidence is weak, and that there's not much certainty meat is really the culprit, since other diet and lifestyle factors could be at play.
Most people who understand the magnitude of the risks would say "Thanks very much, but I'm going to keep eating my meat," said co-author Dr. Gordon Guyatt of McMaster University in Canada.
It's the latest example of how divisive nutrition research has become, with its uncertainties leaving the door open for conflicting advice. Critics say findings often aren't backed by strong evidence. Defenders counter that nutrition studies can rarely be conclusive because of the difficulty of measuring the effects of any single food, but that methods have improved.
"What we need to do is look at the weight of evidence — that's what courts of law use," said Dr. Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition at Harvard University who was among those calling for the papers' publication to be postponed.
Willett, who has led studies tying meat to bad health outcomes, also said the reviews do not consider the particularly pronounced benefits of switching from red meat to vegetarian options.
The journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, defended the work and said the request to have it pulled before publication is not how scientific discourse is supposed to happen. Guyatt called the attempt to halt publication "silly."
In the papers, the authors sought to gauge the potential impact of eating less meat, noting the average of two to four servings a week eaten in North America and Western Europe. They said the evidence for cutting back wasn't compelling. For example, they found that cutting three servings of red meat a week would result in seven fewer cancer deaths per 1,000 people.
Based on the analyses, a panel of the international researchers said people do not have to cut back for health reasons. But they note their own advice is weak and that they didn't take into account other factors, such as animal welfare and the toll meat production has on the environment.
There was dissent even among the authors; three of the 14 panelist said they support reducing red and processed meats. A co-author of one review is also among those who called for a publication delay.
Those who pushed to postpone publication also questioned why certain studies were included or excluded in the reviews. Harvard's Dr. Frank Hu also noted that about a third of American adults eat at least one serving of red meat a day. He said the benefits of cutting back would be larger for those who eat such high amounts.
Still, other researchers not involved in the reviews have criticized nutrition science for producing weak and conflicting findings. Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said such advice can distract from clearer, more effective messages, such as limiting how much we eat.
As for his own diet, Guyatt said he no longer thinks red or processed meats have significant health risks. But he said he still avoids them out of habit, and for animal welfare and environmental reasons.