One of the most essential qualities of a good host is the ability to entertain your guests with delicious food. This culinary affair is crucial -- when you are inviting a few people over to your home or when a hotel strives to meet the everyday challenge of satisfying its guests.
Hotel Agrabad seems to face this challenge successfully, with its several eateries catering to foreign and local guests staying at the hotel as well as the residents of Chittagong going for a hangout.
To start with, the lobby at Cafe Agrabad serves scrumptious snacks and confectioneries -- perfect for a quick bite with friends and colleagues or for holding brief meetings with a few business associates.
But that's just the tip of the ice-berg. The hotel features mainly three eateries and a bar.
Gluttony at Cinnamon
The largest restaurant of the hotel, Cinnamon, offers a generous buffet at lunch and dinner -- focusing mainly on Bangladeshi and Indian cuisines -- and an a la carte menu too.
“Our a la carte menu is popular among foreign guests -- especially for those who want to eat something that they are familiar with,” Jashim Uddin, executive chef of Hotel Agrabad informed. The a la carte menu comprises mainly of continental food.
Or you may prefer a buffet meal. “The salad bar contains three kinds of dressings for the different types of salads,” the executive chef guides me through the buffet table. “On one side of the salad bar we keep the intact vegetables that are used in the salads,” he told.
After the appetisers, you can savour the delicious 'deshi' food. For example, 'bhorta' is a hot and spicy delicacy that we love and is part of our gastronomic culture. Also, try out their chicken tandoori and naan. With a wide array of mutton, beef, fish and chicken delicacies and desserts such as cakes and pies, Cinnamon Restaurant offers very filling buffet meals indeed.
From the East side of the world
Being a Pan-Asian restaurant, East has been decorated accordingly. The music, the lighting, and the interior -- right down to the large, decorative hand fan on the wall -- all add to the ambience.
And of course, there are the Pan-Asian cuisines. East serves Chinese, Thai, Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. Apart from an a la carte menu, you may also opt for their set menus, where you can pick a cuisine (based on a country) of your choice or pick for a mixed one.
East provides the rare opportunity in Chittagong for tasting authentic cuisines of several Pan-Asian countries. Try their 'nasi goreng' -- a fried rice that is extremely popular in Indonesia and Malaysia -- with perhaps, 'ayam goreng balado'. The latter is a mouth-watering dish of fried chicken, with a subtle tangy flavour playing with your taste buds as your teeth sink through a thin and crispy layer of a very spicy and juicy meat.
Meanwhile, Indian foods such as South Indian and North Indian platters served in traditional 'thalis', with several tiny steel cups, each containing an individual dish, team up to take you through a culinary adventure of spices.
And to complete your meal, the menu offers several desserts: different versions, flavours and fusions of chocolates, ice creams, caramels, fruits et al.
All things Liquid
Hotel Agrabad's bar, named Liquid, provides a club-style atmosphere with comfortable couches and the high stools for going for a drink with your friends. With a wide plethora of drinks to indulge in and the live music show that goes on every night (except Friday), Liquid is the place to be.
Oasis at last
And yet another must-visit, especially at the end of a long and tiring day at work, is Oasis, the poolside sheesha lounge of Agrabad Hotel. Outdoors, the lounge offers the rare serenity of eating and relaxing in front of the pool.
As you step into the lounge, its Middle Eastern theme becomes evident. Arabian music is usually played in the background. A wooden perforated screen stretches from one end of a wall to the other. Large Arabian style lanterns hang from the ceiling.
Meanwhile, a single divan paves its way alongside the walls, with sturdy cushions working as armrests being the only divisions between people -- albeit a few chairs, this shared seat (which is the main one) serves the purpose of making this eatery a very gracious, open, friendly and social space.
Oasis serves several flavours of sheesha. The food focuses on Arabian cuisines, borrowing from Morocco, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt and Turkey. Desserts are not confined to Middle Eastern cuisine though. Try Oasis Special Crepe, one of their finest, a sweet delight served with pancakes, Hershey's chocolate sauce and ice cream.
From Middle-Eastern food to Bangladeshi cuisine, and from fine-dining restaurant to bar, Hotel Agrabad has something for everyone. So pick the one that suits your palate and make reservations today!