A juxtaposition of imaginative, upscale cooking and casual dining, 138 East prides itself as one of the few gastro pubs in Dhaka city. The eatery stands tall amidst the quiet lanes of Gulshan 1 with the keen intent of inviting people to visit.
Pushing the boundaries of a typical café, the gastro pub goes beyond to offer a fine dining experience in a laid-back atmosphere. And every inch of the place screams just that.
The eatery, the pride and joy of owner and gourmand Ashfaq Rahman Asif, sits atop a spectacularly-transformed terrace with funky décor that is the perfect blend of rustic-chic and comfort. Yellow-paned glass walls, jazz covers indefinitely playing away, and an outdoor area championing 'white' in its decor: the rustic charm of the gastro-pub doesn't stop there.
It goes further to entrance you by the distant chirping of birds on a breezy late afternoon or the pitter-patter of monsoon showers echoing through the tin-roofed pub. So far as to spark a love story between a steaming cup of espresso and a riveting book you never got around to finish.
Whether you're on your own with coffee or indulging in either friendly company or scheduling corporate meetings, you have more than the rustic charm to look forward to. Catering to all the preferences of a food-lover, the options are endless; from burgers, sandwiches, wraps and breadrolls, to pizza, savoury platters and even decadent desserts.
With imported ingredients and fresh produce, the focus of the menu, expertly designed by Chef Farah Aziz, is to highlight European and American fusion across the diverse list of foods. The limelight stops, however, on the roasted lamb pomodoro pizza.
Rightfully deemed the house special, it is cooked in a traditional wood oven and the smoky, aromatic fragrance of roast lamb and molten cheese on the thin crust takes over the senses. Other popular choices are beef pepperoni and the seafood pizzas.
With more specialties in its bag, the Tex-Mex fries are a go-to when looking to eat light. The perfect toss in handmade sour cream and in-house mayonnaise, topped with spring onions and cheese is what transforms the regular fries into a true standout. Moreover, the chunky seafood chowder loaded with prawns and calamari is a creamy treat championing the humble soup as the ultimate comfort food.
The range of food doesn't stop there.
Exotic mocktails and tropical mojitos present themselves as the ideal beverage to wash down a bowl full of the house specials. Foaming cups of hot cappuccinos and classic iced teas are the ultimate late afternoon companions. The 'Juice of the day' highlights tropical fruits of the season such as mangoes and tangy lemonades pack quite the punch.
But how much would eating out on the east side cost?
Burgers and sandwiches come at a reasonable tag of Tk 300 to Tk 400. Pizzas come along with a tag of Tk 900- Tk 1,000. And typical savoury meals including the herb roasted chicken would be just at about Tk 1,000. Exotic drinks and hot beverages are no more than Tk 200 and desserts are about Tk 500.
With the menu and prices duly sorted, there are still more to come at 138 East.
“I have channelled my passion and envisioned a dream with 138 East,” shares restaurateur Asif.
“The ultimate goal with this gastro pub is to reach people with an absolute love of food.”
And that is exactly what 138 East is all about.
By Ramisa Haque
Photography by Sohel Rana Ripon
Architecture by Aminur Rahman and Raisa Chowdhury
Address- House 10, Road 138, Gulshan 1, Dhaka-1213, Phone: +8801944138138