The Wild Groove and The Syriana Gyro are some of the items on the menu consisting of gyros, tacos, burgers and panini. — White Star
The Wild Groove and The Syriana Gyro are some of the items on the menu consisting of gyros, tacos, burgers and panini. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Wedged between two shops on the second floor of a plaza in Super Market, The Gyro is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

The restaurant is small and unassuming. Bar-style seating stretches along one brick wall, and on the left of the sliding door entrance is a table for four.

An overwhelmingly large counter seems to take up most of the floor space.

Given the size of the restaurant, as well as its menu of gyros, tacos, burgers and panini, The Gyro overall seems more suited to takeout or delivery, although it has a small but comfortable balcony for those inclined towards a sit-down meal that overlooks a car park.

The menu is not incredibly expansive, but it’s not short either.

There are five types of burgers, two beef and three chicken, most of which are named to invoke the American Wild West.

A Gyro is a serving of meat grilled on a rotisserie and usually served on a flatbread with vegetables and condiments.

The ones available at the eatery are available with grilled chicken, grilled beef or grilled mutton, as well as in the form of platters of either beef and mutton (with rice, salad and pita bread) or chicken and mutton.

The chicken gyro, called the Frango, is nicely textured and flavourful - the chicken in particular.

The wrap comes with onions and tomatoes, as well as some green peppers, while the pita bread and sauce add some sweetness to the dish overall, although the onions can sometimes be overwhelming.

The Syriana comes with mutton instead, which lends a bit more of an earthier flavour.

The gyros also comes with fries that, when eaten fresh, are perfectly light and soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

Though burgers and paninis are a dime a dozen in Islamabad restaurants, some of the burgers do look interesting.

There is The Gyro Cowboy beef burger, and its chicken variant the Chicken Dazzler, that features shredded beef or chicken with cheese, peppers, onions and sautéed mushrooms with the chef’s special sauce.

There is also the John Dillinger – a traditional beef patty with cheese, crispy onions and barbecue sauce, as well as the Heisenburger, a crispy chicken burger topped with cheese and garlic mayo.

Then there are two panini options: beef with peppers, tomatoes, jalapeños and onions in tartar sauce, and chicken with the same vegetables but in barbecue sauce.

The Wild Groove consists of three hard shell tacos with minced beef, a spicy sauce, tomatoes, sour cream, cabbage and lettuce. The tacos are spicy and acidic, balanced out by the crunchy vegetables and the sour cream; overall, the perfect late night fast food.

The Chicken Groove, more or less the same as the beef tacos but with chicken instead, were ordered to-go to see how they hold up.

After a 30-minute car ride, the chicken tacos were still warm and good, overall. The shell had softened some over the journey but, and this may sound strange, that was not necessarily a bad thing, because it made the tacos a little less messy to eat.

According to restaurant manager Mohammad Zurab, The Gyro has been open for a month at most. The response so far has been good – Dawn visited late afternoon on a weekday, when no other diners were seen, but

Mr Zurab said traffic picks up in the evenings.

He said neither the gyros nor this kind of Mexican-style cuisine is available elsewhere in Islamabad, and the tacos and nachos are the most popular with diners.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2018

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