Eatfit & Manakeesh – Clean Eating Challenge Day 17

Day 17. Friday

Both lunch and dinner were ordered through FoodPanda, the biggest food delivery service in Pakistan till now. And no, I’m neither sponsored nor paid by them.

Lunch- Eatfit

One of the best offerings I’ve discovered at Eatfit is the Stuffed spinach chicken breast with grilled veggies. It’s definitely not the best offering in the world, but compared to other options at Eatfit, it’s worth its weight in gold.

Spinach stuffed chicken breast with grilled veggies by #Eatfit.

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But for some reason, the more I order this dish, every time the chicken seems to be tougher to chew than the previous one. Now I don’t know whether the chicks are getting tougher or I’m going soft.

And because of Eatfit’s stupid rule of Rs350, I had to order a seasonal fruit salad as well. Which was a complete rip-off. It needs to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the greatest rip-offs of all time.

Day 17 lunch #Eatfit. Stuffed chicken breast with a tiny bowl of fruit fit for a dwarf. #30daychallenge

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Lootnay ki had. Kambakht #Eatfit walay rs170 charge kar rahay hain is nannay se cup ke liye. #30daychallenge

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Just have a look at the pics. It’s a tiny box with even tinier pieces of fruit in it and it costs a whopping Rs.170. They might as well put in a test tube.

Steer clear of eatfit’s seasonal fruit offering.


Dinner – Manakeesh

Many of us have this preconceived notion that Arabic cuisine is healthy. While a huge part of that cuisine is, there’s still a lot of fast food in the Arabic world that is pure evil.

As I discovered on this weekend night.

I was out entertaining a friend, and I thought why don’t I opt for something that was entertaining and healthy at the same time.

And so off to Manakeesh we went. Manakeesh is a small bistro more than anything that accommodates hardly 10-15 people at a time. I reckon they make more on the delivery business.

Located in the Bukhari commercial area DHA phase 6, the place is quite hard to find, even though Bukhari is famous for sprouting new cafes and restaurants every other day, and getting them closed soon enough. The jinxed commercial area of DHA.

Manakeesh is actually the name of a dish in the Arabic peninsula. It’s a kind of a flatbread on which you can have different toppings, cheese, meat, veggies the most common being Zaatar. It’s similar to a pizza, the only difference being the toppings are actually inside rather than on top.

But what exactly is Zaatar?


Simply put, Zaatar is a mix of herbs along with a bit of salt and seasame seed.

The most popular manakeesh has zaatar and one of the many types of cheese in it –Akawi, Halloumi, and Kashkaval.

Not surpisingly, manakeesh is the most popular dish available at Manakeesh. In addition to that, they’ve got the Gyros, the doner platter, pizza, burger, you name it.

Now the problem with all these offering is that they are loaded with carbs and unsaturated fats, the kind that’s bad for you, and very little protein.

I still tried to steer clear of the most villainous of offerings, and settled for gyro platter, manakeesh with kashkaval plus lamb n cheese, twister and hummus.

Twister is a glorified form of manakeesh which I suspect they’ve invented themselves as opposed to any actual dish in the Arabic cuisine. It’s a twisted circle of bread filled with whatever you want to put in it, chicken, cheese, lamb, whatever the heart desires.

Whatever we tried was delectable, but I suspect the fact that we had piping hot from the oven made a big difference. If we had consumed as a take-away or delivery, it wouldn’t have been as good.

It’s not that expensive a restaurant, but considering it’s just a small room kind of a café, I believe their prices can be even more reasonable.

Dominos & Koel Cafe – Clean Eating Challenge Day 16

Day 16. Thursday

FoodPanda again did the honors of bringing my grub for the night. They have made some mistakes over the last 15 days, but they have been consistent by the Pakistani standards.

Lunch- Domino’s

It was an evil day.  I went to Adcom for our project meeting in the morning. It got late. Lunchtime. They ordered pizza from Dominos. It tasted like heaven. I gobbled up God knows how many pieces. There was pepperoni pizza, chicken tikka, creamy, cheese bread – Damn, I had it all.

Need I say anything more?

The only saving grace was that I didn’t consume any soft drink.

And it was free. So I managed to save one meal’s cost. And that’s an upside, isn’t it?

Dinner – Koel Café

After the eating carnage at lunch, I wanted to go for something low-key. I haven’t had fish for quite sometime, so I ordered the Grilled Atlantic Red Snapper from Koel Café.

Now since it was written grilled, I assumed it would be healthy. Wrong. It had potato gratin and was oozing with some kind of evil.

Mind you, it was delicious. But then even the Mighty Zinger is delicious. That doesn’t mean you should have it.

It cost a whopping Rs.788 so it’s definitely not for the faint of heart when it comes to their wallets.

The portion size is just about right. It’s not going you to satiate you big time, unless you’ve an appetizer or something as well.


Nutrinizer & EverGreen – Clean Eating Challenge Day 15

Day 15. Wednesday

FoodPanda again did the honors of bringing my grub for the day. They have made some mistakes over the last 15 days, but they have been consistent by the Pakistani standards.


Lunch – Nutrinizer

The BBQ chicken salad wasn’t the first time I was having. At Rs.350, it looks pricey but the portion size is so generous that it makes up for the price.

It does have some kind of dressing so I’m not entirely sure how healthy it is.


Dinner – EverGreen [Agha’s]

Evergreen’s Chicken Azzurri salad was as fulfilling as their steak salad. So you can bet all their salad offerings are like that. It cost Rs.420, and didn’t have the value of more than Rs.200. That’s how bad it was.

I wasn’t going to go hungry the second time around in the same day, so I had hummus and khubz leftovers from previous night along with the salad.

Evergreen should just call it quits the way they’re going.


Evergreen & EatFit – Clean Eating Challenge Day 14

Day 14. Tuesday

FoodPanda again did the honors of bringing my grub for the day.


Lunch – EverGreen [Agha’s]

Change of tactics. I had once seen these salad bowls placed in the fridge section of Agha’s on one of my grocery visits, and at that time I didn’t think much of it, or you can say the health bug hadn’t bitten me as yet.

Evergreen is the company placing these salads there. If you remember, Evergreen was the company that was going neck to neck with Eatfit in the healthy eating space a couple of years ago, until the company went bust.

And good that they did, because their salads are worse than Eatfit’s. At least Eatfit’s portion size of salads is large enough to satiate your appetite. Evergreen’s salad, you won’t feel if something went into your stomach.

They used to be in the range of Rs.300 to 350 just a few months ago. Now they are upwards of Rs.400.

I bought two of those, one for lunch and the other for dinner.

For lunch I had the Grilled Steak Salad. It was gone in 60 seconds, and I felt hunger pangs for the rest of the day.

And whatever you do, don’t try their honey soy dressing that comes packed with the salad. Unless of course you are in the mood for a puking bout. Try at your own peril.


Dinner – EverGreen [Agha’s]

Evergreen’s Chicken Azzurri salad was as fulfilling as their steak salad. So you can bet all their salad offerings are like that. It cost Rs.420, and didn’t have the value of more than Rs.200. That’s how bad it was.

I wasn’t going to go hungry the second time around in the same day, so I had hummus and khubz leftovers from previous night along with the salad.

My life in Greens. #saladgram #30cleaneatingchallenge #30daychallenge

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Evergreen should just call it quits the way they’re going.

FoodPanda – The Good, The Bad & the Ugly

It’s more than 15 days since I’ve been testing FoodPanda, supposed to be the ultimate food delivery service in Pakistan, and here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

The Good

  1. It’s simple, fast and efficient overall.
  2. Almost always deliver before the promised time.
  3. Gives the options of saving multiple addresses in the FoodPanda app which you can access with a single click when ordering. Makes it easy for those ordering from multiple locations, like home and office.
  4. Since they are the biggest brand in the market with the largest share, they are able to persuade their restaurant partners to give them better deals than their competitors. And this applies not just to discount festivals. They are able to negotiate lower or free delivery charges from their vendors which at the end of the day benefits the consumer. For instance, Eatfit charges a Rs.50 delivery free if you order from but free delivery if you order through FoodPanda.
  5. FoodPanda not just has the largest repository of restaurants, it also has the most upscale ones on board like Koel café, Pantry and Il Posto. You would be hard pressed these ones listed in any other app or delivery service.
  6. All the previous orders are saved in the FoodPanda database and you can view all the details, including what you order and how much you paid for each item on the menu, right from the app. Great feature, especially for someone like me who’s documenting all his meals and their costs.

The Bad

  1. You can’t undo an order once you’ve finalized it. They don’t give even a grace of 2-3 minutes.
  2. There’s no option within FoodPanda app for additional comments in an order. If you want some ingredient removed from the recipe, replaced or added.
  3. Sometimes it takes ages to get the approval from the vendor[restaurant]. This layer ought to be removed. If the restaurant has willingly come on board this platform, then there shouldn’t be an option for them to cancel an order. Just last night, New York Coffee café took 15 minutes to confirm the order.
  4. They don’t have any filter in their own database which tells them who are their loyal customers both in terms of longevity and in terms of sales volume generated, and then use that system to offer something delightful to these customers on a regular basis that they become FoodPanda’s brand evangelists.
  5. They don’t make use of Big Data. At all. If they’re receiving 60,000 orders per month and they’ve been in operation for the last 3 years, just think how much data is being accumulated with them.

And how they’re using it? Just dumping it somewhere in the junkyard to be used in the ‘future’. Case in point, they just sent me a Pizza discount promotion, me of all the people who have been using their service to offer healthy food for this entire month, and even before I had not ordered pizza even once. In short there’s no intelligent analysis of who their customer is and tailor their offerings according to what his wants and needs, and not blindly send him any offering like the ancient mass market promotions.

This level of intelligence I’ve yet to see from FoodPanda, supposedly the biggest food delivery service in the world. Maybe FoodPanda worldwide does make intelligent use of the Big Data and it’s just that the local seth operating the business here is not tech-savvy enough to make use of it.

The Ugly:

  1. FoodPanda has just recently added a frustrating layer of email/social media validation. There was no need. Everything was going perfect. The email validation doesn’t even work. Whereas the Facebook validation looks like a cheap attempt to get access to your friends’ list. If you remove the option for FoodPanda app to access your friend’s list, they do not allow validation.
  2. FoodPanda is running a promotional campaign which touts to offer discounted rates from most restaurants if you order through FoodPanda. The ground reality is that while some restaurants are offering discounts through FoodPanda, in many cases that’s not the truth. Take Dunkin Donuts for example. While FoodPanda claims that Dunkin Donuts is offering discounts, if you compare those rates with DD’s actual menu in their outlet, the price is the same. And that holds true for many other restaurants. Have a look at Rowtisserie’s price in FoodPanda app and their own FB page. The prices are exactly the same.

So in essence, FoodPanda is carrying out a deceptive campaign to some extent.

  1. FoodPanda has got no proper complaint system. No toll-free number. Only Live Chat. And even in live chat dummy operators are placed who don’t have any authority other than saying hi bye and we’ll forward your complaint to the concerned person.

I once had an order from Nutrinizer delayed, and when I contacted the Live Chat, this dummy girl sitting there only had this to say, ‘Sir, your complaint has been forwarded to my seniors’.

Now this is the same pathetic response that I recently got from Faysal Bank, and in fact this is the kind of response you’ll get from any dinosaur organization, and that ‘response’ usually takes 2 weeks to be given until that lethargic organization has ‘investigated’ all the aspects of the complaint and the complainant, gone through his family tree, whether he has a royal lineage, genetic defects in his ancestry, and then give a response. And that is going to be copy n paste from a template.

  1. FoodPanda is not making use of local merchant account for the m-commerce part. What this means in layman terms is that if you pay through your credit card, instead of charging it then and there in the local currency in which the transaction has taken place, it goes abroad where its converted in US dollars and then all hell breaks loose. Meaning you pay more than you bargained for. How do I know that? They told me so when I asked them. FoodPanda tech rep did answer that the excess amount would be refunded to the customer, but whether that happens or not remains to be seen.

FoodPanda Verdict

As a consumer, I’ve given Foodpanda some truly unique insights into the mind of their customer. As a marketer, I can teach them a thing or two about getting the most bang for their buck, but then it’s not my job. They’ll just have to learn the hard way.

So while I believe FoodPanda has come a long way in becoming a good food delivery option, it still has got a lot of chinks in its armor to deal with it before it can really become the undisputed king of Food Delivery Service in Pakistan.

Nutrinizer & FoodPanda – Clean Eating Challenge Day 13

Day 13. Monday

FoodPanda again did the honors of bringing my grub for the day.

I’m surprised I haven’t landed on the radar of FoodPanda’s management as yet even though I’ve been ordering through twice a day every day for the last two weeks. It seems they don’t do much with all the ‘Big Data’ they’re accumulating.

Lunch – Nutrinizer

I tried yet another experiment at lunch today which wasn’t exactly a roaring success. I ordered the Seasonal Fruit Salad for Rs.350 with a calorie count of 250.

Forget the calories, there was something about the salad that didn’t augur for my stomach. Not that it got it upset or anything. It was good. The portion size was generous. It’s just that having chickpeas and plant leaves in a fruit salad is not the best combination out there, and although this supposedly healthy concoction should have helped me feel great for the remaining day, it bogged me down.

There could be a lot of other reasons as well – lack of sleep, stress at work, but I don’t think even if I had it while I was in the flow, I don’t think it would have done anything to further fuel that flow.

I just think Nutrinizer needs to do something about the combination of fruits and plants and peas.

Dinner – Nutrinizer

Dinner was the leftovers of Nutrinizer’s Arabic selection from the previous night: Hummus, Baba Ganoush and Mutabbal.

I did however get some khubz from Mota’s to have it with these dishes.

Nutrinizer & FoodPanda – Clean Eating Challenge Day 12

Day 12. Sunday

Both lunch and dinner were ordered through FoodPanda, the biggest food delivery service in Pakistan till now. And no, I’m neither sponsored nor paid by them.

Lunch- Home-Made Breakfast

As has been my practice for ages now, I went for 3 boiled eggs with 2 bran toast, fresh milk cream and tea at about 12.45pm to last me throughout the day.

To ward off hunger pangs, I had assorted nuts and Dunkin Donuts Large Cup of Cappuccino with caramel flavor. I know. Not the most healthy of options, but it gives me that short burst of energy to ward off brain fog.

#dunkindonuts Large #capuccino with #caramel. This is how I speed up a lazy sunday afternoon.

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Nutrinizer – Dinner

I took a different approach to dinner this time around and went the Middle Eastern way.

Here’s what I ordered, through FoodPanda once again:

  1. Baba Ganoush Bean Salsa Salad [Calories: 190, Price: 350]
  2. Hummus [Calories: 400, Price: 290]
  3. Mutabbal [Calories: 400, Price: 290]

For the uninitiated, both Baba Ganoush and Mutabbal are eggplant-based dishes. Eggplant? Baygun.

The Baba Ganoush was a total disaster. Not sure what Nutrinizer was trying to pull off. And it was nowhere near the authentic taste. It was spicy. It was sweet. And it was without salt. A lethal combination.

Quantity was enough to feed all the stray cats and dogs of the neighborhood.

Mutabbal wasn’t a complete failure. That’s not to say it was great either. It tasted more like our very own Baygun ka Bhurta/Raita rather than a Lebanese cuisine.

Cost me a 1000 bucks – #babaganoush, #hummus and #mutabbal, but it lasted for 2 days. #30daychallenge #nutrinizer

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Hummus, thankfully, was the saving grace of the night. It was as true to the authentic taste as I’ve come to experience in Pakistan. Just the right amount of garlic and lemon. Smooth texture with just a hint of graininess.

Both Hummus and Mutabbal came with the sides of chicken, cucumber and carrot strips.

All in all I paid Rs.979 for the three items but they lasted me for 2 dinners.

Not a bad experiment, overall.


Nutrinizer & New York Coffee – Clean Eating Challenge Day 11

Both my lunch and dinner were ordered through FoodPanda, once again.

Day 11. Saturday

Lunch- Nutrinizer

I had a great time relishing their slim wrap omelette so I reckoned their Mediterranean omelette would be something to relish as well.

I was wrong.

Partly it was my fault. I had ordered lunch at a time when I was busy with the new recruits at office, and I got to eat my lunch half an hour after it had arrived. Now egg, especially fried or omelette, is something which is best eaten right off the stove. So that’s one thing.

But apart from that, it didn’t have that mesmerizing feeling that the previous slim wrap version had.

In the menu it had stated Mediterranean egg wrap Stuff with lite feta cheese tomato, spring onion.  The actual version had chicken as well.

The portion-size, however, was almost double than that of the slim wrap version at the same price.

Moreover, it had two mini slices of bran bread as well. The slim egg wrap had none.

The insides of the #mediterranean #omelette by #nutrinizer. #30daychallenge

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All in all not a bad choice, if you can stomach a Rs.450 worth of eggs. Not many can. They would just as well do it on their own.


Dinner – New York Coffee

New York Coffee may not rate amongst the fine-dining restaurants of Karachi, but they do know how to make their food tantalizing. The Moroccan chicken that I ordered for dinner was no exception.

Very rarely you find chicken breast moist and chewable. Usually it’s dry and requires jaws of steel to plough through.

New York Coffee made it just right. It was delectable. It melted in your mouth. And most importantly, it was grilled to perfection.


The only problem I had was that in the menu they had given the option of either grilled vegetables or mashed potatoes. But when it came to check-out in the FoodPanda app, there was no option.

I had to search for their contact number since none was listed in the FoodPanda app, call them up and tell them.

That kind of defeats the purpose of an app, doesn’t it?

New York Coffee is offering discounts through FoodPanda so what was supposed to be a Rs.700+ dish I got it for Rs.552, but with taxes it came out to be Rs.642. In the end not that cheap. The quantity however, was right up there.

Nutrinizer & EatFit – Clean Eating Challenge Day 10

I continued ordering through FoodPanda, not because they’ve got the best service, but amongst the options available to us Karachiites, it is the best option so far.

Day 10. Friday

Lunch- Eatfit

One of the problems with Eatfit, healthy or not, is that their salads are from the caveman’s time. It looks someone went into the garden, or worse, nearby fields, plucked whatever he came across and started filling the customer’s box right then and there, irrespective of whether that plant or shrub is edible or not.

No washing or cleaning. No mixing of materials. No dressing.

They believe in Real Raw.

That’s all well and good. But if the consumer wants to consume that stuff, he can just as well go into the ‘Jhaarian’ and eat from there instead of spending Rs.200+ for the same stuff from Eatfit.

But since Eatfit has been going strong for the last three years, it seems their customers do like this stuff. Or not. There was this woman Zainab who wrote in the reviews with the title ‘Very Bad Salad’  that ‘the salad was just dry lettuce and sandwich was without any good taste’.

And that pretty much sums it up. Take the Mediterranean salad, for instance which I ordered for Rs. 272 inclusive of taxes. Although there were a few olives and pieces of cottage cheese on the top, but beneath that there was nothing but dry lettuce and lots of it. And while they do give the dressing separately, mixing it up in the small container that they give their salad in which is already full is not possible, especially if you’re consuming it in your office and on your desk. And the ability of that less than stellar dressing to enhance the taste of your salad is a big question mark. So far the dressing’s I’ve tried from them, I wouldn’t bet on it.

The total cost of filling that box to Eatfit would hardly be Rs.50, if not less. And they are charging Rs.240+tax on that.

If you don’t call that fleecing the consumer, I don’t know what is.  It’s our own misfortune that we don’t have enough healthy cafes which can then compete with each other and thus bring the inflated prices down. The few places that do offer this have got a huge monopoly.

The second item that I ordered from Eatfit that day, which I didn’t needed and was just because of their stupid rule of making it Rs.350, was the noodle salad.

If you want to invite someone you hate to dinner and want to give him a nightmare of a time, I suggest you order the Chicken noodle salad from Eatfit and let him have it.


For the mere price of Rs.328, you can exact revenge to your heart’s content on a horrible boss, a workplace rival who took away your promotion, or that ex-lover who gave you hell.

Now it’s your turn to give them hell without actually killing them. And Eatfit is your best ally in the Art of Revenge. And two of their best weapons are the Asian Brown Rice and the Chicken Noodle Salad.

Unleash them on your opponents and detractors. Works everytime.

So this lunch from Eatfit cost me a whopping Rs.600 [328+272]. Not the best way to spend that money.


Dinner – Nutrinizer

This was turning out to be a bad hair day. No, not even that phrase does justification to the kind of day I was having. It was more like a bald hair day where you wake up in the morning and can’t get your hair straightened up, but by the end of the day you don’t have any hair left to straighten up. That kind of a day.

Nutrinizer which had been kind to me so far with their offerings decided to send a stinger missile my way in the form of their signature breakfast offering, ‘Health in a Bowl’.

Don’t be misled by the name. It’s more like ‘Death in a Bowl’. You are more likely to drown in that bowl consuming it rather than extract any health benefit from it.

To be fair to them, the bowl was actually large. And awfully heavy. But then, for a wallet burning price of Rs.490+50= 540, it better be.

What on earth it was, I still have no idea. In the words of Nutrinizer, “Rolled oats, fat free greek yogurt, organic honey, crunchy home made granola topped with seasonal fruits or nuts”.  Calories 410.

In reality, it tasted more like milk gone sour mixed with stale nuts. The fruits at least tasted like fresh. And there lots of them.

That’s the good thing about Nutrinizer. They never shy away from giving you great portion sizes. And the same applied here as well.

The biggest deal breaker was the cinnamon. And if you look at the description, cinnamon is not mentioned anywhere. If they had, I would have requested them to exclude it.

And therein lies one another shortcoming of FoodPanda app. It doesn’t let you add comments to your order if you would like to get some ingredient changed or excluded.

Anyway, the cinnamon combined with the size of the bowl ensured that I didn’t get to complete the bowl.

And that ended a very sad day in my 30 day quest to go sober, health-wise of course.

Nutrinizer & Health Act – Clean Eating Challenge Day 9

Day 9. Thursday

Lunch- Eatfit

It has finally dawned on me that Eatfit is more of a cunning marketer’s dream rather than just a health café.

Their shrewd prices speak volumes of their cunningness. Eatfit’s minimum order price is Rs.350. And yet there’s not a single item on the menu with that price. The closest someone comes is the stuffed grilled chicken at Rs.340.

What this means is you always have to order another item, and even at the cheapest, the cost invariably reaches Rs.500, what with the evil VAT and all.