Thursday, November 08, 2007

Upstairs, Ujan Bhati Goes Upscale

Ujan Bhati is a restaurant/rest-stop in Ashuganj on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway, just to the east of the Meghna. It is a landmark on this highway because all buses stop here.

Until recently it was a low-profile, low-cost place that did its job: restrooms which stank but worked and a cavernous dining room where the waiters get you food in 5 minutes so you can be on your way in a hurry. And they made a great cup of tea.

I visited after a two-month hiatus and had my cup of tea at my usual spot in the back of the dining cavern. Then I wandered upstairs (where they had been doing construction for as long back as I could remember) for a view of the surrounds. I was pleasantly surprised to find an upscale restaurant there. It had opened on Eid day (Oct 15).

The dining room was air-conditioned and decorated with fashionable chairs and cool lighting. The restrooms had good fittings, did not stink at all, and even had Savlon hand-soap dispensers (needed some paper towels or a hand-dryer.)

The menu had all kinds of food: Bangladeshi, noodles, Indian, and a special fast-food section with burgers, rolls etc. All were priced around TK 100-200, with the Fried Pomfret topping out at Tk 360. When I asked if all the items were available to order, they said they were still working out the kinks, so about half the items were available.

On my way back, I took my tea upstairs, and it cost me Tk 15 instead of the Tk 10 it cost downstairs.

(BTW, their tea is good because they make it with fresh milk which has been boiled and thickened. The thickened cream (shor) is part of the tea. Those familiar with Kashmiri Tea of old Dhaka will recognize a distant cousin ;-) )

Here are three pictures. The new Upscale Ujan Bhati (or Ujan Bhati Upstairs?) is a nice addition for people travelling inside Bangladesh. I hope they are successful.

Stairs leading to the restaurant.

Entrance to the upstairs restaurant.

View of the dining room, around 5pm. I sure hope they get more customers than this during mealtime.


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