Aussiness at Tollington

The food festival, which began from Karachi, travelled to Lahore for its inauguration in the city of lights

Amid the most hip and happening events that engulfed the city in its bliss, the Australian High Commission in Pakistan opened for Lahoris the first every Australian Food Festival. Hosted by Avari Hotels, at their outdoor eatery Tollington, the food festival aimed at bringing the best of Australian BBQ to Pakistanis, who are equally fond of relishing freshly cooked food.

The food festival, which began from Karachi, travelled to Lahore for its inauguration in the city of lights on the November 18. Perth based chef Jesse Hands filled the weekend of food lovers at Tollington with an extra zest of ‘Ausiness.’ The opening night was marked by the crème de la crème who had the auspicious opportunity to relish Australian barbecue with authentic Australian spices, beef, lamb and seafood imported from Australia.

Expressing the enthusiasm of strengthening cultural ties between the two countries Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson said, “Australian cuisine is truly an intersection of cultural influences, drawing from indigenous, European and Asian flavors, including Pakistani, which showcases the abundance and diversity of Australia’s fresh green and clean produce.” She further added, “I note that Australia and Pakistan are working to expand bilateral trade and investment, particularly in food production and agribusiness, and I hope that this festival marks the start of an ongoing culinary exchange between our countries.”

The General Manager of Avari Hotels Lahore, Grant Raubenheimer – an Australian himself, served the guests with pride. While an exclusive seating arrangement was made for the guests, Tollington was left open for public to ravish fresh BBQ. Special arrangements at Kims were also made for those who wished to stick to usual menu. Expressing his excitement he said, “As an Australian it gives me great pleasure and pride in bringing a little of the Aussie cuisine to Lahore.  As a nation, we love the outdoors and will take any excuse to “fire up the Barbie” and so our Australian Food Festival is a perfect marriage for the week in our very popular Pakistani BBQ area.”

The aura and ambiance at the five star eatery was accentuated with the bliss of traditional and contemporary Aussie music. From the timeless classics of The Seekers and Slim Dusty to rock numbers by Midnight Oil, INXS, and pop music by Olivia Newton John to name a few added glee to the night. Australian Food Festival was, indeed, one of the most pleasurable experiences to relish. The warmth and appreciation given as response to the Aussie hospitability was equally remarkable.

Marian Sharaf Joseph is an independent journalist. Her work for local and global publications focuses on culture and community affairs