Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yuan Tung Chinese Restaurant, PECHS

Located in a side lane off main Tariq Road in PECHS Block 2 is a quaint, vintage Chinese Restaurant housed in a bungalow, known as Yuan Tung

The entrance to the side lane in which this restaurant is located, is directly opposite the huge, distinguishable English Boot House outlet located on main Tariq Road.

The placard outside the restaurant bears its name. 

I suppose the real, "authentic" Chinese restaurants also print their names in the native language! 

The entrance to the restaurant. Notice the Chinese-style architecture.

The address and phone number is printed on the menu.

Most of the main a la carte entrees are priced between Rs 300 and Rs 600. They serve 2~3 people.
Notice how the menu is also printed in Chinese, side by side?

We ordered item #16: Chicken Chillies with Vegetable

The Chow Mien and Chinese Rice menu. They also have some egg dish called Foo Yoong.

Beef, prawn and fish entrees. Notice the standardization of the prices of all. 

This part of their menu lists the more special/exotic type of dishes offered by the restaurant. Squid?! :) Eeek.

The ambience is a mix of traditional Pakistani, combined with the typical red-lighted Chinese decor. 

The red-and-white checkered tablecloths remind one of an American diner. 

Yuan Tung Hot & Sour Soup, priced at Rs 360

The quantity is enough for 3~4 people!

Chicken Chillies with Vegetable for Rs 360.
The vegetables were tender yet crispy-crunchy; just right!

Prawn Fried Rice priced at Rs 380

Chicken and Prawn Chow Mien, priced at Rs 420
This was out of this world!

All entree's were more than enough for two hungry adults, each. We had to have leftovers parceled. 


The bill. Rs 100 was charged for two soft drinks @ Rs 50 each.

The total bill was reasonable compared to the extremely good quality and quantity of all the food! We love dining at Yuan Tung. In fact, it is an old family favorite.

There is another Chinese restaurant right across the road, called Little China. It is also housed in a similar bungalow.

Verdict: As I said, the absolutely unparalleled, authentic Chinese taste of all the dishes we have had to date at Yuan Tung make it a family favorite, especially during winter, when we often crave hot soup in a cozy environment.
The restaurant is very family friendly and has a high turnover i.e. if you arrive after 9 p.m, you might have to wait for a table.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Noorani Kabab House, Shahrah-e-Quaideen, PECHS

Located on the crossing between main Shahrah-e-Quaideen and Khalid Bin Waleed Road in Block 2, PECHS, is a famous BBQ restaurant called Noorani Kabab House

As soon as you arrive, the rhythmic sound of kata-kat greets the ears. 

Noorani Kabab House is famous for its kata-kat.

The difference in prices here, from the eateries in the Defence/Clifton area of Karachi, is absolutely astounding!
We know that if you order 4 mutton chops at BBQ Tonite, they cost well over Rs 400! But here they cost just Rs 180.
Notice how they also serve you butter separately if you choose to order some. Yes, this place is definitely not recommended for those who are on a restricted diet, or those who have heart disease. Brain Masala, for example, costs just Rs 240, as shown below. :)

The menu includes many appetizing dishes for meat eaters. 

We decided to eat on the roof, under the open sky, as the weather was very pleasant.

Diners can eat alfresco in the area downstairs as well.

Beef Bihari Kabab for Rs 170. The quantity was more than enough for two adults.

Chicken Kabab (4 per plate), for Rs 150.
Can you believe the economical prices?!
Both kind of kababs tasted out of this world! The chicken kababs were really very tender and mildly spiced. 

My family cannot leave a restaurant after dinner if they spot kheer on the menu, without having it for dessert.
This was a small bowl of Zafrani Kheer, priced at only Rs 50.
It was very creamy and not too sweet; hence, even I had a spoonful or two, despite not being a big fan of kheer.

Our total bill, including two puri paratha's, two chapati's, two soft drinks, and one bowl of zafrani kheer, came to Rs 474. There was no tax. (!)
It is quite amazing how a whole full meal in this joint costs as much as a single main meat entree in the other expensive eateries of Karachi.

Brain Masala priced at Rs 240, photographed on a subsequent visit.
Heart patients and those who have high cholesterol or blood pressure, please avoid this yummy but fat-laden dish!

Mutton Champ Masala for Rs 180.
It is a bit unbelievable that a good mutton dish could cost less than Rs 200 anywhere in Karachi nowadays, what with the crazy price hike driving up meat prices every few weeks.

Puri paratha's, for Rs 25 each. Just the right combination of crispiness and softness.

Noorani Kabab House is definitely on my must-visit-again list of eateries. Wonder what took us so long to visit this place, considering the fact that raving reviews of both Al-Kabab and Al-Ghaffar Kabab House nearby made us visit them promptly, but even though we passed by Noorani Kabab House many times, we didn't consider eating here?

It offers really good value for money, unlike the overpriced meaty fare we usually eat otherwise. The meat is tender and tastes just great!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Diner, Khayaban-e-Shahbaz, Phase 5, Defence

I had read both positive and negative reviews of this eatery, called The Diner, which is located on main Khayaban-e-Shahbaz along the same side lane that has Espresso, Habitt, Sawadika and Subway - that one day I decided to try it out.

When we entered, the waiters told us that the floor upstairs was the smoking area, and asked us to sit on the ground floor.

However, we proceeded upstairs any way, as the ground floor was a bit short of space. 

The ambience is anything but that of a "diner". Its quite on the chic side, with dim lighting, huge glass windows, and tilted mirrors adorning mahogany colored walls.

The walls have pictures of the dishes on the menu. Unique!

The Diner is famous for its burgers. Main entree's are priced at the usual Rs 450-700.

They also have what is called "Brick Oven" Pizza.

The Gourmet Burgers menu that they are supposedly famous for.
However, burgers are not on our family's favorite foods list. 

The dessert menu is surprisingly limited.

Their beverages menu indicates that diners can come here for just coffee as well. 

French Fries (after the kids took their shares) for Rs 225 plus tax.

Penne in Pesto Sauce, with Grilled Chicken, Mushrooms and Oven-Dried Tomatoes (merely a few strips) for Rs 485 plus tax.
A huge disappointment! The portion-size was a big let-down compared to the price of this entree. Pesto sauce is supposed to be thick and green in color. Can you even see it in this picture? 

The Club Sandwich with Roast Beef, Grilled Chicken, Cheese, Lettuce and Tomato, for Rs 395 plus tax.
There was a choice between white bread and brown bread.
Again, the portion size left a lot to be desired. Also, you'd think they'd throw in some more French Fries and Cole Slaw, which are standard on-the-sides for Clubs, at the rate they are charging!?

Warm Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream, for Rs 285 plus tax.
This was, surprisingly, a huge hit! The brownie was warm and rich.
Might I also add, the waiter's attitude very apparently took a 180 degree turn, from hitherto sullen to very friendly, as soon as we ordered two desserts.
How 'surprising'! Money talks, doesn't it? 

Oreo Sundae for Rs 295 plus tax.
This dessert had two generous scoops of ice cream, one Vanilla and the other Chocolate, topped with crushed Oreo cookies, crumbled brownie chunks, cream and chocolate sauce.
It was very scrumptious and so heavy that one person could not finish it off!

Verdict: I would not recommend The Diner for lunch or dinner, but I think its not so bad for coffee or dessert. The portion size of the dishes was just not worth it, especially in a city like Karachi, where you can easily get a better value for your money (and service by more courteous staff) at other, similarly-priced, upscale joints. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thali Inn, Boat Basin, Clifton

If you would like to visit a place where you are served all kinds of food belonging to Arabian, Pakistani and South Indian cuisine in large, sometimes sizzling and smoking platters, then Thali Inn is the stop for you and your family.

It is located at the end of Boat Basin that is closer to the Karachi Grammar School campuses, next to the - ahem - open air "river". 
It is in line with the famous Qasr Al-Nakheel and Hobnob bakery. 

Most of the items on the menu are served in the form of platters or thali's

A few entree's are individual too, but the serving sizes of most are enough for two people or a small family.  

You can see how unique some of the entrees are. I can tell you, they really did sizzle and let off smoke! 

The decor of the family hall is rustic, colored in hues of matted beige and rust. 

The furniture is made of carved wood! That was a hit with me. :)
The walls are textured to give the impression of a village hut with mud walls. 

It sounds a bit of an anti climax, but we were not in the mood for meat. Rather, the idea of having a South Indian type of thali with different kinds of vegetarian curries, motivated us to visit Thali Inn.  
Therefore, we ordered this Vegetarian Thali for Rs 285, and one chicken tikka.

Garlic Nan and Puri Paratha's

The Vegetarian Thali had boiled rice, channa curry (the kind you get with halwa puri), Kadhi (gram flour and yogurt curry), achar (pickles) and moong daal.  

It also had mixed vegetable bhaji/bhujia (visible on top left corner). 
The whole offering was more than enough for two people. The dumpling (pakora) in the Kadhi was not very soft, but the rest was great! 
I especially love how our local Pakistani cuisine offers the greatest variety of naans. The garlic naan served fresh and piping hot, was just out of this world! 
Our bill came to Rs 530, including 2 drinks.

Verdict: On the adjoining tables, we saw some appetizing, smoking and sizzling platters being served to families, having meat ranging from kababs to whole fish! 
Next time, we intend to try one of their family-sized, sizzling, meaty stuff, insha'Allah