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. 


  1. With its poor service and overpriced, underwhelming portions of dishes that do not always match their description, it seems the Diner is just banking on its snob appeal. And is under the impression that decor will suffice. Curiously, despite charging not an insignificant amount for pasta, the restaurant does not seem to know what a basic pesto sauce is. That or it thinks the customers will be so awestruck by the fancy names and the décor that they will happily devour whatever they are served!

    As anyone capable of doing a basic google search can find out, the primary ingredients of pesto are basil, olive oil, chilgozas (pine nuts) and cheese. If the restaurant was 'competent' enough to know what a pesto is, and had run out of any or all of these, someone at the kitchen should have sent back the waiter to suggest ordering something else.

    And to add insult to injury, a sullen waiter to boot. Considering the disparity in service levels depending on how much one orders, can you imagine how bad the service would be if you ordered even less, just coffee and desert that is? If I were you, I wouldn’t be going back any time soon.

  2. I agree!
    I think they probably assumed that I wouldn't know what pesto is, so perhaps they saved it instead of putting it on my pasta? :) Who knows? Maybe they were out of it.
    It wouldn't be the first time waiters at an expensive restaurant assumed that about me based on my outward appearance.
    Once at Espresso, when I enquired what the Mars Cheesecake is like, they attempted to explain to me in Urdu what a cheesecake basically is, until I switched over to verbal English and let them know that, alhamdulillah, I didn't need the translation. :)