Chatkharay is a very famous and thriving restaurant in Khadda Market, Defence phase 5, right opposite the stadium.
As the name suggests, it offers traditional Pakistani desi cuisine in an upscale dining environment.
They also offer breakfast on all days of the week now.
Chinese and fast food is also available.
Inside, the blackboard announces the special menu of the day.
Downstairs, jars of "homemade" pickles/achar and other chutneys, sauces and spicy condiments are for sale.
We usually proceed to the more spacious hall upstairs.
The sides are lined with sofas, giving the hint of a casual cafe.
The stairway entrance upstairs.
I try to take photos of the menu in such a way that the flash doesn't obscure the text. Here, you can see the diversity of the menu. The prices are a bit on the high side, but still low for a restaurant that boasts a thronging clientele.
South Indian cuisine, Chinese, Barbecue, Chaat, Pakistani food - everything is there.
Desserts, drinks and frozen takeaway items.
Notice that they offer the usual coffees as well.
Mix Chaat for Rs 100.
I was disappointed, maybe because of my high expectations of the chaat at this place, based on the raving reviews/praises I have heard about Chatkharay? Mirchi's is much better, in my opinion.
But at the end of the day, no one does chaat like Flamingo in Boat Basin.
Pani puri, or Gol Guppay, for Rs 100
Chicken Shashlik with Rice for Rs 240
The sauce was a bit sweet, tasting exactly like that in Chicken Manchurian (overdose of tomato ketchup perhaps)? Nevertheless, it was great in taste in quantity. It can easily serve 2 people.
Chicken Nuggets with Fries for Rs 130
The nuggets were very dry, and tasted like flour. The waiter insisted that they were fresh, made from chicken mince. We all thought they were really lousy, though.
We ordered a paratha for the kids, for Rs 40. This is the regular variety, the kind that your Ammi makes at home.
Sweet Lassi, Rs 80 per glass. Well worth the price!
The total bill came to Rs 810.
Not too expensive, eh? Considering that two adults and two children ate (and drank) to their full?
Verdict: Whenever I dine at Chatkharay, I wonder what the hoopla is all about. Sure, the food is good, and the ambience too, but I still don't understand why people flock to this place the way they do.
I must mention, though, that I have had their Continental breakfast once (regular omelette, toasts and tea) and it was really good.
For the chaat type snack stuff, Chatkharay has nothing better to offer than the regular chaat vendors standing on the roads, except perhaps a better indoor environment to devour the bhel puri's and dahi bara's in. I would recommend Mirchi for that over Chatkharay any day. For now, their staff is more polite and cordial.
Lastly, I have noted one thing each and every time I have been to Chatkharay for it to be a one-time occurrence - the staff is unfriendly and sullen-faced. More smiles wouldn't hurt their popularity.