Monday, November 28, 2011

Biryani of the Seas (BOTS), Clifton

 Biryani of the Seas is an eatery located in Clifton that is rapidly growing in popularity for the unique specialty that it offers: seafood prepared fresh, Chinese, continental and desi (IndoPak) style.

This particular outlet of BOTS is located in a side lane near Clifton Bridge, right opposite PSO House that is located behind Glass Towers.
There is another outlet in the city, located in Karachi Administration Employees Co-operative Housing Society, the details of which you can access at the BOTS Facebook page
In addition to other menu details, you can also view innumerable photos of their food, which will probably make your mouth water if you are hungry.

The outlet offers only ad-hoc roadside seating for dine-in, for now, or you can eat sitting in your car. The other outlet of BOTS in Karachi offers indoor, restaurant style dining.

Customers can purchase a wide variety of frozen seafood from here (check the left side of the menu).
As the rest of the menu shows, a range of desi and Chinese-style cooked seafood is on offer for both dine-in and takeaway orders.

The prices are reasonable, considering the good quality of seafood that you can get from BOTS.
Contact details are visible at the bottom of the menu.

A single serving of Prawn Nihari, priced at only Rs 150.
The nihari was spicy, as expected, and quite delicious. The serving size was more than satisfactory for its price.

Fried Fish (English style), with French Fries and tartar sauce, for Rs 300.
The two fillets were huge in size and mildly spiced (not desi masala); the fries were crisp and fresh. Very good value for money - a great meal!

We have since then been regularly eating at BOTS. We usually order two kinds of fish fillets, pictured below:

 Dhaka Fish Finger - Rs 180, and Red Fish Finger - Rs 150, served side by side on one plate.
The Dhaka Fish Finger is mildly spiced, whereas the Red Fish Finger is, as the name suggests, hot and spicy.
The fried fish at BOTS is always served fresh, straight out of the wok, and is tender to the core.

The fish always comes accompanied by spicy tamarind chutney and another red condiment that lends a wonderful and tangy taste to the main sea food spread.

Goan Shrimp Curry -  Rs 500

I had heard rave reviews of this curry, so I decided to try it. It did not disappoint, either in taste or quantity. Unique ingredients (I am still guessing what they are) lend a peculiar zest, taste and aroma to this spicy and somewhat tangy concoction that can be accompanied equally well with either hot naan, or rice.

Verdict: If you like seafood at affordable rates, especially that which is cooked Chinese-style, you will definitely love the food offered by Biryani of the Seas. We once tried their prawn biryani as well, and although it was a bit on the spicy side, it was really good!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jeddah Food Centre, Clifton

Jeddah Food Centre is located next to the famous Motta's Supermarket in Clifton, near Schon Circle, right at the beginning of the Boat Basin strip.

Their main offerings are Chicken Biryani, Chicken Shawarma, Shami Kababs, Kheer and ice cream.

Jeddah Food Centre has been around since at least more than a decade, as far as I can remember.

A few meters down, a kiosk offers Jeddah ice cream. This outlet is operated by the brother of the owner of Jeddah Food Centre. They have some great flavors at very economical prices.

A single plate of Chicken Biryani, Rs 100

A teeny bit on the spicy side (just as we Pakistanis love it), Chicken Biryani doesn't get any better than this. The serving is huge and the price is lower than what you'd pay for a single plate of the dish anywhere else in the vicinity.

Plus, they always give a half-potato in the plate, unlike other eateries that think nothing of conveniently skipping the potato.

This plate of biryani also comes accompanied by a large sachet of green raita at no extra charge. Beat that?!

If you'd like to have a Beef Shami Kabab with your biryani, they are also available, priced at just Rs 10 each.

Chicken Shawarma, for Rs 90
Its always soft, fresh and oozing with juices from the chicken and vegetables inside. 

A cup of Peshawari ice cream, priced at Rs 55 (only).

Traditional ice cream at a great price, with the quantity enough for two - in my opinion!

Verdict: Jeddah Food Centre has been doing successful business for years. If you do not mind eating in your car, you'd love having their food. Their waiter-boys serve you eagerly.
Jeddah Food Centre also provides daigs (large pots) of their biryani for events.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hardee's, North Nazimabad

Hardee's, the international restaurant chain that boasts of "Charbroiled Thickburgers", recently opened its first outlet in Karachi, located near Five Star Chowrangi in North Nazimabad, among much excited anticipation on the part of the ardent foodie dwellers of the City of Lights.

The outlet is right next to Nando's. There is ample parking space in the side lane on which it is located.

We had to wait for 2 hours in the queue outside before we were able to get inside, even though it was a weeknight.
After a 2-hour wait outside, there was a half-hour wait in the queue inside.

This is the ground floor of the spacious and extremely clean outlet. Notice the guy getting a free drink refill from the drink counter? Yes, they offer free soft drink refills right now. 

A free refill counter is also present on the even more spacious upper floor.

The seating arrangement includes sofas as well as dining chairs around tables. 

There was no dearth of places to sit in the outlet, despite the crowd thronging it!

This was a more secluded section on the upper floor. 
This floor also had a children's play area, but it was closed.

Glass doors leading into the separate portion. 

The complete menu was printed on a placard inside on the wall.

The complete burger menu (notice that there are no prices printed!)

Flip side of the menu.

 Mushroom & Swiss Burger with Cheese, with French Fries and a regular drink, for Rs 354.

A shot of the layer of mushrooms in their gravy/sauce - it made up the gooey part of this burger that added a delectable juiciness to it and also melted the slice of cheddar! 

Best burger I have had in ages, even though in principle I try to avoid beef. 
 I had ordered Onion Rings with this combo, but they were out of them.

Original ThickBurger with Crispy Curls and a drink, Rs 450.
These Crispy Curls, which I had for the first time, were too good...much better than fries, in my opinion.


My better half had this, and well, let's just say that he couldn't say a word about it until he was done with it, because he couldn't put it down until it was all gone! :) 
The 2.5 hour long wait had really made all of us very tired and.....hungry.

9 Chicken Stars (nuggets) for the kiddies. Priced at Rs 233.

Cheese Burger, also for the kids, for Rs 147. This was smaller in size than the other two.

Hardee's also offers these "Hand-Scooped Milkshakes" that looked very inviting.

Despite being full because of the ample-sized meal, we took a milkshake for the road (a drive of 50 minutes back to Defence awaited!), as we knew that it would be difficult for us to visit this Hardee's outlet again any time soon. 
The milkshake cost Rs 195 (if I remember correctly, as we bought it later on a separate receipt).

The total bill, excluding the milkshake, amounted to Rs 1370.

Verdict: I stand guilty as charged. I have never waited in a queue for 2.5 hours just to eat a burger! However, the gushing praise I had heard of Hardee's burgers made me go for it just this once, and its true - the long wait was well worth it, because you won't get burgers anywhere near like these any where in the whole city.

The burger buns were extremely fresh and soft, the meat patty was tender and succulent, and the fries/crispy curls were soft yet crisp on the outside. I must mention that the staff and waiters were extremely attentive, efficient and polite, to the extent of being servile, returning again and again to ask us and all other diners, if we needed anything. Plus, as I said before, there were free refills. :)

The only thing unpleasant about the whole trip was waiting in the long queue outside and during this time, being forced to inhale the smoke of cigarettes being incessantly puffed by the groups of teenaged boys who comprised the major part of the waiting customers. Not fun.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Waheed Kabab House, Burns Road

Waheed Kebab House located on a side lane just off main Burns Road needs no formal introduction. It is very famous for its "fry kebabs".

If you want to get to Waheed from main Burns Road, turn left into the lane that has this shop on its corner.

There it is - on the broken, uneven road, amid all the pedestrian crowds, traffic, smog, overflowing sewers and open-air vendors selling fried fish, amrati, and french fries. Can't miss it. :)

They do not have hand-held menus, just a rate list placed strategically on the wall. Here it is in Urdu. Topping the list: a variety of Nihari's.

Then come the kebabs and other meaty fare. 

The same rate list is printed prominently on another placard, this time in English.

The prices are fairly reasonable.

 The main dining hall downstairs.

The relatively more private and small "family hall" upstairs.

It was fairly clean, very similar to the upstairs portion at Cafe Chullu Subhani.

Chicken Kebab plate, Rs 130.

The Fry Kebabs that Waheed is very famous for, priced also at Rs 130 per plate.

Succulent puri paratha, served piping hot.

Complimentary green chutney and chopped red onions.

Roti or chapati is also available as the more healthy choice.

The Fry Kebabs are made of beef mince, fried in butter, not ghee, as the waiter confirmed.
They were out of this world! 
The owner confirmed that this is the item most ordered by diners at Waheed.

The regular Chicken Kebabs were also tender and mildly spiced.

Incidentally, on the main crossing on Burns Road where you turn left to reach Waheed Kebab House, lies Delhi Rabri House, a vintage dessert place very famous for its timeless Rabri.

For those who have a penchant for traditional Pakistani/Indian desserts, Delhi Rabri House is a heaven!
They offer timeless classic desi delights such as kulfi falooda, ras malai, gulab jaman'sdoodh dulari (whatever that is), kheer, shahi tukray, gajar ka halwa, and even Rabri ice cream!

If you peer closely enough, perhaps you can read the Urdu menu printed on the placard pictured above. 

My significant other went in to get Rabri,  but decided to have a plate of Shahi Tukray topped with rabri instead. This plate cost Rs 60.

Sheer indulgence! This stuff is not just sweet, but also rich.

This cup-full of Rabri ice cream - a relatively newer offering - priced at Rs 50, was definitely one of the best ice creams I have ever had! There were bits of khoya in it that made the brownish delicacy even more enjoyable.

Burns Road seems to be attracting investors with the passage time. This building houses a Food Centre, smack in the middle of the main road, and has an air-conditioned, more elegant interior and ambiance, while most of the vintage restaurants retain their traditional flavor as well as look.

I have heard stories of how some Pakistani's settled abroad since decades go directly to Burns Road for a bite to eat as soon as they set foot into their cars at the airport. Now I know why.

Waheed is a must-try, particularly if you like kebabs or nihari
Try to have a light breakfast and lunch on the day you plan on visiting it though, because you just might be really tempted to pop in for some traditional desserts at the inviting restaurants right across the road after you are done with dinner!