Monday, March 28, 2011

Sheikh Abdul Ghaffar Kabab House, near Tariq Road

Sheikh Abdul Ghaffar Kabab House is beginning to gain more and more recognition and respect in the Karachi eating-out 'hall of fame'.

Recommended to me by someone in my family whose friends took them out to try this place, I decided to one day act upon their repeated requests to try it out at least once.

 Boasting a loyal clientele that it has garnered solely by the virtue of word-of-mouth, having no other major marketing strategy, "SAG" is located in a quiet side lane near Tariq Road, just a bit off the main signal crossing on which the prominent Naheed Supermarket is located:

There is a huge masjid right next to this obscurely situated, multistory kabab house, called Riyaz Masjid. This means you have the choice to pop in next door to pray if the isha salah happens to start while you wait for your dinner to arrive at your table.

A long queue of customers with takeaway orders is visible on the street downstairs.

Yummy meats being prepared live under the open sky.

Scrumptious but fattening: piping hot, deep-fried puri paratha's being taken out of the wok.

A dark doorway amid the outdoor barbecue stations beckons families who want to dine in.

This is one side of the first floor, where families opt to sit. Ground floor is reserved for men-only groups of diners.

The staircase leading upstairs.

This is our favorite floor: the spacious, open-air rooftop floor, reserved only for families.

This floor is the most airy and spacious.

The entire menu is visible on a wall placard in the middle of the floor.
I was thrilled to find on offer, for once, dhaga kababs made of mutton! This is because I am not a huge fan of beef.

The simple but holistic barbecue menu. The prices are extremely reasonable!

Green chutney and raw onion salad. The chutney was very mild.

Chicken Reshmi Kababs - Rs 160

Mutton dhaga kababs - Rs 180

Beef Bihari boti - Rs 120

Puri paratha's - Rs 30 per (4-quarter) piece

Zafrani Kheer - Rs 30

Suji Halwa - Rs 25

The whole bill. No taxes. Can you believe it? The portions were so generous that we had to get one seekh of Chicken rehsmi kababs and one seekh of Mutton dhaga kababs packed to be taken home.

Verdict: Barbecue doesn't get any better than this. Really, Abdul Ghaffar Kabab house is akin to Bundoo Khan in its impeccable flavor and quality of food.  Each and everything we ordered, including the desi desserts, were absolutely out of this world!

If you haven't yet visited this place, I would say that you must, because you obviously have no idea what you're missing. :) I know that most Pakistani's living abroad would kill to have a meal like this even once a year!

Please click here to view the location of Abdul Ghaffar Kabab House on Google Maps.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ginoginelles, Khayaban-e-Mujahid, Phase 5, Defence

Update: This eatery has closed down and no longer exists on this location.

Ginoginelles is not an unknown name in the food takeaway and delivery scene of Karachi.
In fact, I think this company is one of the pioneers in food delivery, having been around since years and years.

Their Defence outlet is situated on main Khayaban-e-Mujahid near the old "Deltons"/Khadda Market area, just before you descend the slope in front of a huge masjid on the left.

The ground floor is reserved for takeaway and delivery.

Recently, Ginoginelles has also started a dine-in restaurant on the floor above, much to the joy of its regular customers who have been using its food delivery - particularly pizza and Chinese food - since many years (such as yours truly).

A carpeted staircase leads to the floor upstairs.

A beautiful chandelier lights up the stairs.

The interior is done in deep brown/mahogany hues. Very quaint.

The dim lighting and red brick walls give the place a cozy look, but the tables are placed relatively apart, i.e. without compromising on the diners' privacy by throwing them too close together.

There is a separate room behind those windows on the left that can be reserved in advance.

This room has - you guessed it - a wall-mounted plasma television to view those oh-so-not-to-be-missed (yawn) cricket matches nowadays.

This room can be booked in advance specifically for match-viewing over coffee.
While we were there, we saw some customers just saunter inside, make themselves comfortable, and start watching. 
I really appreciate the fact that our local restaurants respect the presence of families with children by always restricting their television content to sports. Credit should be given where its due!

A bar is also present to prepare (halal) drinks.

Main Khayaban-e-Mujahid is visible from the windows.

The street downstairs that is at a right angle to the main Khayaban. This is the same street that has Sindh Sweets - a branch of Sohny Sweets - on its other end.

The restaurant's dine-in menu.
Good news: these prices are inclusive of taxes.
For their separate, elaborate delivery and takeaway menu, which also includes deals, please click here (you'll be taken to their own website).

On the left, you can see the elaborate pizza menu. Ginoginelles was originally a hard-line pizza place specializing in Italian food.

Mocktails - perhaps since we can't call them cocktails here in a Muslim-majority country, these are 'exotic' drinks other than the usual soft drinks that are offered.

Top left, some new additions to the menu are visible, and on the bottom, the usual drinks available.
The prices are quite unbeatable for a place that offers the same ambiance as the other expensive cafes in the vicinity.

Garlic Bread with Cheese - Rs 100

The slices were larger and the cheese quantity on them was more ample than the garlic bread I have had at e.g. Arizona Grill or Copper Kettle.

Regular fries - Rs 80.

Chicken Lasagne - Rs 380.
This was delicious - hot from the oven, creamy and oozing with cheese and white sauce.

Pina Colada - Rs 130

I liked how a regular coke, priced at Rs 35, was served in a tall glass.
Compare this to the other places.

The bill came in this quaint little wooden chest.
Unique! :)

The bill stuffed inside the mock treasure chest.

The bill came to Rs 805!

Verdict: Well, we had fun. I would highly recommend this place to anyone, not just for the overall nice experience we had, but also because the staff (the manager as well as the few waiters) were polite and prompt in fulfilling our requests.

At the end of the day, what matters most at a restaurant is that the food and drink are good value for money. 

We hope that Ginoginelles is able to sustain its loyal clientele by maintaining the quality and quantity of the food on offer, without increasing their prices. 

Soups, burgers, sandwiches, Chinese food, pizza, Italian entrees and a variety of local cuisine such as biryani and karhai are all offered at this restaurant. 

The manager, when asked, reassured us that they will be starting desserts and coffees very soon as well.