Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hanifia, New Town, Karachi

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـانِ الرَّحِيمِ 

There are a few names that come to mind when one thinks of vintage Karachi cuisine/food. And one of those names is Hanifia.

Although it has opened up its branches in other, newer parts of the city, the original branch (pictured above) is still next to Binori Town masjid on main Bahadur Yar Jung Road in New Town.

A Google maps screenshot for you to get a better idea about its location.

So why did we find ourselves out of our comfort zone and a little farther away inside the city on one recent night, parked in front of the above shops in New Town, Karachi?

As you can see, this is dhaba style outdoor eating in its truest, most old school sense.

Truth be told, after Ramadan ended, we were reminiscing one night about an Arab dish called "Mandi" that we had eaten and enjoyed immensely in Saudi Arabia on a recent umrah trip, and ended up discussing where we can get it in Karachi.

Turns out Hanifia does a very good Mandi, in both chicken and mutton. And has been doing so for years!

As the above photo shows, they grill the meat in three kinds of spicy marinades: red, green and white masala.

They have other foods on offer as well, most of which are available in their other branches.

They have regular BBQ and fast food fare available too.

The other items that I love at Hanifia, are its burgers - filled with fried Hunter chicken and Hunter beef meat variety, - which are rather spicy and unique in flavor (and that is why my favorite).

You won't get a burger tasting like Hanifia's anywhere else, especially since it is accompanied by their signature tangy, orange-colored sauce, and comes with a soft layer of cottage cheese in its midst.

However, the Mandi that we were craving (menu above) is available only in their original New Town outlet, not in any others.

The seating arrangement is anything but classy.

Don't expect any frills here. We went upstairs to the bare-bones "family room" above the outlet. It had an AC. :)

Mutton Mandi in lal (red) masala - Rs 900.

This is a lamb portion that is similar to the one you get when you order Mutton Ribs at BBQ Tonite. But as you can see, the price is almost half.
Chicken Mandi in hara (green) masala - Rs 700

This is not a stainless steel plate in the above photos. It is a large thali or platter.

The saffron pulao (pilaf) rice that the meat was sitting on, was long-grained basmati, and very aromatic and delicious.

The meat marinated in the hara masala was much spicier than the one with lal masala. You can see the signature orange sauce of Hanifia in the background. 

Each portion is enough for two hungry adults. Yeah, so we had leftovers. Heartily enjoyed the next day for lunch!


Halfway through the mutton Mandi. You can see the ribs.

Halfway through the Chicken Mandi. You can easily spot the hara masala (green spice marinade) in the meat.

Verdict: The piping hot grilled meats were extremely tender, and the fragrant, long-grained saffron rice was oozing with the meaty drippings. Go at it with your hands (remember to use just three fingers, though).

Suffice to say, the experience was memorable and so worth the extra mile! This Mandi is to be had. You can't miss this rare delicacy, especially at this price.

So in case you are ever craving dhaba style, delicious and fresh food, then this is the place to dine. The traffic is dense and chaotic nearby, but there is an ironic sense of peace around the New Town mosque as well. 

FYI All the eateries and shops shut down for prayer breaks, as all the laborers staffing them head off to pray, so you might have to wait a bit if you arrive just before or during prayer times. Or you can just pray with them and eat afterwards. :)

There are also numerous ice cream and cake shops around this outlet of Hanifia for those who crave dessert. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

New York Coffee, Zamzama, DHA 5

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـانِ الرَّحِيمِ

Apologies to my readers and subscribers for the year-long hiatus in updating this blog. We had not stopped eating out, though, in case you were wondering. Its just that I got tired of waiting for photos to upload here on blogger. :)

In the meantime, though, I was actively uploading photos (and the occasional video) of my foodie experiences on instagram

New York Coffee has been around for quite some time now, located on Zamzama boulevard just opposite the prominent building of Pizza Hut. It is a stone's throw away from Bella Vita

The cafe is quite spacious and has an open-plan kind of design. 

The seating arrangement includes wooden chairs and soft couches, both. High chairs are available for babies.
That's not a window in the photo above; the walls are all adorned with life-size mural-like pictures of scenes in New York. 

The bar: where the beverage-concocting magic takes place at the hands of the baristas. 

Muffins, chocolate fondue, lava cakes, cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookies, and other delectable baked goodies are on display near the coffee and drinks bar.

The cafe has several savories on offer to go along with coffee and desserts. Prices on the menu are quoted exclusive of taxes.

I spotted their 9-inch, thin crust pizza ordered by diners on an adjoining table. 

Coffees and teas. I have only tried their cappuccino and it was very good! 

Sorry about the blurred shots of the menu. 

I've heard their lava cake called Molten Rock Chocolate is tops! Here is what it purportedly looks like.
I haven't tried it yet, though, much as I love lava cakes. 

They also have special tables for pairs and couples. 

Mix Berries Delight Waffles- Rs 425

This is our favorite item on the menu, for which we keep going back. Few places in Karachi serve fresh, hot waffles straight off the griddle, and New York Coffee is one of them. 

They also serve waffles with plain maple syrup or Nutella. However, their "multi-berry" waffles come with tinned (and frozen) strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, dollops of whipped cream, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, in addition to maple syrup. 

Enough calories for two people! Or, as in our case, 3 children. :)

Fried Eggs With Beef Bacon - Rs 460

We had to ask for more bread, but otherwise, this dish left no room for complains. The egg portion was massive! I can't eat three eggs like this, so we shared (we do that a lot). 

Vegetarian Crepe - Rs 395

This crepe arrives hot, with a sumptuous center filled with mushrooms, melted cheese, and black olives. The crepes are large and soft.

The style of folding the crepes changed on a subsequent visit. And where were the Heinz baked beans? Forget much? :P

Nutella Pancake - Rs 375

The pancakes have Nutella in the batter too. You can see chocolate spots dotting the core of the cooked pancake when you dig in and break them apart to eat. 

Ready to dig in: drizzled with maple syrup and dotted with butter.

One of the best pancakes I have had in K-town: hot, light and fluffy. Much better than the overrated ones I have ordered at Espresso, The Pantry, or Marigold and Honey Cafe.

I don't like how they serve the butter though. Lurpak butter sachets?! Really? 

For a picture of what their "multi-berry" pancakes and a cup of cappuccino looks like, check out this instagram shot that I took: 

Four Cheese Omelet - Rs 450

The omelet was huge and stuffed and topped with melted cheeses! The hash brown was crisp and hot.

They accommodate customers' choice of either bran or white bread with the egg dishes on offer. The portion size of the eggs was once again more than enough for two adults. 

I like my omelets nicely golden browned, so I shall probably pass this in the future, and just stick to fried eggs.

Besides the food, New York Coffee cafe sure knows how to whip up a great cup of coffee! I sprinkled brown sugar on the creamy froth atop my 'small' cappuccino (yes, they serve large-sized caffeine portions too) and stirred it for your viewing pleasure. 


Verdict: Portion sizes of the dishes are great. You should go really hungry, if you want to finish your main entree dish and sample some of the great desserts on the menu as well. 

As for the ambiance, it's all good, except for the loud music and cigarette smoke, both of which are a real turn-off when its crowded! Since the cafe is open-plan and allows customers to smoke, you can end up inhaling some of the toxic vapors whilst dining. And who enjoys that?! 

Also, if the table next to you becomes occupied with boisterous youngsters, you probably won't enjoy your meal due to the added louse noise and lack of privacy. So go at a down time. 

The staff is courteous, welcoming, and friendly. The coffee and desserts won't disappoint!

If you like coffee, lava cakes, pancakes, and waffles, this is the place for you to visit next time.