Thursday, March 11, 2010

BBQ Tonite, Clifton

BBQ Tonite is one of the most popular, vintage, smoothly-run and booming restaurants in Karachi. 

As this picture reveals, its been going strong for over 2 decades now.

More than a decade ago, they were running only from the ground floor of this building. Now, they have occupied the whole three floors of it, in addition to the rooftop.

This barbecue and grill station just outside the entrance of the restaurant, amidst the sprawling parking area,  shows the chefs in action.

Originally, BBQ Tonite (as the name suggests) was open only for dinner. They now also serve lunch and Sunday breakfast. Also, they have added many items to their previously next-to-nothing dessert menu.
This place is obviously growing by leaps and bounds each year.

The restaurant has four seating levels, all of which are full to capacity on most nights, with significant turnover (viz. a table fills up as soon as it is vacated). A long queue of families exists at the entrance, waiting their turn.

We opt for the secluded corner tables on the rooftop side terrace, which enable us to enjoy the cool sea breeze under the night sky whilst dining "alfresco". :)

It is in no way easy on the wallet to dine here. However, BBQ Tonite's steep prices never deter their customers.

Their steaks are quite good, and cost as much as in other restaurants.

"Special" Hot 'n Sour soup.

It had tofu, prawns and mushrooms in it, in addition to the usual ingredients. It was very delicious!

Chicken Tikka's, Puri Paratha's and Garlic Naan.

Chicken Steak for Rs 400, with Fresh Lime. Two generous chicken breast fillets topped with a slice of cheddar cheese and oodles of barbecue sauce, served with one baked potato and boiled vegetables on the side.

A glass of traditional sugar cane juice for Rs 75

BBQ Special Platter - Rs 5000

The view of the Clifton roundabout from the rooftop terrace, where we sat.

South City Hospital is visible in the distance.

Recently, BBQ Tonite has started a breakfast buffet on Sundays. 
This sumptuous, all-inclusive breakfast buffet can be enjoyed only on Sundays from 8 a.m to noon, for Rs 525 per head (taxes inclusive). 
Update: The breakfast price is now Rs 650 per head.

It is fun to eat out early on Sunday mornings, once in a while, and enjoy mouth-watering omelets (custom-made for you live by chefs) bursting with olives, mushrooms, vegetables and cheddar cheese, accompanied by hot tawa paratha's and freshly squeezed orange juice. 
You don' get all of that at home, unless meticulous preparation is done in advance.

What more is on offer at the buffet: the entire variety of halwa puri, channa, aalo bhujia, nihari, paye, mutton mince (qeema), naans (flatbreads); a variety of breads and cereals, freshly prepared eggs, bowls of fresh seasonal and tinned fruit, salad, boiled eggs, sarson ka saag with makai (corn) ki roti (pictured above), chicken sausages, hash browns (looking more like potato cutlets, as shown in the picture above), pasta in white sauce, French toast and unlimited orange/grapefruit juice, lassi, tea and coffee.

The cute little pancakes. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised how well these were made: very fluffy and golden brown on both sides. 

A coffee machine was available for ordering fresh, hot cappuccino. It was great!
You could ask for black coffee, regular coffee, or cappuccino.

 Another shot of pancakes with maple syrup. The children loved having them!

Penne pasta in white sauce was also part of the menu. Scrumptious and creamy.

Brownies, croissants, fruitcake, bran and white toasted bread, canned and fresh fruit (apples, figs, apricots and melons) were also available.

Verdict: The food is high-quality, as is everything else at BBQ Tonite. The waiters wear gloves whilst handling the crockery, so you can imagine the kind of quality control in place. 

Tip: if you want a seating arrangement of your choice for dinner, arrive early (before 9 p.m), otherwise parking your vehicle and acquiring a good table could prove to be a test of your patience.

The Sunday breakfast/brunch buffet was thoroughly enjoyed by our family. Our children aged 5.5 and 3.5, were not charged. I recommend that whoever wants to have this buffet arrive early i.e. before 10 a.m. If you arrive after 11 a.m, you'll have to face a lot of crowds in front of the food platters and long lines before the fresh fruit juice and egg-frying stations. Also, you'll be dealing with more frazzled waiters and have less choice of good sitting places. 

To see the official promotional video of the Sunday breakfast buffet, please click here.

Copper Kettle, Zamzama

UPDATE: Copper Kettle as we knew it is now no more. 
It has been revamped by its owners into Hobnob Cafe - a more casual eatery offering a menu that combines the products/edible items/dishes available at Necos, Hobnob Bakery and the old Copper Kettle. 
Please click here to visit their Facebook page.

Copper Kettle was a famous, vintage restaurant located on 3rd Commercial Lane, Zamzama, Phase 5, Defence. It needs no introduction to the socialite Karachiite.

The tree outside its entrance is permanently lit up with lights, giving the street a very festive aura.

The decor hasn't changed much over the years: quaint and rustic, with matted, tan hues.

As in all restaurants nowadays, the wall-mounted flat-screen TV is present. Makes it hard to imagine that not too long ago, people could actually eat without simultaneously watching TV. Nowadays, however, its not just little children who need the TV on whilst having a meal!

The global recession has rendered every restaurant needy of gimmicks to attract its regular customers back to its doors.

The menu shows that only the loaded ones can dine here often. Each main course entree is priced at ~ USD 6. However, the portion size is generous.

Basket of French Fries for Rs 129

Starter: Mozzarella Cheese Sticks with chilli sauce, priced between Rs 200 and Rs 300.

Thai Chicken Stir Fry

Fried rice and cole slaw accompanied the Thai Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Burger (its name on the menu is too indecent to mention here), priced at Rs 280. I like how Copper Kettle serves chicken dishes in a rooster-shaped metal platter. Artistic and quirky!

Chicken Piccada, priced at Rs 470: sliced strips of chicken in a spicy black pepper and mushroom sauce, accompanied by fried rice and cole slaw.

Let's Salsa sandwich - Rs 349. 
This had two boneless chicken fillets smothered in red salsa sauce on wholewheat bread. Not everyone would enjoy the taste, but it was healthy eating nonetheless.

Club Sandwich - King of Clubs for Rs 299. The serving size left much to be desired, although it was tasty.

Something Fishy for Rs 469 - crispy, crunchy, and succulent fillets of fish bread-crumbed and fried; served with tartar sauce, cole slaw and French Fries. The serving size is more than ample for one person. Note the fish-shaped platter for serving the fish!

Chicken Chuck priced between Rs 500 - 600. When these crumb-fried, boneless chicken fillets are cut open, the melted cheddar cheese and mushrooms that are amply sandwiched inside between them ooze out. Basically, it is chicken stuffed with cheese and mushrooms, and is quite filling, contrary to its outer, sparse appearance.

Americano Steak, priced between Rs 600-700. This comes with steamed vegetables on the side, as well as either French Fries, mashed potatoes, or a baked potato. You can see the melted cheddar cheese and mushrooms oozing out from between the two boneless chicken fillets. It is smothered in hot, meaty gravy that makes it all the more delectable.

This steak is also accompanied by a complimentary single serving of soup. One can choose between Hot n Sour and Chicken Corn Soup.

Moroccan Chicken for Rs 529. A bed of flat noodles topped with spicy and creamy sauce with grilled chicken julienne pieces.

A scoop of Blueberry ice cream accompanied by a slice of New York style cheesecake, drizzled with blueberry sauce and cream. (For Rs 230 ~ USD 2.5)

Caked Alaska, Copper Kettle's "classic", timeless and extremely popular dessert, priced at Rs 199. It consists basically of two scoops of vanilla ice cream lodged between two generous wedges of thick, warm, and sticky/rich chocolate brownie, dripping with oodles of gooey, dark chocolate sauce.
A chocoholic's nirvana and a fitness freak's nemesis!

A smaller version of the Caked Alaska is given complimentarily after lunch on weekdays.

Verdict: The perfect place to celebrate special occasions and festive moods, even if it does dig a small hole in your wallet.