Sunday, December 9, 2012

Karachi Broast, Clifton

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

 To date, the English dictionary does not contain the word "broast".
This name for the local culinary dish seems to be solely a Pakistani invention, coined to identify this quintessential deep-fried chicken that has been served in the region since the past 3 decades.

Located in the area opposite Bilawal house (just before Jade Garden and Usmania Restaurant), eating at this Clifton outlet of Karachi Broast brings back childhood memories. 
I sat right here a little over 2 decades ago, eating chicken broast; enjoying the crispy, oily, fried 'skin' part of it the most! 
As kids, we'd peel off the crispy covering of the broast and devour it first, before the inner flesh cooled down enough for us to be able break it off with our fingers.

Since then, the outlet has improved a lot, although there was a time during the late 1990's when it was decidedly bigger than it is now.

Eww...not all aspects of the surroundings are nice, though. 
This Karachi Broast outlet unfortunately overlooks a mini-lake of leaked sewage and strewn plastic-bag-infested dump of trash.
No kidding, this enormous civil-engineering-fail has been around for years now!

The outdoor seating arrangement is quite decent, although the view that it imparts of the sewage - not quite so.

The logo of KB on the wall.
The owners obviously seem to have invested in the inner decor.

The indoor furniture is wooden, as are some of the fittings. I like! :)

The wall on one side is made of brick.

 Quarter Broast costs Rs 175
Wonder what a "Flying Saucer" is?

Now, sandwiches, burgers and Chinese food are also available at Karachi Broast. We have never tried them, though.  We come here just to enjoy the vintage taste of classic Chicken Broast!

Karahi and BBQ items are also available, at market rates.

These dips/sauces accompany one serving of Quarter Broast. Rather generous, eh?
I love the garlic dip (I turn into my 10-year-old self when I have this dip - the girl who'd ask for an extra serving of it whenever she had her broast here, over 20 years ago). :)

Leg piece of Quarter Broast.
A generous helping of French Fries and half a bun accompany it.
Whenever we have had broast here, it has been served piping hot, right out of the fryer!


Plain Fries for the kiddies, for Rs 90. Portion size was really good. 

 All in all, a "finger-lickin' good" meal, which is also easy on the pocket (though not on the arteries - please have broast infrequently, especially if you are over 40!).

 Verdict: Few do broast like Karachi Broast! It still tastes the same as it did decades ago. Some old habits really do die hard. Visit Karachi Broast if you want to be transported back to the late 1980's while devouring the steaming hot, extremely tender chicken crusted by its own skin fried to a crisp!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Cakery, Tauheed Commercial, Defence Phase 5

The Cakery is the brainchild of Aamina Jehangir, a young entrepreneur and extremely talented baker, which is located right opposite the famous ice cream parlor called The Hot Spot in Tauheed commercial area, Defence phase 5. 

I first chanced upon the Facebook page of The Cakery and was immediately smitten by the photos of Aamina's delectable-looking cakes.

The Cakery is not a spacious cafe or hustling bustling eatery full of staff and customers.
It is a quaint, quiet little nook where you can enjoy some delicious baked sweet goodies, savory snacks and beverages in peace and quiet.

The undisputed "champ" of The Cakery - Red Velvet cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting, priced at Rs 140
Undoubtedly, Red Velvet cake (also available in bigger sizes) is the star of the menu at the Cakery. 

A slightly melted Red Velvet cupcake and a Peanut Butter cupcake. Rs 140 each.
The cream cheese frosting on the Red Velvet cupcake didn't stand much chance under the Karachi June heat. Who does? :)
I tasted the Peanut Butter cupcake and found the icing too sweet for my taste. However, I admit that I have never been a big fan of peanut butter any way.

Chocolate Ganache cupcake (left) and Hazelnut Stuffed cupcake (right) - again, Rs 140 each.
The latter has a blob/core of Nutella inside, which you get to eat as you break apart the cupcake while eating it. Hence the name. :)
I love the Cakery's Hazelnut cupcake! It is truly one-of-a-kind!

The slightly melted frosting is because of the excessive June heat of Karachi (yes, this post got a bit <*cough*> late in getting published).
By the time the cupcake box reached our home, it had to be instantly placed inside the fridge!

Double Chocolate cupcake - Rs 140

The cupcake box carries a menu of all the cupcake flavors available at The Cakery. The Chocoberry and Mint cupcakes are the only ones left for me to try.

Verdict: The Cakery's baked goods are definitely overpriced, but the great taste and superior quality of ingredients used, are guaranteed. If you want to support a young entreprenuer who works hard upon each product and regularly creates new and interesting culinary innovations, then do head over to the Cakery in Tauheed Commercial area, or pick up the phone to place your order.

For more details (and to view tons of delectable, mouth-watering product photos, check out the Cakery's Facebook Page). You can also view more details about it over at KarachiSnob.

China Grill, Dolmen Mall, Clifton

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Its no secret that the Food Court at Dolmen Mall, Clifton, is by now a regular jaunt for our family, because we tend to do our groceries in bulk from the mega mart located on the floor below it, a.k.a Hyperstar.
Air conditioned and all-inclusive commodity-wise, and surprisingly boasting competitively economical prices, it is a great, one-stop place to get all your household and grocery shopping needs met under one roof.

Shopping there means we get to try out the Food Court rather regularly as well.
Above is the bird's eye, aerial view of the mall from the Food Court, which is on the second floor.
Right across, you can see Gun Smoke restaurant and advertisements for Fat Burger.

Of course that is not a head-less man! Duh. I just use good photo editing software to wipe out the identity of the people caught on camera (despite my best efforts to try to avoid shooting others). :P
I included this picture to display the spaciousness of the Food Court.

Shooting for a drama serial was going on in this section (on the raised wooden deck that is located right in front of the elevator).

The tables and chairs extend across almost the entire 2nd floor (with more branded eateries yet to open, such as Fat Burger and The Noodle House).
What I like best about eating here is the overall family-friendly atmosphere (lots of strollers, bawling infants, children running around, doting grandparents balancing little tots on their get the picture!) and the complete absence of loud music.
Rather nice high-chairs are also available for toddlers.

Anyway, One Potato Two Potato (a.k.a OPTP) is the food business attracting the longest customer queues nowadays at the Food Court of Dolmen Mall, Clifton.
However, we all know that burgers and fries are something we should not eat too least those of us who are no longer 12 years old. :)
Which is why I almost always make a beeline for China Grill.

I really like the taste of the Chow Mien, Fried Rice and curries at China Grill.

Peppercorn Shrimps: this is my favorite curry among all the ones that China Grill offers. 

This is the menu. For a more detailed look, you can visit their Facebook page.
I chose to order the Wok-a-Meal combo, which has 2 main entrees (curries), one side of either rice or noodles (chow mien - only available in chicken), and one soft drink. 
Price of Wok-a-Meal is Rs 399.
If you want Peppercorn Shrimps curry with your combo, you can add it to your meal for an additional Rs 70.

Recently they have started offering juices as well. 

My combo ready and served at the counter. Serving time is 10 minutes.
This whole thing cost Rs 640: Rs 470 for the combo (because I chose shrimps), plus Rs 190 for the additional Chow Mien (visible on the right).
Portion size is definitely not a plus point. However, the combo will fill you up adequately, insha'Allah.
And as I said, the taste and quality of ingredients is great!

 I counted. There were a grand total of seven shrimps in the Peppercorn Shrimp curry. The Kung Pao Chicken curry that is visible on the right side of the plate was hardly any different.
Sorry for sounding like such a cheapskate, but I actually want to use this blog to inform the readers what they will get for their money, even if the taste of all the items was great. Just don't expect a big portion size.

That being said, I love the way the Peppercorn Shrimp Curry lives up to its name and comes doused with coarsely chopped peppercorns, instead of pepper powder.

Please remember that almost all the fresh food that is available at the Food Court in Dolmen Mall is a bit on the steep side. You won't get anything substantial (i.e. a filling meal) for under Rs 400, that is for sure.

Exceptions are the fresh baked goods (such as croissants, breads and muffins), not to mention, the full roasted chicken that you can buy from the deli inside Hyperstar for only Rs 389 (no kidding!).
In addition to these, the Hyperstar deli also offers fried rice, vegetable noodles, samosa's, spring rolls, biyrani, cold salads, daal, chicken makhni, crispy fried chicken, and other desi foods. Not everything is always fresh, though. 

Note: outside food is not allowed inside the Food Court. Yes, if you want to eat at the Food Court, you must buy something from one of its vendors.
Go figure! :)

Verdict: I really like the food at China Grill, albeit the slightly steep rates. It is hitherto my favorite vendor there.

Friday, November 30, 2012

S Abdul Khaliq's Mithai and Bake Shop, Clifton

S. Abdul Khaliq Sweets is a famous, household name in Pakistan that is now synonymous with "sweetmeat", or mithai.

One of its branches is located in Clifton behind the prominent Jan's Broast that is clearly visible on the main road as you go towards Boat Basin.

The spacious outlet is brightly lit and houses wide counters tantalizingly displaying their large variety of sweet products. No surprise that it does thriving business. 

On one side, lining the walls, are the different eye-catching and decorative packages that you can gift your purchased sweets to others in.
Think engagement, wedding and baby birth announcements that are customarily announced with a box of mithai in our culture!

There is a small bakery too, within the shop premises.
It offers everything a traditional Pakistani bakery would, from cookies and cakes, to packets of nimco.


As you can see, some of the cakes are pretty avant garde
You can view more of the cake variety offered at S. Abdul Khaliq by visiting their Facebook page.

Pateesa (the white, flaky rounds packed in plastic, visible in the top left corner of the above photo) is a vintage specialty at S. Abdul Khaliq.
Interestingly, they offer several flavors of pateesa and barfi, for example orange, rose and coconut (check out the trays at the bottom in the picture above).

Luddoo's, quintessentially sunflower-yellow coconut barfi, and other goodies. 

More decorative, aesthetically appealing boxes to gift sweets in.
Incidentally, we used the pink ones to announce the recent birth of our second daughter. :)
Its obvious the blue ones are for baby boys.

Round, syrup-drenched dollops of decadent dessert-delights: Gulab Jamuns, and Chum Chum
Drooling yet? :)

More variety of Pateesa.

Sohan and Habshi Halwa are another specialty of S. Abdul Khaliq, which keep their customers repeatedly coming back for more. These can also be bought in tins.

They also offer Ras Malai.
I was offered to taste this as part of my feature review of S. Abdul Khaliq for You can read it here.
The Ras Malai was very light and sweet in flavor and the cottage cheese balls in it did not break apart, yet were perfectly soft.
It is true that as far as signature Pakistani desserts go, S. Abdul Khaliq really takes the cake (pun intended)!

I was also asked to try their different kinds of pateesa and barfi
They keep experimenting with their products to come up with new innovations by combining different types of mithai e.g. new flavors are added to barfi and pateesa, then both are layered together by sandwiching them with a rich filling of nuts.
In the picture above, you can also spot the tasty Sohan Halwa on top.

Verdict: The pictures above are worth a thousand words, aren't they? In my opinion, the mithai  at S. Abdul Khaliq is one of the best in the city. In particular, just by tasting their products, you can see that the ghee (clarified butter) that they use to make mithai is of high quality.

Their hasbhi halwa (which I couldn't photograph) is also one of the best available in K-town.

They now offer free delivery as well. Check out their website for more details.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Breakfast at Charming Snacks, Clifton

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I have already blogged about how we enjoy dining at Charming Snacks at night; an eatery located on the main road outside the side lane leading into Delhi Colony, with the home store Habitt nearby.

Well, there is a small kiosk just behind Charming Snacks that serves lachchay-dar paratha's with omelets on weekend mornings (Saturdays and Sundays), which are very much like those available at the famous Quetta Alamgir Hotel on main Alamgir Road.

Since breakfast eating out is the rage of the day nowadays in Karachi, with many eateries now offering an early-bird menu for the hungry early risers, and also since the short winter daylight hours facilitate going out in the mornings on weekends, we decided to try out the anda paratha breakfast here.

2-egg omelet - Rs 40 (Rs 20 per egg)

This omelet was full of chopped onions and green chillies, just the way I like it. However, the generous topping of black pepper powder was something I could have easily done without.
Nevertheless, it was a good anda!

Lachcha (لچھےدار to be exact!) Paratha - Rs 15

Dotted with black kalonji (black cumin seeds), and slightly sweet, these paratha's are delivered to you so piping hot, that you need to really practice self-control otherwise your fingertips can get burned trying to break them apart before they have cooled down. Steam exudes as the crisp folds unleash their latent heat.

Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, these paratha's are made with white flour and tava-fried, so it is best to have them only once in a while.

And like all unhealthy foods, they taste absolutely divine with those omelets! :)

Ever since my other half has had a taste of these paratha's, he is the one who usually suggests we go to Alamgir Road or Charming Snacks for breakfasts on Sundays.

Called "pizza", this local dhaba "invention" comprises of the base of a lachcha paratha topped with an omelet - Rs 35 each.
Our children prefer these "pizzas" because they are less of a hassle than eating separate anda's with paratha's on hot plates balanced precariously on their laps in the car.

Doodhpatti Chai - Rs 20

I am not a big fan of our local dhaba-style doodhpatti chai, simply because it is almost always too sweet, and more often than not, it comes topped with a crust of thick "balai" (cream) on top, as you can see in the picture above.

However, I love how they serve it in ceramic cups! :) Strong (as you can see) and creamy (made with organic, "khula doodh" or un-packaged milk), it is best enjoyed by those who love a thick, slow and rich brew of tea.

Verdict: Easy on the pocket and a great option for chilly, wintery mornings, the lachchay-dar paratha's and "pizzas" available in this small kiosk behind Charming Snacks are a great option if you cannot go all the way to the crowded Alamgir Quetta Hotel on a weekend morning for breakfast.

The service is good and swift. Just do remember to take along hand sanitizers, tissues and a newspaper or two to place on your lap, as eating crisp and flaky paratha's in the car, on plates that are steaming hot at first, can get a tad messy!

This is desi naashta eating out at its best! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Butler's Chocolate Cafe, Dolmen Mall, Clifton

For the authentic chocolate flavor and quite a wide array of breakfast and savory items, Butlers Chocolate Cafe has definitely made its mark in Karachi.

Their first outlet still operates successfully on main Zamzama boulevard, but they are now also doing business in full swing at their new outlet which is on the ground floor of the burgeoning business center, Dolmen Mall Clifton.

Sadly, the outlet resembles more an airport 'thoroughfare' waiting lounge than a cafe, as it is open on 3 sides, with the constant heavy traffic of shoppers and passers-by having a look at what you're eating. Hardly any privacy. 

A furniture store flanks its back side. I must admit that this adds to the overall aesthetics of the ambience. :) 

Ouch. The tables are a bit too close together for comfort. Plus, I am not a big fan of the stiff, uncomfortable chairs in this cafe (which are the same in design as those in the Dolmen Mall Food Court up on the 3rd floor).
This outlet of Butler's is right opposite the debut branch of UK's Debenhams.

For hot chocolate, nothing beats this: Butler's Famous Hot Chocolate - Rs 290
Interestingly, the waiter at this outlet took our order by tapping away on his smartphone! :)
The service was prompt and polite. No complains. 

As for the hot chocolate itself, I can safely say that hitherto I have not found a combination of sugar and chocolate of any kind done as well as Butler's (except perhaps the chocolate cake at Nando's!). In fact, the only reason we visited this outlet in the first place was because of my sudden craving for a hot, chocolate drink (which is thankfully rather rare).

My children love this starter: Mozzarella Cheese Sticks - Rs 370

Those were some massive cheese sticks! Finger-licking good (hot and crisp). 
Although the price is steep, the quantity was worth it. We also enjoyed the sauces that accompanied them.

Chicken and Mushroom Soup - Rs 230
The bowl seems shallow in the picture, but the soup's quantity was good, as was its taste and texture. It was so hot that I had to wait a bit before tasting it. It was creamy and delicious, laced with ample, chunky mushroom slices. 

Here is the total bill of our rather eclectic snack-tryst. 
As you can see, the prices were exclusive of GST (Government Sales Tax). 

Verdict: A good place to hop into if you have a sudden craving for chocolate or coffee whilst shopping at Dolmen Mall. Don't expect any peace and quiet or privacy, though. You'll feel more like you're probably sitting on the platform of a railway/subway station. :P