Kebabistan – Worth a Visit?

No matter how many different cuisines I eat and love, desi bbq has a special place in my heart. The spicy aroma of bbq and coal is always tempting. In front of a good juicy, spicy and tasty beef boti seekh, I might ignore my more favorite Japanese and Italian dishes. It is similar to Pakistani’s love for daal chawal. We go back to it again and again. And those who live abroad, for them Pakistani bbq is something they look forward to on their visits to Pakistan.

Last week I went to Kebabistan with friends. This was my 3rd or probably 4th visit since its opening. My husband and I usually order beef boti (favorite of mine) and beef dhagga kabab (my husband’s favorite). This time we decided to give new additions in their menu a try. And we ordered Karachi kabab in chicken and beef, dilkush handi, bbq platter on grill and kabab wraps with naan and parathas.

WhatsApp Image 2019-03-04 at 2.58.46 PM

We had to wait 18 minutes before the first dish was served, which is not a bad waiting time for bbq food. We were served kabab wraps first. Kabab wraps were a fancy twist to the traditional shawarma available in Karachi in my opinion. It had seekh kabab inside a wrap with vegetables like iceberg, tomato, carrot and onion. Kabab wraps failed to impress me. Mainly because we are used to of eating bbq with chatni and pyaaz combo. Other vegetables didn’t taste that good the desi bbq flavor.

Kebab

Karachi kabab turned out to a foot long kabab which tasted like seekh kabab. The chicken flavor was a bit mild but the beef one packed a punch. Dikush handi was a combo of mutton and chicken served in white creamy sauce. While my husband is not a huge fan of creamy malai handis, I love them. And I absolutely loved the dilkush handi. Because of mutton, the flavor was rich and different from the reshmi malai handi I have tried before. It was mild in taste but it was rich and creamy. Absolutely yummy with roghni naans.

47268868_1739522329510290_8744461467996127232_n

The bbq platter on the grill was as we expected. A bit of everything. It is something that you should definitely order if you are going out with friends or taking someone there for the first time because the presentation was really good. There were 1 or two servings of Chicken tikka, chicken malai boti, chicken seekh kabab, beef boti, beef kabab, dhaaga kabab, and chicken kasturi boti on the grill. What stood out the most were kasturi boti, chicken tikka, and beef boti. The rest were good too. At this point I had eaten so much that I couldn’t take more than 1 or 2 bites of everything that was offered on the grill.

WhatsApp Image 2019-03-04 at 2.58.58 PM

I’m glad we decided to go to Kebabistan. It is a really good restaurant to visit with family or friends in Guldhan e iqbal. Its economical too. Have you been to Kebabistan? Comment below with your own experience.

 

 

Best Jashan-e-Aazadi Food Festival

I am a big adventurer when it comes to trying out food. But at the end of the day when it boils down to comfort food I want desi taste. I have not travelled in Pakistan and thus have not eaten food from other cities or provinces. All I know is what is available in Karachi. And food in Karachi has a distinctive Karachi wala taste. Like the biryani in Karachi is entirely different than that available in Lahore or any other parts of Pakistan. So, when I got this chance to go to the Jashan-e-Aazadi food festival at Avari where they boasted to represent food from different regions of Pakistan, I grabbed it both hands. Despite having an injured shoulder I went to the food festival and I’m so glad I didn’t miss the food experience that came with it.

Not just the food was great; the ambience was pure delight as well. The monuments from all over Pakistan were displayed as the backdrop and there was a horse dance, cows, goats and what not. The Jashan-e-Azadi food festival was organized at the pool side and the whole pool side was transformed into this one big depiction of everything that represents Pakistan.

Food from different regions was set up on different tables to distinguish one from other. From Balochistan to Azad Kashmir, there were dishes from each region. Food tasted not only good but I could tell the distinctive taste separately.

I had a great time at the food festival and ate so much. Most of the dishes were meat based. But the taste was very different than what we find in Karachi. Some had more black pepper in it, a couple of dishes were being made on koila and that special smell of coal permeated into the meat and tasted amazing. There was channa chat, dahi baray, gannay ka ras, lassi, kulfi, haleem, nihari, karahi, katakat and what not.

I started on with salads. Love, love, love salads at Avari. I am always in a conundrum about whether to have salads or have my fill with other food items. But I end up tasting all of their salads. I didn’t eat any rice dishes or desserts because I ate so much that I just couldn’t even look at desserts. But I had this itty-bitty baloo shahi anyway.

Absolutely loved the Jashan-e-Aazadi food festival.

It’s Time To Take Edhi’s Mission Ahead!

When you visit an Edhi Center, you can instantly see that things could be better. Ideally, the Centers should all be in excellent condition, painted, clean, maintained gardens, simple but decent furniture, constant supply of electricity and back-up generators, air-conditioners that can be turned on during peak summer, clean clothing for residents, hordes of volunteers or staff and all residents receiving the best medical and psychological help available. We all wish for this to happen. The question to ask yourself is, what are you personally doing about this?

Visit any one Edhi Center and talk to them about numbers. Ask: how many dead bodies do they receive every day? How many lost children, women and men show up at Edhi Centers across the country every day? How many calls does one ambulance center receive per day? Considering the breadth of services Edhi Foundation offers, your questions can be endless. You are certain to be surprised by the answers.

Edhi Coca Cola 2

Yes, Edhi Centers could do with renovation and modernization of their services. Yes they could do with more volunteers and more staff. They can definitely do with upgrading their ambulance to the current global standards. No one will deny that. But recognizing this should motivate us even more to help out.

Edhi Foundation is trying to grapple state-level problems at an unimaginable scale. Are these centers perfect providing the finest care that can be compared to private institutions or welfare setups operating at a smaller scale? Maybe not. There is always room for improvement. But that being said, the Foundation is the best option available to millions of needy, forsaken Pakistanis.     

Wajid, who has been working at the Edhi Foundation for the past 15 years, provides medical care to the drug addicts admitted at one of the Centers. He shares “Edhi sb was like a father to all and his compassion was incomparable, but sometimes I feel he was too forgiving. Faisal Edhi, on the other hand is younger and pays attention to details. He is also compassionate but he is more vigilant. He is constantly trying to improve operations and iron out the kinks in the system. I admire this about him.”

Edhi Coca Cola 3

So, this Ramazan, make a pledge to go beyond just contributing some money to the organization.

Coca-Cola’s Ramazan campaign #Eidi for Edhi wants to help you achieve exactly that. Following a similar campaign that was carried out in 2017, Coca-Cola has partnered with the Foundation again for a fundraising campaign and the company promises to double all donations received during the campaign. This year, Coca-Cola invites you to go beyond cash donations, and encourages contributing meaningfully bringing joy into their lives of the less-privileged. You can donate by:

  1. Using the Coca-Cola’s #BottleOfChange or collecting #EidiforEidi and dropping these at the nearest Edhi Center or at one of the 75,000 Telenor easy paisa outlets
  2. Using Easypaisa to transfer money to the Edhi Foundation, Telenor has waived off all charges as their contribution to the Edhi Foundation
  3. Making a direct online transfer into Edhi Foundation’s bank account

Food Review: Ginsoy Johar

When an eatery opens up a new outlet, everyone is eager to know if the menu is the same, if the food tastes the same, do they offer any new discounts for the new location or if their service is the same or any better. The same curiosity took my husband and me to Ginsoy Extreme, which has now opened its branch in Gulistan-e-Johar. As a marketer, I think this has been a brilliant move by the eatery management. People from gulistan-e-Johar have to go out to tariq road to eat good tasting chinese. We do have fast food chains and desi karahi and bbq eateries in Johar, but definitely there was an open space for chinese food. And Ginsoy has now filled that space.

I LOVE chinese food. Even the desi spicy version of chinese food available in most eateries. But I love going to chinese restaurants. My husband and I kinda like to explore different cuisines and eateries so; we hardly ever go to the same place again. We went to Ginsoy last year at their other branch and as always had good food day.

Yesterday, we had light iftaar with only chicken sandwiches so decided to try out Ginsoy Johar branch as it is just a few minutes drive from our house. The place was fully occupied when we arrived but a family was saying their good byes so found a place immediately.

We ordered:

  • Hot and sour soup – single bowl
  • Half a dish of dynamite prawns
  • Half a dish of beef chili dry
  • Half a dish of dragon chicken
  • Full egg fried rice

Hot and sour soup tasted exactly the same as I have tasted before at other branches. Perfect tanginess and sweetness.

Dynamite prawns were a letdown, as the sauce was drizzled on top of the prawns which made the coating go soft. Prawns and sauce tasted good but without the crispiness, it was not up to the mark.

my plate

Beef chili and dragon chicken were both great. Just as we like them.

And when we were presented the bill, we realised that they have an on going offer of 30% off on the entire bill for 1-15 of Ramzan. The total bill came to 1975/- PKR which was great.

1496391460-ginsoy

Service was not top notch but it’s understandable. It’s still a work in progress. As long as they maintain the same great taste, they’d have no shortage of patrons visiting this branch.

All in all, the food tasted good and I’m definitely going back there to satisfy my Chinese food cravings.

 

Javed Nihari Never Disappoints

Consistent great taste and quality is one thing that every eatery should aspire to provide. And that is what we always find at Javed Nihari.

My husband and I decided before Ramzan that we will be on our best behaviour and not indulge in fried or fattening food in ramzan. In fact, we haven’t had any pakoras until the 6th roza. I think we held up quite good. But once we got the cravings for nihari, we were helpless. We tried to shake off the thought of nihari by staying busy and eating more than usual but it didn’t work. We spent 2 more days thinking about nihari and gave in on the 10th roza. Ate a light iftaar and went to Javed nihari after iftaar.

The place was deserted. There was only 1 more family there besides us. We ordered sadi and special nihari both. Sadi one for Shafiq and the more fattening, cholesterol increasing, sugar levels spiking nali maghaz nihari for me.

naan

And those garam garam naaaaaans were heavenly. My 3 year old loves nihari too. So, all 3 of us had a good time. Nihari tasted good, naans were served steaming hot and thats that.

Can’t give an eatery like Javed Nihari anything but 10/10. No matter how many people are there, their service is always top notch. Food is served immediately, naans brought on promptly and what more can you ask from a place like Javed’s. The best nihari house in Karachi according to most people.

 

Dinner at Movenpick ‘The Pakistani’

My niece turned 10 this year and we went to Movenpick hotel to celebrate her birthday. Usually we invite a few close family members and her friends on her birthday at home and create a theme and decorate the house according to it. A lot of thought and effort goes in it. This time my sister in law had been visiting us from USA and we thought it’d be a good change to go out somewhere.

Movenpick was my niece’s choice. We have always loved the ambiance. My husband and I, foodies through and through go where good food is but we do appreciate the aesthetic nuances and ambiance. The food at Movenpick was good, not the best we have had but if you throw in the live music and the mood set by the place, it was a good food day. It was definitely not value for money but this was not exactly a food excursion, just a family day.

So, we ordered chicken makhni, chicken karahi, fried lahori fish, lamb chops, brain masala, mughlai lamb boti, chicken tikka, palak paneer with naans and parathas. The serving size was small and the food tasted good. Spice levels were a little on the lower side but with guests from abroad, we appreciated it. The only thing I’d go back for are the parathas. They had suji in them and served hot they tasted amazing. While it’s a great place to take your guests but it’s not my go to place for desi food.

Don’t have food pictures because it would have looked weird telling our guests to stop and wait so that I can take pictures.

 

SLAMVICH – The Best Grilled Sandwiches in K-Town

Do you like sandwiches? I do! And not just your regular “like” like; I loove sandwiches. I have eaten sandwiches from so many eateries and have fallen in love with a few over the years and they have become my regular from the menus of their eateries. I love sandwiches mad with regular bread, buns, baguette, nans and what not. I have eaten all kinds of meat in my sandwiches; turkey, bologna, sausages, pepperoni, salami, tuna, beef and of course chicken.

Despite eating it all, I have missed out on eating a good grilled sandwich. And I have seen so many videos on YouTube Food Channels which show just how to make the perfect grilled cheese or any combo with cheese sandwich. The perfect golden bread, the crunch and the succulence of the meat; my mouth waters even now thinking about it. I tried making it at home but my stove is not right for making grilled cheese sandwiches. My stove has not the kind of even heat required to grill the sandwich perfectly.

Capture

Last week, my husband and I were coming back from visiting my relatives and took a wrong turn and it turned out to be a great thing for us. You see, we stopped to consult the Google Map to get out of the labyrinth that Defence is. We saw a small eatery with the most interesting name; Slamvich. Hungry as we were, we went in there. And to our delight, we found the star of the menu were Sandwiches. We ordered Meat’n’Melt and Tender Slam. Oh boy! Love in first bite and with every bite till the end.

T11he Meat n Melt had a juicy meaty patty with lots of cheese. The Tender Slam had juicy steak slices with mushrooms and spinach in white sauce. Both of the sandwiches had the perfect golden bread and the crunch, oh-my-god. They was amazing. Slamvich is not a dine-in spot, it provides take-away and delivery options. I wish I didn’t live 40 minutes’ drive away from Slamvich. I’d have become their regular if I lived or worked nearer.

Definitely full points for taste and presentation. Anytime I have to go to Bukhari now, I’m going to have one of their sandwiches. I am guessing every sandwich on their menu will be as good as the ones I had.