Hira’s delivery guide
Ok, S and I don’t go out much- at least not in the ‘Let’s eat out everyday because we’ve only been married ten months and have no cares in the world!’ kind of way that other couples do. We eat out when I- at around 1 am- wake him up, tell him I’m bored out of my mind and that it’s all his fault because I’m a woman and I like movies and walks and restaurants and deserve more than watching him watch football as entertainment; and he better do something about this or I will silent treatment his ass to hell. A tear or two helps. One of my minor superpowers is human-faucetism.
Anyway, that’s how I get my husband to take me somewhere nice the next day.
Of course, maybe if I just asked him sweetly, it’d save me a night’s sleep but what’s the fun without the drama?
S. and I are basically stay-at-home sort of people. We’re the sort of people whose lifestyle will be barely affected by the entry of a kid- not that we’re planning one just yet. We sleep early, don’t have much of a social life, and are already an embarrassment to our relatives under 17. We’re the youngest middle-aged couple around. However, I digress. What I had originally planned to do was give you a rough, verbal tour of some of the home delivery services of Karachi. With my opinion of course. You wouldn’t want to miss up on that.
That’s what I was planning to lead up to eventually, though heaven knows how I’d reach it.
Here we go then:
Hira’s guide to eating in!
Arizona Grill has got to be the most popular restaurant in Karachi. Everyone’s been there, and a lot of the newer restaurants model their menu on AG’s because they know it’ll work. However they forget that the real secret to Arizona (and Roaster’s) success is not the quality of the food- which is just average- or their service; but their portions. Arizona Grill is the only upscale eating joint in the city where you might actually bring home leftovers. Don’t expect that anywhere else, unless the food was really bad.
Khaer, no point really going into the finer points of their menu, since you’ve all probably been there. However, for those who haven’t: everything on their menu is pretty edible. However, some things are better than others. A beef steak should NEVER be bread crumbed and pan friend so avoid the Italian steak, and don’t order the Mozarella sticks- they’re too thick to be eaten easily. They deliver everything on their menu and the burgers taste just as good a little cold. But one problem with cheese/ cream based sauces is that they gel up pretty quickly. Eating solid mashed potatoes and a jelly-like cream sauced, batter fried steak is a bit of a turn off. Just go to the place instead, yaar.
Ok, one word. Slow. Or at least it seemed to be. We waited quite a long time for the food to arrive (almost double the time they said it would take) and the food had gotten cold. However, it’s pretty cool having tikka, parathas delivered to your doorstep. I don’t know, it just never seemed possible. Half the fun, I guess, is waiting by the tawa and screaming out your order to people not interested in taking it. Khaer, that doesn’t happen in BBQ Tonight. They’re dying to take your order; they want to serve you fast so that you can leave as soon as possible. Personally, the last place I would eat out at is BBQ Tonight. I take hours to figure out what I want. The waiter waits. Then he fidgets. He looks at other waiters for help. Looks at Sayem. They both get bored. Then he leaves. And I feel sad and unworthy.
Khaer, about the delivery, once again, I won’t tell you what was good because this restaurant doesn’t really know HOW to make bad food. They stick to what they know and don’t have any pretensions. The malai tikka is the best in Karachi but what’s really kick ass is the grilled jumbo shrimps. Very mildly masala’d, with just a touch of lemon juice they are seriously ‘Oh wow!’, or as my devar says OH MY GOTT!
This is THE delivery service that started it all. Not Pizza Hut orKFC orMcDonalds; it was Chairman Mao that revolutionized food delivery in Karachi. Imagine receiving food so hot your fingers actually burn while transferring it to the serving dish. Chairman Mao ensures that their entrees are piping hot, and the dessert is ice cold, regardless of whether they’re delivering to Defence, Gulshan or Nazimabad. And trust me, I’ve ordered Chairman Mao in all three places.
The food itself is wonderful. I’ve skipped over the Thai part so I can’t help there but the Chinese and the japanese parts of the menu are exceptional and, may I say this, pretty authentic considering it’s Pakistan where everything contains just a little chaat masala to make it palatable for our cast iron stomachs. The chow mien was fried in peanut oil, there was generous use of oyster sauce and the prawn toast is OH MY GOTT in the extreme. S. loves their Thai soup and I love their ice cream and everybody is happy. The servings are for four people; extremely generous and filling. I cannot wax more lyrical.
No. Not a good idea. Why, I ask you, why would you want to have Espresso food home delivered? Personally, if I’m shelling out a thousand bucks per head, I’d want to have the fun of actually sitting in a nice, pretty-peopled place with a waiter or two at my beck and call rather than be plopped on my bed in my jammies, with a wallet filled with the vacuum of money frivolously spent.
Anyway, since I never ask how much my bill is on the phone I got the shock of a lifetime when I was handed over a slip of paper along with the Mediterranean beef wrap and cheese sticks. Rs. 840! Really?! But the cheese sticks are cold! And there are only 4 of them! And they’re skinny! Can’t I get a discount? WHAT? You expect me to tip you too now? A-hole!
Yes, I’m a rotten customer.
Regardless, if you’re really craving Espresso then nothing I say can dissuade you. So plus points: a) They’re open til 1 am. Considering all decent eateries send their delivery boy home at 11, that means Espresso is your only option if you want a sandwich that does not taste vaguely of sawdust (yes, I’m talking about you McDonalds). And b: They deliver coffee. Piping hot Espresso coffee, or freezing cold Espresso frappes. They gave me cold cheese sticks but they say their coffee would have reached me hot. Go figure.
I love Mr. Burger. It is the best fast food burger around. The patty is juicy and flavorful, the bun is soft, the cheese is cheesy and there is plenty of ketchup and mayo to make the whole meal a joy to the world of senses. YUM. Put Mr. Burger down as a better alternative to McDonalds (if you’re craving a good ol’ fashioned cheeseburger). Their delivery service is pretty decent as long as you explain your address very very clearly and repeat your order to the operater at least twice. Their heart is in the right place, it’s just their ears and mind which are on the TV blaring loudly in the outlet.
Nando’s is good, solid food. And their delivery isn’t all that bad, if you discount the temperature loss. But one word of warning: pita bread dissolves. Literally. You stuff it up with a liter of mayo and some veggies and it breaks down and dies. Not a good idea to order the pita meal at home. The best thing to have delivered is the chicken meal, and the peri peri rice. Potatoes don’t travel well either. Ok, have I made it very obvious I’m not a fan of Nandos? Now I have? Oh. Whoops.
Pitacos wants to be Tex-Mex. It tries hard but the beef stroganoff gives it away. The menu is funny with a few racy numbers (Balls and More, anyone?) and though they serve burritos and tacos, they also dabble in Greek and Italian. They’re kind of all over the place- literally.We’ve ordered it twice with widely differing results. The first time we ordered it, we got fresh tacos in crisp, corn totillas with plenty of chicken and dressing. The stroganoff was decent, and the lasagna was good. But we were tricked! The next time we ordered, the tacos were soggy and the burrito was blander than Kristin Stewart’s face. The chicken lollipops were passable even though the black pepper was pretty heavy.
Avoid? Should I ask you to? Nah, go ahead and experiment and tell me which experience was the fluke.
Oh how I love their name! The pure happiness of just saying “Hello? Is this room service?” could only be compounded if I was propped up on starchy white sheets and a gazillion pillows in an air conditioned room with a giant tv screen in front of me…haye. Khaer, anyway. Room service, like Chairman Mao and Pitacos is strictly delivery which means the food reaches you fast, and hot.
We only ordered once on the night which prompted this post. Things took a turn for the worse but it wasn’t the food’s fault. It tried to make things better. Poor Room Service- it just caught us on a bad day. Anyway, we ordered the chilli garlic prawn, caesar salad, chicken souvlaki gyro, and the grande cheeseburger and they were all pretty decent. Actually the chilli garlic prawn were really good, as was the burger. Some of their items are killer while a few are just so-so. I wish we’d ordered the fancy stuff. There are some pretty cool sounding things on the menu. Tell me how they are when you try them.
Simple Dimple Khausay Palace
You’ve got to love a place called Simple Dimple Khausay Palace, especially one that has a cowboy on the delivery bag. I’ve never figured out why that cowboy was there. Khausay—>cowboy= how? Khaer, forget the cowboy. Focus on the food…it’s worth it, particulary for those of you who, like me, have memon friends always talking about khausay but never willing to share any. Even though they’ve promised you they would a hundred times. Cheapskates.
Khausay are basically noodles swimming in a wonderfully tangy curry sauce, with pieces of meat suspended in them. Lemon, chilli and chips are kept at the side making this a semi do-it-yourself dish. It’s food that’s actually fun to eat. Now I’ve tried all three versions; prawn, chicken and beef khausay, and it’s my personal belief that (unless you’re allergic) nothing beats beef in flavor, however the chicken is also very very good. Avoid the prawn khausay- and if you really can’t do without the sea food, just order the shrimp cocktail. In fact, order all the starters and invite me over. A serving easily feeds 2. If Chairman Mao is No.1, this is 2nd place only by a nose hair.
Really? You’re leaving your custom-made sandwich to somebody else? And you’re ordering on the phone? WHY?!
I ordered subway on the phone once. The only thing they got right was the chocolate chip cookie order with the sandwich. Everything else they made up as they went along. Bad idea. Bad.
Whoo. There you go. I’m off to hibernate for another month or so. Ta!