If you have lived in Karachi for some time, you will probably be well aware of the pleasant Karachi evenings. The days can be as hot as the deepest pit of hell, but come evening and a cool breeze makes life slightly bearable.
The cool breeze certainly makes Karachi evenings more enjoyable. However amidst the silent rustling of the wind, another, much louder undisputed champion of the night exists, the public transport system. Making their presence known from miles away, the buses and rickshaws, not only tug at your ears, but their brightly coloured fluorescent appearance can put even a rainbow to shame.
And adding the finishing touches to its magical allure, the local, street food of the city promises diners a taste they cannot have enough of.
All the three elements of the city, while individually make living in Karachi truly unique, together they beget an experience that is incredibly difficult to express in mere words. And if you are looking for one such experience, I recommend you pay a visit to the recently opened ‘Fika on the Roof’ cafe!
By recently I mean nearly a month ago, but already having a staunch of foodies lining up to try out the various different items on the menu that make it stand out from the rest. Located on the rooftop (yes that’s how it got its name, surely) while you do not get to witness the gorgeous overview of Karachi, you do get to enjoy the lovely cool breeze I mentioned above, sitting comfortably on replicas of seats one finds in buses and rickshaws of the city. That’s two out of three and we aren’t even done yet!
The funky decor has been designed Muhammad Zeeshan and depicts the best of Karachi’s truck art. The artwork on the walls, furnishing, even the sign on the door of the loo all set the mood for the best part – the food.
Ask any Pakistani what goes best with a bowl of good old chicken corn soup and without a flicker of hesitation they will say ‘Slims’ (chilli potato chips). While unheard of at restaurants, this is a very popular way of eating soup in almost every household. So imagine my delight when a friend at my table ordered the soup for starters, and it came served with a generous helping of Slims! Don’t believe me, see this!
I had the Mezze platter which served with Pita bread was enough for three people! The platter included Hummus, Mutabbel, Babaghaoush, Labneh and tomato chutney. In a little need of seasoning, the platter otherwise made me hungrier for the next course.
For my main I ordered Mexican Pan-fried Fish. From the moment my order was served till the last bite, I never stopped once to think in how many ways this little piece of heaven was completely annihilating my entire diet plan. The pan fried fillet resting on a bed of chipotle salsa carried the perfect balance of flavours, a juicy bite of fish, getting some heat from the salsa underneath. The only thing that bothered me about it was, dare I say, too much cheese (May the Lord of cheese smite me!)
The menu offered at Fika on the Roof has a number of dishes that you only get to enjoy on small roadside cafes called ‘dhabas’ like ‘Anda Paratha’ with all the ‘lachaas’ that pathans boost. My one true wish was to try the Kulfi Gelato, unfortunately they weren’t serving it that day, so I settled for ‘Gulabo’ a combination of gelato with none other than our very own Gulab Jamun. What’s not to love?
Well that’s enough about my experience. If you haven’t yet visited the place, you have no idea what you are missing. A big thank you to Abid Merchant, the owner and Moiz Kazmi, the awesome social media guy for inviting me and gaining the sole pleasure of hosting the very grumpy me.
Pictures courtesy: Muhammad Ismail.