Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Chocoholic's Fix

Muri’s has introduced a new way to indulge in the perfect chocolate experience, chocolate fountains with a wide variety of sweet and savory dipping items. 

Whether one has a sweet tooth or not, every taste bud’s all-time favorite sweet treat is a handsome dose of creamy and rich chocolate. We all have relished this heavenly delight in big and small, nutty and crunchy bars of all famous brands but now Muri’s has introduced a new way to indulge in the perfect chocolate experience, chocolate fountains with a wide variety of sweet and savory dipping items.

Muri’s is a well-known family business from England, particularly based in London since 2005. They are now successfully operating in Karachi, under the supervision of Fahad Aqeel, a young graduate in Food and Beverage management also from London. 

The idea of chocolate fountains is certainly fresh and attractive for the party lovers of Karachi. But what different Muri’s wants to offer to their customers is supreme quality, hassle free service and an overall memorable experience. They use the finest Couverture Chocolate, imported from England as well. Couverture chocolate is a special kind of chocolate consisting of more than 50% cocoa made to flow from the stainless steel fountain structure. The fountain structure again is made from food grade stainless steel to preserve the freshness and taste of the chocolate.

Muri’s not only treats its customers with  quality but also a mind blowing variety of chocolate from bitter, sweet, semi-sweet to pure white chocolate. Their fine selection of over 50 dipping items is quite a surprise. It is divided into 3 categories, gold, silver and bronze collection. Gold, being the most expensive and bronze being the most reasonable. They include items like fresh fruits (e.g strawberries, mangoes, figs, cantaloupes etc), marshmallows, cheesecake bites, brownie, popcorn, wafers, crisp and many more. It is a long list of really innovative items!!

They are soon going to launch their boxed chocolate collection as well!! This a delicious selection of milk, dark and white chocolates.  

Reading so much about this tantalizing chocolate wonder a bell must have rung up there that can I afford this rich experience or have to satisfy my urges from the description only. So let me tell you that Muri’s is very much affordable, in fact extremely customer friendly to let you decide your costs starting from Rs 8,000 – 10,000 depending on which package you select out of gold, silver and bronze. Furthermore, they provide services from set-up to clean-up. 

Muri’s claims to be the ultimate chocolatiers dedicated to creating the warmest and most sensuous chocolate experience for you. So the next time there’s a special occasion on the door, don’t waste it and indulge with Muri’s in dipping whatever you like into their finest chocolate and bite into the world of ultimate happiness. Oh yes! Valentines’ just round the corner. Care for some chocolatey moments with your loved ones?

Blog Written by: Maham Kamal and Farah Kamal

For Muri’s extensive dipping menu: http://karachisnob.com/muris-menu.htm

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Seafood Cuisine from around the world- Bringing the globe to your table

An introduction to the Kamameshi’s new Seafood Menu
Seafood Rissoto of Italy
Spicy Crab Stick Salad-Japan
  Your journey around the world can never cease to amaze you with this unique selection of seafood dishes from Kamameshi!!!
Most of us who appreciate good food, love eating out are definitely familiar with the Kamameshi, the specialist eatery in Japanese cuisine in Karachi. Keeping great standard and continually serving high quality food for the past six years, Kamameshi have recently surprised its patrons with a global gastronomic experience through its new seafood menu comprising dishes from around the world. 
Spicy Calamari Salad-Thailand
Thai Fish Cakes with Sweet and Saur Chilli- Thailand

Seafood Pancakes with Cheese Sauce-Italy
Yes, their Seafood Cuisine from around the world contains signature high end dishes from at least twenty different countries, bringing a world of taste, flavor, color and texture to our tables. With my own professional life as an education consultant working with 135 countries, advocating cultural exchanges as a means for better understanding and peace; this amazing concept of global cuisine truly melted my heart and mouth both. 
Kamameshi Seafood Platter

Asian Style Yellow Fish Curry-Malaysia
The recipes are all created and perfected by Aziz Noorani one of the owners of the restaurant with decades of extensive experience working in five star hotel chains in Karachi. The other culinary maestro is the Executive Chef, who is a highly qualified and experienced native Pilipino professional, with experience of working in several countries around the world. Together with their outstanding team of cooks, have created a very engaging menu full of delectable, mouthwatering sea food that are very attractively presented. 

Lobster Thermidor-France

Seafood Paela-Mexico
Persian Style Prawn Curry-Iran
Tempting selections of soups, appetizers, salads and main course entree representing different parts of the world. One can have delicious Asia Pacific starters and appetizers like Tom YomG ung from Thailand, and French Salad Nicoise, continuing with your journey to South Asia with mouth watering aromatic spicy curries from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Srilanka. You may decide to experience Europe with Seafood Ravioli and Risotto from Italy and Breaded Jumbo Prawns from Britain. Or bettert decide on a colorful spicy and fascinating Mexican trip with a piping hot wok of Seafood Paella. 

So with our camera equipments and loads of questions for Aziz, one lovely afternoon, we embarked a delicious world tour at the Kamameshi, clicking all the way.

 Lobster Ravioli-Italy
SpicyAlfredo with Seafood and Herbs-From Italy
To taste food from a cross section of this international menu, we tried a meal starting from an Asia pacific experience; containing vegetable crab soup from China. This was a piping hot luscious soup that has tender chunks of vegetable and crab meat and a salad; Spicy Crab stick Salad from Japan fresh crunchy  iceberg lettuce, cucumber and flying fish eggs drizzled with Japanese Mayo, total delight. The starter was a beautiful  plate full of Thai Fish Cakes, that tasted divine with the Kamameshi’s own sweet and sour chili dipping. 

Vegetable Crab Soup=China

The main course was a heavenly spread of  European cuisine; Seafood Risotto of Italy, the best in town, it was a creamy delight; rice cooked with colorful bouquet of vegetable and seafood. Spicy Alfredo appeared a special creation perfect for Pakistani palate, assorted seafood in penne pasta cooked in delicious spicy Alfredo sauce and herbs. The pièce de résistance on the table is the Lobster Thermidor a French speciality, very appealing lobster shell filled with cubed and baked lobster meat topped with  creamy and rich mushroom sauce. The lobster meat melted in our mouth, the baked smoky taste was truly enticing. 

Your journey around the world can never cease to amaze you with this amazing selection of seafood dishes from Kamameshi!!!

 Blog Writeup: Farah Kamal

Photography: Farah Kamal and Shahrukh Mughal

More images from this shoot
Farahs Visual Treats

Kamameshi Restaurant

Note: Restaurant owners/chef/advertisers, if you want your restaurant/food/new menu reviewed/blogged and photographed please contact me at farahkamal23@gmail.com

Thursday, 19 January 2012

China Kitchen- An exotic oriental fine dining experience

The menu at China Kitchen is extremely classy, prepared with high quality ingredients, choicest produce, cooked delicately in small portions giving attention to details. 
They not only taste good but look good too.

It is hard to believe that China Kitchen is open since less then 10 days and is already on its way to success and a talk of the town and already full for dinners. This over 45 seating capacity restaurant is almost full most nights of the week. No, not just another Chinese restaurant in town, China Kitchen is truly for an oriental fine dining experience.
Wasabi Prawns

Located in the elite neighborhood of Clifton block-4, I was thrilled to enter a typical Chinese courtyard complete with life size Chinese murals on the walls, statues and artifacts on the walls and lovely dark solid wood wooden tables. The actual seating area is equally tastefully decorated with oriental style pottery and Chinese artwork hanging on the walls.

Tofu Chips

Stuffed Crab Claws

 The real treat to Asian food lovers is their menu, created by one of the four partners that conceptualized and are running this place. China Kitchen offers unique and exotic Chinese cuisine that carries completely different and authentic oriental flavors at the Chinese dining scene of Karachi. Over the years I have fond memories of tasting a range of Asian and Oriental cuisines during my travels to Asia Pacific cities, and here, at the China Kitchen, these tastes are right there, all exquisitely created finest food.
Sweet Chili Chicken
  The menu at China Kitchen is extremely classy, prepared with high quality ingredients, choicest produce cooked delicately in small portions giving attention to details. They not only taste good but look good too. As I was shooting in the beautiful courtyard of China Kitchen, an array of these artistic creations kept coming from the kitchen; I tasted these as I clicked on them. Starting from appetizers, their Wasabi Prawns were completely out of this world; delicately crispy yet succulent prawns coated by a smooth velvety sauce garnished with dried chilies. A flavor completely new from the regular Chinese restaurant menu we get. The Cantonese style Stuffed Crab Claws is a crispy fried delicacy coated in a light paste of crabmeat and shrimps.

Crispy Shredded Beef
I am not a beef lover, but well, had to literally stop shooting for a while to sink my teeth into the delightful Black Pepper Beef Steak with Ginger and Spring Onions. These are stir-fried succulent chunks of beef tenderloin marinated in crushed black pepper and topped with oyster pepper glaze. 

Lobster in Black Bean Sauce
Black Pepper Beef Steak

The other entrée that I tried was Crispy Shredded Beef, it was equally palatable with crispy and deliciously marinated beef strips served on a crispy nest of noodle, my favorite entrée includes is Lobsters, served over noodles cooked in black bean sauce. The signature specialty created spectacular dish of the Sweet Chili Chicken was a great highlight, wok fried, strips of tender chicken in a China Chicken Special sauce. Homemade sauces are the secret of these unique tastes, the chefs does not use any commercial sauces for any of their dishes. All preparations are free from Ketchup, MSG or artificial food thickeners.  
Sweet and Sour Soup
Ghazala, who is one of the restaurant owners, and the brain behind this concept, lived for more then six is years in China and got first hand experience of Chinese cuisine. Another of their partners has had a complete education of Chef from Malaysia. No wonder they have done a great job of bringing these aromatic and exotic flavors on our table, awakening our senses, specially stimulating the taste buds.

Vegetable Wonton
The restaurant can be easily categorized for elite fine dining, thus more on a pricey side with artistically presented smaller portions, so, well one can think about it for special occasions only. At this time the restaurant is offering set menu for dinners only roughly A, B and C menu which change weekly. Depending on the number of items in it, the menu per head’s cost ranges from anywhere between Rs1100/= and Rs3000/= with a minimum eight items on the menu served. It is best to have the reservation made prior to visiting.

China Kitchen has very tastefully filled the gap for the Chinese Fine Dining in Karachi. 

Vegetable Fried Rice
Review Written by: Farah Kamal
Photography: Farah Kamal and Shahrukh Mughal
 More images of the food from China Kitchen

Farahs Visual Treats

The Write up  by the author on Express Tribune Blog 

Note: Restaurant owners/chef/advertisers, if you want your restaurant/food/new menu reviewed/blogged and photographed please contact me at farahkamal23@gmail.com

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Fries Revolution- Sweet Potato Fries

Suggestion to the restaurant owners and chefs is to experiment with fries and mashed made of Sweet Potatoes as sides to main courses offered as an alternate to regular fries and mashed potatoes for customers to choose from

Sweet potatoes; these nutrition packed starchy root vegetable are readily available, cheap, yet fairly neglected in our Pakistani cuisine. Its use is limited to those odd cart vendors selling roasted Sweet Potatoes outside schools and on street or eaten boiled mostly by kids at home. I don’t remember that anything made out of Sweet Potatoes is something that one can even think of serving in fine dining restaurants or they ever made it to the regular home cooking. 

Owing to its tropical and mostly warm climate; Pakistan is blessed with bounties of nature and Sweet Potato (Shakarkandi) is one such produce seen in abundance on vegetable carts mostly from November until March.  Most of us associate this not so very good looking tuber as a culprit to add extra pounds, since they are full of carbs. But these are good carbs, and infact low in calories then any cereal, 90Cal per 100gms of Sweet Potatoes. high in fibre content, and is very filling. They are naturally sweet and the sugars are released gradually into the blood, this ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without increasing the blood sugars that causes fatigue and weight gain. Sweet potatoes are good source of vitamins; like B6 that helps reduce the chemical homocysteine related to degenerative diseases, also rich in Vitamin C and D.  Sweet Potatoes contain a substantial amount of minerals including Magnesium which is relaxing and anti-stress mineral and Potassium that helps regulate the heartbeats.

Sweet potato fries stays crispy and crunchy longer then the potato fries

Over the past few years during my travels to North America, I was pleasantly delighted to see the Sweet Potato on the menu. Right from casual cafes, to fine dining restaurants including popular Steakhouses and BBQ joints, Italian and all American eateries, Sweet Potatoe fries and mashed Sweet Potatoes are offered as popular sides. They are given as choices alongwith the regular potato fries and mashed, for a few dollars extra. So, back home in Karachi, I could not help craving for a good plate of Sweet Potato fries or a salad topped with grilled slices of them. I experiemented with Sweet Potatoes, they taste so well when cooked  in different ways besides the roasted ones that we readily get from carts. They are equally good when puréed, steamed, friend, mashed, baked, or grilled. They add great flavour and texture to soups and stews, tastes amazing when grilled and added as sides or to top the salads.

My suggestion to the restaurant owners and chefs is to experiment with fries and mashed made of Sweet Potatoes as sides to main courses offered as an alternate to regular fries and mashed potatoes for customers to choose from.

Here goes my all time favourite recipes of side made with Sweet potatoes that go so well with all kind of grilled, roasted meat or can be enjoyed entirely on their own.  I now regularly serve them as sides with many of my main courses that I cook and serve at home. Friends and family simply got amazed and thoroughly enjoy them every time.

Battered Fries:
A crispy and crunchy fries sweet potato fries


Sweet Potatoes – ½ KG
Washed, skin scrouched and cut lengthwise fries.
Rub them in a bit s salt.

Deep Fry Batter:

Either make your own batter or just use any prepared batter from the super market shelf
My favourite to use for these fries are Oreal

Here goes a simple batter recipe if you choose to make your own:

-Corn Flour- 2 heaped table spoon
-1 Chicken or Beef cubes, or 1/cup fresh stock
-Salt n Pepper to taste
-one egg beaten

Beat batter ingredients in bowl with hand beater lightly only until they are just mixed. Your batter need to be more on the drier side then smooth or runny. Roll the fries in the batter to coat them lightly but unevenly. Heat vegetable oil (2-3 inches) to 375 degrees and Fry them in a deep pan or electric deep fryer.

Sweet potato fries stays crispy and crunchy longer then the potato fries.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Ahlan to Abaan- The Lebanese restaurant in town

“SWOT-An-Arabian-Night’ A  robust evening  enjoying  the  unique  taste  of 
Middle Eastern cuisine

Thinking back to early nineties, when, suddenly the middle eastern food started appearing in the Pakistani food scene. Result of influx of overseas Pakistanis back to their home country after the gulf war. Two decades later there are no shortage of worthy Middle Eastern restaurants spread throughout Pakistan. Karachiites with their love of eating out adapted their taste buds to the middle eastern cuisine and made wonders with some fusion to suit the local preferences and available ingredients.

Abaan is one such evolution on the fine dining map of Karachi. Located at Khayabe Jami, Aban offers surprisingly great tasting Lebanese dishes. Due to my several trips to Lebanon and close ties with friends and colleagues in Beirut, Lebanese food is close to my heart. I have had opportunity to eat at Abaan several times over the past 7 months that it has been operating. “SWOT-An-Arabian-Night’ was a robust evening where SWOT members dined at Abaan. SWOT is a group of Karachi based foodies who review and share their eating out experiences on facebook. Before our dinner, I and Shahrukh had a solid two hours with our cameras clicking away the creations in the very modern, well laid out and neat kitchen of Abaan.

Abaan is located in a beautiful building with an impressive reception area, the main dining hall is located on the 2nd Floor. It is quiet spacious, not exactly laid out in Middle Eastern décor, but done beautifully, with comfortable seating, and dimly lit. The Arabic music and music videos on TV adds to the setting. Overall ambience is definitely relaxing and helps unwind with friends and family.

Kicking off the evening with appetizers, the group ordered Falafel; which turned out a great hit with its light texture and right spices. The Assorted Mezze  Platter and Grilled Halloumi cheese salad tasted good too; but some of us suggested that they can be improved with adjusting some seasonings and adding more olive oil. The Lentil Soup is served with crisp and thin pitta was a perfect  preparation .

There were  several main courses ordered; Lamb Shank, Lamb chops, were outstanding. The meat on the Lamb Shank was tender, juicy carefully cooked, spiced with a sauce poured over. The sides include vibrantly colored steamed vegetable and couscous. The couscous could do with some more olive oil and soaking in water longer.

The grilled entrees that were tried included Sheesh Tauk, and Lamb Chops; which were well grilled, tender, and tasted well. The Sheesh Taukh can do with little less spice. Dajjaj Moussaka, was pan seared chicken marinated a tasty sauce, served with brown rice containing herbs, nuts, and raisins. I loved that rice, though the chicken was somewhat overcooked and would be much better with adjustments in spice and cooking temperature.

The Shawarma that came on the tables were far from authentic or even close to what Shawarma can be, maybe omitting onions and capsicum would improve the taste or might be a complete different recipe. A couple of us also ordered mint drink that was freshly prepared with lemon juice and crushed mint, and did not have taste of any artificial syrup or ingredients!
I would also like to point out to the fact that the meat dishes served by authentic Lebanese eateries on streets of Beirut would be completely bland and dry to Pakistani tastebuds!!!! At Abaan, the chef have done a great job of creating these dishes palatable to our taste, yet carrying the distinct Lebanese flavors. 

  The dessert were the highlight of the dinner – everyone loved the Om' Ali, which was outrightly Yummy!!! Just that the chef needs to ensure they arrive steaming hot on the tables. The baklava, though over sweet, was crunchy, sticky and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. The little Arabic Biscuits were all delicious and people wiped them off to the last crumb. 

The Executive Chef of Abaan is an experienced professional with extensive experience of working in Middle East. As we were shooting in the kitchen, it was a sheer pleasure observing him and his crew; food stylists, cooks and assistants working harmoniously as a great team creating these mouth watering dishes for us. Our reviews, suggestions alongwith the appreciation was very well received by owner Adil Iqbal. Adil is a young, dynamic business graduate from London, who was inspired by his love of Middle Eastern cuisine specifically Lebanese food while in London. 
I was impressed by his extraordinary openness to involving his customers in improving the food, and listening to their advice intently. Lebanese food tastes fairly different and it is a challenge to introduce the subtle and delicate flavors of Lebanese cuisine in Pakistan. Adil is brave enough to take up this challenge, and is fairly successful so far.
Many of us would definitely go back to Abaan and anyone searching for a unique Middle Eastern  taste much venture out to Abaan. 

Check out:

SWOT Guide:

Abaan Restaurant:

Fotoshoot of Abaan by Farah Kamal and Shahrukh Mughal:

Note: Restaurant owners/chef/advertisers, if you want your restaurant/food/new menu reviewed/blogged and photographed please contact me at farahkamal23@gmail.com


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Live Cooking at Boat Basin

If anyone have only a few hours and want to get a true cultural experience of Pakistani traditional cuisine, boat basin eateries has it all. 

Live Cooking at Boat Basin can be an exciting Pakistani traditional street gourmet and cultural experience

As the sun sets, the cool breeze from the Arabian Sea gives a pleasant relief to the sun scorched people of Karachi. Families are seen driving to the Seaview and the nearby Benazir Park, enjoying the sea and the evening for which Karachi can compete with any popular world class metropolis!!.

Often times these trips end at a sumptous roadside dinner at the The Boat Basin. This is a long street at the intersection of Seaview Clifton, lined with an amazing range of street food restaurants where food is mostly cooked and served in open air. Also refered to as the Food Street of Karachi, one can see all cooking done here are live right from chopping, marinating to cooking in front of customers as per their taste. Many of these restaurants are open until 5:00am, and so the party can be on till then!!!

 The area got its name from the lake (which is part of Karachi mangrove forests) which has been a favorite boating place. Later on as the city got bigger the lake clear waters have changed to the today brown waters and the boating has ceased to be. The restaurants have been originally built to serve those who came for boating.

The restaurants here serve, a superb range of great tasting freshly cooked Pakistani, Mughlai, Afghani dishes at unbeatable prices. Most live cooking here includes cooking techniques like BBQ , charcoal grilled, pan searing, sauting, steaming or baked in traditional style earthern or stone ovens. All fresh and as you like it!!!

A number of these restaurant are popular for ‘Sajji’, a  Baluchi Dish; consists of whole lamb/chicken on skewers (fat and meat intact), marinated only in salt, sometimes covered with raw papaya paste, stuffed with rice, then roasted over coals. In some of the food stands here  customers can order the fresh meat by kilo, it then an amazing experience to see their food being cooked. Most of the process of chopping, cutting, marinating and cooking is done right there as soon as you place your order according to your preference for spice and taste. The fat are mostly melted during the cooking left all lean to enjoy. It is a pleasure to sink your teeth into a piece of sajji, the meat is so tender, juicy and less spicy.
Karahi dishes are another famous cuisine of this place. Made of wrought iron, the woks/karahi are utensils used for cooking chicken or mutton karahi, thus the dishes are named as ‘Karahi’ dishes. The customers here need to select the meat of their choice, order as per taste, in less then 25 min they would be cooked in big woks/karahi. These are curries cooked with spices, fresh vegetable in butter with or without gravy using stir frying, sauting and steaming.

Kebabs are another speciality of this area; The kebab is made with meat threaded on a skewer and grilled. Any kind of meat can be used; cubes of onion and vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, brinjal are often threaded on the skewers if it is ‘Sheesh Kebab’. The skewers are barbequed on a Charcoal grill. One of the hottest selling Kebabs here are Dhaga Kebab: these are made from mince meat spiced and left to marinate and then pressed around a skewer and thread (dhaaga) is wound around it to hold the mince in place. The skewer is then charcoal grilled.

No street food of Pakistani is complete without the ever popular ‘Chicken Tikka’ this a countrywide popular Pakistani dish. Traditionally the quarter of chicken with bones in, are marinated in spices and yougurt, and grilled over red-hot coals. The pieces are brushed with ghee (carified butter) at intervals, which gives it a distinct taste, while being continuously fanned.
All these sajjis, kebabs, karahi and tikka’s are served with green coriander and tamarind chutney, garnished with onion rings and lemons. The sides for these dishes include fried bread ‘Pooris’, Chappatis made on open skillet, or Nans baked in earthern ovens also cooked right there outside the restaurants.

If anyone have only a few hours and want to get a true cultural experience of Pakistani traditional cuisine, boat basin eateries has it all.