Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Café Forty4-Oriental taste in every bite

A yummy slice of Red Snapper

An innovative fusion of oriental tastes in a contemporary cuisine is what Cafe Forty4 have to offer.....

“People can enjoy bite by bite the entire oriental taste in one plate of food that I create,” said proudly the Executive Chef of Café Forty4. This newly launched fine dining restaurant in the elite neighborhood of  Clifton Block-4 has been successfully in operation for over ten weeks and already busy doing great business. 

Sizzling prawns in chilli

Thai Soup
The premises is a huge double story facility, with many artistically designed seating areas. The ground floor has a total seating capacity of 55, divided into several sections, main dining hall divided into two different areas, and a third one patio area, with which I instantly fell in love with. The patio is ideal eating out for a romantic dinner for two, giving a peaceful airy feeling. The first floor has the most fabulous skylight area that is a huge spacious terrace with seating capacity of 12-15 overlooking palms. Glass panes at one side close the terrace with blinds on the other; it is fully air-conditioned and completely private. 
Fried Beancurd
Adjacent to it is the casual "Lounge" with a huge LCD TV on one of the walls perfect for a Karaoke night or watching a game together as you enjoy the food. Well there is still more, a huge rectangular room  'The Space' used for corporate meetings, exhibitions, or for private parties. The entire ambience is enhanced by classic abstract artwork by Sonia Chundrigar, and a wall with valuable display of black and white framed rustic photographs of Karachi. The unique feature is that the entire facility is wheel chair accessible, children friendly with a kids’ menu coming up soon.
Chicken Satay with Peanu Chilli Sauce

This entire setting makes Café forty4 beyond a café; it is a completely well appointed venue for a range of events. Ms. Samina Bilgrami is one of the working partners and a great host with over 25 years in food and bakery business in Karachi and Islamabad. Her personal attention to every little detail of the operation makes Café Forty4 an experience beyond dining.

The Malaysian Executive Chef and his skilled team under the supervision of Samina, has done an outstanding job of presenting a fine selection of Pan-Oriental cuisine. They have used cooking traditions, techniques and disciplines from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Vietnam to bring an altogether unique and distinct finished dish on our tables. 

Their menu changes with the seasons, to cater to changing temperatures and eating preferences of customers, and of course to make the most of the fresh produce of the season. Talking to the Executive Chef he proudly mentioned that with the plentiful of fresh produce including fruits, vegetable, herbs, a robust fish industry and livestock in Pakistan, he uses 95% of the ingredients from Pakistan brought to his kitchen on daily basis. They definitely import some special ingredients and produce from Thailand, Dubai and Malaysia. One can find a wide range of meat, poultry, rice and pasta dishes. For the vegetarians, they have a good selection right from starters, soup to main courses. All their bread, rolls, confectionary, sauces are freshly prepared in their own kitchen.

Spending an afternoon at the Café Forty4 with Food Connection Pakistan (, tasting a cross section from their menu was an epicurean experience. Samina and her staff have been most cooperative and explained each individual dish, its ingredients and origin. My most scrumptious gastronomic adventure at Café Forty4 started with a selection of great tasting starters that include Sizzling Prawns, Fried Dim Sum and Satay. All starters and appetizers are served with a medley of delicious home made sauces enhancing the taste of each bite. I loved the Sizzling Prawns that had spiced Tiger Prawns carrying an oriental chili taste. The satay reminded me of my first ever bite in Indonesia, the skewered chunks of pan seared chicken tasted sweet and nutty in the best ever satay sauce made of spices and roasted peanuts. I am so sure I am going to go back to Forty4 for this. I got to also taste my old time favorite Pumpkin Soup; sweet, fresh, well blended and creamy. The Chef has also send the Thai Soup for tasting from their new menu in the making, a tasty light broth with colorful vegetable and chicken chunks, but a tad tangy, can do with some adjustments in the taste before finalizing.
Fried beef strips with sesame seed and honey hoisin sauce 

Pumpkin Soup
Sagu Gula
The roasted spicy chicken in Vietnamese rice paper roll turned out a true delight stuffed with fresh lettuce, roasted ground peanuts topped with a tangy dressing. One can find some not so very common dishes on their Forty4 menu, one such is Crispy Chinese Bean Curd, these are fresh bean curds marinated fried and served with chili, cucumber, tomato salsa and homemade teriyaki sauce. The Crispy Blackened Beef turned out to be the star of the lunch, the second time I had it here, and fell in love with it again. These are total indulgence of stir fried crispy strips of beef in sesame seeds and honey houisin sauce.  Frying beef is an art the beef have to be crispy and not chewy or burned, one can taste this technique at its best here. 
Chocolate parafait

The pièce de résistance of the meal is the attractive and tempting red snapper, a steamed delicacy served on a bed of picked Chinese cabbage with soy sauce and garlic chips. The three different kind of rice served were a heavenly spread, this includes, Steamed Rice, Garlic Rice; a typical Japanese style sticky fried rice with eggs and in sour sauce. Kampong Fried Rice, cooked with squid, Shitake mushrooms, and fried brinjal. Each one taste awesome, and stands as a perfect side with the main course. 

Garlic Rice

I was lucky to be tasting several lip smacking deserts from the Forty4 upcoming menu!! They are sinfully delicious and different, the homemade cheese cake, white chocolate Parafait, and the Sagu Gula with layer of molasses were truly divine.  The restaurant also has a full stocked bar that has fresh seasonal fruit juices, creates cool refreshing mocktails, and drinks.
Choclate centre Brownie with Vanilla Icecream
I still remember very fondly this past new year eve when I landed unplanned at this restaurant, not knowing much about it. But left with deliciously great memories of an impressive nine course dinner served by the most skilled staff. Yes they do set menus for special occasions and on request for private parties and events. While I was tasting and shooting here with food Connection, there were talks going on for Valentines with great food offerings, service and arrangements, to make it memorable for everyone. If you plan to celebrate here, make sure reservations are made on time!!!
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The portions here are handsome, and great for sharing, the average cost per person for full five course meal here would come up to Rs.1100-Rs.1400. All with a world class service, hard to find in eateries around Pakistan. 

If you want to enjoy an unforgettable meal, feel special and get the value for money, Forty4 is for you. An innovative fusion of oriental tastes in a contemporary cuisine is what Forty4 have to offer.

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