Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Hip Hop Hit-Cafe Down Town
Glitzy, jazzy and hip-hop are the words that came in my mind as soon as I entered this new eatery at Khayabane Sehar-DHA. Café Down Town in less then two weeks time became a fairly popular and expensive hangout among the young crowd of DHA and Clifton.
Entertaining friends and family over dinner and lunches, and socializing in restaurants have become a popular trend over the years in urban communities of Pakistan. The corporate and professionals also love to have a change of scene once in a while and have a meeting or training at an eatery or a Hotel. Of course one cannot undermine the love, and compassion that comes through in a home dining table sharing food cooked for loved ones. But if we want to save us from the botheration of dealing with cooking in a hot kitchen, and struggling with load shedding when one least want it, eating out is the best option. In Karachi there is a new eatery coming up almost every week, one of the PR company official shared that there are over 40 different eateries or the branches of existing ones coming up by end this year.
So, Café Down Town is one more addition to the eating out map of Karachi, mainly targeting students, young professionals, corporate, and for official meetings and gatherings, or simply engaging in some loud party time. Talking to one of the five young entrepreneurs of this restaurant with corporate background, he shared his passion for food specifically the fact that he is a meat lover. They want to respond to the need of many offices and businesses as well as young adults of the area. The restaurant is designed in a true hip hop fashion, very big, complete two floors done with contemporary décor, that is very loud, bold and metallic, with hard metal rock playing in background. However, I have my reservations for the Shisha being served here.
The menu is extremely extensive with everything that one can think of and might appeal to Karachiits on it. It has a range of dishes cooked in Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican and Continental styles. There are a great selection of appetizers, sandwiches and wraps. I tasted a selection of appetizers from their Mega Mix Plate that turned out to be a huge tray full of very nicely crumb fried chicken wings, finger fish, chicken strips, cheese sticks, fried prawns, chicken cheese balls, served with three different kind of dips includes tarter sauce, honey mustard and marinara. The Chicken Avocado salad is something new I tried here, it was a fresh, zestful spread of Avocado, cheddar cheese, tomato, boiled eggs, spring onions, cubes of grilled chicken and crispy beef bits served on a bed of crunchy lettuce drizzled with orange balsamic dressing. Salad and soups are healthy choices and are popular lunch for office goers and young professionals who can be weight watchers too but Café Down Town have only four of each of these listed. The restaurant might think of adding more selections in the menu.
The main courses have almost everything one can think of burgers, steaks, seafood, served with great sides in all kind of taste and flavors created pretty well. My pick was Tuscan Chicken that turned out Grilled Chicken topped with mushroom sauce and cheese. Could not taste any typical Tuscan herbs in it, or olive oil that are signature for any Tuscan style cooking. Otherwise, it tasted fine, tender succulent chicken and the sauce was prepared well and tasted great. The Down Town Steak was something to remember for sure, a fine double cut fillet mignon is prepared as per customer’s taste and preference for flavors, and herb choices. This is then topped with creamy mushrooms sauce. However, anyone ordering it must remember to instruct to not over flip, poke or prod it or over grill it. It gets spoiled that way, mine was grilled perfectly but there were signs of prodding and poking which leaks the juices instead of sealing them. I could easily carve it, not juicy from inside but OK.
Keeping in mind their target clientele, hungry youngster with huge appetite, the portions are big. Their executive chef with many years of experience working in restaurants in middle east have prepared the dishes fairly well. The recipes adapted well to suit the local palate and one may not be disappointed with their meal at the end. Of course there something for everyone coming from all different eating habits and tastes.
The place is also good for families with children, teens and small parties; they even have a quiet room for 12 for business meetings. I am so sure my group of students would love to be treated here at the end of their school/college year. Operates from 11:00am until midnight, their prices are higher then some upscale specialty restaurants around; I think it is no reasonable. I still fail to understand how in this kind of price they aim to target young professionals and students.