Sunday, 1 February 2015

[Food]: Fika On The Roof, Karachi

Karachi seems to be going through a bit of cafe frenzy in the last couple of months - with E Street and adjoining lanes hosting the majority of the new places. The fact that the lane is now crowded and whizzing with buses has not stopped the newbies and monoliths of the food business to set up shop there. The latest one there is Fika. Fika (I have been told) is a Swedish word that means just hanging out and chilling over a cup of coffee.  Fika has an extension on the roof called, Fika On The Roof. I went there on Friday to be pleasantly surprised by a very ethnic Pakistani interior and decor - nothing Swedish about this space!

But first, the food!

Mezze Platter

Moroccan Beef

Being of Middle Eastern descent myself... I am always apprehensive about trying so-called Middle Eastern cuisine anywhere in the city. My Iraqi mother has set the bar rather high at home. But I still can not say no to hummus - many times, it is my gauge of an eatery - it's my How Good Is The Hummus Test. The Mezze platter at Fika On The Roof includes hummus, baba ganoush, mutabbal, a tomato chutney, garlic sauce, olives, pickled green chillis, cucumbers, carrots and of course pita bread. The serving is good for four to share. The star of the platter is the tomato chutney. The baba ganoush is just right. The hummus is not as good as my mother's just yet.

For the main course, I had the Moroccan Beef as suggested by the owner Abid Merchant. It was a good piece of beef - well spiced and marinated. However, it should have been more tender. There was an excellent rice pilaf to go with it.

The Gulabo
This is an interesting dessert - vanilla ice-cream with gulab jamun. It is good for those who cannot decide between a desi and an angrezi dessert I suppose. However, the textures are too similar and everything is too sweet when put together. It does not have the brownie and ice cream effect.

There are also some really interesting menu items like Anda Paratha but I could not dare to order any thing else after that ginormous meal. The menu is a mix of local favorites, burgers, sandwiches and grilled meats.

What really held my attention through out the practice dinner was the decor, the ambience and the music. Fika On The Roof  could be a Karachi dhaba or a specialty cafe in Europe. The decor has been designed by Pakistani artist Muhammad Zeeshan who is the pioneer of rickhsaw art, as opposed to truck art. So everything is rich, neon and Pakistani. The space also has an interesting playlist - Bollywood! From Baby Doll to Bappi Lahiri! 

I am glad that eateries are finally realizing the importance of having outdoor spaces and Fika On The Roof seems to be the perfect hang out for a cup of tea and anda paratha this winter. Check them out here for complete details.

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