KARACHI: If you’re someone who has moved to Karachi from one of the Gulf countries and are on the hunt for some ‘back-home’ cuisine, look no further. The newly opened Ala Rasi on main Khayaban-e-Shahbaz will take you down memory lane.
The menu comprises popular food items branching from four different types of cuisines – Arabic, Turkish, Lebanese and Afghani. Fire and pottery items, which I would like to call ‘live action’ food, are a common sight for such regions. Here is how my experience went.
1. Hummus with meat and pine nuts
For starters, I ordered some fancy hummus with bits of beef and some pine nuts. Having eaten authentic hummus cooked in Arab countries, Ala Rasi seemed to be the only restaurant in Karachi to get close to the actual taste. This verdict comes after trying countless hummus places in the city. Pieces of chick peas in the hummus added to the accuracy of the dish. The oh-so-sophisticated starter was served with unlimited, complimentary pita bread.
2. Laham Kabuli Pilaf
The opening of Ala Rasi seemed to come at the perfect time since I was craving some rice and mutton. And, what better to serve that craving than a mutton pulao? Or as the restaurant likes to call it in Afghani, Laham Kabuli Pilaf. Two pieces of perfectly cooked mutton ribs served over a bed of rice and topped with vegetables and nuts were enough to tantalise my taste buds.
3. Sheesh Touk
Visiting an Arabic restaurant and not trying an order of sheesh touk is a cardinal sin. To try out some of their chicken, I asked for some their sheesh touk and didn’t walk out disappointed. Presented with a side of fries and some garlic sauce, the chicken item tickled the right taste buds. However, for someone who does not like a lot of salt, the taste was a little too strong.
Even though I didn’t order any of Ala Rasi’s special ‘action’ items, I sure got to witness the ‘stunts’ when such dishes arrived on others’ tables.
One of the guests at the restaurant ordered an Aatish Laham Kaburga. In layman’s terms, flamed mutton ribs. Partially cooked live in front of an audience, the mutton dish emerged from a heap of some sort of salt after the waiter had played on it with fire – and it sure looked appetising.
While having ordered only three dishes, the food was enough for a group of three people, leaving no room for dessert. Kunafeh and traditional Baklavah were just some of the items served to satisfy the customers’ sweet tooth.
The two-floor seating area for the customers with pure Turkish ambiance added to food experience. Special majlis style dine in areas with curtains can be a good choice if you’d like to enjoy your meals with a large family and some privacy.
We currently have our eyes on the Dajjaj Khubus Pilaf which is chicken pulao served inside baked pita bread, for our next visit.
Verdict: If you love authentic Arabic food, Ala Rasi should be your top choice.
Star: 4 out of 5