KARACHI: If you can’t go to Lebanon, don’t worry. Lebanon can come to you.
Baituti, a new restaurant near Karachi’s popular E-Street, successfully brings Mohammed to the mountain. It boldly implements a radical new idea: bringing a team right from Lebanon to give us a wholesome, authentic experience of their cuisine.
As we entered, the first thing we noticed was that nearly the entire place was booked. It seemed as though Baituti has already become a staple restaurant for Karachiites. And yet, the service was quick and the food, extremely fresh. The staff was very accommodating as well.
The exquisite menu offers an array of traditional and hearty grub meals that’ll transport you straight to Lebanon. One of the restaurant’s owners revealed how even the simple spices or chili sauce being served at Baituti follows the art of Lebanese cookery. Other restaurants in the town blend the cuisine with local flavours to make it more acceptable but Baituti strictly adheres to purely Lebanese techniques, he said.
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Once settled, we were served with a unique platter comprising dates, olives, slices of watermelon and savoury dips. Soon enough, we were served the starter of our meal: the fattoush.
Everything from the salad to the dressing and crunchy bread bits were refreshing enough for us to keep turning back to the fattoush throughout the dinner.
Then, there was the hummus. It had a tasty, rich texture and the restaurant, thankfully, didn’t skim on the olive oil either.
Coupled with the light and fluffy pita bread, the hummus truly manifested the depth of a singular flavour.
We then moved to our main courses: Chicken Pomegranate and Cheese Fatayer. This seemed like a pizza spin-off, albeit in the shape of a boat.
The dough was pleasantly chewy and formed a good base for flavoured chicken cubes, lettuce and cheddar cheese, garnished with pomegranates and a sour mustard sauce for that extra zing. Truth be told, we felt the quantity of pomegranates could have been increased a bit. All in all, the Fatayer was indicative of a practiced hand in the kitchen and we declare it the star of the night.
A visit to a Lebanese restaurant is incomplete without a generous serving of Shish Taouk - the Middle-Eastern twist on barbecue. The platter at Baituti included fork-tender chicken so moist that it simply melted in our mouths.
It normally comes with a side of coleslaw and French fries, which is always a big yes. The Taouk was sitting on a bed of Chappati and a spicy sauce, which hit all the right notes.
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For dessert, we ordered the Umm Ali - a puff pastry pudding topped with cream and a plethora of nuts. The aroma of the sweet dish, served in a clay pot, whooshed straight to our heads and as we took our first bite, we realised how hot it was.
Fortunately, for someone like me who is very fussy and picky about their dessert, the Umm Ali didn’t fail to work its charm.
Verdict: The names on the menu sound a lot more complicated than the actual dishes. But don’t be discouraged. The taste is familiar and definitely worth a shot.
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