KARACHI: Earlier when you drove through block 4 in Clifton’s KDA scheme, it appeared more or less to be a refined version of an electronics and hardware market. However, as time progressed, innovative entrepreneurs discovered better opportunities in its secluded lanes, tucked away from surrounding commercialisation, and transformed it into a posh locale offering an array of fine dining experiences to discerning foodies.
Saturday night, this evolving gastronomic street witnessed the launch of yet another restaurant, Estrela by Orrery. With the likes of Wasim Akram, Aamir Liaquat and Saima Azhar munching on its pre-set, complimentary delicacies, the launch was surely a glitzy affair.
For a few aware diners that are well-informed about the world’s top restaurants, the name Orrery instantly brings to mind one of London Marleyborne’s Michelin star French restaurant by the same name. Even if the name is considered a sheer coincidence, the identical concept of having three different eateries in one place propels one to believe that local Orrery is a part of the continuing invasion of international franchises — but that’s not the case.
“No, it’s not the same. It’s my own local name and is based on the ancient solar machine called Orrery,” clarifies COO Mehr e Azam. “Restaurants all across Pakistan are somewhat similar in set up and the cuisines they offer. However, we wanted to do something different both in terms of the menu and structure. Unlike our competition, we are operating three different restaurants under one roof, each of which is targeting a different age group.”
Built on three stories, the ground floor is house to an intimate and stylish fine-dining space that specialises in French cuisine. The giant mechanical structure at the entrance, past a small open-air garden area, reinforces the restaurant’s inspiration and the built-in fountains have a calming effect on the diners. The middle level is a café and cigar lounge called Café Ocoa. With big plasma screens, comfy leather couches, wooden flooring and a bar in one corner, the small private space gives off a ‘men-only sports bar’ vibe, rather like a posh bachelor pad. Finally, on the top floor, is a creative and naturalistic terrace, O’ Grill, decorated with contemporary straw couches, Oakwood flooring and fresh green plants — definitely an ideal spot to have a relaxing night out with friends and family.
The main course of Pollo Mandarino was undoubtedly the stand out. The tenderness of the sliced chicken breast was perfectly matched by the not-so-overpowering tangy flavour of citrus orange. It was a fresh, unique and delightful addition to the menu and its lightness left one wanting for more. Served with seasoned baked potatoes and a selection of veggies, this dish is a must-try.
While we are all up for not letting the first impression be the last, considering the dishes have had been pre-prepared to serve an extensive list of guests, Orrery surely needs to buck up in the food department. As our final verdict, Orrey is a picture-perfect example of an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city of lights.
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