Located on Shahrah e Faisal Karachi, opposite the PAF Base, is this eatery, that is majestic in appearance from the outside just as much as it is from the inside, called as the “Lal Qila”. I went there once a couple of years back and loved the food, just as much as I did yesterday. It is a “must visit” place for foodies, and dare I say if you are not a foodie it will turn you in to one, but for an hour or so, considering the profuseness of dishes not to mention their taste which by all standards are unique and exquisite.
They offer three meals a day, first of all a brunch that goes from a little earlier than noon till 3.30 pm, a Hi Tea that starts from 4.30 pm and dinner that is 8ish. We chose to take the brunch and a brunch it was indeed. In all 64 items on the menu! that comprised of the tastiest BBQ (Chicken, fish and beef), Halwa Puri, Nihari and Haleem, Prawns, Naans, a bit of Chinese food, spicy Biryani (that one can smell from 50 meters at least), salads, three different types of juice, sweetened Lassi, salty Lassi, Qeema, four different types of Raita, at least eight different types of desserts, Kulfi, Ice Cream, coffee, tea and to top it all Meetha and Saada Paan. At Rs. 750 per head its not a bad deal at all.
The place is clean, open and spacious enough for at least two hundred or more persons. There are washrooms, a kids playing area and a praying place. Various stalls are arranged in the square with sitting places around them, indoor as well as outdoor and some place on the first floor. The food is cooked and served in the stalls. The place is decorated with small water falls and rockery. The ambience is impressive. I found the utensils and crockery clean and shinning. It’s the kind of place where you get to rub your shoulders with men and women, who have but one thing on their minds, “food”. You get the feel, “this is serious business” from their faces, or maybe, “don’t come in my way, I am busy”. For busy everyone is indeed, filling their bellies with some of the tastiest food I have ever had. I saw kids, men, women, uncles, aunties, lasses, teenagers, old men and older women, all going for it in the most diligent of manners. Man, the food is excellent.
I started with BBQ, salads and some Biryani. The prawns were done very well, as was the Shahi Qeema (Or something of the sort). This was washed down with tender gulps of Lime juice. The sweetened Lassi, oh I must have had a liter of it, was thick and tasty. Lassi makes one feel drowsy, which it did. For driving home became a chore, very difficult, one that was put to end by sleeping it off.
The staff is courteous and helpful. Every now and then you would hear the courtier calling, “Ba Adab, Ba Mulahiza, Hoshiyar, Shahzadi Ayesha ki Saligirah ka cake pesh kiya jata hai”. (Be hold, be wary, Princess Ayesha’s birthday cake is being presented). This would be followed by four courtiers all adorned in Mughal era dresses with lances in their hands presenting a cake to the person on his/her birthday. Quite a spectacle it is, indeed.
Ladies and gentlemen, on my recommendation, please try it out. You will love it, so will she/he accompanying you. Bon appetite!
Just one problem, they don’t accept credit/debit cards! Take the cash with you, or you will be forced to run to the nearest ATM to cash.
The décor is really impressive.
The waterfall, in the backdrop you can see the BBQ counter.
The staircase leading to the open air sitting place.
The food stalls.
Kids playing area.
Overall a superb experience.