Our definitive guide to Karachi Eat Festival 2016

Our definitive guide to Karachi Eat Festival 2016

After a fun and food filled three days, Karachi Eat Fest is at an end and it’s back to eating daal, sabzi & chawal. Just to keep the excitement alive for another day, here’s our definitive guide to Karachi Eat Festival 2016.
First of all, kudos to the organizers (CKO) for coming up with this platform giving a space to exhibit their culinary creations and for us to try them out. From the regular ‘ghar ka khana’ to out-of-the-box gourmet delights this festival had something for everyone.

Compared to last year there was a lot more space for walking around, seating area and parking. They had collaborated with Careem (a Middle Eastern origin Uber style cab service that recently launched in Pakistan) which was running a special promotion for picking / dropping people for Rs.200. A great way to avoid traffic jams and keep the roads clear.

Here’s a run-down of all that Karachi Eat Fest had to offer.

1. Karachi Street Food

Delicious food but difficult to navigate, going to Burns Road has always been a challenge. Here was a chance to sample Burns Road delights without the traffic and ogling. From ‘Burns Road with Love’ was one of the most popular offering with its succulent chicken sajji; Desi Gali with it’s pattay ki chaat featuring spinach pakora’s and chapli kebab bun kebab got a lot of praise for this twist on a regular chaat. Nano’s Hyderabadi Kitchen featured their version of spicy mini bun kebab’s along with fresh Hyderabadi achaar’s / pickles. Chapli Kebab House part of the regulars at KEF made an appearance as well – melt in your mouth tender chapli kebab’s with hot garlic naan. Their token system made standing in line just a bit less painful.


Succulent Chicken Sajji from Burns Road with Love


Tempting Mini Bun Kebabs from Nano's Hyderabadi Kitchen

2. Beef Sandwiches

One of the most popular items at Karachi Eat Fest 2016 had to be variants of roast beef sandwiches. There were open faced Danish sandwiches for Rs.100 – two bite sandwiches but oh so delicious! Other flavors included roast chicken, chicken salami, and mackerel. Breast & Loin (hopefully a new outlet) gained notoriety not just because of their name but their prime steak sandwiches with mustard sauce. Then there was the long line for the short-rib sandwiches by Maha Jawed of Fatso's. Reminiscent to the midnight snacks we used to make in a sandwich maker, these were oozing with cheese and toasted a dark golden brown.


Open Faced Danish Sandwiches - roast beef, roast chicken, mackerel. They had it all!


Fatso's Grilled Cheese Sandwich - worth the wait!


Breast and Loin's Prime Steak Sandwich with Cheese & Mustard

3. Karachi Restaurants, Cafes & Fast food

So many of the local restaurants put up stalls at Karachi Eat Festival – a great way for customers to sample out various dishes without having to invest in a complete meal. Some of the favorites included the special nacho’s (great for munching while walking around) & the Nutella filled cookies from Chatterbox (oozing with Nutella), part of their 15 year celebrations. The newly introduced ice-cream macarons by LALSwere well worth the price and having Lal Majid make them in front of you was a treat! Patio, known for its fusion cuisine had their Honey Lotus stems & Naughty Toffee among other items.

Moving on to burgers and fries – these fast food staples are a favorite among teenagers and kids. Big Thick Burgers was one of the favorites with 40% off their regular menu and a promise to feed an underprivileged child for every 10 burgers sold. Hoagies had put up a stall with their halfsies sandwiches with a surprise appearance by Boba Tea (flavored bubble tea with popping bubbles). The Sauce Burger Cafe created quite a buzz with their potamatoes, difficult to pronounce but pure festival food – French fries, cheese & loads of sauce on top.


Special Nachos from Chatterbox - great for a snack!

4. Desserts & sweet treats

Done with eating savoury – let’s not forget the desserts!
The most hyped dessert had to be the Nutella gol gappa’s by Spoonful. Loved by many, misunderstood by some and sold out for the ’OMG I had a Nutella gol gappa’ moment. We give them full points for creativity and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Just a few stalls nearby was the Churro's & Choc stall by Rayyan Durrani (of MasterChef fame) with the funky tagline ‘Cheat with a Churro’. Crispy & crunchy this now KEF regular was much better stocked and organized this time around.


Nutella Gol Gappay from Spoonful


Crispy Churro's with Chocolate Sauce from Churro's & Choc


Gooey Nutella Filled Cookie from Chatterbox. Image Credits - Mehvish Abubakar (KFD)

Move to the other side and the delicious smell of fresh bread will let you know that the Bond Street Waffles stall is nearby. Authentic Belgian Waffles made from dough, not batter with a choice of white chocolate sauce or Nutella chocolate sauce. We found them delicious but it could use more sauce and condiments considering its rather steep price of Rs.300.


Bond Street Waffles being prepared in front of you

When it comes to desserts, our home bakers are not far behind. Maison M’s twix brownies, Ganache by Ruby’s signature chocolate death roll and Taha's Chocomania gourmet brownies were a favorite among the KEF crowd.


Ganache by Ruby's yummy desserts


A variety of desserts from Taha's Chocomania

5. Fresh Juices & Chai

Feeling thirsty after walking & eating in the sun? Options included Juicylicious (with its fresh sugarcane juice) which would have far better situated in the middle instead of tucked away in a corner. Go Clubish or the juice bar in the middle of the festival had some fun cocktails and with a dedicated wait staff, it was difficult to say no. Refreshing drinks but the quantity could have been better considering the prices (~200 – 250 each). And of course, there was a 7-up stand in the middle offering carbonated drinks & water. If in the mood for something hot, then the Lipton Bar offered regular & green tea with a photo booth and lots of seating.


The fresh sugarcane juice from Juicylicious was worth the wait

6. Food Brands

Then we come to our food brands. By far the most popular stall had to be Shan – Shahi Haleem and Sindhi Biryani for Rs. 50 a pop with free samples! What more does one want? Oh yes, spoons and a take-away container. Probably one of the most popular items at the festival. Olper’s made an appearance with contestants from their ‘Born to Bake’ series, Lipton & 7-up were necessary thirst quenchers and Magnum had ice-cream on offer.


Shan ki Rs.50 Sindhi Biryani - value for money FTW!

Desi Appetite Recommendations

One day was really not enough to go over this food extravaganza, especially as it took us an hour just to figure out what stalls were there. What we really wished for was for a map – a list of stalls with their product offerings. That would just help us figure out where to go first and where to go next or divide ourselves in 2-3 groups, get food and then eat. This time around, people were better prepared though. People arrived early bringing picnic blankets and the food groups kept buzzing with food recommendations.

Yes, it was crowded and there were queues but it is a food festival and we Karachites love our food. As expected, people who came in the afternoon found it more peaceful compared to people who came after sunset.

All said & done, we are stuffed at the moment and we hope that next year will be even better than this year. We are also hoping that the Lahore & Islamabad chapters of KEF, aka Lahore Eat Fest & Islamabad Eat Fest are just as good as this one!


Looking forward to Karachi Eat Festival 2017!
Desi Appetite Editor
Desi Appetite Editor For more blogs from her, click here Desi Appetite Editor
Inline popup