- 09 Dec - 15 Dec, 2017
Gulp Down Some Winter Goodness
- 02 Dec - 08 Dec, 2017
- High Life
Winter is here Karachiites! For us it is more a blessing, as we have to fight with scorching heat all year round with exception to only a couple of months when the colder season brings with it chilly breeze and a generally pleasant atmosphere to enjoy. Among the boons of this season is our increased appetite for all things hot, particularly soup. So I went on a rampage to try out soups from different restaurants in Karachi, bringing you a small list of economical places with great ambience in case soup from roadside stalls isn’t your thing.
CocochanWhere: Tipu Sultan Road, Opp. Habitt.
The Asian fusion restaurant has opened up just two months back and has already become the talk of the town. The soup choices in their menu are quite limited; you get the usual chicken corn and hot and sour, and a couple of Thai soups. But variety is not what you need if you do the few things that you do right, I say!
Best: Laksa soup
Why: If you like to experiment with your food or would like to try a wild Thai recipe, this is the one to start with. What makes this soup different than any other you have tried so far is its strong lemongrass taste, while other soups use only a hint of it.
Made from coconut milk in a semi-thick consistency, it also has chicken, lime and chilli in it and lots of lemongrass!
Good with: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms – the mushroom casing is stuffed with chopped mushrooms and lemongrass tossed in a coconut curry glaze and topped with mozzarella cheese. This makes for a good companion for the Laksa soup keeping in mind its lemongrass content. But if you are set in your ways or don’t like lemongrass, this might not be the best route for you.
Shisi – Pan Asian Bistro
Where: Mustafa Arcade, Block-A, Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Housing Society.
Operating for about seven months now, this is one of the newer pan Asian eateries in town opened at the busy food street. I tried their Spicy Coconut Soup and Mongolian Soup. The former is a white base soup mixed with chicken, mushrooms and sliced red chillies, while the latter is a hot broth with lots of crunchy and juicy vegetables in it. The glossy broth tasted amazing along with the veggies in it. Every guest is served complimentary kimchi that enhances the dining experience even more.
Best: Spicy Coconut Soup
Why: The Spicy Coconut Soup definitely takes the cake for its thick creamy base. Although it clearly lacks the coconut flavour, its creamy texture along with the ingredients in it make for a perfectly tasty way to start a meal.
The Mongolian Soup promises lots of hotness and crunchy flavours in a thick broth.
Good with: Dynamite Prawns – the decent serving, good taste and economical price is what makes this appetiser a must-have at Shisi. Served in a bed of cabbage leaf, the prawns are not too crispy and have a thick batter. The sauce they are tossed in has an almost nutty flavour to it, but it is definitely thicker and a bit more acidic than you would have elsewhere.
Bonsai – Pan Asian Kitchen
Where: 14 C, Lane 9, Ittehad commercial, Phase 6, DHA.
Only a few months into business, Bonsai has a very bright future; the calming decore sets it apart and a team of smart servers remain ready to welcome you, guiding you to your seat and through the pan Asian menu. Their Thai soups are the best you will have – Tom Yum doesn’t have oil particles floating on it like the ones I have tried from other restaurants neither will the spice in the soup try to strangle you, as you gulp it down. It is a hot and sour chicken broth that has a distinct lemongrass taste to it, signature to Thai cuisine, along with kaffir lime leaves and mushrooms. Tom Kha, on the other hand, is a thick coconut milk-based soup with sliced red chillies, two other ingredients that define Thai food, simmered with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, lemon juice, galangal (ginger), prawns and chicken. The milky taste from the base complements the citrus and chilli kick that you get from the ingredients.
Best: Bonsai Special Soup
Why: It is a mildly seasoned broth with mixed vegetables and sea food. It tastes fantastic, especially to a sea food lover, is thick and has lots of nutrients in there. Yet it is surprisingly light, on the taste buds as well as the stomach.
Good with: Crispy Dynamite Prawns – undoubtedly the best I have ever had, these batter fried crispy prawns are incredibly light and have a very thin crisp on them that dissolves in your mouth immediately. They are served tossed in a special in-house spicy mayo that is less spicy and more on a creamy side.
Out of their impressive soup selection, my personal favourite is their Bonsai Special Soup.
Where: Friends Tower, Block 10, Gulistan-e-Johar
What’s good: Nepalese Momos
Why: The soft, slippery wrapping of momos is full of chicken and crunchy onions. Its serving size is ample and since they are rather plain in taste, they can be a great companion to whichever soup you are having. But give them a try with the spicy and sour sauce made in-house that has an excellent kick to it and tastes lovely with the momos.
The Lotus Court is one of the better choices to enjoy purely refreshing Chinese cuisine. From ambience to hospitality to food, everything makes it a place worthy of visiting.
Best: Lotus Special Soup
Why: It is not runny like most other clear broths. With an amazing consistency, the vegetables in it (carrot, cabbage, celery and coriander) give it an amazing taste and the sliced chilly a distinctive, enjoyable spicy kick.
The clarity & simple flavour of the broth delicious with crunch of the veggies and spice from red chillies.
Good with: Hunan Chilli Pepper Prawns – The prawns are fried in a crispy salty batter and are themselves a bit plain in taste. What enhances their flavour is the mix of pepper and chopped onions, ginger and red chillies that they are served in.