My Love Letter to Appetizers
Appetizers are to a meal, what first meetings are to new tinder dates…
I’m on of those people who get more excited about the appetizers than the main course. The foreplay of it all, a dish that when you know is over, simply means it’s time for more food to come! It is in that regard the best part of the whole meal. My tummy fills with butterflies and my heart skips a beat when I see those starters making their way over, that some could call it downright romantic. Here’s a love letter to my favourite starters in Karachi…
Dish: Crispy Seaweed Tacos
Melt in your mouth, thick cut Yellowfin tuna is carefully balanced on top of a seaweed chip, sprinkled with finely cut cabbage, sesame seeds, avocado chunks and a creamy horseradish sauce that can kick it Wu-Tang style.
Location: Mad Roosta
Dish: Crispy Cajun Cauliflower Bites
Scallion waffle aside, Mad Roosta does a really yum cauliflower fritter that is crispy without overpowering the juicy cauliflower. Tossed in Cajun spices and served with their signature Mississippi Comeback sauce, this little gem is a once a week staple for me.
Dish: Chips and Queso
Even though this Mexican snack sounds pretty straight forward, the in-house made chips are dusted with a zesty lime powder that makes them suuuuuper addictive. They also are designed for great scoopage (yes I just made up that word but I think it’s pretty fitting) of their legendary queso. Although I’ve asked many times, the recipe is a close guarded secret and I can only image several types of cheeses coupled with straight up crack because on Monday afternoons I find myself banging on their window begging for more.
Dish: Mirchi Aloo
This is some straight up comfort food. Warm, soft steamy potatoes smothered in a red, thick sauce that feels like your grandmothers hug, Mirchili’s masala aloos always hit the spot. You can ask for some papri to crush up and put on top, which goes beautifully with the tart curry pattas and brings some crunch to the dish.
Location: Meat The Cheese
Dish: Mushroom Cheese Fries
I know there are a lot of loaded fries in town, but the simplicity and consistency of the fries from Meat The Cheese always pulls me in. The fries themselves are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, but they aren’t the champion of the dish. The garlic mushrooms in the cheesy white creamy sauce is what makes this a must try for all cheese lovers. An appe-‘teaser’ for sure.
Location: Test Kitchen by Okra
Dish: Pan Con Tomaate
Okay, so we all agree that Test Kitchen is the best thing to happen to the culinary scene in Karachi since… well, Okra! And we all know every single thing that comes out of their kitchen should have its own theme song composed by the same orchestra that did the Game Of Thrones opening, but I’ve done the impossible and chosen my one favourite starter from there. Using a combination of tomatoes that come together to make a bruschetta on top of a otherworldly ciabatta, this dish is sprinkled with Parmesan flakes, a lovely stage is set for the perfectly sliced bresaola. Just thinking about it makes me feel like a giddy teenager holding her first copy of 50 Shades.
Dish: Chicken Nana Wings
Please don’t lynch me, I know it’s almost blasphemous to talk about the chicken at a sushi restaurant, but hear me out. These little morsels of chicken are crisped ever so slightly, covered in sesame seeds and smothered in the tangiest, positively transcended red sauce that will convert any non-believer. It’s served with a side of fresh, creamy slaw to combat the tangyness and always whets the appetite just right for a 12 piece serving of Summer Breeze
I’m totally the kind of person that can sit down at any dinner and go ‘do you guys just wanna order a bunch of appetizers’ and walk out completely satiated. Appetizers are to a meal what first dates are to new tinder dates. Exciting, maybe makes you a bit nervous of what’s to come, but always gets your heart racing!
Written by: Aneela Shaikh
Cheese fiend by day, anime addict by night, you can find Aneela begging strangers online to source her Lucky Charms (@aneelashaikh)