Taco Tuesday with Tacocat
If you are in Karachi and have yet to hear about Tacocat, then I suggest you come out from the rock you live under and get to it! Karachiites have waited a year for this joint to open up – ever since we got our first taste back at Karachi Eat in 2018 – and now the time is here. The neon sign is up, the Insta hashtag #TacoTuesday is trending and the line is already out the door.
Nestled in the ever popular Nishat Commercial, this newly opened Diggs has a simple yet inviting appeal. Everything from the minimalistic décor to the short but sweet menu consisting of three types of tacos is all about keeping things casual. But be warned – there is always, and I mean AHHLWAYS a wait, even if you think you are a clever cookie by going way earlier than your usual dinner time (trust me, I thought I was being hella smart).
So of course, once we were finally seated we decided to order up a storm because my early dinner plans were now out the window and I was officially starving. My friends and I got two of everything, including the freshly made Tortilla Chips with Fire Roasted Salsa and so oh so heavenly Guacamole to kick things off. Bursting with flavour, you could taste the fresh jalapenos in the salsa and the sweet and ripe avocados made the guac pure perfection. Honestly, I could have spent the whole night nibbling away on just the starters! But, the main event was yet to come.
The tacos were, and I kid you not, simply scrumptious. While I personally preferred the Carne Asada, which was made of juicy tenderloin chunks and authentic Pico de Gallo, the rest of the table seemed to be drawn towards the hard shell taco, licking their fingers clean of the dollop of sour cream it came with. Meanwhile, the fried chicken taco fell somewhere in the middle, with everyone preferring something else but still enjoying the chicken. The pro – you could tell the ingredients were all fresh and each bite was a treat to the taste buds. The only one true con was the size, which for me was perfect but for my more gluttonous male friends was more bite-size than anything; Six tacos down and they were still sniffing around to what was left on the table.
All in all, Tacocat lived up to the hype. There are no tricks up the sleeve here, no fancy twists or over the top creations – you get what you walk in expecting… Good ol’ fashion tacos at their best.
Lucky for me, Ali Askari (one of the young and brilliant minds behind the establishment) happened to be around, and so I was able to pull him aside and pick his brain a little bit.
Why tacos? And of course, where did the name come from?
So, my wife and I both went to college in the states, in very taco-obsessed cities (Houston and LA) so we had been craving a good taco joint for quite a while. When we got married 2 years ago all we did was cook tacos and when we entertained our friends we realized we weren’t doing that bad a job in feeding them – so we thought why not take this idea to the next step. The name was actually something one of my best friends suggested because we were going round in circles trying to come up with something we liked. Tacocat is a palindrome – which is basically a word or a phrase that stays the same no matter which way you spell it. We said the name enough times for it to kind of stick and then we just went with it.
I love the concept of keeping things simple and to the point, but do you plan to expand on your menu?
Of course we plan to expand our menu, however, it’ll always be a bit of
a niche. Tacos are still relatively new to our market so it will probably take a while to become a mainstay here. Right now we’re thinking of expanding our Taco menu first, so fish tacos, tacos al pastor etc. are all going to be launching soon, Inshallah!
How do you keep up with the long line out the door? I was lucky enough to make it on time to get my hands on the Guac, but I have heard you often run out!
Guacamole is our biggest headache, or should I say, WAS our biggest headache. Avocados are imported here so getting your hands on enough has been our single greatest challenge since we’ve opened doors. It’snot just getting your hands on avocados, it’s the process of ripening them that’s really tricky! So yes, when we opened we were catering to about 200 customers who ordered at least 2-3 tacos each and literally 90% of them order tacos with guac, so it was initially quite difficult figuring out how to manage the demand…
I’m proud to say we’ve sorted that issue out (by purchasing literally every avocado in the city) and customers shouldn’t have to face that issue anymore… Hopefully!
Everyone is jumping on the taco bandwagon, what makes you guys stand out?
First off, it’s fantastic that more and more places are serving tacos – tacos are awesome! We’re really proud of how we make ours – everything from the tortillas to the chips, to the sauce, are all made in-house from scratch. Our sauces use imported habaneros and jalapeños, we did a lot of research making sure our recipes are as
authentic as possible and we put a lot of ourselves into creating a unique vibe that we think is awesome. At the end of the day, we’re making the food that we love and I think any eatery that has done that has stood out in their own way, hoping that we do too 🙂