Pak Al Safa is a typical Ravi’s and Karachi Darbar wannabe Pakistani restaurant. Located not far from the Marco Polo Hotel on Al Muteena Street, its prices suggest that it has positioned itself as a value for money alternative to Karachi Darbar and Pak Darbar, both a little further down the street.
Pak Al Safa has established something of a reputation for its Chicken Karahi, which I was there to try. Chicken Karahi, also known as Gosht Karahi and Kadai Chicken, is a dish from the Indian subcontinent noted for its spicy, tangy taste; it is arguably one of the most popular dishes in both Pakistan and India. The Pakistani version does not have capsicum or onions whereas the North Indian version uses capsicum.
And I must admit, irrespective of its modest appearance, Pak Al Safa has this dish nailed. Served in a small, well-used, cast-iron Karahi (wok) with its rich gravy still bubbling, their Chicken Karahi needs nothing more than the freshly baked roti it comes with to whip your yum juices into a free-flowing frenzy.
Well, at least that’s what it did for me. I couldn’t resist also ordering a Channa (it’s a crime to go to a Pakistani restaurant and not order a Channa – breakfast, lunch or dinner).
Contrary to some of the reviews I read about this place, service was actually okay. Good grief, the way some of my fellow reviewers described it, I half expected to get mauled. That said, I wouldn’t expect their service, best described as fast and furious, to win any awards. Pak Al Safa does have one very, very big problem though, a completely revamped and dressed to thrill Karachi Darbar has reopened not more than a minute’s walk down the road…and irrespective of how good their Chicken Karahi is, I know which one of the two I prefer…
Waste NOT. Want NOT.