Karachi can easily be dubbed as the most diverse food hub of Pakistan. With its ever growing food palette, ranging from ethnic gastronomies to continental cuisines – the city has a flavour to offer for every taste bud.
Even though at first it might seem that Noon se Nihari is an ode to Nihari only (which would also be perfectly acceptable!), a quick glance at the menu reveals otherwise. The restaurant offers a wide array of mouthwatering dishes that would tempt the desi foodie in you to no limits.
To start off this desi culinary journey, we ordered Chatkeelay and Shimpialoo (full marks to the team for creativity!). Chatkeelay is essentially carved out pieces of boiled potato that are filled with extra tangy and overly spicy tangerine water – and yes it is every bit as yummy as it sounds! Not for the faint of heart, a single bite of chatkeelay can have you rushing for your glass of water, but believe me when I say that it is totally worth it.
Shimpialoo is the restaurant’s take on traditional pakora and is basically a combination of capsicum, onions & potatoes. Full of flavor and not overly spicy, the shimpialoo is the go-to starter if you want to play it safe and is also something that your kids are likely to enjoy as well.
The delicious starters had left us thirsty so we decided to cool off by ordering the restaurant’s signature drink Ginger Mentha (there’s also a mint version available). Served chilled, and in a generous helping, the drink is extremely refreshing and its tangy/sweet taste offers the perfect counter-balance for the spicy cuisine.
There were many main course choices on the menu and we decided to try the restaurant’s specialties. We ordered Beef Nihari (also available in chicken, but come on!), PurMaghaz (Brain Masala), DeraKabab (the restaurant’s take on ChapliKabab), Mewa Chicken and Farmaishi Fish (with a name like this, how could we miss it). And yes, we did realize later that the food was enough to feed a mini army!
So I’ll start off with my review of the Nihari – but first I think it is important to let you know that I am a die-hard Nihari fan from early childhood (that’s responsible parenting right there). There has been a point in my life where I have devoured Nihari in a row for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then breakfast again (don’t ask!).
So with all these years of experience under my belt (quite literally, unfortunately), a great Nihari for me boils down to the perfect balance of spices, a flawless gravy and meat cooked to excellence. I am happy to say that Noon se Nihari did not disappoint on any of these accounts. The Nihari served with all its traditional condiments and oven-fresh Kulchas was an absolute treat for the taste buds. Spicy, hot and fresh – it was everything that you would want your Nihari to be.
After these two absolutely amazing dishes I was almost afraid to try the DeraKabab for the fear of disappointment, but once again I was pleasantly surprised. The kababs, served with a devilishly tangy sauce were really well cooked. Easy on the stomach and not overly spicy, these kababs are the perfect side-dish to order.
The Pur-Maghaz or brain masala was nice but nothing extra special. The Mewa Chicken however, was again a nice surprise. Cooked in cashew nuts and almonds, this gravy dish had a mild and appetizing feel to it – the perfect comfort food. Highly recommended for those who like to stick to poultry in their diet.
The follow up to the Nihari was Farmaishi Fish. Now fish and sea food in general is tricky business and it takes a very experienced chef to nail down a good fish-based dish. A couple of bites into the Farmaishi Fish and I could completely understand why it is a popular choice amongst the restaurant visitors. Full of flavour and cooked just-right – the dish is a sea food lover’s dream come true. Another must try (seriously guys, this one is an absolute no-miss!).
I would like to mention that by this point in time I was in a mini food-coma but ended up ordering SujiHalwa and ShahiTukrey. The sujihalwa was cooked in desi ghee and was served piping hot. It tasted absolutely heavenly (try it with a kulcha!). The ShahiTukrey were served cold, a fact that made me overly joyful because I have always preferred them chilled. It was the perfect dessert and was so good that despite my full stomach I ended up indulging myself.
All in all, Noon se Nihari was the perfect desi food experience. What made it extra special was the hospitable staff and the aesthetically done interior.
The place is small and has a seating capacity of 20-25 people at max, but it has a charming feel to it. Highly recommended for all Nihari and desi food lovers! I know I’ll be going there again very soon.