Ask any Karachiite what to do in the city and there is no way you won’t get a mention of food. Whether it’s the posh, upscale E-Street buzzing with the town’s most frequented high-end cafes or the historic Burns Road characteristic of the city’s undying love for food through the cluster of dhabas and desi food havens lined all across it. Gluttony has perhaps become the most intrinsic sin of the city, that otherwise suffers from a lack of entertainment, amidst many a crime. Cashing in on this food hedonism were the organizers of Karachi Eat who, with their renewed concept, brought forward the best of both worlds – a touch of music with a platter full of food to suit every palate. Karachi Eat 2015, which became the highlight of the past weekend as it lit up the Frere Hall with energy and enthusiasm, was without a doubt an effort that deserves applause for being a step towards injecting life back into the city.
Back in the ’90s, festivals or melas were a survival test of one’s patience for cheap, low-quality street food, ogling men, suffocating crowd and piles and piles of litter. However, Karachi Eat was more of a fest-aurant, adding some ‘posh nosh’ to the local festival scene. The food epicureans not only got a taste of the essentially-Karachi Koyla Karahi downed with a cup of kadak chai from the Chaiwala but also some cutting-edge meals like Ravioli Florentine and Open-faced Danish Sandwiches from Karachi’s top diners at knock-down prices.
Leading the way were a host of talented pastry chefs that delighted customers with a wide range of sumptuous desserts. Be it the quintessential chocolate brownies or the innovative nitrogen ice cream, which was as much a treat for the eyes as it was for the taste buds, the place was a winter wonderland of sweet temptations. Topping it all off was the attention to detail given to make this festival a success. Indeed food remained the crowning glory but the funky truck-art inspired photo booths, the Man Vs Food competition right in the middle of all the hustle bustle, the cake-offs that left one in awe of the talent our city beholds (read: the gravity-defying tea-party inspired cake from 56 Bakerzz was fascinating) and the electrifying performance by Rani Taj were a perfect complement to the entertaining event.
Yes, the three-day event ended with a heavy dose of criticism and maligning from the visitors over parking issues, heavy traffic, cramped-up spaces and hours of struggle to make it to a loo but even all this couldn’t deter the true Karachiite from returning the next day. Where in the city do you find your favourite celebrities, top chefs, amateur artists and the general public feasting under one roof at one time? Or better yet, given the security situation that the city always finds itself embroiled in, when do we even witness such a community-building event?
Karachi Eat blurred those lines of disparity and danger and persuaded everyone to come together for one purpose only – food-tainment. And in the midst of serving its purpose, it gave us some of the most memorable dishes that left foodies begging for more. A few more tweaks in logistics and management and a tad less commercialization and Karachi Eat’s team might be on to a celebratory hatrick next year. For now, here are our top food picks from the event that you should be scouring Facebook for in case you are looking to order.