Samovar, reviving the Chai Dhaba Culture
The 2nd thing which comes to the mind when you heard Karachi is “Chai”, obviously Seaview is the first one. Chai and Karachites enjoys the janam janam ka rishta. Ever since the Sheesha Cafes got banned in Karachi, this rishta has got pakka jorh, like that of samadbond. Youth has now taken over all these amazing chai dhabas located in DHA/Clifton, where youth is cherishing their love for chai in new manners.
Imagine, a diverse crowd sipping exquisite blends of exotic and gourmet teas in the open-air, as assorted gushes of the cool sea breeze afford a touch of perfection to the relaxed ambience. Sound interesting? This trend of taking so-called ‘low-brow’ food items (read: chai, paratha, tikka, paan or bun kebab) and treating them to a glossy makeover isn’t new to Karachi — in fact it follows from a global inclination to appropriate the mundane and transform it into high culture.
Intrigued by this new kid on the block Samovar, a new chai dhaba with new things on the list. As I had heard about this dhaba that they only uses best mineral water for cooking and making drinks, discourages littering and offers recipes which are not available anywhere, I had to give this place a try(Had got invitation for its soft launch, but couldn’t make it through). One more thing, they are health conscious and believe in serving the superior quality anyone can think of. In Short, as I have been told, they bank on taste and quality.
So I happened to be there over weekend after a party where we reached so late that we missed the food. So I crashed in here with my friends. Mr & Mrs. Khaqan, the owners of this lovely place next to China town greeted us warmly and guided rather accompanied us till the sitting area, (VIP treatment from the beginning). Samovar, has been opened by Mr. & Mrs. Khaqan in partnership with Col. Tariq.
We were given menu to choose what we would like to have, we were also told that whatever we are going to order would be made fresh as they don’t believe in keeping the precook material instead they make everything fresh then and there. (Bingo, who does this these days)
The Chocolate Malt Paratha paired with a cup of their Karak Elachi Chai deserves a special mention and is something that will keep me going back for more. Even though trying out savoury parathas wasn’t on my list, I couldn’t resist them once I got there and ended up ordering a Smoked Qeema Paratha and Fajita paratha along with the Chocolate malt one as I mentioned earlier, a decision I didn’t regret. The cheese in fajita paratha was perfectly melted and the smoked qeema paratha, just the right texture. Since I was too full by the end of it, the Pizza Paratha from their menu still remains on my wish list (I am obsessed with pizza these days). Since
we were the last customers to them that night, we got ample time to talk about Samovar with the owners.
Khaqan, a budding entrepreneur, affirms that a disgruntled customer makes a great restaurant owner. “For months we visited chai dhabas around the city and we always found something absent in our experiences, be it the quality and hygiene of the food/chai or the outside ambiance. So we decided to reinvent a dhaba experience using only quality ingredients, ensuring the finest hygiene practices and crafting a nice outdoor ambiance.”
Mrs.Khaqan, who makes sure all the food is made in premium manner and supervises all the Kitchen herself, added “We wanted to open , an open air café, where quality and tastes would be unmatched unlike other dhabas, and a place where friends and family can come and spend quality time. “ Our menu is has a wide array of dishes (she was right, there was so much that I need multiple trips to even taste only), made in preeminent taste with the freshest ingredients available.
Khaqan added, “Our chai’s are unique because our recipes are completely original and our tea is imported from Kenya. For example, we serve authentic Kashmiri Chai (available in winters only), prepared exactly in the same manner as you would find in a Kashmiri household. I don’t believe many, or in fact, any chai dhabas can say the same. ( This came up when I asked for Kashmiri Chai and I was informed that it is only available in winters as it’s supposed to be taken then only)
My overall experience at Samovar was amazing. I had seen in their menu from Detox juices (seriously, no other dhaba serves this at the moment) to all the varieties of Milk based tea, water based kahvas to chocolate shakes , delicious parathas to omelet , cold coffee to doodh ki thandi bottle, (yes, they do serve this as well, ) Namkeen Lasi or sweet Lassi, or perhaps with a dash of Gurr? Aahh all this sounds so divine, well it is actually divine. As the couple said and I agree, “Our food speaks for itself, one has to take it to be the better judge.
I can write chapters on the taste I have got there, and the food which made me fall in love with them. Those authentic recipes and the taste. I need to be there again, as soon as I can. But wait, if I am going to write everything what you are going to say after you get to experience that.
For now I will give Samovar 4.5 stars out of 5 , I am keeping one for the ambiance in the sitting area outside as its going to get paint in few days and I want to see how does it look.
Don’t forget to share your experiences once you visit this amazing place Samovar. Its located next to China Town in Clifton near to Bilawal house and currently operating from 5 pm till 1 am.
Happy Munching at Samovar.