An exquisitely ornate chandelier is affixed from the mezzanine floor of the restaurant down to the dozen or so tables waiting below at both levels. The plank-like wooden staircase takes you up to a smaller portion of the café completes the overall ambience.On the ground floor, a flat screen television is perched atop the entrance while luxurious looking wallpaper and wooden panels surround the interior walls. Black and white photographs line the walls leading up the staircase and onto that very floor itself; depicting the times of the Karachi city way before Partition in the late 1940’s.
Nuzzled in the farthest corner of Karachi’s posh Zamzama Street, when leaving the Clifton area, is a quaint café/restaurant known as ‘The Deli’ or more popularly, ‘Deli’.Owner Tina Mehdi conceptualized her vision for a delicatessen offering fresh salads and sandwiches in February of 2007; an untapped segment amongst the ever-adventurous food-indulgent Karachi connoisseurs. In addition, The Deli is also spreading its wings into the customized party catering section for the corporate and non-corporate sector.
One wintery afternoon as we entered The Deli , we were greeted by a friendly host who guided us to our seat.As the menu was pre-planned, the starters rolled out onto the service counter the very moment we seated ourselves. Tina Mehdi and her staff had very carefully selected signature dishes that are available on ‘The Deli’s’ Ala Carte , Chef’s Specials and Outdoor Catering Menus.First in line were the Chef’s Specials ‘Cold Smoked Salmon Stack’ and ‘Prawn Wasabi Cocktail’ that were served simultaneously. The ‘Cold Smoked Salmon Stack’ was generously stuffed with sour cream, chives and diced tomatoes served with a mini assortment of green leafy salad leaves giving it a very sharp zing and tang as an appetizer. For want of trying the salmon stack first or the lack of flavours and spice in the second, the ‘Prawn Wasabi Cocktail’ was less in flavour. A boiled-egg slice as the accompaniment was bland as the boiled prawn sitting in a mini ramekin over a similar bed of leafy salad leaves. The dressing claimed to have the famous Wasabi paste as its main ingredient but it tasted more like a toned-down version of Thousand Islands dressing. However, the jumbo prawn was cooked to a juicy and succulent texture – the way sea food should be served.
The seasonal Chef’s Special ‘Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Salad’ was served over a gigantic helping of rocket, iceberg and other leafy greens. The dish was served with the first main course, ‘Chicken Roulade’, rings of chicken breast stuffed with ricotta, feta and mushroom. The creamy sauce consisted of finely diced mixed peppers and assorted grilled seasonal vegetables as a side.
‘Wok Fried Prawns with Fresh Chilli Garlic, Basil and Oyster Sauce’ is served with a steaming hot portion of plain white rice and small-sized prawns in an authentic Thai oyster sauce. For a cold, wintery lunch, dinner or snack, this dish is ideal comfort food to keep you going with that slight edge at the end of every bite.Last but not the least, a ‘Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich’ was the finale to our main courses. At ‘The Deli’, the customer is pampered with a choice of Brown, Multi-grain, Pita and Panini breads to enjoy your sandwich fillings in. This particular sandwich was served Panini-style with a spread of cranberry relish amongst sliver-sliced pears, havarti cheese, garden greens and grilled beef and turkey bacon.
For every chocolate lover’s surprise, dessert must contain that refined cocoa mixture as the key ingredient to the dish for a meal to be complete. Our final course was another Chef’s Special ‘Rabab’s Lindt Cappuccino Brownie’ served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The brownie tasted nice, although it was moist and spongy as opposed to the tradition