You can eat at all the fancy cafes in the world but in the end, no one can resist good ol' desi cuisine.
But what does that mean for new restaurants offering desi food? Are they smart for catering to the number one palette or in trouble as it lands them directly in competition with some of the top preferred desi food joints? Because you can make all the malai boti you want, we won't place it above Ghaffar's.
When Tau's opened up in Karachi, we were skeptical about the necessity of the restaurant in city's gastronomy. But after hearing praise after praise about the eatery it would've been unfair to ignore the restaurant and its offerings.
Where to go
Tau's is located on Main Saba Avenue, adjacent to Studio X. The restaurant has relocated from its Nishat location (which shows up on Google maps, don't end up going there).
Walking into Tau's, we had certain expectations of what the restaurant would look like. Maybe ethnic designs foreshadowing the desi menu, or maybe a basic restaurant decoration like Kababjees or Kaybees. To our surprise, the interior of the restaurant was quite different from what we had in mind, with a very contemporary design and stylised in a non-traditional manner. A wall featured shelves with various trinkets and collectibles. The modern chic vibe was a pleasant surprise.
When to go
Tau's is open for lunch and dinner from 1 PM - 12:20 AM.
On Sundays, Tau's hosts brunch from 12.30 - 4.00PM.
What to order
Won't lie, the menu at Tau's seems very basic to the average Karachiite. How can we determine what would be a hit or the miss? We asked owner Taha Rafay for assistance and he was happy to take the lead.
For starters they brought us the Cheese Naan and the Kebab Naan.
The Cheese Naan was the least favourite dish on the table which was unfortunate because we were looking forward to it. The filling tasted like processed cream cheese and we wish it had been spread consistently and generously. But oh well, we still had the Kebab Naan to make up for it.
And it did! The Kebab Naan brought us back on track with spot on flavours. The major win was in the generous flavourful filling and the fact that it was actual seekh kabab rather than qeema or behari masala filling. We have been deceived before guys...
Also, it may be part of the starters but the Kebab Naan is a meal itself!
Moving on to the mains, Taha recommended his fan favourites and the resto's best... and not surprisingly the table was full of meat options.
The Tau's special platter is a plate full of BBQ goodness and consists of various meats in different marinades, we had fun tasting Tau's BBQ variety, picking and choosing our favourites for future trips.
The Seekh Kebabs, both chicken and beef, had the right kick of spice which would leave some heat in the after taste. We wish we could say the same for the Malai Boti, which lacked seasoning and came off just a tad bit bland.
The Chicken Tikka had the standard masalas which no one can complain about. The Chops had us excited at the table as very few BBQ platters serve chops. While the meat was very tender and fell right off the bone, we were underwhelmed as the marinade on the chops was very reminiscent of behari boti. For chops, the best marinade is pne which brings out the flavour of the chops itself, or at the most a dry spice rub.
However the Behari marinade at Tau's is spot on, which we could tell from the actual Behari Boti that was a hit from the platter. The very tender melt-in-your-mouth meat was delicious.
The BBQ platter was served with an array of naans and parathas. We were happy to see whole wheat naan (written as diet naan on the menu) added to the variety. Some of us try...
What came as a pleasant surprise was the paratha. Both that Tau's has lachay dar parathay and the poori paratha usually served with BBQ.
The BBQ friendly paratha was one we could have on it's own. It was light and had a beautiful crisp sound when torn which was extremely satisfying. We have proof!
The star at Tau's has to be their Chicken Makhni and this is their statement dish in Karachi's desi restaurants.
The Chicken Makhni came sizzling hot and looked as wholesome as it actually was. The fragrance had us all leaning towards it like a Looney Tunes short.
One bite and we knew that Tau's takes the term makhni very seriously. The dish tasted rich in butter and the masala was spot on.
Ghaffar's has its malai boti, Waheed has its fried kababs and now Tau's has stepped in with its chicken makhni. Honestly, team this up with garlic naan and you know what Tau's will be a hit for.
When we ravved about the Chicken Makhni, Taha happily told us, "This is our top dish and people are always coming back for it."
So will we!
Moving on to the Mutton Karahi, we liked the mixture of spices. It was comparatively lighter than the average karhai but it had a taste of its own due to it. What we really admired was how tender and well cooked the meat was, especially considering the quick serving time. Oh yes, Tau's service is very impressive.
We enjoyed our meal with some sweet lassi which is a special of Tau's. The lassi has a generous amount of malai, giving it that creamery texture. It's a good idea to share a drink though, especially if you want to feast more on that glorious Chicken Makhni!
Tau's is pretty generous with its serving in general and the lassi ended up being our dessert. We do regret not being able to try some of the restaurant's vegetarian options and the desserts which are not specified in the menu and subject to availability. But we do see ourselves hitting their brunch.
Damage on the pocket
The appetisers at Tau's range from Rs150- Rs250. The mains range from Rs350 - Rs2000 and that largely depends on the quantity of the dish. The dishes above Rs700 can feed more that 3-4 people. BBQ items range from Rs250 - Rs850 save for the platter and special dish that goes up to Rs2000.
Tau's has its specialty which can make it stand out in the desi market and we can't wait to sample more of its offerings.