The fresh lobsters resting over ice chips in the little blue and white sail boat at Casbah, Beach Luxury Hotel’s 72-year-old restaurant, beckoned as the guests settled for a healthy and hearty meal at the opening of this year’s Seafood Festival here on Friday evening.
The black and white chequered tablecloths with dark blue napkins also matched ocean hues as the seafood chowder soup arrived followed by an appetising Caesar salad. Boneless chunks of barbecued Red Snapper turned out to be our third course. A combo platter with an assortment of fried baby squid, pomfret, various steamed portions, crab meat and lobster arrived next with baked potato and arvi.
Seafood is light and healthy so it was easy to make space in one’s tummy for everything on the combo platter. The only dishes that didn’t include any seafood were two desserts in the shape of lava cake served with vanilla ice cream and tiramisu. And after finishing the sweet dish there was just no space left for anything else.
The executive chef at Beach Luxury, Mumtaz Ali, said that there were some 25 seafood dishes on offer at the festival, including two soups. “Me along with my staff of 10 chefs planned the menus and we have prepared continental as well as local dishes including steamed, fried and barbecued seafood. The soups comprise tomato crab soup and seafood chowder soup,” he told Dawn.
He also said that it took them some three months to prepare for the seafood festival. “All the food was prepared from the fish, prawns, shrimp, squid, crabs and lobsters caught in Pakistan’s waters. It’s all available locally,” he said. “Though the lobsters are from a little further from Karachi — they are from Gwadar actually,” he added.
Meanwhile, general manager of the hotel, Mohammad Azeem Qureshi, said that they hold the Seafood Festival every year during the fishing season. “After a two-month ban on fishing in the country in June and July when the fish are allowed to breed, the fishing season resumes from August. Still, we usually wait till the sea is really full of fresh catch, which is around November. That’s when we get ample supplies of all kinds of seafood and it is like that until the first few months of the next year as well. So the Seafood Festival will continue until April 2020,” he said.
Originally published in Dawn, November 10th, 2019