Forget the old favorites on Tariq Road and Burns Road, the city’s new kebab roll haven is located in that mad maze of traffic-congested narrow streets known as Khadda Market in Defence. The latest entrant to the rolls’ force — which up till now comprised of worthy comrades Red Apple, Red Chili, and the popular favorite Hot and Spicy — is Mirchi 360 Degrees.
What, you might ask, was the need for yet another kebab roll dispensing outfit when there were already three such venerable establishments in the vicinity, all within stone-throwing distance of each other? Demand, comes the reply, plain and simple. Karachiites know a good thing when they eat it, and in this case they can’t seem to get enough of the hot, freshly deep-fried paratha that is rolled around big chunks of freshly barbequed boneless meat (beef or chicken) which are garnished with your choice from an assortment of chutneys and sauces. So the more establishments selling it, the better for everyone concerned really.
Fresh after their successful maiden ‘360’ venture in neighbouring Hyderabad, where the rolls have caught on with a vengeance and are selling like hot cakes, the proprietors decided to enter the highly competitive Karachi market. Last month they boldly opened shop right next to the current most popular kebab roll vendor in town.
After you’ve had an eyeful of the impressively designed and lit-up logo, prepare to be overwhelmed by the menu which lists a seemingly endless variety of rolls on offer: from the tried and tested chicken chutney roll and chicken garlic mayo roll, to the enticing chicken Shangrila bbq sauce roll and the eye-catching chicken broast roll. Not to mention the pizza sauce roll and chicken achar rolls listed under the heading of “new additions”. Taste-testing such a variety is tough work, but someone had to do it. And ‘someone’ found they were not disappointed by any option. The chicken broast roll — with its sinful chunks of deep-fried, batter-coated chicken — was especially pleasing. The bbq-sauced option which had a delicious tangy flavour was also a winner.
In fact, it’s difficult to go wrong with kebab rolls as long as the parathas are done right. They need to be thin, flaky, fresh and fried to just the right degree; because there is nothing worse than being stuck with a thick, chewy, undercooked slab of dough. The parathas here, I am pleased to report, are of the ‘done just right’ variety.
So much so, that it takes some effort to tear one’s eyes away from the list of kebab roll options and focus on the other foodstuff on offer. Shawarma, chowmein, seafood, chicken and beef curries, biryanis, handis, burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, western shakes and coladas, fresh fruit juices, blended juices, faludas, ice cream and cold coffees…they do it all here.
The only thing they don’t do — like most Khadda Market eateries — is the ambiance. So don’t come dressed to the nines, expecting to be welcomed by a uniformed maitre d’ into an air-conditioned dining room filled with chic décor. The cutlery here doesn’t go beyond the small plastic spoon which comes with the ice cream, and the only seating available can be found in the cool comfort of your very own car. This is your stereotypical kebab roll joint after all, offering ‘grab it and go’ meals, or at best ‘eat it in the car while parked on the curb’