Mention Karachi to anyone who has been or lived there and you can pretty much guarantee they will bring up these two words: Barbecue Tonight.
It is probably Karachi’s most famous restaurant, though not its fanciest by far. What started out as a roadside stand has now become a multi-story restaurant empire. Often that kind of expansion marks the beginning of the end in terms of quality, but Barbecue Tonight has managed to maintain its standards, and therefore its popularity. It’s nearly impossible to get a table on a weekend night.
The last time I was in Karachi my attempts to eat at BT were roundly foiled. Most of my meals were spoken for with invitations to the homes of friends and family. On the one free night we had, my cousin Eddie invited us out. We begged him to take us to BT, but instead he insisted on taking us to a place for Nihari, a spicy and stomach-churning Pakistani dish that he thought might gross us out. It didn’t.
I’m back in Karachi now and a plan earlier in the week to try BT was again grounded due to a nasty stomach bug that kept me home for two days eating plain rice and yogurt.
Tonight was my last night in K-town and with my stomach coated in acidophilus bacteria off we went. I must say, the place did not disappoint. The chicken tikka was nicely spiced but not burning hot, and perfectly moist. The Afghani naan, fresh from the oven, was perfectly soft and lightly sprinkled with sesame seeds. Thinly sliced mutton chops were surprisingly tasty as were the spicy mutton kebabs. And the service, complete with white-gloved waiters, was excellent.
I'm looking forward to Barbecue Tomorrow!