I may be biased, but I consider Karachi the food capital of Pakistan… We’ve got it all (well, almost), and we can do it better than the other major cities (yeah that’s a personal jab at you, Lahore).
That being said, the Tex-Mex scene in Karachi is bloody shameful and last night, my experience at a certain cantina only perpetuated this opinion. Enter Papi Chulo, Karachi’s latest wannabe…
Located in Seher Commercial, the same block that houses Burger Shack and Big Thick Burgerz, Papi Chulo is a non-descript outlet with a bull’s head sticking out above the shop. You could drive by and completely miss it, unless you were paying attention. A friend of mine mentioned the place, and so last night, in the throes of ‘drunchies’, a few of us decided to hit it up. It’s a no-frills restaurant claiming to serve Tex-Mex. There’s no seating, so you either order take-away or stand outside and eat over the trunk of your car. We chose the latter.
The menu offers your standard fare: burgers, sandwiches, wings, fries, and surprisingly, corn-dogs. The thought that instantly popped into my mind was “Where’s the fucking Tex-Mex?” Their marketing department was apparently unable to put in five minutes worth of research on Google about the cuisine they claim to serve, and skipped straight to the opening of the restaurant. I mean they didn’t even have nachos for god’s sake??? Anyway, I digress…
Curiosity got the best of us and we ordered four corn-dogs. I opted for buffalo-wings as well whereas my friends ordered three ‘Ultimate Hickory’ burger deals. For the corn-dog virgins out there, it’s a hotdog on a stick covered with battered corn bread and deep fried. Or in our case according to the cashier, a K&N’s chicken sausage. This information definitely took away from the experience. The corn-dog wasn’t anything special, although I have to give them props for trying.
The burgers came out which my friends quickly devoured. “It’s O.K.”, said all of them though they struggled to find that ‘hickory BBQ’. It seems like Papi Chulo is in the business for misinformation, not food. The fries were standard frozen McCain chips.
My wings arrived and on opening the container, found there was nothing ‘buffalo’ about them. I asked for extra buffalo sauce and doused them in it. BIG mistake. I’m a wing snob, and these guys had committed a cardinal sin. Their ‘buffalo sauce’ is an abominable concoction of yellow mustard, ketchup, and regular hot-sauce. TOTAL let-down… A friend of mine tasted it and asked “Isn’t this the cheel (eagle) hot-sauce?” It probably was… All this for about Rs. 1,800.
Dejected and sticky, we piled into the car and drove off hoping to never return. The most palpable thing after eating there was the feeling that the owner(s) looked at the burgeoning fast-food scene in Karachi, said “I want to cash in on that”, and left the actual food part as an afterthought… It ain’t that easy Papi!