Walking into Dua Restaurant, your face won’t be able to contain a grin. Stand in awe, right there with me, before a simply electric atmosphere of food preparation.
From smoking tandoor ovens, to 10 metre long kebab grills, open-flame and charcoal bar-b-q fires raging. Just one step beyond lies a line-up of a dozen simultaneous karahi burners (not exaggerating), they’re all lit, and they’re all frying continuously.
An Immediate and Meaty Introduction
A True Champion of food in Pakistan, Karahi is a maximally flavorful dish of frying meat, and its a food you cannot visit Karachi without eating.
Dua Restaurant is the place I recommend, a restaurant where you’ll find a magical menu so full of karahi options that it will satisfy even the hungriest of our world’s meat lovers.
Dua’s Karahi Team Skills
The first thing that any visitor to Dua Restaurant will undoubtedly comment upon has to be the skills of these karahi chefs and their team.
The speed, their confidence, and honestly just their massive heat-tolerance ability is astounding – now these are real-life super-powers!
To be honest, if this blog ever contains cartoons, I will be drawing the head karahi-chef at Dua Restaurant as the new series’ hero.
Order (a Lot), then Find a Table
Its Friday night, and many are arriving here straight from work. I’m sure its a common day-dream in Karachi, spending the entire day in anticipation for Dua Restaurant’s evening meal!
Now, imagine being there with me, diving headfirst into the first of thousands they’re eating each night here – each pan deliciously crackling, every one a fully flavorful steaming dish of karahi.
If you can see the first dishes arriving now, then let’s get right to the food!
The Recipe (Butter, Meat, Re-Peat…)
The first black pan arrives, hissing so loudly that you can’t help but look – each arrival literally demands your attention.
The head chef uses pliers and tongs to hand each karahi directly to an assistant’s huge wicker coaster, and before all the butter and oil can even stop bubbling, its already descending in front of you.
This Shahi (butter-style karahi) has approximately one entire ladleful of desi ghee in it – the flavor this single ingredient can add is something you really have to taste to believe.
I recommend starting with a Mutton Karahi here at Dua, as you will quickly learn, Karachi does not play games when it comes to food, especially with respect to tender bits of mutton.
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Frying each morsel gloriously in home-made butter, you’ll know from the moment you see the glimmer in the chef’s own eyes, each plate of mutton here is a treat.
Adding in some mildly spicy green peppers, following that with tons of cumin seeds and coriander, this gives the mutton karahi an absolutely beautiful aroma to go along with its juicy and fatty meat flavors.
The smoky-fatty combo in each bite is incredible, and the cooking style of karahi just continues to blow my mind to this day – it has to be one of the most delicious and absolutely genius ways to ever treat a piece of meat.
Dua Special Bar-B-Q Platter (Half Size)
The size of this plate should prove right now how serious Dua Restaurant is about making its customers happy – the Half-Size platter is still large enough to contain eight different kinds of meat.
Note: All of the items on this platter are made on their own, and then added to this creation, but of course each of them can also be an individual order as well.
What’s in the Half-Size Platter?
Your special bar-b-q platter will include chicken drumsticks, several entire small quail, a lamb mince kebab, tandoor-cooked chicken kebab, shrimps and fish from the grill, and then finally some mutton chops.
I love the birds they include on this tray, and I can clearly remember picking apart all the small bits of juicy meat that there are in the quail – so fun, and so incredibly tasty. The flavor is not too sweet, just that perfect amount of marinade stickiness that you want when eating bar-b-q meat with your hands.
Dig in through the center of that wonderfully spicy, oily pile of rice pilau, hidden inside you may discover the huge chunk of mutton meat within. If not for the chicken, I would say the rice and mutton combo was my favorite part of this meat platter (which until now, I still don’t know how they’re both so juicy! Maybe these Karachi street meat heroes are secretly using Sous-vide?).
Its Decision Time
Honestly, you can order these items on their own, but its just so much more fun to get the full tray view (now I want to go back to Karachi to order the Full Size Special Platter all to myself!).
I recommend that you get this platter as your first order, along with both the prawn and mutton karahi – these are your must-order items at Dua Restaurant tonight (and scroll down now to see the prawns!).
This is one food that still stands out in my mind today, months later, even a year after our own visit to Pakistan is over.
The prawn karahi at Dua Restaurant is a thing of perfect beauty.
Karachi sits directly next to the sea, and so has access to all sorts of delicious ocean-living seafood. The cities long history though is what connects it to Central and Northern Pakistan – areas of this world that are famous for appreciating grilling meat – and I will say that at Dua, they bring it all together in a masterful way.
What a Combination!
This karahi pan of prawns somehow manages to light all your tastebuds to their maximal levels of flavor potential, all at the same time.
The huge amount of masala dry spices, peppery and spicy curry, the high-heat cooking style giving it such a fiery smoky goodness, there’s also sourness from the addition of lemon, crispness from tons of shreds of ginger, don’t forget the fresh green chili peppers, and finally to top it off there’s the backbone of incredible sweetness from the meat of the prawn itself.
The flavor of this dish of prawn karahi is stunning, and I honestly I am salivating right now just thinking about it. This is that dish so delicious that if you can’t find it whenever you finally find yourself back home again, you will just be forced to attempt to make it for yourself.
This food is a game-changer.
A Perfect Dinner Awaits
After all the meat arrives, you will notice that there is also an accompanying plate of fresh vegetables, as well as a few cups of sour yoghurt.
Feel free of course to dip with these, mix with these, use them as scoops, as spoons. These will help to cool you down, add crunchiness to each bite, or to just help you feel that in all these servings of meat you’re about to devour (or maybe its just so there’s also at least one thing on the table which is ‘healthy’).
Whatever the situation, you should know that in Dua Restaurant, the atmosphere is completely laid-back, everything is totally free style, and whatever gets you the most perfect blend of relaxation mixed with deliciousness, that is the correct way for you to go.
Perfect for the Entire Family as well
Many reviews I have found written by locals of Dua Restaurant recommend this as one of the better late night places to go with the entire family. There is a separate section too for families with small children, or you can also just find yourself a table out front near to the grill.
Stadium Atmosphere for Dinner
Arriving at this restaurant, they may easily persuade you into thinking that you’re arriving to watch a cricket match instead.
Almost stadium-size lighting overhead, the massively wide-open seating area just looks so exciting. The whole area in front is full of tables, but these are not tables you sit at with chairs.
I will assure you though, that even when the size of their meat production looks gigantic, everyone here was genuinely friendly, welcoming, chilling out, and it was actually quite a fun meal for one of our final nights in Pakistan.
One final recommendation though if I may, I would urge you to get a table, even if you are coming with your family, because it really lets you enjoy an authentic meal of Karachi food to the fullest.
These tables are completely ideal for relaxation, they are here for reclining on (or literally lying down upon) your post-feast belly. I hope that you too decide to go with the local choice, the Shalwar Kameez (local dress), before coming to Dua Restaurant.*
*Note: Its not mandatory, but lets just say that the dress, and this style of eating, are perfectly made for each other.
The Technique for Ultimate Relaxation
If you find yourself already wearing the most relaxing outfit in all creation, then you’re ready for this Karachi eater’s secret move.
If not, then just do your best, you just have to enjoy this most ultimate pose for relaxation.
Find a pillow or two, stretch yourself out, and if you feel a bit funny then just look around – I guarantee that the majority of other people you see around you will be enjoying themselves and doing exactly the same thing.
Reclining Here is Pure Instinct.
If you do have a Shalwar Kameez, the traditional long shirt and loose pants dress of all Pakistani men, then you may find that you actually have no choice in this matter at all.
Your body might just naturally find itself sliding into this lounging mode of comfort, a position that allows both your full stomach, and the rest of you as well, to fit most comfortably against one of those red body-sized cushions.
Its the perfect position to sit and chat with your friends, thinking back to the meal that ended just moments ago, and enjoy some down-time before departure.
Name: Dua Restaurant
Location: (Google Maps)
Hours: 5pm to 2am Daily
Prices: Our entire meal came to 4,820PKR (US$35)