Monday, September 10, 2012

Restaurant Review: Biryani of the Seas

Recently, Biryani of the Seas – or BOTS – has made quite a buzz in the Karachi food scene.  The eatery is attracting positive to enthusiastic reviews not only from metropolitan magazines but also from young bloggers. A couple of friends also visited and recommended that.

So this weekend we (wife and self with kids) decided to give it a long due try, and here goes our review:

Outright Disappointment – BOTS KECHS

Out of their two outlets, we selected the one located clumsily in KECHS – near Baloch Colony flyover – partly  because of its proximity to the city center and mainly because one of the reviews which mentioned better dining facilities there.

The eatery was not easy to find while the dining hall was also not upto the mark. However, these were not the main reasons for our displeasure.

Firstly, it was the unavailability of menu items, except for biryani and karhai. Upon inquiry, the waiter informed us that ‘Ustaad’ (chef) had not arrived yet! Interestingly, I called this specific branch before leaving home and the guy gave me the assurance that they serve the full BOTS carte!

The second shock was in the making. After we settled down in one of the weird cabins, the place plunged into darkness.  Again upon inquiry, we realized that there was no adequate backup for power supply!

Life is about Second Chances – BOTS Clifton

Electricity outage gave us a good chance to cancel the order and we did exactly that but decided to give their other outlet a try. Why not?

Location: Unlike the KECHS one, we found the Clifton branch easily, which is located besides PSO House near Clifton Bridge.

Ambiance:  The place looked clean overall, staff uniformed and mannered, environment lively and fresh, but still the ambiance was not as good as one would aspire for.

In front of the eatery, white plastic chairs and tables were set in abundance while one of the waiters informed us that the hall inside has “AC and HiFi (for Wifi, I guess)”. But we chose to sit outside more so because of the post drizzling breeze. The setup reminded Urooba of the evening we spent around a Tahrir Sqaure café last year in Cairo!

Order - Cluttered Menu: One of the busy looking waiters gave us the brochure-cum-menu which listed quite a few dozen options, ranging from desi varieties like biryani and karhai to Chinese and Thai food, Chicken Role, South Indian Dosa, to even Goan fish curry. Spoiled for choices, we sought for waiter’s help, who was as clueless as were we. So we tried our luck; ordered Prawn Biryani (single), Dhaka Fried Fish (250 grams), and Masla Dosa initially and Chicken Garlic Mayo Role and French Fries later on (wifey, you know!).

Food Quality and Taste: All the items we ordered were fresh, perfectly cooked, and quite tasty. The biryani had a lot of prawns in it, however, rice had a generic overwhelming spicy taste – maybe they use the same curry for all biryani varieties!

Dhaka Fried Fish was awesome and so was the Masala Dosa. Fish was fried with a crispy batter and served with the South Indian style Chatni (sauce) of two varieties. Appetizing and refreshing! Masala Dosa was also cooked with perfection and served with the traditional Chatni.

Urooba got the spice bug so she ordered Chicken Role for herself and French Fries for Misha; both were a good value for money and complemented the seafood well. Taking clue from other tables, we also ordered a couple of Limca as a surprise drink and the experiment did not go wrong.

Service: Service was satisfactory although the waiters were on the run and looked somewhat bamboozled to cater their customers. As mentioned above, the guy serving us looked a bit surprised when we sought his opinion – appeared that they were not trained for that.

Prices: We paid ~Rs. 700 for all of the above which was not very expensive given the quality of food and the taste. However, the price structure on the menu was a bit complex and barred us from ordering at our will. Single serving of Chicken Manchurian was quoted for ~500 excluding fried rice which cost 200-300; too costly in my opinion unless it serves more than one person. 

We also gave tip to the hardworking waiter whose facial reactions hinted that he did not expect that from all his customers – a bit surprising to us.


At the end of the day it was a good experience overall so we would recommend Biryani of the Seas to locals who would like to have fresh and tasty seafood and to travelers also who are searching for authentic local food in a local way.

BOTS also maintain an active FB page which has got some yummy photos also:

Next Time

Now I am planning to have fish fillets – after reading positive reviews – and the Goan Fish Curry – for a change. Fried finger fish (Dhaka), Masala Dosa, and Limca would definitely find their place on table as well.

Driving Directions

While mentioning KECHS branch is completely futile, reaching the Clifton one was comparatively easier; we took Shahrah-e-Faisal through Baloch Colony flyover and continued to Clifton Bridge, then took the first left after descending from the bridge, before Teen Talwar. BOTS was visibly located on the left hand side on a wide alley besides the PSO building.

View Larger Map

(For clarity, this review is unsolicited and unpaid for)

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