Location: Dolmen Mall Clifton (Level 2, next to Fat Burger)
Average price: PKR 1200 per head including starter, main course and drink (you can get a 15% discount if you have Summit Bank’s Dolmen Loyalty Card)
Best items: Cheese naan, chilman biryani, murgh tikka achari, chicken dum seekh
Overall rating: ★★★★
Nestled in a corner between Sindbad and Fat Burger, this restaurant is like a well-kept secret hidden in plain view. A self-proclaimed hub for the more discerning or, in their own words, “those who appreciate elegance, refinement and good taste”, Zaoq offers a sophisticated, yet relaxed ambience. Facing the Arabian Sea, I would assume it offers a pretty view during the daytime though if you’re visiting at night like me, it’s too dark to tell.
It’s an off shoot of a restaurant of the same name in Doha, Qatar and compared to the others in this category such as BBQ Tonight or the strip of restaurants at Do Darya, the menu on offer is quite unique (like the spelling!). The food, while preserving an authentic Pakistani flavour, has elements of middle eastern cuisine which I personally found quite refreshing.
For a group of seven, we ordered two starters, six entrées and two desserts which was quite adequate. I found the servings to be a little smaller than anticipated however, what slightly lacked in quantity was made up for in the quality and taste. Zaoq also offers a good selection of vegetable & lentil dishes on its menu once you’re done satisfying those carnivorous urges. My favourite of the night was the cheese naan which we ordered as a starter. Stuffed with melted cheese, it was seasoned with herbs and lemon that added a fun, tangy flavour.
With so many restaurants mushrooming all over Karachi, it’s easy to write some off as temporary additions to the map but I feel like this one’s here to stay!