After hearing all of Karachi buzzing about the delicious food at the newest eatery in town, Tao, I knew I had to give it a try for myself. Serving up Pan Asian Cuisine, my personal favorite, Taorecently opened its doors and was already getting praise all over social media. So, I decided to take two friends on a Friday dinner date so we could check it out for ourselves.
I got in touch with one of the owners, Abdus Samad, before heading over, as the restaurant was totally booked solid the whole week. However, my powers of persuasion worked and we made reservations for an early dinner. As soon as we got there, the staff were all very welcoming, and right off the bat I could tell the restaurant had a warm, family friendly feel. The ambiance was a mix of classy and chic, with black and white painting and mood lighting, as well as slightly casual with contemporary table settings and a sushi bar to the side. Not to stuffy, not too laid back, it was the perfect mix. I was pleased with the attentiveness of the staff and how well trained they were, as well as Mr. Samadâ€™s accommodating and friendly nature, which was a great way to kick things off.
Immediately, we didnâ€™t know where to begin. Everything on the menu, from the starters to the sushi, looked extremely tempting, and the numerous pages of mains were overwhelming. However, Mr. Samad took charge and decided to order up a storm, with all of his and the chefâ€™s recommendations for us to try.
For starters, we ordered the Dynamite Prawns, Wasabi Prawns, Beef Negimaki and Tom Yum Soup. The Dynamite Prawns were surprisingly light with a hint of spice, and the Wasabi Prawns were creamy, with just the right amount of wasabi that didnâ€™t overpower the dish. Both were excellent and devoured within minutes. The Beef Negimaki, broiled stripes of undercut served with teriyaki sauce, and scallions, consisted of a truly unique blend of flavors. The soup was a hit with all three of us, tasting authentic and hitting the spot with a spicy kick and just the right amount of heat.
Since the sushi bar was such a focal point of the upstairs, we had to have a little bit of everything, or so we claimed to make our glutinous selves feel better. We started with a plate of Assorted Nigiri, which consisted of the chefâ€™s selection of fresh Tuna, Snapper, Salmon, Prawn and Crab sticks. Everything was simply delish! The fish was melt-in-your-moth soft, and everything was fresh and light â€“ exactly the way it should be. But we (shamefully) didnâ€™t stop there. We also ordered the Crispy California and Tuna Hosomaki. The California roll had a perfect balance of crunch, and the spicy mayo in the Tuna roll was addictively delectable. Overall, we had high hopes for the sushi, and from the presentation to the taste, we were beyond satisfied with what Tao was offering.
After all this, we were stuffed to the brim, but there were still some mains to go! We had ordered the Kra Pow Chicken, the chefs recommendation, and the Crispy Beef. The Kra Pow was a minced keema style chicken; a lighter dish that didnâ€™t stand out from everything we had eaten. But the Crispy Beef! Amazing. We had binged on so much already but couldnâ€™t stop attacking the beef, which is was not for the faint hearted. Crispy undercut slices, wok-fried in oyster sauce and with enough spice to make you tear up, this is a must try for those who love spicy food.
We had taken â€œover-eatingâ€ to a new level, and by the end we were in a complete food coma. However, it was all completely worth it. For a restaurant only in its initial weeks, still looking for its foothold, Tao was off to an exemplary beginning. My one suggestion (as any food critic should always have one thing to complain about), was over the missing dessert menu. Mind you, there was no room for dessert or even the thought of more food, but options are always nice! No?
Overall, Tao is a great addition to the Karachi restaurant roster. Serving mouthwatering dishes, with a mix of Asian classics and new flavor pallets, there is something for everyone. Abdus Samad and his partner Ather Chawla have a winner on their hands. We were just three people, so we tested the limits of how much we could possibly eat, but already have our eyes on some stand out dishes for next time. Dishes such as The Five Spice Chicken, Steamed Lobster and Phad Thai Noodles, were all jumping off the page. For anyone who still hasnâ€™t been, what are you waiting for? Go overindulge for a truly worth it meal.
Address: D-68, Block 7, Boat Basin, Karachi.
Dress Code: Smart-Casual
Contact: 0345 0826826