As the scorching summer settles in for a good, long, oppressive visit, we all start to feel a little like wilted lettuce that could do with a little time in the crisper. It seems, then, that this is the perfect time for something fresh, something green and something chilled. Now this could of course mean a trip to the mountains, or a dip in a cool aqua ocean — and if you can, you should! But it could also mean something more immediately attainable. I find on a hot day, a visit to a good restaurant for a good salad makes me perk right up. I feel refreshed, I feel light, I feel ready for more!
Here, in my hungry opinion, er, I mean, humble opinion are some of Karachi’s finest salads:
Okra’s Mixed Greens with Feta
This off-the-menu salad is my absolute favourite, just for the cleanness of its flavours. It’s a mixed bed of greens, some dark and some light, sprinkled with some hulking big hunks of herb-encrusted feta and the odd black olive hanging around for some chewy texture. The dressing is a mystery to me, but there is definitely olive oil, some herbs and a splash of genius. The chefs at Okra change it up every so often. Some instances you will be surprised by the addition of some cherry tomatoes or some shavings of cucumber. Whatever the version, this one is a winner every time.
CafÃ© Flo’s Chicken Caesar Salad
Apart from the fact that CafÃ© Flo in the afternoon is one of the prettiest spots in Karachi — with its big French windows opening out on to pretty greenery and old school white furniture like my grandmother had — their Caesar salad is another clean mouthful of flavours. With a pure olive oil and lemon dressing, generous amounts of coarsely grated Parmesan and tender chicken, this classic creation leaves you and your palate feeling totally refreshed.
CafÃ© Aylanto’s Greek Chicken Salad
This is a truly original salad. The yogurt-based Tzatziki sauce, which is the real kicker in the dish, is one of the most interesting new flavours to emerge from our local restaurants. With Cajun-seasoned chicken, paprika, feta and vinaigrette, plus that fabulous sauce, it is an explosion of flavours (the memory of which is setting my mouth watering). Yum! Oh, and Aylanto at lunch is lovely too.
Fuchsia’s Grilled Beef Salad
A really spicy little number this, but don’t chow down on it before a romantic evening. Still, the cucumber noodles are pure genius, the soft onion crescents that are marinated in what feels like chilli vinegar are delicious, and the meat is as tender as tender can be. There are actually many things on the menu that are addictive and this cold salad is one of them.
Sakura’s Gomoko Salad
Now I will confess that I am not a seafood lover myself, but I am a Sakura lover and I visit as frequently as I can. Each time I have done so, my dinner companions, be they ever so varied, have ordered up this salad. The clean little cubes of gorgeous looking deep red tuna, Japanese pickles and iceberg are offset nicely with a spicy horseradish sauce. Clean protein and fresh veg: this is what life is supposed to be all about!