Lunch where the chef spits on the floor

The Karachi Darbar Group of Restaurants of Dubai, UAE has a good reputation with locals and expats alike.
The branch we visit is located in Karama. You can’t miss it.

Karama is a low cost area of Dubai. Most of the people who live there are from India, Pakistan and the Philipines, with some Western expats added to the mix. There’s nowhere better in Dubai to get an inflatable giraffe or a Chinese bike that’ll fall to pieces within minutes of buying it. There are also lots of good restaurants that are very easy on the wallet indeed, if you can brave the chaotic traffic to get there.
We’ve been going to the Karachi Darbar for a few years now. It serves Indian and Pakistani food, with an emphasis on grilled meats, curries and sweet tea. Taxi drivers in particular seem to flock to it for a cup of Lipton that’s been boiled for the last five years along with gallons of condensed milk and sugar.
We always sit outside, where it’s usually pretty clean. You get visited by the local stray cats and the odd cockroach crawling around whilst enjoying your meal. A full meal for two with drinks usually costs around 40Dhs (about $11). I don’t recommend eating there if you’re not near a toilet the next day and have a wimpish stomach like mine. That’s not to say the food is ever bad or has gone off in some way – quite the contrary, as it’s always clearly freshly cooked and well prepared. It’s just that unless you’re a regular eater of spicey food you simply need to be practical about these kind of things.
We always have the same waiter and the same odd conversations about the menu, which contains no descriptions of what the dishes actually consist of.
“Can you help us here? What is a ‘prawn fry’ or a ‘chicken lollipop’?”
“Mm, it like prawn fry and chicken lollipop.”
“Oh, thanks.”
Our conversations with the waiter have improved on our earlier visits. When Tabu was ordering he used to glance at me for approval. I’d nod sagely, giving the little lady permission to choose a vegetable kofta. Now he’s realised that I’m clearly not the one in charge and Tabu’s able to order her food without any need for me to intercede.
The dishes you order often don’t end up being what you actually get served, but despite the culinary lottery involved, the end result is always tasty.
Yesterday we tucked into butter chicken and chicken kadai, with a fresh roti and green salad. Very nice. The only negative part of the evening was when someone who looked like the chef came out for a break, which he spent spitting onto the floor by the door. The friend he was chatting too appeared to have a cold. He did put his hand up to his nose when sneezing, but only to direct the sneeze onto the floor by the freezer containing the ice cream.
Despite this, my portion of Indian ice cream, known as kulfi, went down well.
Sadly, the website seems to be down at the moment. If it goes back up again, check out for the latest message from the chairman.

One Response to “Lunch where the chef spits on the floor”

  1. Vikram Mohan Says:

    Pretty surprised to see someone working at Sun and from Dubai maintain a blog. I see your office in the Internet City everyday when im not in UK while driving on the way home.
    Karachi darbar indeed is pretty good specially for their Tikka’s and Kebabs.

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