By:Filza Jawad Hai
There is nothing more modest about the look of Grotto, a fine dining restaurant located on the 7th Bukhari commercial lane, Phase 6. The restaurant appears to be completely inspired from the European and American culture. Inside the décor screams for attention with its stainless glass doors and brick-lined walls; all rustic interiors.
Most of the restaurants these days do not accentuate over customer satisfaction, which is why it has become quite difficult for new places to establish themselves among the good names. Grotto, on the other hand has been particular about their customer service. The staff is extremely courteous and helpful in talking you through their menu. The service has been incredibly efficient and professional. The waiters were quite organized in serving our courses of meal.
It’s one of those few fine dining restaurants in Karachi that had a properly set table with the series of flatware (forks and knives) accurately set on either side of the plate, with small linen napkins. When you sit down and instantly admire the cutlery, it is a good start.
Moving on to the critical part of the review where everything comes down to taste and perfection of the food. Since, there were half a dozen people on a table, we all decided to order different things off their extensive menu. Starting with the appetizers, what appealed us the most was their Spinach and Artichoke dip, Grilled Calamari and Thai Prawn Cake. And for the mains we ordered Garlic Pasta, Moroccan Chicken, Thai Cashew Nut Chicken and Grilled Atlantic Red Snapper.
Thai Prawn Cakes are deep fried, crispy golden prawn cakes with a strong flavor of lemon grass and Thai spices in it. The cakes on its own are slightly dry from inside, which is why it is a must to dip it in the delicious umami served with it.
The Grilled Calamari was beautifully cooked and served with sweet chili sauce. The Calamari was moist, glazed and infused with strong earthy flavors like dill and herbs.
Spinach and Artichoke dip was the highlight of the night. The dish was loaded with exceptional fusion of Spinach, artichoke and parmesan flavors. It’s a platter of classical creamy Spinach and Artichoke dip under the bed of Parmesan cheese, accompanied by toasted baguettes on the side. It was absolutely delightful and something you would want to go back for.
The main course was served as soon as the starters were finished. The table kept shuffling the dishes to make sure what was the overall about all the items and which one stood out. Thai Cashew Nut Chicken with garlic rice and sautéed vegetables outshined all the other items on the table. This was way superior than the Thai Cashew Nut Chicken I have eaten at the authentic Thai restaurants. It had a balance of taste and texture in it, with tangy chilli gravy and crunchy texture of cashew nuts, onions and green pepper. The other reason I would visit this restaurant for.
Moroccan chicken is a decent dish for those who prefer mild creamy chicken gravies. This is also served with rice and sautéed vegetables.
Garlic Pasta didn’t taste as amazing as it looked. It is a typical European dish with uncomplicated flavors English flavors. Fettuccine pasta tossed in garlic and light vinaigrette served with parmesan cheese, grilled chicken, feta cheese olives and Garlic bread. Don’t go on the tempting looks of this pasta if you are in a mood for something spicy.
The Chef could use more attention to the detail of Grilled Atlantic Red Snapper. The taste was incomprehensive which is why it’s hard to make any judgements about this dish. It was a complicated dish with too much happening on the platter.
Overall the presentation of the dishes is commendable, each dish is designed with sophistication and excellent art work. The complimentary sauces served with the dishes are entirely different in taste from one another.
The experience at Grotto was wonderful. We were well greeted and welcomed in the restaurant with complimentary mint lemonade shots. Basically Grotto is everything a fine restaurant ought to be: warm, welcoming, formal and with an exclusive menu.