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In Focus: Clifton Blocks 2, 3, 4

The Chinese New Year began last week, but if you are still looking to celebrate, one of the ways you could do so is to head over to Clifton Blocks 2, 3 and 4, where a duo of Chinese restaurants, the Clifton Beach Park and the newly constructed Dolmen City complex are located.

Two of Karachi’s well frequented Chinese restaurants are located in Clifton Block 2 – adjacent to the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. China Town and Jade Garden have been staples in the neighbourhood for a number of years, and while many eateries have come and gone, these two are still going strong. Along with the usual ‘desified’ Chinese cuisine, they offer a number of exotic options, and for people who believe in stretching the definition of Chinese cooking to accommodate anything East Asian, they serve Mongolian and Thai dishes as well.

Once you have given yourself enough of a gustatory workout, stroll across the Marine Promenade to the Clifton Beach Park, which is an extension of the Mughal-inspired landscape design of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim in Block 3. Although the giant fibre glass Brontosaurus sculptures there clash with the Mughal theme, they are a popular attraction especially among kids and even some Peter Pan-like adults. On weekends and public holidays, the colossal KPT Fountain can be seen from the gates of the park that face the seafront. The Fountain is a sight to behold as it spurts a jet of water rising 620 feet high.

Although the adjoining beach isn’t the cleanest in the world, it is a popular attraction for the many basti dwellers in the area. Makeshift popcorn stalls, camel and horse rides and ethnic musicians entertain the public, and on weekends, some of the visitors even get together at sunset to perform the traditional attan dance, unrehearsed!

However, if the Park is too plebeian for you, then Karachi’s latest fashionable public space is certainly not. Located in Clifton Block 4, the Dolmen City Complex, sail-shaped with glass curtains, rises out of Clifton beach like a modern sentinel and houses some exclusive shopping options including Brands Just Pret, Flitz and Sheep, while Debenham’s will be opening its doors in April. Dining options in the Complex include Cinnabon and Butler’s Chocolate Café. However, most of the traffic rushes to Hyperstar. Dolmen City also provides underground car parking, although a lot of it is reserved for employees of the large national and multinational companies that currently occupy space in the Executive Towers.

With all of this activity, scenery, shopping and gastronomic offerings, Clifton Blocks 2, 3 and 4 are well worth a visit.

– Shayan Shakeel
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