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The Sindhi Muslim Roundabout at night

Burnes Road may have the distinction of being Karachi’s oldest food street; Zamzama the most stylish and Boat Basin the most accessible. But, tucked away behind the hustle of main Shahrah-e-Faisal, a small roundabout, the Sindhi Muslim Chowrangi, has become a small but popular food circle.

From paan to narial paaniThe commercial hub of an erstwhile peaceful and dignified residential area, the Sindhi Muslim Roundabout has long been the place to hang out for a late night paan and a cold drink or juice at the famous Hyder Juice. Crispo bakery was (and still is) a prime favourite for fresh – and flaky – chicken patties and Royal Cold Spot was the place to go for the most refreshing narial pani (coconut water) served right from the shell. However, in the last few years, this small circle has expanded to embrace a number of fast food joints, cafés and restaurants.

Narial paani and fresh fruit juices

Lights, kababs, action… Perhaps it was the legendary Bundu Khan who first decided to open up a branch at what must have seemed an odd and out-of-the-way location. But where the king of kabab goes, others must follow. The KFC Colonel came with his crispy fried chicken and then came Nando’s; Biryani Centre started a roaring trade and Eaton found enough space to set up an outdoor diner. With the entire area lit up by bulbs strung all across the Roundabout, the place now resembles the bustle of Tariq Road on Chaand Raat, except that instead of chooris and mehendi, people queue up for kabab rolls as waiters scurry around delivering food to diners waiting in their cars and little boys make an extra buck by bringing you paan, cigarettes or an ice-cream cone.

The roundabout gets trendy… But it’s not just at night that Sindhi Muslim comes alive; there’s Gloria Jeans for breakfast (as well as sandwiches and paninis), Roasters for lunch and Kahva for tea; three relatively new restaurants and coffee shops that have opened up there and serve as a testament to the Roundabout’s evolution.

Scrumptious gol gappas

Groceries, DVDS and curtains too… In between, there is grocery shopping at the Utility Store and DVDs from Royal Music. For the home shopper, Co-operative Market, that haven of curtains, upholstery and even furniture, is just two steps down the road.

In a nutshell… While those who want to see and be seen may still trek all the way to Zamzama or the food court at Dolmen Mall by the sea, the Sindhi Muslim circle is the perfect spot for the residents of PECHS and further this side of town, who now have their fair share of trendy restaurants and coffee shops.

– Shagufta Naaz

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 30, 2012.

The Sindhi Muslim Chowrangi at night