APRA, The All Pakistan Restaurant Association, has announced the nominees for their Karachi centric awards ceremony. As much as the idea of supporting the food industry through a legitimate body is great, the list of nominees raises a lot of questions.
A few blatant mistakes can be gathered at immediate glance.
First and foremost, a ‘restaurant’ awards ceremony must make clear what criteria they’re following for selection- the fact that a fast food, international chain made it to the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category raises a lot of eyebrows. But more on that later.
Here’s what we think is missing from some major categories:
- Burger House of the Year: Jucy Lucy, Mr. Burger and Chips did not make the list and we beg an answer to this whopping WHY?
- Best Pakistani Restaurant of the Year: This is as obvious as the humidity in Karachi. Where, oh where is dear old Kolachi? But also, wait, this can’t be right…how could you forget BBQ Tonight?!
- Best Chinese Restaurant: There has been one constant in the Chinese food category which never fails to impress and that is Dynasty. Another snub is questionably Yuang Tung at Tariq Road which has a cult following and some hit classics.
- Coffee Place of the Year: I read through this category twice to make sure I wasn’t wrong but there is definitely, affirmatively no Espresso.
- Best Pizza House Award: If the competition were based on pizza chains, then it may have been understandable but with POMO and Junaidi’s making the cut- why was Famous O’s left out?
- Casual Dining Restaurant: Xander’s, Espresso, Mews and again, Xander’s. It’s interesting that these names that have established themselves in Karachi have been made invisible.
- Best Innovation Award: Considering the continuous menu additions and interesting food combinations, Easy should have made it to this list. Pinch n Co. is also a clear candidate for this category; not to forget 2 guys 1 grll with their famous doughnut burger.
- New Entrant: A great contender would be Kanteen which has made its mark so quickly and effectively. Test Kitchen by Okra is also amiss.
- Best Restaurant for Ambiance: among the excluded restaurants are Café Flo, Café Aylanto, Pompei and The Patio.
- Restaurant of the Year: Café Flo, Okra, Fuchsia, Loco, Thyme, Kolachi, Sakura, and many other favorites did not make it to the list. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
The list of problems doesn’t end here. There are many restaurants that have been included in the nominations when they, apologies, shouldn’t have.
- The Sauce- I suppose the fries are good, but it’s a burger category.
- Lal Qila- unfortunately, Lal Qila lost its charm a while ago and hasn’t redeemed itself.
- Restaurant of the Year category includes McDonalds. Yup. That aside- Bonsai, Koel and Meat the Cheese are all choices that may seem unworthy.
Missing categories that are relevant in Karachi today
- Best Chaat House
- Health Food Restaurant
- Best Dessert Spot
- Best Regional Cuisine Restaurant
Karachi’s food scene is extremely diverse and consists of BBQ houses, Karhai maestros, Bun Kabab vendors and authentic street food dotted all over the city. Where is the inclusion?
All the questions and negativity aside, it’s a great initiative by APRA to finally legitimize the major source of entertainment for Karachi’s masses with this award ceremony. To give restaurants a voice and something to strive for. However, the categories seem half-baked and information to authenticate the panel is not provided.
What do you think of the list? Let us know in the comments.