Reviewing Hot n’ Spicy Brought Back Years of Memories
Everyone has been to hot n’ spicy. I’ve been eating hot n’ spicy rolls for the last fifteen years of my life- it’s a decision that can’t go wrong. The crispy paratha and the tender, spicy boti are always on point (okay, 90% of the time). It’s become part of the legendary restaurants in Karachi and hold special memories for a vast population of Karachi.
I didn’t intend to turn this into a piece on nostalgia. Our team simply went to review items on the menu that we wouldn’t normally order here. All said and done, as I’m sitting down to write this, all I can think about is the numerous memories I’ve accumulated here.
I remember being new in Karachi; I lived with my aunt, started a new school and was going through changes as a young teen. Often as a treat, we’d stop by hot n’ spicy- the best roll joint in town- to get a chicken chatni roll. This is when the order window was smaller and the area was best known for Tariq Book Store and a now relocated Gazebo Chaat House. That chatni roll was a small moment of affordable comfort in an otherwise confusing place.
As I grew older, it became the go-to place for a post-beach trip. Or when going to a rangg was all the rage. Everyone would pile into cars and gather at hot n’ spicy. We’d roll down our windows and yell out our orders: “mera chapatti main karein” “garlic mayo ziyada rakhna hai” “pyaz kam aur chatni ziyada” and the ever-trained ears at this place would bring out a dozen and a half orders with precision- all without a notepad.
Slowly, but unsurprisingly, hot n’ spicy expanded- as did its customer base and loyalty. They opened more branches, and as of a few years ago, dine-in areas too. And even though hot n’ spicy is a regular feature at home, we had never had a dine-in experience.
So here we go, do the memories make up for or live up to the experience?
We wanted to order items that we normally wouldn’t. To understand whether hot n’ spicy is more than its rolls. We got:
- Peshawari chicken karhai
- Thunder Fries
- Afghani Pulao (mutton)
- Garlic Naan
- Crispy chicken roll
- Classic chatni roll (because, of course)
The Peshawari chicken karhai wasn’t what we’d call authentic. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad. We expected the chicken to be cut into smaller pieces with the traditional green chili and black pepper masala. The presented dish primarily consisted of a large quantity of tomatoes.
The Thunder Fries were quite anti-climactic. Forget the fact that the sauce was extremely underwhelming, the fries were the frozen kind. A big no-no.
The Afghani pulao smelled like it had gone bad, so we didn’t eat it. Even when they insisted ‘that’s how mutton smells’.
The kheer was surprisingly good. It wasn’t too sweet and had a great texture to it, with just a slight bite.
The Garlic Naan is what soft, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth dreams are made of. I will go back again and again to get this naan hot from the tandoor, to eat without an accompaniment. To savor this in all its glory.
The rolls- Ah, the classics. Stick to these, they will not disappoint you. After a series of misses with their other menu items, it was comforting to note that their rolls are still as delicious as I remember them to be. And I’ll be honest, it makes up for everything else. They don’t need a Chinese food section, nor is it mandatory to have a hot dog on there.
All they need is their mouth-watering variety of rolls with their signature, super unique chatni and hoards of people will make their way to this little dip in defence. To be followed by hoards of waiters waiting to memorize orders and deliver them to just the right car- now a part of another memory made at hot n’ spicy.