As you might have known, Pakistan has a predominantly non-vegetarian population. So you’d expect a range of restaurants offering non-vegetarian food. But what would you think if I told you that there is a pure vegetarian restaurant in this country? Shock, surprise, curiosity, astonishment? That’s what I felt when I heard about this unique restaurant in Karachi. So let’s dive into it.
In the wealthy neighborhoods of Clifton is a restaurant that will make you do a double-take as you pass by it. Raj Rasoi, ek rivayat, is a premium vegetarian restaurant on the Clifton main road in Karachi. It feels like a magical portal to another world because as soon as you set foot inside the premise, you’ll forget that you are in Pakistan.
When you enter the restaurant, you’re greeted by a person in traditional Rajasthani themed attire, complete with a desi kurta and pajama, a Rajasthani paghdi and the traditional Mojdi. The staff there will talk to you in a Gujarati/ Kathyawadi dialect. The ambiance of the place will take you to Rajasthan or Gujarat. The most important thing however is that the menu offers authentic Gujarati and Rajasthani dishes. How can you not forget that you are in Karachi?
The restaurant is like any other Thali restaurant in Gujarat. They have daily rotating menus and the staff will bring the buffet to your table and explain to you every dish they have. They also have a service named Thali-on-the-go which is basically the day’s menu packed for your to take home. It’s just like any other Gujarati Thali restaurant but it’s in Karachi!
It’s surprising to see that such diversity exists in the world. I would never have thought that there would be a Gujarati restaurant in the middle of a Pakistani city. But it exists and that is awesome. I salute Rafiq Panjwani, the owner of the restaurant for coming up with this idea and going ahead with it. The restaurant is a success. It was opened in 2011 and is still operational, that tells you a lot about the open hearts of the people of Pakistan. The restaurant was primarily targeting the Vhoras, Ismaili, Surati, Gujarati and Memons that live there or visit the place, but the restaurant is gaining in popularity among other residents as well who have taken a liking to the food offered here.
So if you are a lover of Gujarati food and plan to visit Karachi make sure you go to this island of desi. Forgive the corniness but it will be a truly out-of-the-world experience.