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Food review: Give in to The Patio's innovation and charm

Updated September 03, 2014

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When The Patio first opened, it appeared to be a transformed house with the porch and side yard turned into a lovely alfresco dining experience. This homey feeling along with the inclusion of fresh ingredients and impeccable service generated word of mouth for this unassuming eatery. Since then, The Patio has grown into a favourite, constantly reinventing itself, and its latest menu showcases a kitchen that continues to evolve.

– Photo by author
– Photo by author

Located in the same lane as Koel and Cafe Flo in Clifton Block 4, The Patio is good for walk ins, with reservations only necessary for special occasions (such as Mothers Day, Eid).

The latest renovations have transformed the formerly casual joint into a modern space with good lighting, minimalist interiors and fun art. The atmosphere is low key and informal, making it a go-to spot to relax with friends and family.

The Patio. – Photo Courtesy The Patio Facebook page
The Patio. – Photo Courtesy The Patio Facebook page

The menu is well thought out overall, but especially noteworthy is the tapas section. Patio's tapas menu goes beyond the average appetiser and includes rarities like 'Honey Crunch Lotus Stem' and 'Paneer Kalimiri', as well as the more conventional 'Wasabi Prawns' and 'Soy Glazed Chicken'. Those so inclined can make a meal of these bite size morsels by creating a platter of their favourite four tapas.

The stuffed mushrooms are new on the menu and the presentation is cute, but they are bland and the texture leaves a lot to be desired.

Stuffed Mushrooms. – Photo by author
Stuffed Mushrooms. – Photo by author

I've always thought of laksa as the ideal winter dish, but The Patio's version is so good, it can be enjoyed even in the August heat. Creamy, full flavoured broth with just the right amount of spice and a hint of coconut is the victorious base for the prawns, noodles, bean sprouts and crunchy peanuts.

Laksa. – Photo by author
Laksa. – Photo by author

In a land of meat lovers, it's nearly impossible to find a vegetarian or pescatarian-friendly restaurant. The Patio fills that niche with aplomb.

That is not to say that chicken and beef dishes are not available (a restaurant could hardly be expected to survive in Karachi without them), but the fresh take on vegetables and seafood is unique and appreciated. Not only do they succeed in jazzing up any veggies they touch, they are very accommodating to vegetarians, customising dishes wherever possible.

The 'Paneer and Mushroom Kuzhambu' was anything but ordinary. The aromatic gravy was piquant, yet delicate in flavour with just enough texture to make it interesting. Fluffy, tender steamed rice was the perfect accompaniment.

Paneer and Mushroom Kuzhambu. – Photo by author
Paneer and Mushroom Kuzhambu. – Photo by author

The 'Patio Prawns' come with a creamy sauce which is a touch overwhelming. Some acidity or spiciness would have balanced it well. The garlic rice it was served with also lacked a zing, and the garlic flavour could have been more pronounced.

Patio Prawns. – Photo by author
Patio Prawns. – Photo by author

New on the menu was the 'Baked Lemon Sole' – a welcome addition. Flaky, tender and well-seasoned, served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes with light caper butter sauce; and the presentation was lovely. The delicate taste and fine texture of the fish was in perfect harmony with the exquisite sauce which had a heavy citrus undertone that blended into the earthy Parmesan cheese. A light artichoke salad on the side provided freshness. The relative simplicity of the dish provides more depth and flavour than complexity ever could.

Baked Lemon Sole. – Photo by author
Baked Lemon Sole. – Photo by author

The unfortunate side effect of a continually evolving menu is that some favourites get removed. The popular 'Jalapeno Poppers' and the unique 'Vegetarian Thali' are no longer available.

It’s easy to be tempted by the dessert menu. Instead of the run of the mill molten chocolate cake and bread and butter pudding, The Patio shows innovation here as well. The 'Peanut Butter Cup' was a deep, rich and creamy peanut butter mouse in a dark chocolate cup that cut the sweetness.

Peanut butter cup. – Photo by author
Peanut butter cup. – Photo by author

Though the food is impressive, it is the impeccable service that drives us to visit the restaurant again and again. I earnestly appreciated all of the staff at Patio over several visits there — trained, friendly and knowledgeable, going out of their way to ensure a good visit. Our server on this visit Anil, was particularly attentive and accommodating with enthusiasm that made it a truly special meal.


Rating (4.25 out of 5):

Food: 4 | Ambiance: 4 | Service: 5 | Value for money: 4

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