Newbury Cafe: A Tale of Beef OD
I don’t visit Karachi often, but when I do, I’m always in the mood for something new. This time around, a new lunch option caught my eye. Easy, breezy, and definitely not sleazy, Newbury Cafe makes me wish a bit of Karachi found its way to Lahore.
Tucked inside a corner near E-Street, Karachi’s Newbury Cafe may have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for the hype. Inside, the dusty streets of the city by the sea give way for an airy, bright atrium and nonchalant dining. Newbury Cafe is not extravagant, but quaint would be underselling it. It could be a beach lounge, if the beach was any closer. Free is a word that comes to mind. Is Newbury Cafe one of the best restaurants in Karachi for lunch? Let’s find out.
Since I arrived during off-peak hours on a Saturday, I didn’t have to wait for a table. There were two other occupied tables; people who had been there far before I got there, and would stay there far after I left there. Such is the gravitational pull of a restaurant that tries to be nothing more than it really is. Newbury Cafe is a saunter in a world that refuses to soak it all in.
Food and Other Drugs
It was past my lunchtime, so I was famished. With no recommendations on hand, I was in the mood for tapas. I ordered the BBQ Short Rib Tacos, the Steak Nigiri with Wasabi-Soya Aioli, and Chicken Katsu Sliders for my appetizers. For my main, a USDA Prime Angus Burger would do just fine. I know what you’re thinking: this doesn’t seem like an order for one person. Remember when I told you I didn’t visit Karachi often?
The BBQ Short Rib Tacos were super. With hard shells, I enjoyed the bite sized, hard shell tacos, bursting with smoky sweet barbecue glaze. Sour cream and barbecue never felt this good together. And I’m not one for jalapenos on tacos but the textural synchrony between the hard shell taco, the braised BBQ beef and the jalapenos was incredible.
I had to try the Steak Nigiri with Wasabi-Soya Aioli. If Salt Bae taught me anything, it was that glamorous food, more often than not, tastes glamorous too. This was no different. Blowtorched beef slivers on sushi rice with a kick of wasabi, all hidden under a nest of deep-fried potato shavings – a sight for sore eyes. I’m not sure if the steak was local or USDA, but the fact that I could tell speaks wonders. Wonderful execution.
I’m a katsu kinda guy. Curry, sandwiches, salads, noodles, all get the katsu nod of approval for me. So it came as a surprise to me when I found the Chicken Katsu Sliders extremely underwhelming. The tangy bulldog sauce was overpowering and took away from the sanctity of the katsu. The bun was mushy and when the sauce rubbed off on it, it tasted like a damp spring roll with Thai sweet chili sauce on it. The katsu could have been nice, but I couldn’t tell because it was masked like no one’s business.
Beef Burger x 2
The main event was the USDA Prime Angus Burger. Not much information about the way that the burger would be served or what the accompaniments may be, but I decided to roll the dice. Boy was this burger impressive. Two Angus patties atop lettuce, slathered with cheese, mayo, hugged by two buns and not much else, came in like they meant business. Herbed, dirty fries in pencil holders were the only other thing on the slab. The beef patties were frustratingly good. They were complex, smoky, fatty and salty. Argh. The buns are toasted and spongy enough to soak in the jus. I would be lying if I said I disliked the USDA Prime Angus Burger for even a second. So much for bad reviews.
There’s a saying in Karachi: when a new restaurant opens up, it makes its money back simply because there’s enough people to try it once. Newbury Cafe in Karachi doesn’t want you to try the restaurant once, it wants to be a part of your life.
Looking at the menu and what I couldn’t order, I, for one, am just getting started.
Newbury Cafe Karachi Menu
Newbury Cafe Karachi Location
Contact Number: +92 21 35174212