Red Apple: A Quest for the Best Paratha Roll
The quest for a perfect paratha roll leads Saba to Red Apple, read on for more:
For me, Karachi is synonymous with paratha rolls. When I was a wee child, living in Karachi in the early 1990s, Fridays were my favorite day of the week. My mother would pick us up from school, and we would make our way to Silver Spoon Restaurant on Tariq Road, for our weekly treat of paratha rolls. And boy oh boy, were they incredible. I don’t know if my opinion of those rolls is clouded due to hazy childhood memories, but I remember them to be crisp, succulent and simply amazing.
Fast forward to Karachi in the early 2000s, and my husband and I embark on a quest for the perfect paratha roll. We had many different criteria which had to be met in order for a paratha roll to qualify as “the best the city has to offer”. Firstly, no chewy bits in the chicken. My pet peeve is when one bites into a chicken roll and encounters those rubbery bits of tendon/gristle/whatever they are. Second requirement: the paratha must not be too greasy nor too flaky. We don’t want oodles of oiliness and we don’t want flaky bits of paratha covering us like a weird form of body dandruff. No thank you. Thirdly, we preferred our foodie quest to be based in Defence and Clifton. There is no snootiness or “Defence wala” attitude behind this requirement, as it has to do with convenience. We live here, and we would like our paratha roll to be close by. Finally, there has to be a certain something, a certain “je ne sais quoi” about the Roll. Note the capital “R”. That is the level of importance we attach to our quest.
After trying many, many fast food desi joints, all of which failed miserably, we decided to try Red Apple. Conveniently located next to Bombay Sweets in Khadda Market (check out the serendipitous location next to my favorite chocolate shop!), it has a sitting area but most people prefer to eat in their cars instead. We called the waiter and requested a chicken cheese paratha roll, a chicken reshmi chapatti roll, and a plate of fries to share. Note the divergence from paratha to chapatti. A friend of a friend of a friend claimed that the chapatti rolls are (gasp!) better than the paratha rolls. Did we believe him? No. Was he right? Yes.
The rolls were an epiphany. I kid you not, these were rolls with a capital R. They were worthy! Served on plastic plates and accompanied by mint chutney, these rolls were our new addiction. The chicken-cheese ratio was perfect in the paratha roll, and there was the requisite amount of soft, heavy, slightly greasy paratha which was perfectly paired with the chicken. No chewy bits at all! Lovely fat morsels of spicy tandoori chicken, with a coating of delicious cheese. The chicken reshmi roll stole the show, though, and it had everything to do with that amazing chapatti and the delicious chutney served with it. The chapatti was not too thick or thin, and with that incredible chutney (a mix of spice, yogurt and something I can’t quite put a finger on), it was a feast for the senses. The chips were your traditional old-school chips and balanced the spicy rolls beautifully.
Satisfied with our complete success in our paratha roll quest we knew we’d be coming back. Will we be seen at Red Apple on a regular basis? We’ve already chalked in our weekly “roll dates” into the calendar. Red Apple is where it’s at, and it’s perfect.