Finding a good kabab is not hard in a city like Karachi. Travel to any corner and you are sure to find a restaurant with an Angeethi (bar-b-que pit) outside. But when it comes to finding the perfect kabab, many residents of the city take the name of one restaurant – Waheed Kabab House.
The restaurant located on the famous Burnes Road was established in 1961 and is among the most famous on Karachi’s food street.
“The restaurant was started by my father and grandfather,” says Waheed Elahi who has taken over the family business. “This is the third generation, after me, my children will take over ownership,” he adds with pride.
The restaurant had humble beginnings starting out just with kababs. Today, the menu includes a vast array of items including nihari and korma.
“The dagha wala kabab which we also fry in butter is our speciality. Apart from that, nihari is also very popular and, during the daytime, we have korma (mutton and chicken) which we have been selling for years," says Elahi.
Families have been coming to Waheed Kabab House for generations, and on any given day you can find a father or a mother introducing their child to the flavour-explosion of Waheed's famous fried kabab. While speaking with Geo.tv, Muhammad Naeem–a carpenter by profession– said that he takes his family once a month to the spot.
“My father used to take me here in my childhood. I have very fond memories of this place. Now Alhamdullilah Almighty has given me enough resources to take my family out,” after a brief silence, he added: “My son likes Chicken Tikka here.”
“It’s the unique flavour of the kababs which keeps me coming back,” says Mohammad Abbas who has been frequent at the restaurant since childhood. However, for some customers, the kababs take a backseat to the nihari. "It makes my soul sing, provides balance to my life," says nihari aficionado Nadir Zia.
Decades after decades, generations after generations Waheed Kabab House continues to attract people from all across Karachi. The space is not just an eating spot but has now become part of many memories.
But with new food outlets opening up mainly concentrated in the upscale areas of the city offering a variety of delicacies with charming ambience, the question here is: Can Waheed Kabab sustain like it successfully did for more than five decades?
Elahi is confident that it will.
According to Elahi, his restaurant may not offer eye-catching views, his place may not be a preferred choice of the metropolis’ gentry or people may have issues in parking their vehicles but despite the mentioned limitations, there is one aspect of his restaurant’s food which will always stand out among the competitors… and in his own words it is, Munfaradiyat (Originality).
“My food sells because of its originality. Kebabs, nihari, tikka are available all over the city but people prefer my food items because it has a traditional touch that leaves people satisfied. We are here to stay.”