October 21, 2010

Chatkharay - a nightmare of an experience

October 21, 2010
When it comes down to having chaat I have always preferred to go to Chatkharay. Not just because their quality has always outshone the kind served in roadside stands or other small restaurants, but because the environment is clean and there is a decent place to sit.

However, since the past year Chatkharay has come spiralling down in terms of quality, service and taste. I went there last Sunday for a quick meal with my family - the branch located near Bilawal House. First of all, the door bumped into one of the customer's chair, every time some one entered. So an angry look from another customer was exactly the kind of welcome that was needed to kick of this awful meal.

For the next fifteen minutes, none of the waiters (or should I say waiter - considering only one individual was running around to serve five different tables) bothered to hand us the menu or take our order. When we finally did get our menus we had to wait another ten minutes before we were able to find the waiter to place the order. We ordered mixed chaat, meethi puri, sev puri and some nihari

The mixed chaat was not as good and juicy as it used to be. There was barely any tamarind sauce in it and almost no potatoes. Just a couple of chopped onions and some chickpeas in sweet yogurt. I had to shower the bowl with crushed pepper just to squeeze some taste out of it.

The sev puri was bland. And the meethi puri - let us not even go there. The puris were stale and soft. They were left uneaten. 

As for the nihari, it was good but the roti was burnt. And after informing the waiter we had to wait for twenty minutes before he finally showed up with a replacement. By that time, the rest of us were done with our meal and my father, who had ordered of the nihari, had to eat alone. 

Moreover, our drinks came way after the meal finished. Apparently the waiter had forgotten about them! And did I mention the anaar juice that tasted like salt and water? Well, I guess I just did!

I left disappointed, annoyed and hungry. Will never go there again and would recommend ya'all to do the same. I might visit Gazebo next week to compare - considering I have not been there since the past four years.

Favorite item on the menu:
Used to be the mixed chaat. Now - none! The food quality was poor. (Details above).

Extremely expensive chaat. Rs. 100/bowl.

Too small for the price they are charging.

Service and Ambiance: 
Dreadful. Only one waiter serving the entire customer population. And this holds true for both branches of chatkharay. There are literally angry customers storming out of the door since no one ever bothers to respond to them. The place is dimly lit, cramped and the day I went, the air conditioning was working very poorly.

Children friendly: Yes

Overall rating: 1/5

Open: Daily from 8 am to 12 am

Use the comments section here to rate your experience at Chatkharay and let me know whether or not it was similar to mine!



oohh this is where Thai Express used to be right??
and man, i've always liked the chatkharay in khadda market...decent crowd and good service....
also, Gazebo has reaallyy good chaat as well as masala dosa!! =D


Well, a couple of weeks ago I went to the one at Khadda and after waiting for the server for approximately 30 minutes to just hand us the menus, I left!

U. Younus.

I have always thought that the Chatkharay Chaat is an abomination! Last time I had it, the yogurt was bad!

Hassaan AY

Went with friends last Thursday for breakfast. Khadda Market branch. Not much different in terms of experience. Over-priced yet nothing special about it. Disappointing service. Bland sev-puri. Mixed chat not as spicy as other places. Extremely limited menu for breakfast. Wonder what they were thinking with the pricing of two puris at Rs. 40.


Aww come on no fair you all know where it is because you are all locals!
Well, as an american, I'd say that we have a lot of restaurants like that, as long as they are not big companies like TGIF (Thank God Its Friday) or Apple Bee's. And even though i have no clue the restaurants you are talking about, still love hearing about them :D.


Uggg! That sounds awful Kanwalful! I'm sorry you had such a crappy experience!


U. Younus - sounds disgusting! =(

Hassaan AY - I know! Their food is so expensive and nothing out of the ordinary. At least not any more!

AlabasterMuslim - When I come to the states, I'll be sure to write about all your favorite and non-favorite restaurants so that you can relate to them. ;)

SIF - Haha. It's not as morbid as I've made it sound! =P


People I happen to own Chatkharay, after reading all your comments I made it a point to go sit at both the restaurants for several hours, checked as many of the food items as possible, I cannot say I saw any issues, I do agree with the fact that we need more waiters at the clifton branch, which I took care off...thanks for the all your comments.

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