• 13 Jul - 19 Jul, 2019
  • Attiya Abbass
  • High Life

Driving across the busy Alamgir Road lined sporadically with eateries, it didn’t take us long to find Maraheb. Walking past the glass doors, the Arabic restaurant is basked in a golden glow, illuminating its traditional décor. Exquisite chandeliers are hung over dinning booths, secluded by gold crafted dividers. The restaurant spells regal; from costumed wait staff to carpeted-floor dining areas. Being led down to the basement, our company of three was ushered inside a secluded carpeted expanse. With curtains drawn for privacy, diners can lounge against bolster pillows, which most Asians are familiar with as gao takiya. A few may find discomfort sitting on floor and having their meal, but if you have signed up for having the Arabic experience, you might as well go native all the way. Maraheb has an extensive menu, promising authentic tastes of Lebanese, Yemeni and Arabic cuisines. Placing our order, we choose the curious-sounding Rainbow Hummus and Loaded Fahsah Batata appetisers and a dish called Saltah fahsa from the specials section. Before coming here, my experience of having Arabic cuisine was limited to mandi only and it was here that I discovered so many other dishes from the vast cuisine. It didn’t take long for our starters to arrive. I was absolutely intrigued at the sight of a rectangular tray featuring four colours of humus, flavoured in roasted capsicum, spicy blend, beetroot and the orignal – it was housespecial, Rainbow Hummus served with side-line of breads. Taste and texture of each hummus assortment was unique – my favourite being green, capsicum-roasted which had a subtle smoky flavour to it, an instant hit with us. Four servings of flavoured hummus served as a refreshing dips for us throughout our meal. Served in a clay container Loaded Fahsa Batata featured cubes of spicy potatoes tossed in fresh herbs with Yememi flavours of saltah and topped with mozzarella cheese and dynamite sauce. Spicy potatoes tasted good but its cheese topping had a rubbery texture to it which was probably because of overheating. Our appetites were just warming up with the appetisers when the server arrived with piping hot saltah fahsa and choice of muluawah bread, a huge piece of flatbread to be shared between the diners. Slow-cooked saltah fahsa’s beef was perfectly tendered and moderately spicy, making for delicious morsels with crispy bread. I do wish it was slightly spicier, but then Arabic dishes aren’t usually big on spice. After all the build-up we moved to the next course, which is Maraheb’s quintessential and what the restaurant is famed for. Our order for Hanith and Mandi Meats arrived in a piping hot tray, emanating hunger-inducing aroma of steamed, spice-fragrant Yemeni rice. The Hanith meat in ribs was tendered well with its perfectly-flavoured meat falling off the bones. Two assortments of flavoured rich in the dish complimented the meat well and dipping into its accompanying sauces further tweaked the flavour. Full to the brim after finishing our main course, the complimentary ginger-kahwa served as a pick-me-up for us, making us feel light enough to savour a dreamy round of dessert with traditional kunafa. The cream-and-cheese stuffed dessert, when doused with sugar syrup satiated our sweet cravings.

Location: Zulekha Terrace, Shop No 2, Alamgir Road, CP & Berar Society, Sharfabad, Near United King Bakery Karachi, Pakistan
Average cost for 2: Rs 2500 to 3000


Albeit exotic, Arab food is not everyone’s cup of tea, or let’s say plate of steaming, spice-fragrant mandi. After forgettable experiences at several newly-spring mandi places in Karachi, Maraheb made for the most memorable one. As a Karachiite if you wish to experiment with the cusine, Maraheb is where you should start. Taste is their forte.


You can dine the traditional way sprawled on carpeted floors in seclusion or the conventional seating arrangements on a table. Lounging in spacious space, against bolster pillows and beautiful carpet adds a flavour of its own.


Dressed in black Arab apparels, the wait staff was affable and readily helps a first-time, confused diner through the menu.


Metal cutlery and grand presentation of all dishes adds to the experience of dining like an Arab. Special mentions to the Instgrammable presentation of Rainbow humus.


A single tray of mandi can serve over two people, maybe more. The specials and fish dishes are marginally highly priced compared to what a local eatery is offering, but for the ultimate Arabic experience, I feel it’s worth it.