etting a group of people to agree on what to eat on a night out or in is almost impossible. Three out of five people usually like the same kind of food, while the other two are on the shockingly opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes you wonder how - and occasionally why - you are friends with folks who think eating hotpot on a Karachi evening in high summer is perfectly acceptable behavior.
Then of course, there are the crowd pleasers, usually in the shape of fast food. We can all stomach a pizza or fried chicken or a burger. Or biryani, if that is where you are on that particular day. And on a recent hang with friends, we thought food was sorted - dumplings for three of six, and pizza for whomever did not want dumplings. Simple, right?
Two out of the group of six said they were having pizza for dinner the night before, and one said they couldn’t stand the sight of dumplings. Why were these people hanging out, you ask? I have no answer to that. Luckily, most of us do have a taste for desi or desi-passing food, and when the idea arose to order in from Sofrazar, it seemed like a decently neutral choice. Middle-Eastern-South-Asian. Just the right amount of a familiar flavor, while being decidedly exotic, from the descriptions of each platter you can order.
Firstly, we must commend the selection offered. You can choose between mutton, chicken, and beef pilaf platters, or you can give the Crown Roast Platter, which features two racks of mutton, with the signature Sofra rice. There is also a dessert platter and a drinks platter which look great, but we did not try.
Our Chicken Pilaf Platter arrived on an ornate copper tray, with the pilaf served in a large dish, centering the arrangement. The pilaf featured gorgeously cooked chicken thighs, and an aromatic mix of nuts and dried fruit. If you don’t like the odd raisin in your savory meals, you can just pick whatever’s sweet out. It’s accompanied by a fattoush salad, tzatziki and bouyourdi dips, which are yogurt and feta dips respectively, and a Yemeni zhug salsa. You also get lots of toasted pita and crunchy crackers. Got all of that? Now you can discover all the flavors on their own, as well as mixed in with your rice. Don’t be shy about this, and really find out what all the fuss is about.
One of the things you judge any restaurant or delivery service is on their cooperation and consideration. The process of ordering from Sofrazar is quite seamless and pleasant, as is the delivery itself. Since the platter is quite heavy, it is delivered right to your dining table in all its glory, and someone will swing by the next day to pick the empty dishes.
The food itself is rather delightful, specially all the dips. The bouyourdi, which is feta-based, was just delicious, with the pita, with the crackers, with the rice, and on its own. If you like your food salty, you’ll love it. The zhug salsa was the overall favorite, and everyone who dug into the pilaf loved it, with the consensus being that the chicken was juicy and flavorful, but the rice could do with a little more seasoning.
The presentation gets a 10/10 – we all like food a little more when it’s laid out like you’re a king. The only criticism was that the platters are on the pricier side, which might not be within everyone’s budgets. To this, and only because when I love something I want everyone to try it, may I suggest that Sofrazar do smaller serving sizes, perhaps by the plate? That might not entirely align with the Sofra vision of sharing good food with good company, but maybe a wider clientele could become available to Sofrazar with budget options. Saying that, the serving was actually quite large, and the price was definitely justified both in terms of quality and quantity.
If you are looking for a catering option, Daavatnama, Sofrazar’s catering service offers catering for a minimum of 30 guests, and six menus let you pick from vegetarian to completely non-veg options.
Overall, Sofrazar gets a solid four out of five stars from me, with the minus-one only factoring in the flavor of the rice and the price point.