Let’s get real – about dessert! Karachi is swarming with bakeries, cafes and froyo joints, but do you still find yourself missing the totally divine sweet experience that just hits the spot?
The good news is that your search for yummy and tantalizing dessert stops here. After all, we all need something sweet after a feast. So, whether it’s a slice of heavenly chocolate cake, a scoop of creamy gelato with all the shebang, or just a plain tart, here is a list of the perfect indulgent delights to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Time to wipe off that sweat and relax. Ice creams, froyos and gelatos will be your antidote to beat the heat this season. Nothing spells out heaven better than a sweet frozen dessert on a hot, sultry day when you’re cranky and all you can think of is: "Omg, it’s really hot!"
While the city is overrun by a number of foreign frozen yogurt chains, our top picks are Tutti Frutti, Ci Gusta, Red Mango, TCBY, Noodle House and BellaVita. Here is what should never be missed:
u Tutti Frutti’s mango, green apple and chocolate flavours are the most popular
u Ci Gusta’s artisanal gelato and granita – almost like a snow cone – in two flavours (strawberry and lemon)
u Red Mango’s full-flavoured gluten-free yogurt, blueberry lassi and tropical parfait
u TCBY’s chocolate chip cookie dough froyo and banana split
u Noodle House has the best green tea fried ice cream, which will bring you back for more
u BellaVita’s Coppa Romana, a sinful combination of gelato, chocolate, Ferrero Rochers and biscuits.
Model and actor Zhalay Sarhadi says Red Mango is one of her favourite places to go for a cold dessert. "I like all their items, and especially the lassi," says Sarhadi. "Their yogurts are amazing also."
New York, New Yorker
They say there’s no cheesecake like the New York-style cheesecake. Lucky for us, we don’t have to go across the globe to have a slice. You can sink your teeth into a luscious, smooth and creamy cheesecake with a hint of vanilla at a handful of restaurants right here.
u Bella Vita’s freshly baked New York cheesecake is rich and dense, and a blissful treat for any occasion
u The Red Riding Hood Bakery Café wholesome version of the New Yorker – a blend of sweet-and-salty flavours with a traditional biscuit crust
u Lal’s velvety NY cheesecake will definitely lift your spirits. This pearl-white slice has just the right amount of sweetness to flatter your taste buds.
If you’re looking for bread-and-butter pudding or the best crème brulee in town, it’s time to visit Pompei. The crème brulee is a rich custard base topped with caramel and served at room temperature; the pudding however, is on the lighter side and perfect after a hearty meal.
Some of us (including me) would love to nibble on chocolate all day. Every bite that melts in your mouth brings a moment of ecstasy. Whether it’s dark, white or milk – chocolate is the king of all things sweet.
While we love any kind of rich, bittersweet euphoric chocolate dessert, a specific choice that repeatedly popped up in our survey is the molten lava cake. Served warm, this cake has a gooey fudgy center, which pours out as you dig into the cake with a side of ice cream. It’s paradise for any chocolate lover. Almost all cafes offer this sweet treat, but only a few have actually made the cut. Okra, Butler’s, Pompei and Forty4 have the most delectable molten lava cakes; baked to perfection and served with elegance.
The new rave around town is Magnum’s Ultimate Pleasure Spot at Atrium mall. This tiny booth can make your chocolaty dreams come true. You get to choose your ice cream, which gets dipped in chocolate and ready for your choice of toppings – the variety is endless.
When talking about chocolate pleasures, ‘Mogador’ from Lal’s Patisserie is the kind of gourmet dessert that could make you feel sinful. This seductive chocolate sponge cake with a macaronade biscuit, dark chocolate mousse, praline cream and caramelized hazelnuts will truly gratify your need for sweet. Also remember, the chocolate macaroons at Lal’s make for a classy gift!
When it comes to brownies, Espresso and Del Frio have been marked high on our list. Espresso’s Swiss chocolate walnut brownie with ice cream is a dreamy combo. Take your children for this heavenly treat after a long, boring dinner. Remember to try Espresso’s apple crumble, apple pie and walnut pie on your next trip there.
However, Del Frio’s Nutella brownie is nothing like you’ve ever tasted before. The hazelnut chocolate taste in every bite is a delight. Not only is it served with a scoop of smooth, thick-and-creamy ice cream, they also have great tasting coffee to go along with your treat.
Where there is chocolate, there is mousse! Koel’s cool, light-and-fluffy mousse is just the right kind of dessert on a hot summer night. RJ and actor Ali Safina says it is one of his new favorites. "I recently tried Koel’s mousse," says Safina. "It’s definitely something I’ll have again."
Chocolate nut sundae from Aylanto is another one of Safina’s picks. "Every time I go to Aylanto, I have to have this sundae," he shares. "It’s just perfect."
However, model and actor Nadia Hussain swears there’s nothing better than Hot Spot. "I love it, my kids love it," says Hussain. "There is a large variety of desserts to order from at Hot Spot. My kids stick to the cookies, cakes and ice creams, but I end up ordering something different; and I’m always very happy with their desserts."
Hot Spot opened up more than a decade ago, and has been popular ever since. Some of their most lovable dessert items include Nutella cheesecake, super sonic super fudge sundae, chocolate chip cookie sandwiched with vanilla ice cream and pudding with Belgian chocolate.
Shuddh Desi Romance
When we talk about halwas, Ahbab Sweets in Hyderi North Nazimabad wins our vote. They offer seasonal halwas, but our top favorite is the ‘gajar ka halwa’ on their menu only in winters. Made with clean, red juicy carrots, and cooked in khalis ghee, this halwa is totally worth the trip (at least once a year).
Another must-have halwa is at Meeruth on Tipu Sultan. The addictive taste will make you forget about the crowded streets you take to get there. We recommend you order a paratha with your halwa for complete satisfaction.
If you’re into cold desserts, you will love Peshawri, on Boat Basin. They offer ice cream but with a desi twist. The thick milky cream churned slowly with assorted dry fruits can be enjoyed in falooda or on its own.
Haven’t found that perfect gulab jamun still? Sattar Buksh has "Kallu halwai’s gulab jamun" on their menu. These four mini burgundy gulab jamuns are served warm drenched in sugar syrup with a hint of semolina. One of these little balls is enough to answer your sugar craving.
Rehmat-e-Shireen has made our list for their ras malai. If you’re in the mood for a desi dessert, ras malai should be your first pick. The tender malai balls are carefully laid out in sweetened milk and sprinkled with pistachios. If you don’t feel comfortable in their crowded sitting area, get your ras malai packed and enjoy it at home. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
The city of lights is also the city loaded with rich and tempting dessert spots. This summer, try out our recommendations for a truly glorifying sweet experience. You can either enjoy dessert after a meal or simply make it your meal! An American author Ernestine Ulmer said it right: "Life is uncertain, eat dessert first".
Note: With the Holy month of Ramzan underway, we recommend you look for these sweet delights from Dusk to Dawn.