The dhaba chai culture has been widespread across Pakistan, but it holds a divine place in Karachi’s social fabric. The last decade has seen the rise of dhaba culture and reached out to all segments of society. These road side cafes have transitioned from after-work hangout spots, to a place where people from all backgrounds and ages come to relax and enjoy a steaming cup of chai. There is no better way to enjoy Karachi’s breeze than sipping a cuppa under the open sky.
A new addition to this sparking culture is the “The Republic” located at Bukhari Commercial Phase-6, the place has pleasant ambiance with cosy outdoor seating and leftist inspired theme. The menu has mouthwatering items to explore along with your Karak Chai, this new joint on the block has suddenly made chai look cool again.
If you are a desi food lover then this place is heaven for you because everything here is cooked in pure “Desi ghee” that you won’t find elsewhere in the vicinity.
For the love of “desi ghee” Popative flew to “The Republic” and interviewed its owner Saad Khalique.
Popative: where did the name comes from?
Saad: The concept behind the name comes from that of having a community — a group of like-minded people who share the same interests as you and hopefully the same taste in food. Haha! That’s what we hope to find in our patrons so that they can feel at home at The Republic and keep coming back to it.
Popative: what makes you different from other cafes and chai places?
Saad: Our tagline is ‘no milawat’ and we stick by that. The Republic sources its ingredients from places that are about wholesome and mostly organic food. We are all about pure, Khaalis food — the kind of wholesome goodness that you can find at home. We also encourage such food vendors to have our patrons sample treats from their kitchen. For instance, the famous beef chapli from The Chapli Kabab House will soon find its way on our menu so stayed tuned to our FB page http://www.facebook.com/therepublickarachi/ for this exciting addition.
Popative: what else you serve besides regular chai and paraths “The republic special”?
Saad: Our dum qeema samosas, french toast, brick-oven pizza and cheese toast are a hit as are the different kinds of lassi and imli sharbat.
Popative: why do you think this chai culture is important?
Saad: Chai is a very integral part of the Pakistani lifestyle. Be it a visit to a friend’s house or a business meeting, the first thing you are offered is tea, because of our cultural association with it. Chai is a great conversation starter for us, it’s a peace offering when you’ve upset the wife and it’s a pick-me-up when you’ve had a bad day at work. Back in the day, ‘shaam ki chai’ was an important part of one’s daily routine as family members would talk about everything under the sun — from politics to fashion to cricket — over chai and biscuit. The Republic is a reminder of that culture and a way to keep it alive.
Popative: Do you have a free wifi 😛 ?
Saad: Of course! Who doesn’t these days?
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