Imagine finding out there's a restaurant in Karachi which is run by a chef that trained with Gordon Ramsay.
You know, the guy from Masterchef USA and Kitchen Nightmares and the guy on Twitter who insults everyone's cooking and we keep asking for more.
Well imagine no more because Prime 109 opened its doors to Karachi with a claim to serve amazing steaks by a chef who would never serve something RAW (see what we did there?). How could we resist?
We got in touch with owner Zia Anqi, who collaborated with chef, Rafi Khan to start the restaurant, to find out more about the place.
According to Anqi, "Rafi and I have known each other for a while. He's passionate about steaks and I'm a meat lover too. Once he was in Karachi, we went around town trying out steaks but we didn't find anything that stood out or satisfied us. Also, there are barely any options, you rarely find anything other than tenderloin."
"It made us think maybe we should start something for serious steak lovers. We worked on it for a couple of months. Hunting for the right kind of meat, which didn't go as well. That was the challenging part in opening Prime, which is why we do our own cuts."
He added, "We also spent months on the recipe and kept trying them out."
Time to find out what Prime has to offer!
Where to go
Prime 109 is located at Khayaban-e-Nishat, adjacent to Amichii and in the same lane as Bingsu - which helped us in planning our dessert options for later.
When to go
The restaurant is open for lunch during 12:30 PM - 4:00 PM and for dinner during 7:00 PM - 12:00 AM.
What to order
Prime has a relatively simple menu, although it does offer more than steaks. Owner Zia also gave us a preview of the cuts they provide, making us excited to see the final product.
"Our focus has been getting the right kind of meat and cut. We do our own cuts, we have our own butchery because we want local meat and the ingredient to be the way we want it."
Knowing we'll be having a lot of beefy goodness ahead, we opted for some calamari as a starter.
The calamari we were served was a little too deep fried, resulting in a hard crunch rather than a light crisp. It also meant the calamari itself was slightly overcooked. Also, we don't support ketchup as a condiment but that's subjective. We became a little vary of the meal to come but remained hopeful. After all, Prime's focus is steaks, so perhaps they will make up for it all?
They definitely did. The tenderloin that landed on our table melted all our worries away with it's perfect temperature - we asked for medium rare - and flavour. Not RAW at all. Winner of the night for sure!
Before the tomahawk arrived, our server let us know that this too has been done medium rare but because of a different cooking style the meat might appear as though it's been grilled further.
We understood what he went, for when we cut into the steak, it did appear as though it was medium well. But one bite in we were relieved that it was just how we wanted it. The tomahawk had a subtle flavour, was extremely tender and juicy. A word of advice, make sure to dive in the moment it arrives because once it cools down, it does lose what makes it special.
While both the steaks we had were our favourites of the night, we can't say the same for the sides. The sauteed vegetables could've used some more seasoning and the bone marrow mashed potatoes didn't stand out - and were a little cold when served which didn't do justice to the rich flavour we were hoping to get.
Also, we were a little underwhelmed by the overall presentation of the dishes, but a Google search showed us quite a few of Gordon Ramsay's platings and they were the same. Guess, we don't like his presentation then... that happened.
We did give a few other non-steak items a try and knowing our love for pasta, we gave the spicy bolognese a shot.
Unfortunately we didn't enjoy this one as much as we'd hoped. The bolognese sauce tasted a little too much like basic tomato puree and overall the dish could've done with more seasoning. Also the pasta was chopped up; might as well have serve penne than the tiny noodles.
While the pasta failed to impress, the Missisippi short ribs burger was a messy delight. This one's filled to the brim so get ready to be sloppy, but it's worth it!
We enjoyed our meal with some interesting drinks created in-house. The spicy mint lemonade was a particular favourite.
Damage on the pocket
The prices at Prime 109 range from Rs 850 to a whopping Rs 3500 for the tomahawk. While it does seem steep, this isn't a meal for one and the quality speaks for itself.
Prime 109 did what it promised, make decent steaks. While, there were some misses, the hits are worth a try.