Tucked in a little main street corner in Khayaban-e-Ghazi, this spirited fine dining restaurant characteristic of a bourgeois French eatery has an almost rustic contemporary feel to it and the place entirely stays true to its aesthetic. One enters through narrow French patio-like doors featuring colonial grids, a statement that’s carried on to the Palladium windows, that leads one to a foyer dividing two sections of the restaurant from smoking to non-smoking areas. Inside, the room opens up into a beautiful ambience as natural light pours in during the day, and dim warm lighting fills up the crevices of the eatery at night. Pillars, seamless wooden floors, arches, the whole shebang.
Before I even begin to delve into the details, I should say that amongst the many times I had the pleasure of visiting the restaurant, it never failed to surprise me with its authentic and homely yet elegant vibe. There’s two types of seating arrangements available; one can choose to cushion themselves on their nouveau wrought dining chairs or you could opt for the single running dining booth sofa that lets you comfortably sink inwards.
The restaurant boasts a wide range of classic and continental foods, including live steaks and several seafood options. While it hosts several drink options, all of them included the addition of carbonated ingredients – a downside for the people severely sensitive to carbonation (I’m people!). The absence of fresh drink options was the first let down, trivial in the larger sense of things but try pairing your snapper with just water, it’s not as fun or insignificant then.
Of the entire menu, the steaks section is definitely the most appealing one. While it doesn’t have a lot of different cuts available, the majority of them being mignon medallions, it’s the sheer joy everyone here gets when a restaurant is able to get the art of getting steaks just right, and Jardin excels at it. One of the juiciest experiences I’ve had with a medium rare perfection in Karachi, it really meets all expectations one can get. Not only this, you could also receive a live steak experience right at your table as they cook on an imported hot stone that’s been brought to an exact temperature. It’s true what they say, a soft tenderloin is what the heart really wants.
Moving to a more Italian genre, the Quattro Formaggi pasta, certainly not lacking in cheese, given that the dish is prepared with Gouda, Cheddar, Mozzarella and Parmesan, definitely lacks in seasoning. So much so that we had to specially ask for chilli flakes, and then use a combination of table salt and pepper to make some sense out of the gooey rich mess that it was. Considering our love for cheese, the dish saved itself. On the more safe side, their Aglio Olio was truly divine in its rich garlic-y goodness and one of the better ones this city has seen.
Moving on to seafood, I had a moderately adequate experience with their Grilled Fish smeared with lemon butter sauce. Dry to some extent, presumably through overcooking, I was thankful it came with a hefty creamy sauce pairing that was able to breathe some life back into the fish. When that wasn’t enough, I resorted to stealing my friend’s chipotle sauce pairing that came with his Chicken La Mexicana. As an appetizer, the Crab Au Gratin was a disappointing ensemble where one could barely tell the crab meat apart from the generic flush of taste the dish brings. In poultry options, the aforementioned Chicken La Mexicana, which is a marinated chicken fillet laden with a smoked chipotle sauce, and the Chicken Roulade that is served as a crispy cheese stuffed unit with side-lines, were both really well received.
Not much of dessert fans, we opted for a single classic molten lava cake which arrived in the smallest quantity on the biggest serving dish present at the table. We didn’t mind the quantity considering how absolutely heavenly it was; nothing revolutionary, but it’d be a shame if a restaurant couldn’t get such a classic delectable dessert just right. Safe to say, Jardin passed the test on this one.
Overall, their dining experience along with how they artfully curate their serving platters really sets the mood just right. What they lack in their seafood capabilities, they overcome in their steak and poultry prowess.
The host on duty is also a charming individual who comes to your table and asks about your woes or praises and acts accordingly. While the place varies from being crowded to relatively empty, there’s ample space to seat a large number of people and an empty plot on the side that provides adequate parking options. They were also pretty adamant on checking your vaccination cards thoroughly, which was a commendable sign. Recommended to anyone who loves a good ambience and really Instagram worthy food visuals.