What’s the Kurrachee craze? Newtown’s latest Pakistani hotspot
“You know a place is good when you’re planning your next visit before you leave!!”
This is just one of hundreds of four and five star reviews on six-month-old Newtown establishment Kurrachee, a Pakistani restaurant named after the nation’s famed coastal city, the metropolis today known as Karachi.
A welcome sight for anyone on the hunt for authentic, home-cooked food, restaurant-goers will open the door to a delicious aroma of South Asian spices and the warm, smiling faces of restaurant owners, Kamran Ahmed and his family.
“Our family, and not just the immediate family but our extended family, is known to be very, very passionate about our food,” Kamran explained.
“We are known as a family who can talk about the intricacies of food on a dining table for hours after our meals, and what should be eaten with something and what shouldn’t be eaten with something.”
Motivated by this culinary passion, Kurrachee is inspired by the family’s rich history, which has seen generations before them live in Afghanistan, Agra in North India, and finally Pakistan, following the partition of India in 1947.
With a lack of true homestyle cooking in Pakistani and Indian restaurants in Australia and around the world, Kamran and his family set out to share their day-to-day meals with the people of Sydney.
“People like homestyle cooking,” Kamran said.
We decided that we will serve food the way we prepare it in our homes; that was a big risk for us and many of our family and friends advised us not to do it.
“As a result, it does take a little bit more time, and sometimes people do get frustrated, because they’re so used to going to an Indian or Pakistani restaurant, ordering and then getting their food five minutes later.
“We could do that, we could just put the food in the microwave and bring it out in a few minutes, and customers would be happy because of our service speed, but I will not be happy with that.”
This need to serve nothing but the best is demonstrated throughout the Kurrachee dining experience, with the family bypassing suppliers and instead venturing out to fresh food markets and butchers to purchase their own ingredients.
“Our rice isn’t even pre-prepared or cooked in the rice cooker, and every customer gets a fresh serving of steaming rice,” Kamran said.
“Even with our meat, we’ve changed butchers three or four times because the meat is destroyed if you don’t cut it right.”
This enthusiasm and hard work of Kamran and his family has paid off, with the quaint restaurant having received a multitude of praise and positive reviews, both online and in-person.
The response has been far greater than what the owners had ever imagined, however, stepping into the new business venture has not been a total breeze for the Kurrachee family.
“As an ex-banker, I knew the food and restaurant business was very, very tough, and more than eighty per cent of new restaurants close down,” Kamran explained.
People don’t expect how much hard work and labour goes into a restaurant, especially when you start it as a family business like we did, with limited finances.
“But, we took a leap in the dark and set it up anyway.”
Despite the slow start, Kurrachee and the family behind it have made a commitment to set aside 2.5% of their net profit to share with others, without prejudice or discrimination.
Inspired by the Naples cafe concept of “paying it forward”, where customers pay for two coffees, receive one and donate the second to someone who cannot afford it, Kurrachee’s Meal on Board has become a winner among Newtown locals.
“A woman came in one day and she said there is a closed Facebook group for Newtown residents, and she told me she had posted a photo of the Meal on Board concept and our restaurant,” Kamran explained.
“She showed me this photo and there were already 500 likes on this post and she said now people have started talking about Kurrachee and more local residents will come and visit.”
The restaurant has also attracted visitors from outer-Western Sydney, with Indians, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis travelling from suburbs such as Liverpool and Ingleburn.
For anyone wanting to visit the Pakistani restaurant for the first time, there are a few dishes that Kamran recommends, including the Chicken or Lamb Karahi, the Urad Shahi, or the Aaloo Tarkari Bhujia. For the full menu and item descriptions, click HERE.
Kurrachee: 85 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042