POMO Brings Coziness & Comfort Together With Italian Flavours
5 minute read
From the owner of Pompei comes another Italian eatery, POMO (short for ‘pomodoro’, Italian for ‘tomato’). Imran Bandukda welcomed FUCHSIA for a hearty Italian late lunch at his second restaurant that is just a few months old. I asked him why he felt the need to open an Italian eatery with a different name; why not just another branch of the first one or venture into a different cuisine to go with a different name? Imran told me that Pompei is more upscale and he wanted to give Karachiites a place to have simple Italian food that would be easier on the pocket.
What: Italian cuisine
USP: Basic yet delicious Italian food in affordable prices
Where: Lane 4, Shahbaz Commercial Area, DHA Phase 6, Karachi
Cost per head: PKR 2,500/- approx.
I had gone there between lunch and dinner, so I had the whole place to myself. Considering that, the staff of course found it easy to be attentive. They were a well-dressed and courteous lot ready to get to work.
During the day, there is lots of natural light coming in from the glass windows. There light grey marble table tops as well as light wooden chairs help further by keeping the place bright. There is a live kitchen to see the chefs work their magic and a giant wood-fire oven and gelato station near the entrance, so as to keep the environment as natural, relaxed and interactive as possible.
Like many meat-lovers, I generally avoid ordering salads whenever dining out. But if there is one thing I love as much as my proteins, it’s having loads of greens in my salad with a generous serving of dressing whenever I do go with it. Why I usually don’t have salads is that I have been unable to find good ones, those with a perfect balance of both. Most I have come across barely have any dressing on them, making them dry and unappetising. This is where the Pomo salad fared well. Firstly, the simple yet seemingly elaborate presentation made it look irresistible. Portion size was generous and there was just enough of the sweet dressing along with sourness coming from the olives to keep my palate satisfied. Although, the former was so good, it left me wanting more.
This is a healthy, feel-good kind of soup. The rich tomato base was perfectly seasoned; not sour like tomato, nor hot with too much black pepper. Personally, I love a generous amount of elbow macaronis in my soup, and minestrone had plenty of that along with carrots, potatoes and zucchini cut in very small cubes. Surprisingly, the star elements of the dish were the spinach and the salty-sour pesto topping (this is usually made by pounding garlic and herbs together with olive oil). Anyone who finds it difficult to entertain the idea of having vegetarian meals, including children, should try the soup. It was yummy and perfect in keeping with the weather now.
Penne with Creamy Tomato Sauce
How could you possibly return from an Italian restaurant without having tried pasta? So ordering this was inevitable. Penne with creamy tomato sauce was suggested to me by the manager there. This was perhaps the most enjoyable part of my meal, so a shout out to Raheel. The delicate cheese shavings on top added a finesse to the dish. The pasta was al dente, and very creamy. It had a bonus protein in their (cubed chicken) even though it did quite well without it. For those who want to add a kick in there, add a hint of POMO’s chilli paste; it doesn’t make the pasta spicy, but adds a mild heat and a vibrant red colour to your serving dish.
Pizza with Crispy Bresaola & Caramelised Onions
This is not a Pakistani’s idea of a pizza; it has a very thin base and has a topping of caramelized onions that give a slightly sweet flavour to the pizza. Honestly, this was my least favourite of the dishes I tried only because I like my food to be spicy than anything else. And even though I enjoy other flavours too, sweetness is something at the bottom of the list for me. Having said that, the restaurant is Italian, hence the difference in flavours. So anyone who is looking to mix it up in the food department and try something refreshing should definitely give it a shot. If nothing else, POMO takes the cake for the innovation; the pizza is also topped with air-tight beef that is only slightly cured with salt (contrasting well with the sweet texture of onions) and cut so thinly that it looks like hibiscus leaves and tastes like chips by the time it reaches your table.
This is the creamiest yet the lightest gelato I have had. The word ‘gelato’ is simply ‘ice cream’ in Italian, but worldwide it has come to be synonymous specifically with ice cream made in Italian style, i.e with a base of milk and sugar. It is generally lower in fat than other styles, so for those with a sweet tooth who are trying to keep it healthy, look no further. Not being a fan of anything sweet in general, I was skeptical when Imran insisted I try two of the best dessert options they offer. But I was pleasantly surprised and glad to have obliged. There is just a hint of pistachio flavour in the pastel green gelato, so even if you’re not into the flavour itself, this is something you could still have and will surely enjoy.
Cannoli with Vanilla Pastry Cream
A little trivia for you – cannoli are Italian pastries that originated on the island of Sicily in Italy and are today a staple of Sicilian as well as Italian-American cuisine. It consists of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, with a sweet, creamy filling – watching all that Master Chef has its advantages sometimes! Personally, I couldn’t enjoy these as much as someone who loves having desserts. I did try one, and it wasn’t really bad; I actually liked the hard shell and the cream filling wasn’t too sweet. Visually speaking, the cream-filled tubes, dusted with powder sugar and served on top of a crochet cover, looked picture-perfect!