The chota Shahbaz Commercial area is not so chota when it comes to the range of restaurants available in the area. Mad Roosta, the most recent addition, brings crispy Nashville-style hot fried chicken to Karachi. The restaurant opened in late March and is located on Lane 4, Shahbaz Commercial, in close proximity to EASY, POMO, Evergreen and Famous O’s.
“Nashville Hot Chicken is fried chicken reborn with a fiery spirit. As soon as the chicken comes out of the fryer, it is coated in a special, hot oil-spice blend. It’s not just about heat but heat with irresistible flavor,” says Sarfraz Khan who owns Mad Roosta.
Sarfraz was introduced to Nashville Fried Chicken when he was in Toronto and speculated that it may be something Karachiites would be into. The combination of the moist chicken with buttermilk-fried crispy chicken skin and hot seasoning had him floored. He then made his way to Nashville, Tennessee to try all the top fried chicken joints and understand what goes into making the best hot fried chicken. From there, he worked on developing his version that would eventually be introduced to Karachi.
At Karachi Eat Festival in January 2019, Sarfraz introduced his version of Nashville-style hot fried chicken.
Mad Roosta became a hit at Karachi Eat. Their stall remained busy and popular food bloggers raved about their chicken which only helped build an even greater demand. Maybe this was enough to convince Sarfraz that it was time to take the next step. Two months later, Mad Roosta opened its doors to the people of Karachi.
The restaurant has a one page menu, staying true to Nashville-Style Hot Chicken. A Nando’s-like “fire meter” is seen at the top of the menu reading out various levels of hot and spicy, ranging from SOUTHERN for the faint hearted to MAAAD HOT for the bold and daring.
If you still think you’re great with spices and the heat can’t touch you, by all means order your chicken MAAAD HOT. As for the chicken, Sarfaraz says it is carefully sourced from self-proclaimed organic farms and free of any growth hormones or steroids. It comes in various cuts like leg, thigh, breast, tenders or jumbo wings.
All of these, which are priced from Rs.300 to Rs.430, come paired with pickles, toast and your choice of sauce in a very Nashville-style chicken combo manner. If you want, you can also have a scallion waffle added to your order, for an extra charge, and make it a chicken n waffles kinda meal. There are also hot fried chicken sandwiches for those of you seeking a Zinger alternative for Rs.545.
If the meal portion for the mains end up not being enough for you, you can also order Mac n Cheese, Roasted Sweet Potato Mash, Coleslaw, Black Eyed Pea, Corn Salad or Cajun/plain fries on the side to fill you up. And if the chicken ends up being too hot, you can always order some sweet Banana Pudding with vanilla wafers to put out the fire.
The restaurant features maroon-leather booths and an entire wall dedicated to Nashville, Tennessee “Music City” with its skyline at the center. It’s a cozy space, similar to the size of EASY so you can expect it to get a bit loud when it’s busy.
Mad Roosta is now open every day of the week except for Monday from 12:30PM to 12:00AM. Also, but don’t forget to visit the ATM before you go because they only accept cash.