Zeenan is one of those ancient restaurants that have survived the winds of change. Located on a strategic corner of Muhammad Ali Society Food Street opposite the ever-green Kaybees, it’s past its glorious days of the 80s and early 90s when the street was famous for everything barbeque. Then the wave of fast food swept the city and Kaybees was the first one to leverage it and go way past the compet

ition.

Zeenan just waded the water of the snack category instead of taking the plunge. In the end it manages to be specialist of neither. However, it’s still standing unlike it’s neighboring restaurant Spinzer which was part of the raging success along with Kaybees and Vimpy’s in the good old days.

On a weekend night, Zeenan manages to get quite a few customers but for the rest of the week it’s mostly deserted.

Part of the reason it manages to survive is its enviable position on a corner of a famous food street. The other part has got to do with its offerings. The best dish we have tasted so far is the Grilled Chicken Cheese Sandwich which is the best in this category. Most of the grilled sandwiches you will try in the same category of restaurants are either too well-done or just filled with chunks of chicken pieces with no real taste. Zeenan on the other hand has a definite taste, and its sumptuous factor is comparable to that of the Kaybees’ grilled sandwich.

The other good thing about Zeenan’s offering is the coleslaw. Very few cafes and restaurants are able to prepare the perfect coleslaw. Zeenan apparently has mastered this ability. On the face of it may not appear that big a deal but the way this salad has seeped imperceptibly into the hearts of the Karachiites, no snack is complete without it. And the better the taste of this sideline, the more appealing the meal. Even the compulsory fries were better than most snack bars.

Their beef burger, however, is no match for the grilled sandwich. Which is surprising considering that the sidelines are the same good ones. We found that the patty was a bit rubbery although taste-wise it wasn’t that bad. And the size of the burger was way too small considering its price of Rs.100 +.

The brain masala wasn’t much to write home about either.

The biggest reason Zeenan hasn’t met with the sort of success Kaybees has enjoyed is its lack of presentation and an aesthetically pleasing ambiance. While Kaybees has piled on the bells and whistles to its brand positioning, Zeenan offers a bland picture reminiscent of the scene in the 80s.

Zeenan Snacks could be a whole lot more if only it invests shrewdly into its presentation. While going head-on against Kaybees may not be the cleverest thing to do, emulating some of their tactics especially the aesthetics part would work wonders for it.