The restaurant near Jama Masjid has been a favourite haunt of the rich and famous — top politicians, diplomats, film stars and cricketers from both India and Pakistan.
“India Gandhi, the former Prime Minister, would personally call me to her residence and order food for her parties. The only problem was whenever we cooked for her parties, security men would come to oversee the process,” says Zahooruddin.
Former presidents Zakir Husain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed too were patrons of Karim. Ahmed often ordered its food at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“Our first branch at Nizamuddin was inaugurated by his wife Begum Abida Ahmed,” says Zahooruddin.
Karim has had other famous clients such as the painter MF Husain.
“He is the reason why we have kept our interiors simple. He would say a measure of restaurant quality is the food it serves, not its swanky interiors. We have followed his advice,” says Zaeemuddin.
In 2005, when Pervez Musharraf visited Delhi, his octogenarian mother visited Karim. “She was very happy and told us how she always wanted to visit the place,” Zaeemuddin recounts.
Actors Dilip Kumar, Shabana Azmi, Irrfan Khan, Pakistani cricketers Imran Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis have also visited the restaurant.