Blurb: Pakistani food as close to the real McCoy as possible
Intro: LahoriShah is the closest thing we Delhiites have to a pop-up restaurant. It changes its name and cuisine every winter, but this time it appears to have hit the jackpot.
Atmospherics: Into a car parking lot, right by auto workshops, while you’re wondering if you’re at the right place, you walk into the gate, and suddenly the grungy surroundings recede and an artistic studio around a courtyard comes into view. The tree in the centre of the whole place gives it character and makes sitting outdoors a pleasure: inside is a very distant second, so insist on outdoor seating when you make your reservation. The entire atelier is owned by a designer and while garments are the star of this show, the food is great and the restaurant itself slightly rough around the edges, which only adds to the charm.
Table Talk: Ignore the Butter chicken and chicken pakoras: plenty of other restaurants feature them. What you won’t get elsewhere are the Pakistani delights. Chappali kebab (Rs 425) are trademark flat kebabs with the right amount of spice, down to the whole chilli seeds and cumin. The rustic kebabs embody the soul of this restaurant beautifully: tasty enough yet slightly offbeat. Don’t bother about the supposedly Pakistani Heera Mandi ki Pyari seekh kebabs (Rs that are served on two foot long skewers: the marination is rather basic. Instead, Purani Dilli ki seekh kebabs (Rs 395) are great. The touch of ginger garlic paste lifts the flavour immensely.
However, it is the haleem that is the finest dish on the menu. Blended into a silken paste, you can sense the presence of a melange of dals, along with enough broken wheat to give it body. Eat it with the rather filling and heavy breads on the menu: Til Chade Nan and Lal Roti with equal quantities of ghee and red chilli powder.
Plus and minus: The one thing to avoid is the nawabi biryani (Rs 625). Made using every shortcut in the book, it is devoid of flavour – either of aromatic spices or of lamb stock. And the Anarkali ki Nihari (Rs 645) is an intriguing dish. The gravy seems to have been made by using rather unconventional means, though the dish is tasty.
Must tries: Keema Mash ki dal, Lahori Murgh, Imli Til ke Chawal
E 12/70 Hauz Rani, Saket
Open from 7.30 pm to 11.30 pm (check weekend timings: they maybe open for lunch on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays depending on demand)
Tel: (+91) 9999795285, (+91) 11 26671270
Meal for two: Rs 2,500