Saturday, 14 March 2009

lahore kebab house

my husband to be took me to see his old university and neighbourhood. part of the tour was to eat at a pakistani eatery named after the culinary heart of the plain in pakistan, lahore.  lahore kebab house is quite proximate to tayyab’s, another pakistani restaurant that has captured a remarkable audience. we were seated promptly (although that had more to do with the timing of our arrival as my fiancé tells me that he returned to lkh one day to find himself in a rather scatty queue with a forty minute wait). the menu presented an array of options, all incredibly authentic, some of which both o and i associate with sunday brunch in pakistan.

 in our excitement we ended up ordering two starters – chicken seekh kebabs and tikka; for mains we selected saag paneer and murgh channa. i am a conventionalist and always go for the tandoori roti. o had garlic naan, a flat bread made of white flour, as generously buttered as it is garlicky. along with this he had mango lassi. i tried some and found little to critic. it wasn’t overly sweet and maintained the tang of yoghurt unlike other renditions (tayyabs and raavi kebab included) that add uber sweet tinned mango pulp to milk. that to me is a milkshake masquerading as lassi.

 the seekh kebabs weren’t excellent. they were a tad bit over salted and slightly dry. the tikka was incredibly tasty though and grilled to a juicy perfection. the bowl of raita – yoghurt with mint and some shallots was the perfect accompaniment. the main courses came served in rounded black metal dishes (known as karahi’s). the murgh channa harked back to the ones i had grown up eating. the meat of the chicken gave way from the bone revealing its tenderness. the saag paneer was as well flavoured, the paneer retaining its shape and texture. to top it all of the food wasn’t as oily as it tends to be at other pakistani places i have eaten at.

 despite being very full o and i decided to all the way out and order dessert. o picked the pistachio kulfi and i asked for the kheer. kheer is like rice pudding, with pakistani renditions of this comforting and soothing dish involve the addition of some cardamom seeds and blanched slivered almonds. or it is eaten plain but cooked to the point where the milk reduces to a dense creamy colour and the rice is a near to mashed. lkhs version of kheer matched the lahori version known as rabri which was a great favourite of my mother. i ate it skin and all.

 i wasn’t very impressed by the bizarrely neon artificially flavoured condensed milk on a stick kulfi that o was having. perhaps the perfection of all the things i had had so far precluded me from assessing it on its own merits. kulfi in pakistan has a slight hint of salt on its edges. it is served in plates in twos with a heap of faluda (something i used to call transparent spaghetti) on top. it definitely has more flavour than a can of condensed milk having been boiled and reduced substantially to a creamy consistency.