Dec 10, 2010

Mohammadi Nihari

Take a plunge into the greasiest of Lahori dishes, the famous beef nihari from Mohammadi Nihari. Did I hear 'Cholesterol'? ... Are you kidding? If Lahoris start worrying about cardiac problems, we will be left with nothing to eat and will have to migrate to the nearest Chinese city.
Beef nihari

Nihari is a thick spicy curry with very tender meat pieces of beef. A thin floating layer of cooking oil on the surface is considered a delicacy. You eat it with freshly prepared oven baked loaf bread, called 'khameeri roti'. Finely chopped ginger, lemon and fresh coriander leaves are also served for the dressing on the table side. The combination results in a scrumptious meal that you will find very hard to forget.

Beef nihari with Nali
That's not it. You have some more options to further enhance the experience. e.g. you can order some bone marrow (cooked of course) to be added in your serving. This is called Nali. If that doesn't fulfill your appetite for fat, you have the option of adding fried goat brain. Yes .. that is exactly what I said .. goat brain .. fried. It is called 'Maghaz'.

They offer both takeaway and dine-in. Mohammadi Nihari has many branches in the city e.g. Mozang Chowk and Cantt.

The word Nihari originates from 'Nihar' which means morning. So it is meant to be a breakfast meal. However, it is not restricted to only breakfasts anymore.
Mohammadi Nihari Menu
Price range: Rs. 150-300
Cleanliness: Average
Phone number: +92-333-4232-507

Jan 21, 2009

Student Biryani

I think now it is official that Lahoris, despite all the struggles, could not come up with a successful biryani. I admit this with utmost distress that all the Lahori restaurants that have had biryani on their menu, haven't been able to go past a typical Pulao. It caused half of the Lahori population to misunderstand the true taste and potential of biryani and the other half to hate it. Biryani Express (sindhi recipe) first and now Student biryani from Karachi have jumped in to fill the gap. I am not sure about Biryani express, but Student biryani has been a perfect hit so far.

Take a trip to the fortress stadium and you will find Student biryani right next to the Joyland. They started in Lahore only a few months ago so the interior is new and tidy so far. It is even better than the ones in Karachi.

Student biryani is a variant of the Bombay biryani and therefore includes potatoes in the most tender, yet undamaged, form. Rice grains are soft but separate from each other, almost religiously following the definition of an ideal biryani. Taste is better than just good. You will begin to feel the aroma as soon as it is served and it will follow you even after you have left the restaurant. If you had it in lunch, Occasional belches will keep reminding you of the same aroma for the rest of the day, but that can be a bit annoying of course. My fellow readers who have been to Karachi or southern India will instantly recall the fragrance and the ones who have not been there will not be able to forget it.

Price range: Rs. 100-200
Cleanliness: Good

Aug 13, 2008

Tawa gurda kapoora - aka Taka tak

While the world is talking about the weirdness of  Beijing style food, I thought of highlighting the position of Lahori food on the chart of bizarreness. I am sure it stands somewhere in the top 10. So here we go:
Roughly translated, Tawa gurda kapoora means kidneys and testicles in a large frying pan. To avoid the embarrassment of associating such words with food, most of us now call it Taka tak. It refers to the sound made by the skillful chef while frying these organs and hitting the pan with two sharp slicers in a captivating rythm. He keeps slicing and frying them until the kapooray (testicles), gurday (kidneys), dil (heart), maghaz (brain) and chaampain (ribs) become a homogeneous mixture of meat and thick masala curry. You can make your pick and choose which parts to include in your serving. It is DELICIOUS.

One of the most famous spots to try this out is Butt taka tak at Lakshmi chowk, Gawalmandi. It is located right next to Butt Karahi that has been reviewed earlier. Not only will you enjoy the typical outdoor dining experience in the heart of Lahore, you will also find a bunch of live chickens to give you company while you listen to the magical beat of taka tak. Not to mention all those large tables smothered with uncooked goat organs (as you can see in the above picture) giving you a feeling of being part of a massive autopsy project.

What? .. Yikes? .. No! The moment you take the first bite of this scrumptious meal, will be the time when everything else, such as traffic noise, diesel smoke, smell of chicken shit, autopsy tables, etc., will stop bothering you. So dive in and give it a try.

Price range: Rs. 150-250
Cleanliness: Dirty

Jun 13, 2008

Khusray ke Kabab

I was as baffled to know the name of this place as you are after reading the title. For those who aren't familiar with the word 'Khusra', it means a transexual. We'll talk about the food in a bit. Let me first share my discomfort for not being able to understand the reason for having such a crude name. I'll have to resort to guesses since nobody could tell me the real reason. Here is one: There was a chap in the waiters forum in his mid-forties (i think), he was wearing a dopatta and walking 'that' walk. He graced us by waiting on our table too. Perhaps it is not them (the management of this dhaba), it is the public that has named the place like this.

Khusray ke kabab dhaba is located at the obscurest possible place in Lahore. At the junction of Mall road and Tufail road in the cantt area, hidden behind a sort-of-skyscraper hotel building. The dhaba is actually a movable cart parked in an open-air parking lot and customer tables on the other side. There is no sign of any sort on the road indicating its presence which means they don't have walk-in customers. It is a living example of the word of mouth marketing.

They make really good chicken tikka and chicken boti - boneless chicken meat cubes on skewers and barbequed (see the picture). Although the real popular item is beef kababs but I think I've had better kababs than theirs. Try Bhayya's kababs if you haven't done that already. The next best item is called chicken piece which is around a quarter of a chicken also barbequed on a flat skewer. Raita and Salad are the typical accompaniments. I wouldn't recommend their Raita though.

Price range: Rs. 75-150
Cleanliness: Below average

May 27, 2008

Fazal e Haq - aka Phajjay ke Paye

I know the blog has been idle for some time and it isn't a good thing. Anyway, here I am with another review of Fazl e Haq (nicked as Phajja) chain of restaurants. Now this is truly authentic Lahori taste we are talking about. Not even the neighbouring cities of Lahore have been found to be that keen about Paye (feet) or Siri (heads) of goats. It sounds gross, doesn't it? But then again, this is us .. Lahories .. and you have already read about us eating goat testicles.
Fazl e Haq or Mr. Phajja was perhaps the first person who commercialized the idea by coming up with a Paye specialty restaurant in the Red light district (Taxali gate) named as Phajjay ke Paye. People would (and still) flock to this place every morning and wait in queues to have a breakfast of sticky and rubbery meat of goat feet. The Siri on the other hand is not a breakfast item. A typical Siri meal is accompanied by assortments like Maghaz (brain), Zuban (tongue) and Khad (Jawbone) - everything cooked of course. You eat it with Roti or Kulcha. Another reason for having started his venture in the red light district of Lahore was perhaps the purportedly aphrodisiac nature of these meals. Aphrodisiac or not, they are rich in cholesterol for sure.

Fazl e Haq has now grown into a chain of restaurants covering almost all the major areas of Lahore. This includes Fortress stadium (you can see that in the picture), Gawalmandi, Red light district, Model town, and a few more places that I am not aware of. The new menu includes typical desi food stuff in addition to their specialty.

You must go to the Taxali gate outlet to have the authentic experience. It is very close to the Shahi Mosque. If you think the Siri Paye experience can be risky, you should go to the Fortress stadium outlet.

Price range: Rs. 100-250
Cleanliness: Different at different outlets

Mar 7, 2008

Poll results

Mostly desi .......... 60%
Only desi ............. 15%
Mostly fastfood ..... 10%
Mostly western ..... 5%
Only western ........ 5%
Only fastfood ......... 5%

Needless to say that the results indicate a group of people who already have some level of interest for Lahori food and they cared to vote.

Feb 13, 2008

What do you prefer

Update: The poll has been closed. Go to the next post to see the results.


Jan 24, 2008

Karachi Hot n Spicy BBQ

Ordinary name, ordinary atmosphere but extraordinary paratha rolls. Lahories have only a few places where we can find paratha rolls. Karachiites, on the other hand, are 'blessed' with numerous choices of paratha rolls that can be found in every nook and corner of the city. My today's review offers you a comparable (if not better) option - Karachi Hot n Spicy. They have around 15 different paratha roll styles. Some of them are really creative selections, such as German cheese rolls, Chicken malai with cheese rolls, Behari roll, etc. You can also order a chicken cheese platter, which has everything as that of a roll except the roll itself (shown in the picture). Taste is really good, I won't give it a 10 out of 10 though.

They serve a number of other Desi and Continental options. Karahi is good but not as good as Butt Karahi (reviewed in the past). You can also try their Cheese naan. Nicely molten cheese evenly spread inside a fresh, oven-hot tandoori naan. It is good but immensely rich and greasy .. so try it carefully or you'll lose your appetite and therefore a chance to cherish the lovely paratha rolls.

Located in the middle of H-Block food street, DHA, Lahore, the facade of this restaurant is really bad. A wide kitchen on the ground floor hides the shady and small entrance to a basement hall, which is the sitting place for customers. If you can ignore that, you are in for a treat.

Price range: Rs. 150-250
Cleanliness: Average

Dec 31, 2007

Top lists of 2007

Here is the top 5 list of most read reviews in this blog (most popular first) :

  1. Bundu Khan
  2. Salt 'n Pepper, Liberty
  3. Butt Karahi
  4. KB Burgers
  5. Ashiq's Channay and Haleem

Top 5 Referrers

  1. Wikipedia articles (Cuisine of Pakistan, Culture of Pakistan, Pakistani food)
  2. Google search
  3. Blogger
  4. Stumbleupon
  5. Hereware blog

Top 5 search keywords
  1. bundu khan
  2. salt and pepper lahore
  3. behari kabab
  4. haleem restaurants
  5. eat out in lahore

Dec 17, 2007

Butt Karahi

emm .. no, this is not buttocks of an animal in the dish .. thats not what 'butt' karahi means. Butt is a cast in Pakistan and they are famous for their eating habits (lets just say no more). Butt karahi is a restaurant in Lahore. They make chicken and mutton karahi, and man .. they are GOOD at it. Butt karahi is also known for its Takatak - a mix of goat kidney and testicles (yes, testicles!) finely chopped and fried on a tawa with masalah.

I've suddenly realized, this text has become more of an anatomical review of animal privates than the review of the food itself. So, I'll get straight to the taste. Desi chicken karahi tastes excellent. Meat is tender, deeply marinated in the masalah and uniformly cooked. Presented in the original cooking dish (Karahi) and you are free to eat from within the karahi without bothering about the cutlery, plates and other accessories. Thats the whole fun about this place. Interior of the restaurant is rubbish. Tableware is not very fine either but the place still calls for a dine-in visit and will force you to come back sooner or later.

It is located on the main McLeaod Rd. Lakshami crossing in Lahore (Gawalmandi). Two imitates with the same name surround the original butt karahi restaurant. So beware!If you've been there, do leave a comment and let us all know about your experience.

Price range: Rs. 150-250

Cleanliness: Below average

Nov 30, 2007

KB Burgers

I have grown up eating KB burgers. It is my childhood association with them more than its fame that is compelling me to write this review. The taste, nonetheless, is fantastically unique and unforgettable. Two fried beef kababs are spread inside the freshly baked long bread topped with sauces of various sorts and a sizzling hot fried egg (or boiled if you choose so). It is finally garnished with finely chopped fresh mint leaves before being capped with the remaining half of the brown surfaced partially fried bread. Above all, everything is done in front of your eyes. An expert chef is skillfully managing the assembly line of a few dozen burgers wearing polythene gloves behind a wall-sized glass window. What a treat!

You can find it on the Poonch road in Samanabad near Choburji. 20 years ago, this used to be a simple roadside dhaba. They have maintained the unique taste even today but changed the outlook entirely. Prices are very affordable. A regular double beef burger costs you around Rs. 44 and you can eat two for a meal. To keep up with the trends, they have included a bunch of continental burgers in the menu as well. That is the ordinary part of their menu and is not something for which you would want to travel a long distance to come all the way to this place. As far as traveling for the beef burgers is concerned, I know a couple of friends who traveled all the way from Ireland and Washington to satisfy the urge. Everyone who has experienced the addiction, please feel free to leave a comment and share your experience.

Price range: Rs. 60 – 120
Cleanliness: Excellent

Nov 5, 2007

Bundu Khan

It is a mouth-watering experience even to write about the Behari kababs of Bundu Khan let alone eating them alongside the spicy tamarind sauce. Beef behari kababs is the best thing Bundu Khan makes and no one beats them (atleast) in Lahore. They are spicy and so tender that they have lost their fibrous meaty identity - which is, for your information, a compliment to the chef in the state of Behar, India. The ideal combination is to have poori parathas with them. Poori parathas are crispy, greasy and rich in LDL cholesterol but tremendously delicious.

Bundu khan offers more than just the kababs and parathas, but everything else on their menu is ordinary and does not deserve a space on my blog. Bundu Khan chain of restaurants has its roots from Karachi and has 4 branches in Lahore. The DHA branch in Lahore (Sector Z, DHA) has the most glassy looks.

They have increased their prices unreasonably in the recent past, while quality is the same. Keeping the price constant could mean a fall in the quality and taste in the future which will be a shame. Despite these negatives, Behari Kababs deserve a try.

Price range: Rs. 250 - 400
Cleanliness: Good

Oct 24, 2007

Salt 'n Pepper, Liberty

Salt 'n pepper (aka SnP) is one of my favorite eating places in the city. More than just the food, I adore the simple and creative name it has.

Located near the Liberty roundabout, Gulberg, it is one of the oldest eating places in Lahore. Offers continental, desi and chinese food. Ever since I have been going there (last 10 years atleast), they've been amazingly consistent about the quality of food and taste. This is a trait, very hard to find in Lahori restaurants.

A lot of people I know are fond of their stuffed chicken breast. They make good Lasagne (not always available) and excellent beef burgers.

Do try their strawberry juice if you happen to go there in the right season. Chicken and Apple salad is juicy and yummy. Occasional introductions of dessert of the month or dish of the month keep breaking the monotony.

No matter when you plan to go there (weekday or a weekend) the place is always full. Despite their recent capacity expansion, they haven't been able to accomodate their increasing fans without making them wait in the lobby on the ground floor. Very strangely, this constant increase in demand hasn't affected their attitude, quality or serving time, which indeed is a commendable thing.

Interior is good and clean but acoustically, it is a bad design. Since the shiny tiled floor is not carpetted, it reflects all the sounds. One can even hear the sound of a spoon drop from across the hall. You can well imagine the cumulative noise produced by 200 people eating, talking and clanking their forks and knives while sitting in the same hall.

Price range: Rs. 200 - 400
Cleanliness: Very good

Oct 23, 2007

Ashiq's Channay and Haleem

Now that was a tasteless disappointment. Ashiq's channay is a well known desi food spot located in the main Sadar bazar inside Lahore cantonment. Known for its channa (chickpeas) curry and haleem (mixed pulses curry), Ashiq's restaurant offered us a blank tasting lunch yesterday.

We ordered an assortment of the dishes available in the menu, which was verbally announced to us @ 72 words per minute by a rude waiter. Service was quick, since they didn't have to prepare anything, and the next minute we were looking at the food in front of us. It was not bad looking at all and the first visual perception did boost our appetite to some extent. However, the moment I started eating it, I had to struggle for determining the presence of a flavour in my channa curry with boiled egg. Egg was the same but the rest of the stuff was unclassifiable by my tounge alone. I finished it anyway and ordered a plate of Haleem in the hope of some light. It turned out to be an equally pointless exercise.

If you are a taste freak or have an obsession for hygiene, don't even think about going there. In case you have recently acquired a craze for trying out the true lahori channay or haleem, believe me, there are better places to go in the city.

Price range: Rs. 20-50 per head
Cleanliness: Far below average

Oct 19, 2007

Bhayya's kababs

These are the best beef kababs you can find in Lahore. Small sized kababs with a rich mouth-watering taste and grainy texture. Unlike others, these are not greasy at all so you can eat as many as you want.

We usually order 1.5 dozen beef kababs per head alongwith tawa parathas and/or khameeri roti. Lemon soda and a tangy thin sauce are the popular accompaniments.

Dhabba style open eating place near the middle of (I guess D block) Model town. One of my favourite places. I have been there a number of times and got addicted to the beef kababs around 10 or 11 years ago. Since then, it has been the same delight without a change in the taste, location or serving style.

A lot of immitations exist in the vicinity but one with the blue banner and a picture of old bearded man is the original and authentic place.

Price range: Rs. 150-250 per head
Cleanliness: below average


Someone suggested me to start this blog. I liked the idea ... so here I am. Although I am known for being horribly lazy when it comes to posting regularly, I will try my best. The idea is to share my experiences of dining out in Lahore. I will try to stick to the restaurants and food places that have a cultural or traditional significance. Will do my best to avoid commenting on (or comparing with) the internationally famous restaurant chains. So no comments on McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Pizza hut et al.