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Lahori Nihaari - Plashet Grove (Upton Park Tube) - London

Hello all,

I noticed this place years ago when taking the rail replacement from Stratford to East Ham. It had the look of a Pakistani Thattukada with crowds of men drinking tea, but the menu was so stereotypical of other Pakistani places in East London that I always passed it up. I finally went here a couple of weeks ago and I only just finished eating my third dinner there.

This place is hands down the best "standard" Pakistani restaurant in London. Or at least it's much better than any I've been to. It puts Needoo and Tayyabs to shame and it outclasses six or more similar restaurants within the area. As noted, the menu is pretty standard. Nihari, haleem, dal fry, and so forth. The difference is that every version of each dish I've had here is the best I've ever had.

So far I've tried their aloo keema, dal fry (maasht dal I believe), chana dal, haleem, and nihari. I've been meaning to try their lamb karahi as it looks incredible, but I definitely need some help in tackling it. The larger portions of karahi are served in the cooking pot as they don't have any dishes that are large enough. They come out of the kitchen like steaming cauldrons of succulent on the bone lamb, but it would literally be impossible to finish one of them alone (think Man vs Food goes to Pakistan.)

Out of the above dishes I'd have to say that the haleem is by far the best. The best haleem I've ever had after years of trying to find good haleem (it was the first South Asian dish I ever had that I loved.) Rich, deeply flavored and studded with massive chunks of green chilies. Excellent.

Out of the two veg, the dal fry is definitely superior to the chana. I'm going to try to branch out of the dals to use the standard "put their veg to the test" method of judging South Asian places, but the meat keeps tempting me. The dal fry wasn't as buttery as versions I've had (Lahore Lahore Eh in East Ham) but it's stronger tasting with a deep red broth of oil.

Every dish I've had so far (including the dal) has been far spicier than similar dishes at Needoo, but the spicing is also more varied and complex. This restaurant specializes almost entirely in slow cooked dishes which is probably what allows them to send so many of their woks out as plates. I haven't seen the inside of the kitchen, but practically the whole menu is slow cooked deliciousness so I suspect they're keeping enormous pots of each and then heating it up in the "serving" pans (even though they're enormous Indian pots)

Not to keep harping on about the glory of this place, but the bread is also unparalleled in the area. They do a special naan which looks almost Pashtun. It's somewhat thicker than the standard naan here (which is crispy, air and seems to be done on a stove top rather than in a tandoori oven) but it has more bite and it's covered in patterns on the top. It's similar to the rogni naan at Lahore Lahore Eh, but thinner.

All in all this place is great. Absolutely no alcohol, but I would definitely say this place is worth the trip to Upton Park.

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  1. Sounds great Justin. Will try it next time I'm in upton park. I usually go for lunch so assuming it will be open...? Is it ok for single females dining alone? (Just cos I felt a bit intimidated when i went to Gram Bangla). Also, if I ask for the special naan will they know what I mean?

    3 Replies
    1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

      I'll get the name of the naan ASAP.

      It might feel a bit Gram Bangla-ish tbh. Lunch is less crowded though. It gets really packed late at night.

      1. re: JFores

        This sounds awesome. Do you think it would be feasible to drop by on a Friday night? Or would it generally be packed?

        1. re: Sharmila

          I forgot to update this. The naan is khulcha naan.

          It would probably be packed, but you should get a spot. I've seen it very crowded loads of times, but I don't think I've ever seen it completely full.

    2. A few updates on this.

      I've been here a considerable number of times now and it seems to have gotten the chow seal of approval from both limster and deansa. Similarly, a Pakistani friend of mine just compared the cooking to Pakistani home cooking and said the dishes we had weren't quite "mom" level, but they were definitely very good. Better than what she's had at many peoples' houses.

      Excellent preparations of "standard" Pakistani dishes with a truly talented bread maker. I've also increasingly discovered that everything is good. Their seekh kebabs (offered in both chicken and lamb) are the best I've had in London. The lamb chops are right up there as well. Even less commonly ordered Punjabi dishes like the saag gosht have turned out fantastic with subtle spicing, tender lamb and fresh (not frozen) spinach.

      Highly recommended.

      14 Replies
      1. re: JFores

        Ooh...really feel like going tonight now. What shall i try? Loved the dal fry when i went last time - tried the halleem but i didn't really know what it was before ordering and it just wasn't for me. Anyone tried the biryanis yet?

        1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

          The biriyani is the only bad thing I've had at this place.

          I think the highlights so far are...

          Nihari, lamb karahi, haleem, keema with peas, and paiye under the mains.

          Daal maash (fry) under the veg.

          The special kulcha naan, the special keema naan and the tawa paratha on the breads. Excellent roti too. More of a grainy rustic roti similar to a Gujarati rotla. Their bread guy is extremely good. The best I've encountered besides Joseph the paratha and appam maker at Thattukada.

          Of the grilled items, I think the lamb chops are exceptionally good and the lamb seekh kebabs are very good too. The chicken ones are blander.

          While you're in the area you should try the dabeli place in Venus Mall that I wrote up under Green St street food and chaat places. Virtually all of the places I wrote about in that post have unfortunately gone under. This includes an amazing Gujarati snack place that had freshly made kichyu for a pound, great patra, buffara, pani puri, etc. All that's left is the dabeli place in Venus Mall near the cash and carry on the east side of Green St past Barclays (which is on the west side of Green St.) Very cheap, very good and her other chaat is good too. I've had my go-to sources of pav bhaji, samosa chaat, pani puri, and aloo tikki chaat ripped out from under me, but I'll find new ones soon enough. It's summer in Newham so I expect lots of illegal street carts soon-ish.

          The best vada pav in the area and excellent pani puri when her papri haven't gotten a bit stale (she leaves all her stuff out all day so the quality of her bhel and pani puri decreases TREMENDOUSLY if you get them later in the day.)

          I just grabbed two samosa from the place you gave me btw. I go there for breakfast about 3 days a week now. If you want a bit more of a local food tour just email me or FB me as I live about 30 seconds (I counted) from Lahori Karahi.

          1. re: JFores

            Oh will do...glad you're enjoying Pride Halal. I love it - desperately trying to get them to give me their dal recipe so i can cook it in n wales for my family! Will be there saturday sometime, I'm sure - I go there for lunch.

            re vada pav and pani puri --- where is that? will have to check it out. Also, my other half LOVES pakora - any reccs for best in the area (so far he will only buy them from Ambala in Drummond St). Would love a tour sometime soon though...

            1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

              Up Green St. It's technically 16 Carlton Terrace, but it's on Green St. It's near the large restaurant that has a sweet and food counter facing out onto the road. By the Mauritian owned cash and carry. I think you can see Chawallah the Gujju restaurant from the door and vice versa though it's on an angle from each one. Big sign saying Venus Mall. Stall at the back.

              Order dabeli, vada pav, pani puri, bhel, etc.

              Pakora... Its almost impossible to even find them fried to order. There's a Gujju place I'm meaning to try near Romford Rd so I could maybe report back about theirs. Otherwise I dunno. Most of the chaat places around Green St are terrible. Three of the good ones all closed (other in Venus Mall, Khana Khazana and the Gujju place in Fashion Plaza.) Come to think of it I can't remember the last time I got pakora anywhere... I'll give this some thought.

              1. re: JFores

                Thanks Justin..might try starting a new thread about pakora in london - be interesting to see what people think. Am hoping to go to upton park this sat so will defo try some of your reccs, even thought i am supposed to be on (another) diet!

                1. re: JFores

                  Pretty gutted to hear Khana Khazana is closed down. I went on an Indian street food crawl around East Ham earlier this year and really enjoyed what I had there :-( Will still have to get out there to try Lahori Nihari though.

                  Oh, one place I did enjoy is City Sweet Centre on Romford Road - primarily because the sauce they served with their dhokla and patra was awesome.

                  1. re: Sharmila

                    Thanks! I had no idea that place was there!

              2. re: JFores

                Popped in to Lahori Nihaar for lunch today.
                I no longer work in the Upton Park office and so don't get much chance to head over to east London. Tried to arrange the meeting for when Pride Halal was open but to no avail.
                Oh how I miss the one meat one veg samosa combo on the way to work in the morning.

                Anyway to the meal in hand.
                The lamb chops were very good easily on a par with Lahore Kebab house flavour wise but far more succulent. Good heat in the rub.
                The daal moongi (I think that's how it was spelled) was well flavoured and with a good quantity of green chilli. Slightly more cinnamon coming through than I was expecting.

                The standout though was the special kulcha naan. I'm not normally one for naans but this was light crisp and tasty and I especially liked the sesame seeds on top. I'd venture it is probably the best Indian/Pakistani bread I've had in London.

                1. re: Paprikaboy

                  Ahhh finally people are getting out here and agreeing. This place is gold. Whoever is in charge of bread is exceptionally good at his job. I need to try the mung dal. It's the last dal I haven't tried.

                  1. re: Paprikaboy

                    Is Lahori Nihari as good as Lahore kebab - esp for the nihari, kababs etc. After having tried quite a few Pakistani places, I have come to a conclusion that it doesnt get better than Lahore Kebab, Mirch masala is quite good too. But since this blog recommends this place, want to try it, but want to level set my expectations

                    1. re: khowkhow

                      what about lahore kebab do you like so much? if its more to your taste, then theres not much to discuss, but if there's something objective i'd be interested in hearing it.

                2. re: DietStartsTomorrow

                  DST

                  For me, haleem can be hit or miss depending on texture rather than flavour. Have had excellent and have had bloody awful.

                  The Iranian dish, halim, not only sounds similar but also has taste similarities. Worth another try if you come across it as a mezze option.

                  John

                  1. re: Harters

                    HI John, yes I didn't really know what to expect and i just didn't really get it. Meaty and spicy flavour but just totally smooth texture - like baby food.

                    1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

                      Yep, that can be the issue for me. Much prefer it with a bit of texture.

              3. Just went again this evening. Karahi lamb was beautifully, artery-cloggingly tasty. Thanks JFores.

                Note special Ramadan opening hours: 4pm to 3am (!).

                6 Replies
                  1. re: deansa

                    I'm literally moving into this place for Ramadan. It has revolutionized my late night eating options in the area,

                    TBH everything I've had here has been better than equivalent dishes at Tayyabs, Lahore Kebab and Needoo. The shami kebabs are the only item thats even debatable.

                    1. re: JFores

                      Ok since you insist so much, will try it out at least once! My standards are very high, so hopefully this is not anglicised curry which is disguised as Indian/Pakistani food.

                      1. re: khowkhow

                        The special khulcha nan is the must-have bread item, Dish wise the haleem is cooked down a bit too much, but I like the taste (I've also had different levels of consistency on different days though.)

                        Very good lamb karahi, dal maash, lamb chops, seekh kebabs (the lamb more so than the chicken), nihaari, and payesh.

                        1. re: khowkhow

                          "My standards are very high"

                          and we respect that.

                        2. re: JFores

                          Just checked it out. Your rec was superb. Had the dal maash, extremely flavorful, the lamb karahi (the highlight) - the meat just falls off the bone, extremely flavorful, the nihaari and haleem, which were both excellent, and the special nan. Just a standout place. The lamb was one of the best lamb dishes I've ever had in any restaurant of any cuisine.

                      2. Briefly some impressions of Lahori Nihaari and I'll preface them by saying that I was not as fully bowled over by the place as you seem to be. But having said that there were some stand-out items.

                        There were four of us and we arrived at about five in the afternoon during one of the last days of Ramadan. The place was open, but empty and you just got the impression that you should not be there. Added to which there was a concern that the kitchen might not be in full flow.

                        We ordered Lassis which arrived first and they were all superb.

                        Then the food started to arrive. You've praised the lamb chops. All of us love the offerings at Lahore/Needos/Tayyabs we were somewhat disappointed with the Lahori Nihaari version which, don't get me wrong, was full of flavour, but seemed to lack 'bite'.

                        The sheekh kebabs were excellent.

                        The spicing of everything was markedly more robust than at it's Whitechapel cousins.

                        The breads, were universally praised. I wonder how they make the khulcha naan? There was almost a (delicious flavour) of burnt cheese.

                        The karais and the Haleem were really wonderful.

                        For me the star of the show was the dal maas. I just could not leave it alone.

                        We almost went through everything on the menu and the spend for four big, hungry lads was around £50

                        Strictly no alcohol.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: loobcom

                          Went again and had the dal mass again. Really enjoyed it but still think the dal at Pride Halal, Queen's Market has the edge. Same texture but a lot more kick. More chilli, and I think, fresh fenugreek in it. Yum.Trouble is its only open daytimes in the days when Queen's Market is on