London - Chowmeet at Lahori Nihaari, Upton Park
London-based Chowhounds converged upon Lahori Nihaari, that little Pakistani neighborhood eatery in Upton Park, last night for a Chowdown. What we had:
- Shami Tikki: spiced minced lamb-chickpea-lentil patties. It was a light, delicious starter, with the soft, yielding pate-like consistency of a vegetarian burger, *but* with just enough meat to give it a lamb flavour;
- Seekh Kebab: absolutely fantastic rendition here, bursting with meaty flavours, and with the perfect consistency and bite to the texture. I actually enjoyed the one here last night to the ones at Old Delhi's famous century-old Karim's during my trip to India last month (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892811). Maybe because the lamb-meat here has a subtler scent and sweeter flavour.
- Haleem: a Pakistani classic - gluey, saffron-tinted porridge made from lentils, wheat and finely-julienned chicken breastmeat, served topped with golden-brown onions and more slivered ginger. The consistency of the haleem here was thicker than I'd have liked but, again, the flavours here were exceptional.
- Nihari: the quintessential Pakistani slow-cooked lamb stew, swimming with grease and topped with slivered ginger and chopped coriander. Cardamom dominated the flavours of Lahori Nihaari's rendition. It was good, but not my favourite dish of the evening.
- Lamb Karahi: Absolutely flavoursome lamb stew with a spiced kick. The gravy was the best part: gingery and oniony, with a blend of aromatics like cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander. It reminded me of Singapore's own Nyonya curries with their thick, complex blend of spices.
- Chicken Karahi: the poultry version of the karahi curry has a sweeter, milder blend of spices (toned down on the assertive cardamom) and was positively my favourite dish for the evening. I'd make the journey back here again just for this dish.
- Daal Maash: a grainy, delicious mung dhal fry, subtly-spiced and a perfect accompaniment to the meat stews and the breads.
- Tandoori Paratha, including Keema Paratha (filled with minced lamb): these were discs of tandoor-baked wheat breads, their lightly perforated surface gleaming with ghee. Essential part of the meal to mop up the gravy and meaty juices.
It was the perfect meal for me. Absobloodylutely loved this place. Our table was also the only "non-local" one, as Pakistani families and groups of friends packed the other tables, attracted, doubtless, by the authentic flavours here, done very, very well indeed.
Thanks to fellow Chowhound, JFores, for playing the perfect guide and host. You've opened a new frontier for Chowhounds in the Far East of London here.
50 Plashet Grove
E6 1AE London
Tel: +44 2085869148
I enjoyed the food (esp. both karahi dishes) and the company. Nice to put faces with user names. Thanks for organizing.
Always interesting to compare the rendition of a certain dish we get in London with that from its country of origin.
The lamb nihari at Lahori Nihari (3rd picture above) is a rather dialed-down, mild stew, compared to the version I had in Muhammadi Nehari in Lahore, Pakistan, two weeks ago.
Muhammadi Nehari's perhaps the best nihari spot in Lahore (although Haji Nihari near the Lahori Gate, Old City, may dispute that). Like most other dishes here, the nihari was swimming in fat. Extremely flavoursome, the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. The stew was also enriched with generous helpings of ox-bone marrow ("nali") and lamb's brain ("maghaz"). It's off the charts, cholesterol-wise.
Lahore's a long way from home for many people, but the nihari here should be on every foodie's bucket list.