I’m going to keep this Local Hero short as I’ve got a shed load to do, but I’ve been meaning to pay homage to Lahore in Whitechapel for ages, and now is the time. I know a lot of people prefer Tayyabs around the corner, but I’m not one of those people. I’m not going to deny that Tayyabs is good, but its just not one hour queuing good.
I first, rather nervously, went to Lahore when it was just a ramshackle upstairs dining room, complete with loos that didn’t flush properly around I guess five or six years ago. It’s a very different place now. Three big, blinging dining rooms bedecked in marble, tile and flat screen TVs. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but the food is still as good as it ever was, if not better.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, the thing that keeps me coming back to Lahore is the chops. Yes, they are smaller and thinner than the ones at Taayabs, but to me they just taste better. Big hits of cumin, chilli and that fantastic barbecue flavour the chefs conjure up from that grill. I’m not kidding, I’m literally salivating whilst I write this. The rest of their mixed grill items are also great. The sheek kebabs, lamb and chicken tikka are all tasty (the fish less so), but those chops are some next level shizzle.
My other go to dish is their tarka daal. Having been playing around with daal a bit myself of late, I’m baffled how they make theirs taste so damn good. It has a deep orange colour, and even deeper flavour. Again it has a cumin smokeyness to it, as well as ginger and coriander, and a really feisty chilli kick, but there’s something else in there that I’ve been unable to put my finger on. It really is amazing.
There’s plenty of other good stuff on the menu too. They do a special lamb shank curry a few nights a week called (from memory) Nihari, and the methi and karahi curries are also winners, but they unfortunately don’t do the aubergine curry that most Pakistani places do around the area. I tend not to bother with rice, opting instead for a few roti and paratha which are also excellent.
So next time you’re bored in the queue at Tayyabs, do yourself a favour and walk down towards Commercial Road and go to Lahore instead.
I’d go so far to say that it’s one of my favourite restaurants in London, and a plate of chops, daal and a couple of rotis would be a very close contender for my death row meal.