It wasn’t too long ago when I was invited by an old schoolmate to like a Facebook page named Urban Kitchen Lahore. I quickly made a note of it and made it my mission to go check out the place as soon as I could because tbh the food and the interior both looked pretty darn nice to me.
Sometimes it feels like a lot of restaurants or eateries sell dishes or main courses with the same taste, same components, same description, same everything – yawn. But you never know. Maybe something new might just inject that excitement you’ve been missing. So I grabbed my friend Urfa and we made our way to Urban Kitchen. Oh boy oh boy were we glad we went.
Now, how was the food really? PHENOMENAL.
I can’t speak for the food I didn’t try, but what I did try, was spectacular. It may even sound like I’m being paid to write this but I swear I’m not. This is me, voluntarily, writing about a place that I hope is going to be making some good food in the near future. Last night when I got home, I was promoting the restaurant food on my Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook to anyone because it gave me joy. Pure joy. And I would absolutely, definitely want a restaurant like this to thrive so that they continue feeding me for the rest of my life.
Urban Kitchen Lahore brings comfort foods from all over the world and makes them with the finest ingredients you’ll find in Lahore
I actually took a look at their kitchen. New, clean, spacious. Don’t believe me? Here.
All the recipes belong to Chef Faisal and he’s worked on them a long, long time until perfected (at least, according to him). Although I probably tried out 1/4th of the menu, I’ll be going back to try the remaining when the restaurant opens up. While I was there, they served me several appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Here is how great they were.:
Small, crispy, yummy bites of spice, spice, and spice. That dip tho. I would easily eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My friend Urfa, on the other hand, doesn’t like her food spicy, so you can imagine what she must’ve gone through.
Fritto Di Misto
This is basically a platter of assorted seafood. Not just any seafood but DEEP-FRIED, FINGER-LICKING GOOD SEAFOOD. I like to eat my prawns and calamari without any lemon juice, so I quickly became best friends with the tangy dip served along! I even shamelessly got it packed for home 😛
Cracker of a Toast
Prawn on toasts are served everywhere, but most places don’t do them very well. I’ve been served toasts overly loaded with sesame seeds, some disintegrated and some had a cup’s worth of oil oozing out. However, I was pleasantly surprised to have these ones. As I picked a piece and took a bite out of it, the toast crunched between my teeth and in came all the mouth-watering prawn mince and sesame. So. Much. Crunch.
Ultimate Mac ‘n Cheese
Everyone at the MangoBaaz office, including myself, was so excited about the Mac ‘n Cheese; it’s the ultimate comfort food. People tend to destroy it – not the case at Urban Kitchen, though. I loved the toasted breadcrumbs on top, the sauce wasn’t too thick, the macaroni was done perfectly and the taste… unlike anything I’ve had in Pakistan. I could tell that they properly sourced their cheese as it melted in my mouth and the flavor kept getting better and better, whereas other restaurants tend to rely very much on Adam’s and let’s be real, that’s not really cheese. Could use a little bit of salt but hey that’s entirely my preference, mein shaid namak ziada khaati hoon.
Spaghetti Ala Bolognese
Ah, another simple dish that too many Lahori restaurants love to ruin but I loved Urban Kitchen’s spaghetti. The pasta wasn’t overcooked, there were juicy chunks of mince generously mixed in with the sauce and the sauce itself was an eruption of tomatoes and herbs in my mouth! I was so happy how there was a humongous serving of parmesan cheese, because you may not know, but I like to drown my food in cheese. For this spaghetti bolognese, I did just the same.
Oishii Katsu Curry
When it was announced that we’re now going to be served Oishii Katsu Curry, I had no clue as to what it was. Puuri zindagi Lahore mein rahi hoon, ab har cheez ka idea nahi hosakta. Khair, I’m not really a rice and curry fan when I eat out, but oh man, oh man, oh man. Urban Kitchen Lahore has made me a believer that weird sounding foods can be very impressive and that I should get out of my comfort zone often. A sweet, lime-scented curry paired with panko-fried chicken breast and rice, the Oishii Katsu curry was and is without a doubt my favorite dish of the night.
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
I hate peanut butter anything. Every time people talk about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on American TV shows, I cringe. But I must confess that I’ve been converted (only for this cheesecake though, still not a fan of PB&Js). The nutty, slightly sweet butter mixed with cream cheese made my heart skip a beat when I took a bite. This is the only item on the entire tasting menu that I finished and left for no one else. Koi sharam nai arahi thi.
Parisian Apple Crumble Tart
Again, I hate apple pies and tart. I’ve never had a liking for them. But obviously, Urban Kitchen had me convinced I was just eating shitty apple crumble tarts before. I’m in love with this dessert. Breaking that sugar, honeycomb-ish cup, mixing it with french vanilla ice cream and eating it with a spoonful of apple crumble tart… made me crumble. I wanna go back for it now.
But wait, there’s more.
The interior and decor of Urban Kitchen Lahore is a breath of fresh air. I was really excited about the decor and interior design of the restaurant ever since I saw it online. As soon as I got out of my car and walked in, I was welcomed into a nicely lit hall boasting black and white photos of ads and of people from decades ago, a nice little trip back in time. It was nice to see at least someone appreciating us and our culture, rather than hanging up pictures from some fancy city/landscape, contemporary art from God knows where, or some generic Hollywood theme to look fancy and classy.
Pops of color exist everywhere, for instance in this room, the red carpet balances out the black and whites on the wall. (also excuse me if my interior design understanding is basic, after all, I write about food for a living hehe)
Other photos pay homage to popular moments of Pakistan’s past, from Lahore and to the early decades after independence
The restaurant has a ramp for persons in wheelchairs, so that’s good thinking on their part
Unlike many Lahori restaurants that completely exclude our wheelchair-bound people, the Urban Kitchen has a ramp installed. The ground floor dining area is also ideal for people who cannot climb stairs. I also loved the contemporary pieces by a local artist hanging on the corrugated tin walls in the ground floor dining area; they give the space more substance, more character.
When you go up the stairs to the bigger dining area, you get a clear view of some beautiful artwork
This restaurant is a treat for art admirers like myself. Like anyone who ‘sees’ art (read: claims to understand art), I tilted my head and stared at it for a good five minutes. Also look at how the colors from the paintings match with the chairs. KHOOBSURAT.
I don’t know what these are but I’m totally digging the vibe
The upper floor is also very LIT
Industrial ceilings, nice dome, hanging lamps and neon signs – very much inspired by Shoreditch in London it seems. I love how the signs are encouraging you to laugh, talk and eat. Recommendation: put up a NO WIFI sign too so that people can truly enjoy the experience and look at what’s around them 😉
More artwork, corrugated tin walls and a man sitting in their signature yellow chairs!
I think when the owners planned to open the restaurant, they had the overall experience in mind and not just the food, which you’d think everyone would do but more often than not, they don’t. I’m just an ordinary 24-year-old girl, not some fancy shmancy food critic, but I’ve gone to many restaurants in my life #foodie and I can say this restaurant could go places with just their interior and ambiance. Lahore needed this!
Urban Kitchen Lahore opens on the 24th of March to the public. It is situated next to the Mini Market roundabout in Gulberg. Be sure to check out this fabulous restaurant, foodies!
Psst. Check out our new website Hungerist.com to help you discover restaurants near you in Lahore