Dalston House, a new restaurant off MM Alam, takes its name from an area in London; its architecture is reminiscent of colonial buildings and its food voyages from hummus bagels of the Mediterranean region, Turkish eggs and omelets with Harissa spices from North Africa. And that’s just their breakfast menu. Lahore has recently gotten a couple of additions to its continental food options but breakfast has always been somewhat non-existent besides Thanda Garam or the Sunday brunch at Rina’s, Amu’s or Cafe Aylanto. It was Dalston House’s menu, therefore, that first drew me to it, for all its options with not only eggs but also its freshly baked sourdough bread, merguez sausages, chia seed puddings and granola pots. A veritable melting pot of a menu, the couple behind the restaurant, Jabeen and Mohammad, take pride in the fact that their offerings are so different from what’s otherwise available for non-desi breakfast options in the city.
A two storey building with a white facade stands out from its surrounding houses. Upon entering, one sees the walls of the restaurant are also white washed and the floors are concrete, adding to its stripped down and raw, natural aesthetic. The big French windows add to the airy, openness of a room that is well lit and would be even more appreciated come winter months for its sunny interior and outdoor sitting space. Jabeen and Muhammed joked about how people came and expected them to continue painting the place but didn’t realize that they wanted to give it that undone, fuss free look.
It was tough to narrow down to a few things when it came time to order because so much on the menu seemed intriguing but we agreed on the Harissa + Parmagiano Omelets, Classic Smashed Avocado, Hummus Bagel and the Turkish eggs. The hummus bagels were ordered purely out of curiosity – of what a pairing like that would taste like. It definitely was an interesting union of two distinct things but it could have been made even better with some olives, chopped cucumbers and possibly some red onions in the mix. Since there were already ‘morning bagels’ with peanut butter on the menu, this could wholly take a Mediterranean inspired route. The Harissa omelets arrived looking a lot like your regular desi omelets but once you broke into it the cheesy parmagiano oozing out was a good surprise. The hash browns and sourdough, the latter of which is made in house, were a delicious addition to the meal. Priced at PKR 495, it was a wholesome breakfast on its own but the meals I’d keep returning for are the rest.
The avocado on freshly baked sourdough bread had to be the best I’ve had in the city – if not the only. The avocado was of a wonderfully smooth, creamy texture and the lemon, chili flakes and salt – although basic additions – perfectly offset its flavor. This was the priciest item on the menu but that’s because of the heavy price tag of its star ingredient. Next up were the Turkish eggs and I have to admit I wasn’t particularly tempted by the idea of poached eggs on Greek yogurt but theirs was authentic down to the pul biber, an indigenous Turkish pepper with a sweet heat and a distinctive lemon flavor. Add to that the chili oil it was doused in and it made for my favourite dish on the table. From the bakery menu, which is available for pick up throughout the day, we tried the banana bread and the ricotta cheesecake – both of which were nice.
Dalston House is a welcome addition to the Lahore breakfast scene but does need to iron out some kinks. As a new restaurant, during its soft launch phase, it made a good impression with its friendly owners, aesthetically pleasing interior and exciting menu. It has me convinced to go back for its extensive lunch menu that also looks promising.