For once, there are no ketchup or mayo bottles to be found on the dinner tables. Mouthful, a freshly opened mini restaurant, in the fast developing DD Market in DHA, is designed to appeal to food lovers who obsess about their calorie intake.
It’s about eating fresh, organic, unprocessed and hygienically cooked food.
The buzzword is ‘preservative-free,’ and the creators of Mouthful — a bunch of young, foreign-educated, self-proclaimed “die-hard foodies,” now based in Lahore — say they have strictly eliminated the use of the microwave oven, the deep fryer and all monosodium glutamate (MSG) products. (For the information of the readers, MSG is a flavour enhancer often used in commercial food products.) They only use Himalayan salt and the food is cooked in olive oil.
What’s more, there is nothing that has been kept in the deep freezer.
The idea developed as they participated regularly at the Haryali Market events in Lahore, where their signature Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich got rave reviews.
“Each time we’d be sold out within an hour,” says Faisal Haroon, one of the four owners of Mouthful.
Soon they were pushed by their family and key members of an online food group to start their own venture.
But the story of Mouthful actually began with Haroon and his team mates eagerly sharing their personal culinary experiments with each other, and learning from criticism as they went along, and developing and perfecting recipes.
What helped them further was their knowledge of what’s healthy eating.
A mini restaurant, Mouthful is a simple deviation from mainstream eating outlets. Its see-through kitchen is the main area visible from the outside and is a hub of activity. One can spot the owners cooking because they “want to be in the midst of things” (Haroon’s words).
At its first floor, which is done up with wooden furniture and comfortable seating for 20 people, we were welcomed by the friendly faces of the owners gladly sharing information on the ingredients as well as giving explanations for “the limited menu which we plan to increase.”
However, our consensus was that the entire team deserves full marks for being innovative and following standards of quality and taste. We enjoyed everything that was served, especially the Beer Can Chicken, which is a free-range, naturally fed chicken, cooked in a clay oven over the gentle fizz from a non-alcoholic beer or a carbonated drink. It had the juiciest finish inside and a delectable crust.
Mouthful’s signature omelet, available all day, is served with the authentic Irani Seekh Kebabs, richly marinated in herbs and spices served with saffron rice, grilled vegies and their trademark Chimichurri sauce.
For us, the succulent and flavourful Ostrich Nihari turned out to be the dark horse. We had it with mint lemonade and home-made Zeera Pani to wash it all down.
A special mention is due to the only dessert Gulab Jamuns that were simply yummy, served piping hot in a batch of two.
Last but not the least, the prices at Mouthful are quite reasonable, if you compare them with any other upmarket eatery in town. To quote Faisal Haroon, “We have kept the price points not going above Rs685 for any main entrée but these are introductory and will be revised after the soft launch.”