Opened just a few weeks ago, the eatery Slate adds a new and welcome dimension to Lahore’s busy food scene. Slate is small, offers a concise menu, minimalist, chic décor, and a warm and friendly ambiance, as if one was dining at a friend’s home.
The quality of food and the distinct flavour are what make Slate — named, the owner explained, to represent the fresh start that a clean slate can provide — stand out. Even though there are no unusual or immensely ambitious dishes on the menu in a city where restaurants sometimes offer 200 or even more, Slate focuses on high quality and a distinct style.
This is the result of the personal interest taken in the eating place by owner and chef Sarah Mehmood, who has taken her love for food into the kitchen of her business and remains there personally, ensuring the high quality is maintained.
When I visited the place, the burger, sandwiches and spaghetti with mushroom sauce were superbly cooked and presented with panache. So were the mint lemonade and other mocktails. But what virtual tears of joy to the eyes of any diner was the ice cream, made in-house, with its delicate flavouring, fresh strawberries, and pieces of meringue mixed into the creamy, vanilla-flavoured delight.
Mehmood told TNS that she had decided to restrict the menu to dishes she knew and loved well, and would be able to prepare personally and with “a guarantee of quality each time.” She said her strict standards surprised staff members working with her.
The service at the eatery was immensely friendly and made the entire experience an extremely pleasant one for the customers who continued to gather around its small, comfortable set of tables.
Slate offers all that is usually not found in Lahore and identified more frequently with eating places in Europe or metropolitan cities elsewhere. The ambiance is unique and the food very special. It is a place where one can delight in the sheer pleasure of eating and talking while one does so.
The music playing inside was low-key, tasteful, and not so overbearing that it would prevent the conversations which are a part of every meal. The setting in Phase 6, DHA, is peaceful and a move away from the noisy hustle and bustle of other spots such as Y-Block or MM Alam Road, making it possible to enjoy a meal without other distractions.
The personal touches visible in the presentation of the food and the preparation of each dish including the sides make Slate unique, with new dishes set to be added from time to time. The pizzas are already becoming recognised as the more addictive items available.
Like any new venture, it may take a little time for Slate to reach out and make waves in Lahore. This is especially true as unlike large chain restaurants with their gaudy advertising, the publicity has been kept low-key and tasteful. This is the kind of place which will bring food lovers to it because of word of mouth, tales told by those who have eaten here and enjoyed Chef Sarah’s obvious talent and love for food.