Urban Kitchen is the kind of reliable restaurant that the people living nearby — around MM Alam or Gulberg area – would really appreciate. That’s mostly because calling yourself a restaurant that specializes in “comfort food” is a big deal and following up on that claim is an even bigger one. Urban Kitchen has managed to achieve both.
Walking into the restaurant, one is already impressed with the décor, art and pops of eclectic design and colour everywhere. The art has modern sensibilities and that reflects in the furniture, crockery and cutlery which is pretty contemporary and well coordinated as well. Sania Ali, the designer behind the fashion label Boho and the interior designer of the space shared, “We wanted it to have an urban feel. We chose Saad Sarfraz as our architect and he really understood what we required and had envisioned. I wanted the space to have large objects of art and look minimalistic, but made sure that every corner was eye catching and interesting to look at. Another main part of the design are the old Pakistani photographs from the 60s and 70s that I have put up in the main entrance and bar area. We collected pictures showing what Pakistani city life used to be back then and how those times are still celebrated today.” The walls also have corrugated material to reinforce the industrial, urban effect and these really stand out.
The same concept applies to the food they serve. The menu spans the cuisines of the world including our local delights (the butter chicken is delightful) but what ties it together is that it’s all comfort food – Japanese, Hakka Chinese, Italian and desi. At the tasting we were first served a combination of welcome drinks including the Bahama Mama which was a refreshing combination of pineapple, ginger and coconut. There was also an Energizing Beetroot drink with the namesake, carrot and apple and this particular juice is often too thick for consumption but Urban Kitchen hit the nail with their consistency.
The beetroot salad, cleverly titled “Beet around the Bush” had oven baked beetroot on a bed of spinach with feta cheese, candied walnuts and toasted sesame seeds and was quite the highlight. The Chili Corn Carne fries were as good as fries can get – home-style beef, beans with a sprinkling of cheese in the absolute right quantities. Their Frito D Misto had battered and fried prawns and calamari drizzled with a sweet sauce which also hit the spot. Fresh seafood is hard to come by in Lahore but this restaurant is looking into its sourcing fairly well.
We had a smattering of mains on the table soon after and because all us foodies wanted a bite of each we got right into it. We tried the Spaghetti Bolognese; it was saucy and homey, just the right amount of cozy and oh so delicious. The Ultimate Mac n Cheese was creamy and oozed out cheese in just the right quantities. Lastly, with almost no space in our stomachs but eyes as wide as ever, we tried the Nutella Bread Pudding which was essentially a fluffy brioche doused in hazelnut chocolate spread and chopped up and soaked in creamy custard and ended our delicious meal on the perfect note.
Although the restaurant officially launched yesterday we spoke to the owner Faisal Khan about what people are liking best of the sizeable menu, and the items covered at our tasting include all of them. You heard it first here.