Lahore Kebab House
17 Nov 22: Lahore Kebab House - Work hard, curry hard
With the pandemic firmly behind us, and work socialising on the increase, a restlessness was brewing for a workplace curry. It may not have always been articulated by anyone but me, but I could feel it. My curry senses were tingling.
Ever the selfless and considerate manager, and keen to capitalise on a groundswell of support for curry based collegiality, I took it upon myself to organise a work night out at one of our capital's larger, and more accomodating, south Asian eateries.
The obvious choice was Tayyabs, a veritable nightclub of curry - both sizeable and stimulating. My teammate Beer had always wanted to visit, having heard so many good things about it. Sadly, Tayyabs wanted to charge us £35 per person for a set menu, a price tag unbecoming of a group curry given the expected economies of scale. It was at this point that I had to pivot faster than David Schwimmer in a sitcom scene and turned to a neighbouring establishent yet to be infected by the neoliberalist avarice of our political zetigeist. And so it was that, we settled on Lahore Kebab House.
Our last review here was back in 2018 when highlights included some free lamb chops and a couple of old boys next to us necking a whole bottle of Talisker Skye in one sitting. This visit clearly had a lot to live up to.
Not to be fazed by responsibility (or democracy), I set about creating a spreadsheet of the menu options to build an order for 28. With surprisingly little resistance this motion passed, and, with order in hand, we set off for Aldgate East to sample some Pakistani wares.
Unlike the many makeovers witnessed in the Southwest scene, little has changed at Lahore Kebab House since our last visit. This is no- frills dining, but with ample space. Indeed, on this occasion we were treated to a table upstairs in a cavernous room which I'm sure is used for even bigger receptions than our humble work night out. Suffice to say, we were adequately accomodated in this light and airy room. However, bar the odd picture and TVs showing Sky Sports, there is little else furnishing this rather austere, white and dark wood interior. This is utilitarian curry dining - function over form - but does the job, especially for large groups.
Starters and sides
28 x Poppadoms
4 x Paneer Tikka
6 x Onion Bhajia
4 x Chilli Paneer
8 x Pilau Rice
5 x Plain Rice
2 x Plain Naan
2 x Garlic Naan
2 x Chilli Naan
2 x Cheese Naan
2 x Keema Naan
8 x Peshwari Naan
There was something quite satisfying about ordering 28 poppadoms, even if the accompanying chutneys were less than satisfactory. The mango chutney here was watery, and the raita not much better, but these were quickly forgotten as the other starters soon appeared. Plate after plate of chops, paneer, and bhaji filled the table and were soon set upon by hungry eyes and mouths.
The chops here are excellent. Sure, I doubt that they're hand-reared, Welsh lamb, but they are sizeable and generously marinated. The barbecue charred meat is also lean and in good ratio with the bones, particularly when there are five chops a plate!
As for the paneer, we ordered it in two varieties - tikka and chilli. The former in larger, smoky chunks, were a little cold and light on the melt-in-the-mouth goodness of the best, but the latter were firey and loaded with a tongue-tingling marinade, of onions, peppers and chilli. The onion bhaji were also chilli infused and came in the sprawling, pakora-style that made sharing easy, especially when in the large portions found here.
With the mains came the rice and naans. Again, the temperature was variable, possibly explained, but not excused by the size of our order. But those that arrived piping hot and fresh were pretty decent, the keema with their spiced mincemeat in particular. The peshwari divided opinion, but I thought it was a fair offering, rounding off Sides and Starters for a healthy 7/10.
3 x Daal Tadka
1 x Sag Aloo
2 x Sag Paneer
2 x Chana Masala
2 x Bhindi (Okra)
1 x Bombay Potatoes
2 x Karahi Chicken
2 x Methi Chicken
2 x Butter Chicken
2 x Murgh Channa
2 x Dry Lamb
2 x Karahi Gosht
2 x Daal Gosht
2 x Methi Gosht
I'm not going to try and review all the curries we had for obvious reasons. I'm not even sure I tried half of them! Suffice to say, none are likely to win any awards, but most are authenticly flavoured, of a solid standard, and all are perfectly sized for sharing with healthy meat to sauce quantities.
As a rule of thumb, I would say the lamb dishes are the better ones, with the daal gosht being one that particularly stood out for me, not least for its chilli kick. Sadly, the dry lamb wasn't quite up to Tayyabs offering up the road.
As for the chicken and veggie curries, better can certainly be found elsewhere, but equally there is little to complain about. Variety is available, if not of the most exciting vegetarian dishes of other restaurants. However, the daal tadka is notable for it's consistency, with lentils cooked just the right amount and without any overbearing garlic.
Otherwise, most of the curries are on the hotter side of hot so not for the faint (korma) hearted, but this is Whitechapel not Dishoom. Likewise, the comparators are more like the diners of Tooting (Mirch Masala and Lahore Karahi) than anything more upmarket. But it's still a good 7/10 for the mains.
With 28 of us in number, the number of orders were hefty but no time was wasted in fulfilling it by our diligent hosts. Despite a rather vacant expression greeting my Excel printout initially, there were no issues with receiving our order in the end.
Efficiency was the order of the day, with speed superceding ceremony in what was a further reflection of Lahore Kebab House's overall, no-frills approach. Assisduous service was never on the cards, but the staff were conscientious and polite nevertheless.
Value for money
The money Lahore Kebab House has saved on interior design is seemingly passed straight onto the customer as prices here remain, inflation-bustingly low. The prices are even more commendable given the large karahi-size of every dish. Throw in BYOB without a corkage fee and you're really sucking on diesel.
Value of the highest order.
If you hadn't gathered yet, Lahore Kebab House is more large groups than largesse. The value on offer is superb, especially in comparison to the £35 per head Tayyabs was offering. If in a smaller number then I'd still recommend Lahore Kebab House's neighbour (which seems to stare down upon it from it's perch at the end of Myrdle Street opposite), but otherwise places like Lahore Kebab House, Needoo Grill and Lahore One (yet to be visited) are good alternatives for big groups.
Highlights here are the chops, chilli paneer and lamb curries, but veggies and chicken lovers will find better eslewhere. In total though, it's a respectable 36/50, and all seemed to enjoy their visit on this ocassion (or at least no one told me otherwise!).
Address: 2-10 Umberston St, Whitechapel, London E1 1PY
Alcohol Policy: BYOB
Summary: Great value, large and lively. Complete with BYOB and TV Screens showing live sport this is one for large groups and a great alternative to Tayyabs