Eating out in Lahore: The posh, the plain and the almost bizarre

Eating out in Lahore: The posh, the plain and the almost bizarre

The beauty of Lahori food is that no matter in which environment you experience it, the redeeming features make you smile. The last few weeks have been unique in that on three different occasions the aftertaste was just about fine.


Good company at a meal invariably makes all the difference. My first experience was with a person whose mind seriously interests me. The next was alone.

But when faced with starvation what better place than that super clean, hyper posh, Scandinavian cafe called Mocca, the coffee shop just off Gulberg's Main Boulevard just behind the Readings book shop.

My first visit was a 'salad-only' affair, and I must say seldom have I had a better salad than at this place. My choice was the Greek Salad, and in the near future I will repeat this. Zorba, you made my day!

But last week it was burger time, and I went for the real thing, a good old beef burger. I wanted to experience the Slavic way of doing a burger, especially since the origin of a beef burger is Germanic-Slavic.

Immigrants from that part of the world to the Americas gave it the shape it now has. With the burger went a simple Americano coffee, which is a lot of good quality coffee with hot water. The thicker the better. Simple.

I remember once having a mini Turkish coffee in Istanbul during my student day hitch-hiking trip. Imagine walking from Lahore to London and back.

I carefully looked at the small black presentation in the small cup, for it looked rather muddy. The waiter frowned, picked up the cup, quickly turned it upside down and flipped it back upright like a magician.

"Mister, it is the best in the world," he snapped at me in a heavy Turkish accent. I obediently went through the motions. Now you understand why I do not like Turkish soap opera. Back to Mocca.

But the burger came with thick chips, wee portions of a fruit salad with apples, and a few green mint leaves for presentation. The burger was thick and juicy. I mean it was the real stuff.

The bun was nice, and they seem to know the trick of making sure the bun matches the quality of the burger. Always give the bun a quick bake and you will be surprised at the dramatic result.

A pat of burger sauce (I think they use the Heinz stuff) and, voila! Nothing could be simpler. The coffee was strong and went straight to my starving mind.

Let me judge this eating out experience on the Michelin Scale of one to nine.

For food quality, it gets a whopping eight, for taste seven is just about there, for presentation seven, for service six, for cleanliness eight is a wee bit stiff though they deserve slightly higher (I have never associated tasty food with a spotless bacteria-free clinic), for ambience a solid seven will do justice, for menu variety six is fine and for prices they get a solid eight (excellent value for money).

For these eight variables they an average 7.125 out of nine, which is very good. Highly recommended.

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