In my spotty youth my ‘boyfriend’ for a few years was of Pakinstani origins, his father having been born in Lahore and his mother being from south London.
As you do in your teens, we spent time just loitering, and often around and about his father’s business premises. Masood, would often finish his work, load his workers and ourselves into some battered old vehicle and cart us off to the east…..that is the east end of London. Aldgate to be precise. He liked a taste of home and the Lahore Kebab house in Umberston street, E1 was just the thing.
We loved it, it was at that time, very, very basic inside, a large sink for hand washing in the middle and packed plastic tables housing a predominantly Pakistani clientele. The dish everyone came for was the Karahi Gosht, Mutton curry, served by the weight…”I’d like a pound of Mutton Curry please” (in Urdu though) preceded by some chicken tikka skewers and sikh kebabs with the most delicious salad dressed in fiery green chilli yoghurt sauce. You could have a can of coke – or 2 if you wanted it and that was about it as I recall. My first introduction to authentic Asian food.
I hadn’t been there in donkey’s years, when a few years back Nikita, my mother in law, was unwell and confined to hospital in east London. When returning from our evening visits, Rocket and I dropped in for a bite….he was sold – the food is still great.
It was divine and it defines my love of spicy food to this day, a taste of absolute heaven. In more recent years the place started appearing in foodie guides and ultimately took itself a bit more upmarket attracting a more cosmopolitan clientele, which is shame in some ways.
Gone is the big sink, you can ‘bring your own’ in terms of alcohol….. it’s smarter and has what I think is a much expanded menu….however is the Karahi Gosht still there and how is it?
FABULOUS – just how I remember it, I need nothing else, some roti, hot from the kitchen…. The waiters I think are baffled by my not wishing to order a more eclectic mix but this is a food memory and it must remain pure. I don’t even now if it’s changed hands over the years but the food is still great and I learnt recently that they opened a branch in Streatham – so we will be trying that out!
I’m still trying to replicate the deeply rich and delicious Karahi Gosht but in the meantime…
The Lahore Kebab House http://www.lahore-kebabhouse.com