I must confess i'm not overly familiar with Pakistani or Indian food but was happy to try all the dishes at Lal Qila. Lal Qila has been operating in Surry Hills for the past 8 years and has recently expanded to King St Wharf. I check out their new venue.
I came here on a public holiday and wasn't expecting many other customers but to my surprise there was a huge table and then locals/tourists flowed into Lal Qila. I look at the menu and can't help but feel overwhelmed by page after page of options. MW loves trying new food so we get straight into it (with some recommendations from the staff).
MW and I dive into the papadums (above) with mint sauce. There's something nice about starting the meal with a crunchy, salty thin bread.
These are my favourite entrees ever - the Paani Poori / Gol Gappy ($10.90, above). They are these hollow crispy balls filled with tamarind spiced water, chutney, chilli, potatoes, onions and chick peas. They are slightly spicy. What you do is you eat the ball then you shot the tangy, zesty lime shot which should cool down the tongue from the chilli.
I love it.
I really liked this entree as well - it's called the Lahori Chatkhare. It's basically these huge spinach leaves which are fried in a lentil batter so they are crispy. Then it's topped with a puffed rice, nuts, raisins, yoghurt tamarind, chilli, mint and pomegranate. The sauce becomes quite rich after a while but I like it (I've never had it before).
I have to warn you regarding the drinks. The fruity drinks all taste salty - and it's intentional. There's some sort of ingredient that is put in there and it makes the drink quite hard to drink. Perhaps this is my ignorant palette not familiar with salty fruity drinks but I couldn't cope after a few sips.
I try both a watermelon based one as well as lemon/lime and the fruity flavours were there but were over powered by this salty flavour. Stick to the mango Lassi - it was delicious and will help you with any spicy food. MW says "Lassi is reliable - like the dog". I looked at him blankly. Whaatt?
Make sure you order some of their delicious bread - there's quite a long menu to choose from including classic favourites such as garlic naan to traditional pakistani bread. The breads are perfect with the lamb handi and the Shahjahani Chinnioti Kunna (Random fact: Shah Jahann was a Mughal Prince).
Make sure you ask the staff if you can't handle chilli for some more subtle dishes.
For dessert, MW and I enjoyed the Kulfi which can be best described as a mango lassi on a stick. I loved the pistacio and raspberry splash. It brings home all the dishes and some had left a spicy aftertaste so this is a good dessert to end on.
MW really enjoyed this experience. He loves trying new food whereas I'm less experimental.
I would def suggest checking this out if you love spicy food. Their Surry Hills venue has been around for almost 10 years so this is an expansion of their chain. The must order is the Paani Poori!!! I love them.
Price: I over ordered to show you a variety of dishes in Lal Qila. I think a nice variety of dishes for dinner would be $50 per person
Location: 30 Lime St, King St Wharf
Opening Hours: 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 10:30pm daily
Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of Lal Qila. All words, opinions and photos are my own.
Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of Lal Qila. All words, photos and opinions are my own.