Lal Qila brings authentic Pakistani cuisine to Darling Harbour.
Known for it’s delicious and authentic Pakistani cuisine Lal Qila restaurant, has opened a second location in Darling Harbour. The new restaurant, a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike, is tastefully done in shiny black surfaces and low bronzed lighting. The linen tablecloths are crisp white, pressed and spotless and everything oozes class and professionalism. This includes the friendly head chef Mir, who personally served us his unique, signature dishes on this occasion.
We started with the Papadums Appetiser ($5.90) which was a served with a wonderful assortment of garnishes. The seemingly bottomless bowl of papadums were served with cucumber raita, sweet mango chutney, homemade mixed pickles and tomato, chutney and coriander achaar – truly a garnish for every palette.
And, as if that weren’t enough to whet our appetites, we were delivered a taster platter of Lal Qila’s famous Pakistani Naan Bread. This gave us the chance to sample garlic naan, butter naan and Rogni (sesames seed) naan, all baked in the tandoor, and all served with fresh yoghurt to help cut through some the spice we would be experiencing next.
As a kind of a bridge between the entree and the main course, we were served the Lahori Chatkhare ($13.90). Spinach leaves in a crispy lentil batter, sweet and spicy blend of potato sticks, puffed rice, nuts, raisins, topped with yoghurt, tamarind, chilli and mint. It’s delicately grilled to a crunch on the outside and perfectly smooth on the inside, giving it a mouthwatering, almost fruity taste.
To follow, we had the Samundri Raja ($22.90), which are King Prawns that have been given the royal tandoori treatment and then marinated in garlic and lemon. Sprinkled with a delicate touch of spices and barbecued in a clay oven, the spiciness packs a real punch, so stock up on the delicious mint chutney. If prawns aren’t your thing, try the Alamgiri Bihari Boti ($24.90), delicious marinated chicken tenderloins. Marinated in a secret combination of spices and then grilled, the delectable, tender and flavoursome chicken pieces are served on a hot platter topped with fried onions.
At this point, in the evening, we recommend ordering a Mango Lassi ($5.90), a chilled and blended fresh yoghurt drink that really helps cool your mouth down between mouthwatering (and eye-watering) hot dishes!
Then came the real highlight of the evening, the Karahi ($28.90), which is exclusive to the Darling Harbour venue. Tender pieces of slow-cooked goat are simmered in a traditional Pakistani deep cooking wok, and then spices are gently warmed into the dish. The pieces of meat literally fall off the bone and melt in your mouth, complemented perfectly with coriander and ginger.
And on the side of everything was a generous serving of Khumb Pualo ($7.90), long-grain basmati rice, cooked with saffron, juicy mushrooms, fried onion and spiced to perfection – and it goes on the side of everything.
We finished the evening with Saat Samznder Paar ($10.90) dessert for two, which is made with pistachios, kulfi topped with vermicelli, basil seed, and rose – the icy coldness and ice-cream-like texture of the dessert was exactly what our mouths needed after handling all that spice!
30 Lime St, Darling Harbour
Open 7 days a week from 5pm to 10.30pm (10pm on Sundays).
For more to do in Darling Harbour, check out aMBUSH Gallery’s latest outdoor exhibition!