It’s funny how I was just thinking of hitting up Shola Kitchen one Saturday but couldn’t go as they only open on weekdays. Then on the very following Monday, I received an invitation from London Halal Food Festival for a supper club event there! Of course, I said yes. For the night, they closed down the restaurant to host the event, where other bloggers were invited as well for an intimate supper club. The venue was very fitting for such an event too, with a cosy pink-ish interior and a candle-lit setting.
Shola Kitchen: Modern Karachi Flavours
Shola Kitchen is founded by chef Aida Khan, who is looking to bring the flavours of Karachi, Pakistan to London. But it’s not going to be your regular curry house or south Asian restaurant. It’s about serving the vibrancy of traditional Pakistani cuisine in a modern approachable way. In addition, there is a huge emphasis on quality. By that, it means all their spices are roasted and grounded in-house, as well as producing their own ingredients where possible (e.g. their housemade paneer – more on that later). In addition to this London restaurant, Shola Kitchen is also present in Islamabad, Pakistan. All meats served are halal at Shola Kitchen.
The Food: What We Had
Date of dining: November 2019
To start, we were served with some Vegetable Pakoras, which had been the most perfect nibble while waiting for everyone to settle in for the event. They’re so crispy on the outside and packed with flavours on the inside. Honestly, I feel like I could munch them all day long and could never get enough of them!
Aloo Chana Chaat
I normally am not the biggest fan of Chaat but I happily finished every bit of this one. The Aloo Chana Chaat was loaded with chickpeas, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and tamarind yoghurt. It carried a lovely piquant flavour and was refreshing to kick-start the meal. I especially enjoyed the crispy kale on top, which offered a nice crunch as well as an overall contemporary touch to the dish.
One of the main highlights of this dish is that their paneer is produced in-house and I didn’t realise how much of a difference that makes until now. Palak Paneer never strikes me as an outstanding dish but this one was actually exceptional and was even more remarkable than some meat dishes we had for the night. Additionally, the spinach curry just complements it very well. It was creamy in consistency but still light to taste.
Karahi Chicken & Chicken Biryani
Next up, the Karahi Chicken is basically a stir-fried chicken curry simmered with lots of ginger, garlic, fresh tomatoes and spices. The dish was aromatic, with moderately subtle hints of spices. It was decent overall though not necessarily an outstanding dish.
As for the Chicken Biryani, it was very fragrant and fluffy. For myself, personally, I wanted a little bit more robust touch in flavours. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed it, particularly how light it tasted.
BBQ Lamb Shoulder
Here’s to the MVP of the night – the BBQ Lamb Shoulder! The lamb shoulder was marinated for two whole days and then slow-cooked for at least 6 hours. Alas, the lamb is finished over the charcoal for the final touch.
From flavours to texture, this dish was absolutely phenomenal. It gives this sensational melt-in-your-mouth texture and a multi-dimensional flavour depth. Similar to other dishes we tried, whilst the dish was rich, it also tasted very light at the same time and didn’t feel too heavy at all. It was just so good that, as I write this now, I can still feel the alluring flavours tingling on my taste buds!
Then there was daal, which didn’t seem much of a special dish but Shola’s version still managed to leave an impression. Mainly, I enjoyed how creamy the texture of the daal was and the way the spices danced around the palate. It paired particularly well with their sourdough naan and/or paratha.
Sourdough Naans & Paratha
Last but not least, before desserts, it’s definitely worth mentioning the sourdough naan and paratha (not pictured). The sourdough naan was incredibly fluffy in texture and the very subtle tang had been a welcoming flavour when paired with the dishes. Whereas the paratha was wonderfully buttery, like addictively buttery and a superb munch on its own. For myself, I particularly enjoyed pairing the paratha with that lip-smacking daal mentioned above.
Desserts: Meetha Paratha & Naan Khatai & Doodpathi Chai
The Meetha Paratha was just straight-up addictive. Their regular paratha was already delicious and these sweet ones were just as good if not better. The Naan Khatai was absolutely delightful too and it’s particularly good if you give it a little dip into that delicious cup of chai! Speaking of chai, they make a lovely cuppa, which was served piping hot and was really silky to taste. Each sip was well-spiced and sends a warming sensation down your body. It was just the perfect finishing touch to the meal.
Shola Kitchen Restaurant Review Summary
Summing up, this supper club meal at Shola Kitchen had been an absolutely delightful feast. The food was exceptional and every bite was simply full of love. It’s definitely not just another Indian/Pakistani restaurant in town. At first, I had doubts about the whole concept of serving traditional food in a modern way. However, Shola Kitchen has really surprised me by being able to deliver the concept so impeccably without compromising any hint of authenticity and flavours. The bottom line of all this is that I definitely recommend giving Shola Kitchen a visit and experiencing all these flavours yourself!
P.S. please note Shola is currently only open for lunch for 12-3 pm from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
Looking for other halal South Asian restaurants in nearby areas? Check these out too:
Shola Kitchen is a fully halal restaurant.
Tel: 020 8735 2822
Nearest station: White City