Lahore food diary: My car took me to an excellent ‘puri halwa’ breakfast

Halwa Puri from Capri Restaurant— Courtesy photo

When the begum is away, far away, and a Sunday dawns on you and there is just no person to order around, the silence calls for a positive response. So it was last Sunday. For a pucca Lahori a positive Sunday is having a great breakfast. I am smiling!

Into the car I sat and off I set. No Sir, I would not call on any friend or relative. The last time I did my dear friend Sheero provided me with the choicest home-made ‘hareesa’ breakfast. Oh, the taste still lingers.

Capri Restaurant:

Good luck never strikes twice. I had two choices. One was the old walled city and the other the Liberty Market (the DHA has not yet come up to reasonable Sunday standards … that will take time). As if on auto-drive my car headed to that famous breakfast place opposite the Capri Cinema in Liberty. It is called Capri Restaurant. A reasonable crowd had already collected, all of them looking hungry.

Barely had I parked in the cinema that a waiter rushed over to take my order. It was simple. “Bring me two piping hot ‘puris’, a plate of ‘channay’ and separate that from the ‘bhajji’, and a plate of ‘halwa’, plus also bring me a sweet large ‘lassi’”.

The lad darted to fulfill the needy. I looked around me and at a nearby massive black SUV which had an armed guard standing behind it. The window slid down. An old class-fellow from GC days waved at me. From steel to politics he has done well. We both sat putt. In this ‘puri’ game take no risks.

The waiter came quicker than expected. The first morsel confirmed that I had taken the correct decision. It was divine. The ‘bhajji’ was just right. As I proceeded and reached the ‘halwa’ stage it was getting better. Then came the cold sweet ‘lassi’. Ah, it was excellent and I was almost full. I toyed with the idea of a third ‘puri’ and dropped it as I thought that when I tell my wife she would get angry for over-eating. Marriage can, at times, be a spoil-sport. But then it was a good decision. Man zero, wife one.

Let me mark this experience on the Michelin Scale of one to nine. For food quality it gets six, for taste seven, for service six, for quality of crockery a four is just fine, for prices five (prices are not low any longer) and for ambiance a mid-point five is justified. This averages out to 5.5 out of nine, which, given its informal offering, is excellent. Recommended as I will definitely go there again.

ROGNI NAAN:

Of recent I have felt that high quality rogni naans are difficult to find, let alone an original small ‘Kashmiri kulcha’, which has disappeared from Lahore ‘tandoors’ altogether. So as I was alone in the house I decided to produce one myself. At least the begum will not see the mess. But first research.

The internet provided me five different solutions and I arrived at a decision on how to make the dough. I also got ‘white til’ and ‘kalongi’ and got the oven at 200C. The rest was easy going. Oh, oh, dear readers, the result was divine. This got me thinking just what is wrong with our ‘tandoor’ owners. They are not making the effort to produce quality ‘naans’. My dear friend Shahzada Tahir Azam alias Tony keeps harping on his slogan: “Make a good product and the money will flow itself”. If not to me, at least listen to one of the finest humans in Lahore.

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