At DaarCheeni, organic food prepared with preservative-free spices is attracting all those looking for healthy eating
Desi and authentic -- that’s how DaarCheeni ought to be described as. Recently opened, the place offers the best that Lahore has in terms of taste, aroma and food quality.
Of late, the Lahoris have taken fancy to all things ‘desi,’ and many existing restaurants are swiftly coming up with their exclusive ventures to suit their changing taste palettes. Cafés such as Spice Bazar and English Tea House have got X2. Veranda’s local creations are up next. Presently, it is DaarCheeni (an Urdu synonym for cinnamon), which is a by-product of the once hip food joint Chez Nur that had a strong fan base but then it fizzled out, only to re-emerge recently, rechristened and revamped by Malik Amir Saeed who wants to prove a point by going desi.
Given the quality of the ingredients -- the excellent BBQ, an assortment of mutton and chicken gravies -- the vast menu packs an impressive punch.
At the restaurant, an all-smiles female usher escorted us to our seats at the rear end which was spacious and done in muted tones. The split level wooden floor and a lofty roof with wooden planks spoke of a very professional, fuss-free interior. Beige hued, with additional shades of grey, filled up the spaces with a wide window and fountainhead. The courtyard seating added to the character of the place which was half full at the time.
The food at DaarCheeni, on the other hand, has been designed to impress and the organic line has quickly garnered applause from all those looking for healthy eating.
The owner was visibly excited to share his views on the addition that is getting him rave reviews. "We are proud to be offering desi chicken and preservative-free spices, unlike the packet masalas often used elsewhere," he told TNS.
"The ingredients are organically grown and cooked in copper and brassware just the way our ancestors would do. This brings out the freshness and the true flavour of food."
The starters consisted of Jumbo Jheengay (prawns) marinated in sesame seed, and Murgh Chaat which had a peculiar name but was tasty nevertheless.
The prawn dish came with a heap of freshly cut and shredded vegetables, smothered with a light drizzle of dressing.
We jumped to the main course that consisted of two BBQ dishes that arrived on brass charcoal grill to keep them hot. The mutton joints were incredibly moist and tenderised to perfection as they were marinated with homemade chutney that afforded them exclusivity while the Chicken Malai Boti had a creamy taste, true to its name.
Personally, the Desi Chicken Karahi Makhni stole my heart and was easily the most savoured dish on the table. Mutton Laziza got an average grading though its gravy was finger-licking and the lamb properly seasoned yet none of us were too keen to delve into it.
For us, the food would be incomplete without a special dose of Chilman Biryani, cooked with dry fruits, and pastry crust in an oven. This signature dish, with its flame-crisped outer crust, had a perfect taste and is decidedly the ‘game changer.’
The desserts, a treat for sweet lovers, included a great variety of Rus Malai, Anjar Halwa, Gulab Jamun and Shahi Tukra. The prices are a bit steep but not exorbitant enough to leave a major dent in your wallet.