Have a Bowl!

October 16, 2016

The Rice Bowl is a thriving little eatery, catering to all kinds of tastes and budgets in a fuss-free environment

Have a Bowl!

Not many people know that The Rice Bowl, the oriental restaurant at Mall 1 that is becoming a popular place, started off as a home delivery service three years ago. Today, it’s a thriving little eatery, catering to all kinds of tastes and budgets in a fuss-free environment.

What really sets this place apart is the fact that you are supposed to make your own bowl, picking and choosing from a range of items. As Danyal, one of its proprietors, puts it, "We have structured our business model on the lines of a fast food Chinese restaurant. But our forte has always been the home delivery service that gave us the necessary boost."

Future plans include starting a premium restaurant based on the concept of fine dining. Before that, opening branches of The Rice Bowl at various shopping malls of Lahore is on the cards. "The type of service we’re offering is fast; hence, it’s a perfect match for food-court dining where the cutlery and crockery are disposable but the taste of the food is be the same as offered at the outlet," Danyal adds.

As I entered the place, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, with my kids in tow, I realised the place was brimming with people. Lunchtimes are usually very busy, as both families and friends are out to enjoy a meal, especially on weekends. So, after we were seated, the server holding a hi-tech tablet rushed to our table and gave us menu info. For the uninitated, the menu is basically about how you can order your bowl of choicest side items and/or the classic mains.

Rubia 4

Without wasting much time, I ordered a selection which came in precisely 20 minutes. My kids opted for classic bowls of one side of an option between egg-fried rice, chowmein and a classic main. Additional included a bowl of soup and vegetable spring rolls while premium bites were spiced honey-glazed wings and prawns -- all at pretty affordable rates.

I ordered a supreme deluxe bowl consisting of one side, one classic main and one premium main which cost Rs640/- only.

The list of classic mains read like a variety of chicken dishes -- from chicken with cashew nuts to Kung Pao, chicken chili dry, chicken manchurian, and the standard chicken in dragon fire sauce.

The premium hosts staple dishes in beef and prawns. There was no other sea food variety, much to our dismay. It wasn’t the innovative menu but the taste factor that was riding high on my mind since the menu looked pretty basic.

Coming back to the food, my choice of chicken with cashew nuts and crispy chicken with sweet and sour chili sauce turned out to be a true delight. Chicken chunks simmered in sauce, accompanied by a hefty portion of egg-fried rice was most delectable. Similarly, crispy prawns have a tangy flavour; worth a nibble.

Ample serving is their main facet. Trust me, no one person can have the entire bowl which is filled to capacity.

Since it was our first visit, we ended up ordering more than we could eat, so the leftover had to be packed for home.

One point that I want to emphasise here is that The Rice Bowl is heavy on peppers in most dishes, while the menu too lacks a mention of spice level. The Kungpao Chicken we ordered we weren’t able to finish off as it was laden with chilies.

Eventually, more than the food, it is the surroundings, not to mention an interior agreeably finished with wooden tables, quirky wrought-iron lamps, mirrors on the wall and the hanging rope all of which make this place a lovely hangout for families and youth alike.

Have a Bowl!