Authentic Lahori food in Dubai

Authentic Lahori food in Dubai
Sohail Cheema

The restaurant in Al Jaddaf, Dubai, serves lip-smacking nihari and kebabs

By Ayisha Alka

Published: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 4:28 PM

Last updated: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 6:38 PM

Not ordering a delicious bowl of nihari in a Pakistani restaurant is sinful, so much that you might even get yelled at by your Pakistani friends. But what some people - even a few Pakistanis - may overlook, is the very authenticity of the restaurant they are eating from.
Lahore's finest flavours may very well only be located in Lahore, but to access the best of the best Pakistani dishes, you may not be so far off, if you live in the UAE.
Androon Lahore Restaurant, a medium-sized food hub attracting Pakistanis and a mix of nationalities alike, is located in the quiet Jaddaf area that beautifully conceals this gem, but does not stop Jaddaf residents from swarming the place.
Simply walk in to the restaurant and enjoy a beautiful ambience with a brilliant interior as well as excellent service, but do not expect burgers and fries - authentic Pakistani cuisine steers clear of any sort of fusion that tries to clash with the classic dishes. Simple, yet delicious meat heaven.
Sohail Cheema, the master behind the iconic Nihari spot, did not stress much enough throughout his business venture. Why? Because he simply fulfilled what was lacking in most Pakistani restaurants in Dubai - authentic cuisine at reasonable rates, simple and satisfying for one and all.
He said, "Androon Lahore is actually a wall city of Lahore and is well-known for its food, culture and heritage. Thus, we picked that spot because I am actually from Lahore in Punjab - we wanted to bring that culture and portray it here in the simplest way possible."
Cheema is an interior designer by profession. He went on to explain the marriage of concepts that gave Androon Lahore its cultural interior and brought people to taste the glorious menu. "The idea was to bring in the old meeting the new. Dubai is all about new things, so we wanted to make that marriage over here - that was the concept, and then whatever things were lacking in Pakistani restaurants, we wanted to bring life to that and create a good atmosphere for both the Pakistani and an international crowd to witness what our food culture is."
The bottom line to Cheema is that the restaurant is "all about good desi food, great ambience, and heritage meeting the modern setting".
Authentic cuisine 
What makes Pakistani cuisine stand out from dishes of other nationalities? A great many reasons, the spice variety being on top of the list. The nihari may be oozing with calories, but you cannot say no to this delicacy - a once-in-a-while indulgence.
Cheema may not know everything about food, but he does know when his food is rich and authentic, with the tastes of Lahore. "Pakistani food definitely is different from the others because of the amalgamation of historical unique cooking methods and aromatic spices offering vast variety of options in terms of food and taste. It is extremely good and it stands out. I think a lot of nationalities also like their food - it is not only limited to Pakistanis."
Some of the authentic dishes you can find includes nihari (being one of the best), paya for a hearty breakfast meal, beef nalli nihari, beef Bihari kebab, chapli kebab, Lahori fish, and many other lip-smacking Pakistani delights. Vegetarians do not need to worry, for Androon Lahore's signature palak paneer will make your mouth water and return back to the restaurant for much more.
Land of opportunities
Androon Lahore is a new venture for Cheema - it is not a family business, but rather a leap that he has taken, from which he would watch and learn where his experience would take him to. 
According to Cheema, Dubai is a business hub where any passionate entrepreneur or businessperson can flourish their startups without following difficult procedures.
He says: "If anybody wants to do business, I think Dubai is the best place there is. This is the best place to start and run a business - it is very easy and it encourages people to start a business here. The procedures are very easy and simple and I think it's the land of opportunity.
"I actually started my career in Dubai. I completed my masters in Lahore and by the next month, I landed in Dubai, the place where I chose to kickstart my career. Thus, this is like my home. This is the place where I learnt everything."
Androon Lahore is not the only business up and running that belongs to Cheema, as he is the design director for iD & beyond. With the help of his immaculate skills in interior design, the ambience brings a warm glow into the restaurant.
"Being from the design field, I created this concept, you know - it all started from the interior of it. Then we worked out the food, went into the details of it - my wife contributed her expertise in this area because she knows the food; I knew the interior, so that's how it came together. It is another marriage in the restaurant where food meets the ambience, I would say."
While Pakistan celebrates its 73rd Independence Day, Androon Lahore Restaurant officially opened on August 14, 2017. This day is very special for Cheema as he gets to enjoy the auspicious occasion with his family.
"We used to celebrate it [Pakistan Independence Day] like anything - it used to be like Eid for us. We would make small Pakistani flags ourselves and decorate our houses. It still is a moment of celebration to this day and I always like to celebrate with my kids as well. Luckily, we managed to open the restaurant on August 14 too, so it makes it even more special for us," Cheema said cheerily.
Whether you are with friends or family, head out to Androon Lahore Restaurant this Pakistan Independence Day to enjoy the tastes of Lahore - either dine in, or devour your special favourites brought to you right at your doorstep.

The restaurant has two separate entries, the second introduced as a family hall.
The restaurant has two separate entries, the second introduced as a family hall.
The restaurant is famous for its kebab varieties.
The restaurant is famous for its kebab varieties.
Paalak Paneer
Paalak Paneer
Chicken Karahi
Chicken Karahi

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