Have you ever wondered how people in advertisements are so lucky to have Sehri in a kind of magical place that makes you want to jump right into the television set? The kind where everyone is happy, sitting outdoors around a table full of mouthwatering authentic desi dishes; amongst fairy lights, lanterns and what not? To be honest, I just confessed the other day about how much I wanted this but then discarded the idea because come on, almost everything is just pretty much a mere exaggeration in food advertisements right?
Little did I know that this massive wish of mine would get fulfilled so easily. Yes, I found my Sehri heaven. With genuine happy faces, top notch dreamy décor and food out of this world, Shahi Baithak is a foodies paradise on Earth.
Located in the centuries old Shahi Hamam at Delhi Gate, Shahi Baithak invites people with its illuminated exotic building. Getting there is a challenge yes, if you are not used to the actual Lahori streets; and you may get stuck between gigantic lorries but it is all worth it in the end.
The location definitely makes it stand out from the normal eateries but it is the concept itself that makes it a star. It starts off with a tour of a very well kept Shahi Hamam which is actually quite interesting even if you’re not into Mughal history. But then the aura there is such that it makes you want to listen to each and every word the guides say. There even comes a heighted floor fully made of glass that makes one slightly dizzy to think about stepping on it but then we are all bad ass adventure seekers right?
The end of the very educational tour leads to the dining area that leaves one awestruck, catering only 30 to 35 people at a time (reservations only). A giant tree full of lanterns gives it a really royal feel under which the seating is arranged. At the first glance, it looks as if the seats are made of stone/marble, painted beautifully but that is just an illusion, the royal seats are actually cushioned so yes, you can relax right there. The heavy metal cutlery, especially the carved spoons and Lassi glasses make you feel as if you’re a member of the royal family yourself.
Coming towards the best part, the food, is the reason why it would be a sin to not visit it at least once in your lifetime. Shahi Baithak has the best of Lahore. I’m not even kidding! From Arif Chatkhara’s Tawa Chicken to Phajjay kay Paye and Lassi, From Waqas ki Nihari to Billay kay Chanay, the place has it all. Now I’m sure if you’re a genuine foodie, you must have had Phajay k Paye and Arif Chatkhara but might have raised an eyebrow at Waqas ki Nihari and Billay k Chanay. The best selling item there is actually by a not so famous “Billa” but daaamn, those Chanay are too good to be true. Nihari on the other hand could have been better for me but hey who am I to complain? The rest of the food for me pretty much made up for it. And the gigantic glass of Lassi is probably the best one you can get in a place this clean and historic.
What they have done is that each of these places have sent one of their chefs to Shahi Baithak so we can experience the true essence of the best of Old Lahore. For Ramazan, this amazing food buffet is only for 1050rs but after Eid, an Ala Carte menu will be introduced serving best of the best. More dishes to be introduced are Meethay Pooray from Mithu, Das Kulchas for Breakfast, Pasinday, Haleem from Sultan and much more.
Another aim that they have is to bring the art of storytelling back. Each day, there will be a different story told of a Mughal king and to bring in even more feel, there will even be that specific king walking around treating his guests the royal way.
All the credit behind this goes to the much energetic and hospitable Umer Hussain, the director and owner of the place. His other projects like Red’s Bar, What a Burger and Sweet Tooth prove that this guy knows what he’s doing. In fact he is the first Punjabi to own a piece of land in Hunza, where he is opening another much needed Sweet Tooth. With the amount of hard work he puts in, the place is sure to be a success. We wish him good luck!
Aimen Tofique – a food aficionado.