Ahmad Maqsood is a man who knows a thing or two about running a restaurant.
He was manager for 12 years of one of Tooting’s most popular Asian restaurants - the Lahore Karahi - before opening his own restaurant, Lahore Spices, in Sutton six weeks ago.
And he certainly knows how to attract a crowd. He came up with the excellent marketing ploy of slashing his prices by 50 per cent in the first three or four days or opening.
The result was he had people queueing at the door and managed to serve more than 3,000 take-away and eat-in restaurant meals during the first week.
“It was absolutely mad,” he says, “But no one was disappointed and everyone said how much they enjoyed the food.”
It comes as no surprise as Ahmad and his team of chefs take pride in traditional Pakistani food of the highest quality.
This modern attractive restaurant with sea grass covered chairs, wood floors, neutral décor and big windows overlooking the high street is proving a popular place with everyone from shoppers looking for a place to relax and enjoy a bite to eat, to office workers looking for a home-cooked lunch as well as those wanting to enjoy good food during the evening.
My colleague and I had lunch at the restaurant this week and were particularly impressed with the food and service.
Ahmad recommended we try a starter of masala fish (£3.25) and we can see why he did. This fresh white fish was cooked in a light batter flavoured with ginger and garlic and was truly melt in the mouth.
For the main course we selected two of the chef’s specialities – the karahi lamb and karahi chicken. These dishes feature meat cooked with ginger, garlic and spices (£5.50). The lamb and chicken were both succulent and tender and there was plenty of both. We also had a plate of steaming, fragrant pilau rice and a naan bread which had been baked at the restaurant – and yes you can taste the difference!
We also tried a traditional Pakistani dessert – kulfi – a frozen yoghurt dessert which comes in a choice of flavours – mango, pistachio, almond and strawberry. It was deliciously fruity.
This halal restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol but does offer a range of hot and cold drinks and one with a real wow factor is the lassi. This is a fruity, yoghurt, shake which is truly delicious.
A nice touch is the children’s section on the menu. Kids are catered for with fish fingers, chips and a drink for £2.75, chicken nuggets or popcorn.
The restaurant, which has covers for 70, caters for parties too but one thing is for sure, whatever or whenever the occasion you are sure of having great food at Lahore Spices!
Lahore Spices, 284-286 Sutton High Street, SM1 1PQ.
Tel 020 8642 5479