Shola (‘spark’ in Urdu) is a new Pakistani restaurant, heating up the culinary scene in West London. Following the overwhelming response since opening the doors of Shola Karachi Kitchen back in early 2019, founder and head chef Aida Khan has now begun dinner service, extending the restaurant’s current walk-in, lunch-only opening hours.
We were lucky enough to be one of the first to taste Aida’s passion for authentic flavours and traditional recipes from Karachi, Pakistan’s most cosmopolitan city. We were welcomed as if we were family into the restaurant and told that we couldn’t leave without trying the famous Chicken Biryani, with the spices and sauces all made from scratch. We feasted on Chicken Pakora, Palak Paneer and of course, beautifully prepared Daal – curated from recipes passed on for generations in Karachi households.
In a similar way to the food, the space was light, fresh and took a modern take on an old classic. In many of the dishes, vegetables took centre stage with fusions of flavours that were truly mouth-watering. A favourite was the Meetha Paratha which was described as the go-to dish served by Pakistani mothers to lure their children into the kitchen for some much needed quality time. Sugar-coated, fried and delicious. The ultimate home-cooked family comfort food.
Chef Aida Khan has perfectly translated the delicate spicing and complex preparation of Pakistani cuisine, to a simple, approachable modern style, whilst retaining the romance and vibrancy of South Asia’s food culture: it’s street markets, it’s royal dishes, and it’s home-cooking. We sampled a small taste of Karachi in London, and we definitely want more.
Shola is located in White City Place, where the former BBC headquarters have been transformed into a new creative campus. For more information, visit: www.sholakitchen.com