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“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
The other day I was listening to a Podcast and the debate was about which decade had the best music, some argued it was the 60s and they passionately quoted the music of the Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Who and The Rolling Stones.
The next nostalgic argued the 70s was the best decade and he made his case by giving examples of songs by Queen, Wings, Boney M and Blondie.
But the best argument was undoubtedly from the 80s antiquary, he made the argument that the 80s was the perfect storm where music, fashion, technology and Hollywood all gave birth to the fantastic sounds of Van Halen, U2, Guns n’ Roses, Pet Shop Boys and Simple Minds.
The movies in the ’80s were also big, loud and brash and did not pander to the woke brigade or were the slave of the DC/Marvel duopoly.
This got me thinking and I started to think about which food and restaurants from my childhood would I visit again and see how they have withstood the test of time, We used to love going to the Finley Clarks Garden Centre in Bearsden and the Danish Food Centre on Bothwell Street with my dad.
Further afield my dad used to load us up in the white Jaguar and take us on adventures to Manchester, Cardiff and London.
It was in London that he used to take us to the exotically named Giftos Lahore Karahi, and we had fond memories of the sizzeling mixed grills piled with meats and the exotically named curries which used to fascinate my brothers and sisters.
I was in the area so I decided to enjoy a trip down memory Broadway and visit Giftos again.
As I excitedly entered I noticed a member slovenly sitting beside the door, I was greeted with enthusiastic raise of the eyebrow.
I requested a table for myself, and the waiter/manager/host then hauled himself from his chair and took me into the simply lit interior, I don’t know if half the lights were switched off to protect the environment or if they were fused.
There must have been some upgrading going on as all the left side booths were taped off with what looked like yellow and black biohazard tape (my mind was obviously getting ahead of itself)
I then sat beside the grill station and proceeded to order.
My pet peeve is when the waiting staff take your order without writing it down, 9 out of 10 times the order is wrong.
I then paid the washrooms a visit, and they were…FILTHY, I will leave to your imagination the state of the washrooms.
My dad used to say if you want to know how clean the restaurant kitchen is just look at the restaurant washrooms and the restaurant windows, if they are clean then the kitchen will be spotless, and if they are not, well you have guessed it.
As soon as I sat down the Samosa Chat was put in front of me
The Samosa Chat was piping hot with delicious plump chickpeas coated with sweet and our tamarind sauce, and dusted with chat masala, the samosa itself was mostly potato yet delicious.
Things started off quite positively
The Mixed grill arrived unexpectedly fast, It was heaped with lamb chops, chicken chat, chicken tikka, lamb tikka, seekh kebab and chicken kebab.
As you can see the mixed grill looks amazing but in reality, it was at best mediocre, all the different ingredients were pre-cooked and placed on the sizzling plate. The lamb chops were dry and tough as nails. the seekh kebabs were over-seasoned and dehydrated and barelly edible.
The lamb tikka was ingots of unidentifiable meat which I could not chew through.
The Chicken Tikka was stale, cold and tough, my guess was it was made yesterday.
As I had left most of the grill as it was not fit to be edible I ordered a Lamb Karahi, surely they cannot get that wrong, They are named after the Karahi, and surely It would be their swansong.
The Lamb Karahi came suspiciously fast, They can’t make a Karahi this fast and my fears were exactly right, the gravy was boiling hot and tasty however the lamb in the gravy was the exact opposite, touch and cold.
I suspect the lamb was amateurishly mixed in with the premade gravy and served, again I left most of it.
Gifto’s Lahore Karahi was a huge disappointment, the staff were uninterested, the food was way below average, the place was empty yet they could not be bothered to do the barest minimum.
The Place with filthy, I could not comprehend how a place is allowed to open its doors in that state.
The management was shockingly indifferent, I pointed out the shortcomings after I paid my bill so as not to seem that I wanted a discount or something for free
Maybe the past should be left in the past and not be visited.
The Star of the Meal
If I had to venture then I would reluctantly say the Samosa Chat.
The miss of the Meal?
Without a doubt the Mixed Grill and closely the Lamb Karahi.
I am still at a loss how Gifto’s Lahore Karahi can still be serving, in the most competitive restaurant market in London, across the road is Butt Karahi from Lahore, If the Lahore and Dubai Butt Karahis are a yardstick then they blow Giftos out of the water, then you have the fabulous Tayyabs in Whitechapel who was grown in strength, further still we have the humble Pind in Bradford with its fabulous honest to goodness karahi.
The Chicken and Lamb are confirmed 100% Halal.
NO Alcohol is served on the Premises
100% impartial Guarantee
Alfie Foodwala visits all restaurants anonymously and pays for the bill like any other customer, Alfie Foodwala does not accept free meals in return for reviews.