Close your eyes and picture this: it’s a chilly Lahore afternoon, the sun is out and it covers you like the cosiest of blankets. The clouds are out in all their glory and it’s raining, but you live in DHA and can’t find a place to eat AND enjoy the weather? That would’ve been such a shame, if we had not discovered Cafe Aylanto DHA’s outdoor seating, last weekend.
First of all, we were a little apprehensive of going, because our previous experience at the place wasn’t the nicest. But boy, am I glad we went, or what. Initially, it was out of curiosity about the outdoor seating, because DHA hasn’t really allowed it in the past, but they have now, ever since we got stuck with COVID. We sat upstairs and it felt like a little getaway, for the hour and some, that we were there.
The staff and management were all following SOPs, down to the T. Sanitisers, masks and the works, were all available. But it’s always also better to carry your own, too. Just saying. The tables were demarcated for social distancing and the management made sure it was being followed, correctly.
The restaurant also has one of the most diverse menus, I’ve come across while eating out in Lahore. After seeing Carpaccio and Escargot on the menu (neither of which I was daring enough to order), I was so surprised as to why Chicken Tarragon has become the national entree of Pakistanis. We ended up ordering a Tenderloin Steak,
a Pan Seared Red Snapper,
and a Smoked Chicken Pizza.
Along with their signature (I swear it’s one of the best things on the menu and everyone needs to go have it, it’s also the perfect winter comfort food) Spinach and Artichoke Dip,
and the Crab au Gratin
But it was absolutely yum. Again, given our past experience, we were not expecting so much but HELLO. The food was so good, this is what my board looked like within 20 minutes of being placed in front of me. The rest didn’t have much different tales to tell, with their food.
I know I know, I really shouldn’t be putting food photography up in my CV. But the pictures don’t do the food justice. It was absolutely smack on, in terms of taste and presentation. It was just a tad late, but that’s okay. The food more than made up for it.
We stayed on, at the restaurant for a while after we were done with our food, because it was just so nice. There’s a giant tree, across the road, which makes for an amazing view. So you’re not looking out onto the street, like most other places. The ambiance, the lighting, the place itself, all allow for the space to become a pretty nice outdoor spot.
I also really liked the diversity the place has to offer. You can take your partner out for a nice treat, you can take your friends for a nice, chill meal out. And you can definitely take your family. And you can even have a solo meal out there, before going home after a long day at work. There aren’t a lot of places that offer all of those experiences, under one roof. Mostly, you’ll see a place suitable for one and not the other.
I’m someone who’s very COVID paranoid, but I was fairly fairly comfortable with the level of SOPs that were followed. The sad part is that it doesn’t seem like COVID is going away, any time soon. But the good part is that when you have places like Cafe Aylanto DHA, and their outdoor eating facilities, it makes you feel a little happier, in life. And with Christmas, and New Years and the rest of the winters coming up, I definitely suggest you go around Cafe Aylanto DHA for a nice piping hot meal, with those you love (and hopefully those who love you back). Just remember to stay safe and keep your distance. Happy winters and bon appetit! ❤