How much meat do you think is enough meat for a single meal? Well, to test one’s threshold of carnivorous tendencies is why The Carnivore appears to have opened its doors for the people of Lahore, no less.
Aptly named, the newly launched restaurant serves, what else but, meat in various forms and sizes, in all its glory. The Carnivore has been open in Islamabad for a few months, and has now come to Mahmood Ali Kasuri Road in Lahore with its specialty of baked meat.
From the floor to the furniture to the serving trays, there’s generous use of wood that gives off a tavern vibe, but also very warm and convivial, like a lounge. The most exciting and stimulating part of the two-storey restaurant is the open ‘kitchen’ where the chef takes your order and prepares it in front of your eyes – as if working on a piece of art and moulding a sculpture in his own quirky way that you can barely wait to get your hands on the food.
The menu boasts of a selection of beef and lamb parts baked and cooked slow for hours – ribs, shanks, shoulders, neck and brisket that are available per gram; there’s no set, standard quantity, and you order as much as you please. You get the lamb shank, ribs, shoulder and neck for Rs8.99 per gram, while the beef brisket is priced at Rs7.5 per gram and the ribs and shank at Rs6.99 per gramme.
It also has an option of half a chicken for those not into the other kinds of meat.
The general concept and inspiration behind the restaurant is borrowed from a Turkish eatery: you place the order at the counter, the chef unveils the desired part of meat from a packed tin foil, places it on a wooden board, sprinkles a liberal amount of a sweet, sour and spicy spice and herb mix prepared in-house, asks for other flavours and some spicy honey if one likes, and voila! You get your order at your table in a few moments.
What’s unique about The Carnivore is that every order comes with a massive array of sides: 11 sauces – sweet, spicy, tangy, BBQ et al; baked and mashed potato; an assortment of salads; as well as a serving of rice. Phew!
Our order was a beef brisket and lamb ribs. And, well, as soon as the food was placed on the table, we were blown away, for two reasons: it looked spectacular, and the sea of condiments that accompanied it.
One of the signs hanging on the walls around us said: “Love at first bite!” And it couldn’t be truer, because one bite and you’re transported to meat heaven. Tender, juicy, mouthwatering! The soft, pulled-apart meat just melted in the mouth, and thankfully the spices and herbs did not overpower it at all and let both the lamb and beef retain their flavour.
We also tried it with the large variety of sauces and salads, and the rice served with it, but felt they did not really do justice to that beautiful, delicious meat; it was just perfect as it is.
If you’re a meat lover, sorry ‘carnivore’, then The Carnivore should be your go-to place. But it comes with a huge price (pun intended)!