NOON BISTRO GULBERG LAHORE- REVIEW BY SHAKEEL HAMEED
STAR RATING: 7 out of 10
COST : RS. 6000 – 9,000 for 3 People
Noon Bistro a much talked about spot among foodies of Lahore offering a combination of Korean, Japanese, Spanish and Mexican cuisine with flares of sauces entrenched in the essence of its food. The décor of the place is casual but tasteful and has an unassuming kind of casual comfortable vibe with emphasis on healthy and creative food. It has approx. 8-10 tables inside and approximately 4-6 tables outside. The seating was really comfortable as one can sit for prolonged period of time and enjoy a meal at ease.
STAFF AND TABLE
The Staff was very attentive and were eager to please which is always nice. We were asked if plates needed to be changed after every course which show the attention to detail of the staff and the dining experience. The cutlery, glasses and plates were clean and nicely laid out.
Fried Tofu cubes drenched in what tasted like a sweet sauce with punches of ponzu (tangy sauce) topped with slices of red serrano peppers. The sauce from the very first bite was tangy enough to over power the rest of the flavors and remained on the palate till you were ready to eat the next bite. It was just too tangy that we couldn’t taste anything else. When it comes to fried food, the sauce should only be glazed otherwise the food in itself will become soggy. We were hoping to have a crispy tofu with a nice glaze but we ended up getting a soggy tofu drenched in tangy sauce.
Deep fried corn slivers, shaved, topped with mayo based sauce. There was suppose to be parmesan on the corn but I didn’t see any unless it was mixed in the sauce, either way it wasn’t apparent. The dish was nice with bursting sweet flavors of corn and spices. The sauce and spices complimented really well and left a nice sweet creamy palate. The dish held its ground and offered a refreshing wanting to have more feeling. Always a nice trait of a good dish.
Taquito is a Mexican dish that is typically made of rolled up tortillas with some filling, deep fried, topped with some sort of sauce. In this regard, the dish comprised of tortillas filled with prawns and cheese with miso, topped with mayo based sauce. The tortilla filling was good, showed chunks of fresh prawns and hints of cheese. There was no presence of miso in the dish. It was topped with a lot of mayo based sauce which over powered my palate and took over the flavors. The flavors of the dish became much more apparent and enjoyable once I removed the sauce. If they can keep the sauce light, it will be a nice dish to be enjoyed.
Steak and Chimichuri
Chimichuri sauce is a Latin American sauce used across the continent comprised of parsley, olive oil, oregano, vinegar, garlic and jalapeño. It can be eaten with beef, chicken, shrimps etc. We opted to use the local undercut steak. The steak came out nice and tender with no smell. A good thing was that the sauce wasn’t all over the meat as one wants to taste the meat instead of sauce. Mash potatoes were cooked right just slightly on the colder side. The sautéed vegetables were cooked al Dante and were seasoned well. They were slightly crisp with herbs seeped in the flavor, a nice compliment. The chimichurri sauce was no where close to a chimichurri sauce. It was local basil mixed with good quality olive oil and that was it. It was flat and slightly bitter as local basil tends to be. The dish had so much potential and can be a fantastic dish but they must fix the sauce and bring out the garlic and jalapeno to make it a worthy complimentary sauce.
Grass fed Beef ribs slithered with what tasted like bulgogi ponzu sauce as it was sweet and tangy. The meat quality was fine but the meat was way too tough to a point that I had to pull it apart with force. There was way too much sauce in this dish so even if the beef was nice and tender, you would have tasted the sauce and not the beef. They really should sous vide the beef before making the dish. Sous vide cooking, is a method of cooking in which food is placed in a plastic bag sealed and cooked in a water for longer period of time so to make the meat softer. If they can get the meat softness right and reduce the amount of sauce, it will be a great dish to have.
Korean Fried Chicken
A Staple Korean dish which is double deep fried for its crispness and doused in soy glazed marinade. You can make your own concoction of sauce. In this case, it was a Korean fried chicken bowl with rice, two types of pickles and some salad leaves. The chicken was not double fried but glazed with go-chu-gang sauce. Go-chu-gang sauce is a delicious sauce made with red chili paste and fermented soy bean, great for glazing or soups. The chicken was really nice and tender and offered a sweet and slightly spiced go-chu-gang glaze which complimented really well with the rice and pickled vegetables. The dish didn’t have any primary flavor over riding the other so you ended up tasting all the flavors and left with a light sweet spicy palate. This dish was the highlight of the meal and the chef got the consistency right. Well done.
We were offered complimentary dessert of Flourless cake, lemon and chocolate tart, chocolate chip cookie with Nutella topping and dark chocolate chip cookie. We were told they were gluten free. The flourless cake was fantastic, creamy, not too sweet and just melted in your mouth with the goodness of chocolate. The lemon and chocolate tarts were ok because the base of the tart had become hard and that could partly be because of it being gluten free. The lemon topping and chocolate toping had also hardened a bit. The chocolate chip cookie with Nutella was soft and enjoyable but the dark chocolate chip cookie had also hardened.
I can see that the effort has been put in offering a nice variety of dishes and that has attracted the crowd to visit the spot but they must fix fundamentals of cooking meat and getting the sauce consistency right. This place has a lot of potential and if paid attention can be a go to joint for nice food. Also, the portions size is smaller so they should fix that. They should step up and pay attention to the detail as people who come to visit these kind of spots know about food and demand consistency. I would visit another time to give it a fair shot.