Cafe Hameed: The Old Canteen
The ‘Anday Wala Burger’ is the crux of cheap Lahori street food. Great responsibility falls on the shoulders of the three ingredients that make this burger what is but there is never much to talk about in terms of who is the OG anday wala burger. Where did it come from? Is the original better? Is it different? Where do we get it? The answer lies on Sanda Road, in the same lane as MAO college. Within reasonable distance of GCU, NCA, MAO College, Punjab University old campus and all their hostels lies Cafe Hameed. With it being a 5-minute walk from my grandmother’s house meant I practically grew up on their ‘burgers’.
A Quick Introduction
The Dhaba has been around since my 60-year-old father was in college so its safe to say that the place has some history to tie together the Lahori dhaba charm. Swarms of kids living on a student budget come to this affordable food haven catch take a break from god-awful mess/hall food and instant noodles. So what’s on the menu? Thought you’d never ask.
Cafe Hameed’s menu is brief but universally appreciatable: Bund-plaster, Slice-plaster, and Meethe Slice. Both the bund-plaster and slice-plaster cost PKR 60 a pop, while the meetha slice costs PKR 100, which is a steal compared to most French Toast on the market.
What sets the savory sandwiches apart from their other Lahori brothers is the absence of the horrendous neon-red ketchup, sub-par mayo and lettuce, while the bun is round rather than the signature long ones.
Bund-Plaster, Slice-Plaster, Get-Plastered
A Bun, a kebab, an egg and an awful lot of butter- all you need in this life of sin. The amount of butter might frighten you for a hot second but you need to park those thoughts and trust Julia Child when she says ‘With enough butter, anything is good’. Jokes aside though, the burger is outstanding but the real star of the show for me in the Slice-plaster. It just works better, the slice has the ability to soak in more butter than the buns and it gets crispier on the outside.
Since the sandwiches are not overpowered by terrible ketchup and mayonnaise, you can appreciate the meal for what it is. The shami kebab is soft, with a bit of heat to it from the Garam Masala we have all see our moms using. The omelet is pretty straightforward as well but what sets the entire affair league ahead of other Anda-Shami is the use of actual butter they get from a dairy farm 5 minutes away. It fries the exterior to a crispy golden brown while imparting the nutty, toasted flavor to everything on the sandwich. A sprinkle of salt and pepper before the close it up rounds it off. The flavors are simple, but they’ve done very well.
The meethe slice is okay, I would take it or leave it. They really lack some vanilla and while I realize that that is an unfair expectation to have from a Dhaba, it really doesn’t cost much and would make a world of difference. But do head on over and try Cafe Hameed out for yourself. It is an absolute cultural icon and dominates the Shami burger scene in Krishinigar. It’s a favorite among the students of Mall Road for a reason.