Quetta Namkeen Hotel: A Taste of Home
Among the dozen hotels huddled together on Anarkali Food Street, Quetta Namkeen Hotel is the youngest one. In the areas of KPK and Baluchistan restaurants are labeled hotels for some unknown reasons; hence, the Quetta Namkeen Hotel.
The restaurant has a ground floor and a basement. While the ground floor provides the patrons with chairs and tables, the basement is equipped with a raised platform covered in carpeting upon which people sit and eat cross-legged. The restaurant is consistently overcrowded with students of all ethnicities flocking here for affordable lunches and dinners. There is no separate area for female patrons.
Apart from the usual tikka and chicken karahi Quetta Namkeen serves two special dishes: kabuli palao and namkeen gosht.
Kabuli palao is an Afghan dish which consists of rice, carrots, raisins, and lamb. Although the name might suggest the Afghan capital ‘Kabul’, the dish has nothing to do with the city and actually means ‘outstanding palao’. The rice is rich and flavorful. It is first cooked in a meaty broth and then baked with lamb. The pulao is then garnished with nuts, such as almonds and pistachios, raisins, and julienned carrots. Kabuli palao happens to be a mixture of savory and sweet and is traditionally served on special occasions.
I went to Quetta Namkeen Hotel with Kabuli pulao on my mind as it is one of my favorite dishes. as it is one of my favorites. While I waited, I eavesdropped on the casual table talk happening around me to keep myself busy. Soon enough I saw the server arrive with a long tray filled to the brim with pulao, there were two smaller plates containing daal and raita respectively. The rice was the perfect shade of brown with darkened cubes of beef within it. The carrots and raisins made it a delicious affair. I had no means of faulting this Kabuli pulao whatsoever.
On another day, I visited Quetta for Namkeen Gosht. As the name suggests, the beef happens to be salty in taste but never in a way that could be deemed unappetizing. Such a dish is best saved for cold evenings and the opportunity presented itself two days ago. As winter stands to shiver around the corner, Namkeen Hotel is going to be thronged for its Namkeen Gosht. I will also be standing in line for a bite of this delicious rendition of beef.
The prices at Quetta are quite inexpensive and affordable. Apart from namkeen gosht and Kabuli pulao the restaurant also serves tea and parathas as well as a desi breakfast of naan channay. Gather up your boys and savor the bold mountainous flavors of Quetta Namkeen Hotel.