The Pantry: Basic But Delicious
A staple in the Lahore restaurant scene is The Pantry by Polo Lounge. They have outlets at both Mall 1 in Gulberg, and in Packages Mall in Walton/DHA. It is a restaurant like many others in its vicinity: very basic and with no edge as such in terms of décor. The pricing is fair. The food is consistently good. But this a business model that has been booming in the city, favored by millennials for the quick service and robust menus: soups, salads, pasta, rotisserie chicken, pizzas, brunch offerings and even desserts.
In a Nutshell:
- Salads done right
- Prompt service, consistent quality
- A robust menu, reasonable prices
- Their sandwiches are our favorite
- Snag a seat as quickly as you can
- Family friendly
At Mall 1, their outlet has two tables out in the outdoor seating area. Usually, these coveted spots are occupied. However, if you are smart about it, you can order an appetizer from The Wok next door, sit on one of their many tables roadside and get your entrees from The Pantry. There is also seating in the communal Mall 1 area as well within the eateries own premises. The tables are cream colored; sober and minimalistic. Their staff is always polite, especially about scoring a table outside.
My go-to order at The Pantry is their sandwiches. They serve both cold pre-made ones, and fresh, warm paninis. I have tried their Chicken Jalapeno Sandwich, and it is absolutely delectable. The sandwich is perfectly grilled. The bread is warm and crisp. Even though the sandwich is loaded with grilled chicken, jalapenos and sauces, the bread does not crumble and break. This is why the sandwich travels well as well and can be stored overnight and eaten the next day. The jalapeno and chicken combination gives it the flavor it needs. The chicken provides the texture, and the jalapeno provides the spunk, making it a complete dish in my opinion. The sandwich is fulfilling, and priced at about PKR 700, it makes for a very nice meal. I just wish it was served with some salad, even if a little. Anything would have done. It just feels a little incomplete as a main course otherwise.
Their Roasted Potatoes Salad has made me believe that salads can definitely be the main course and that salads can be very tasty. The potatoes, beans, cherry tomatoes, and artichokes are seasoned with parsley and lemon. The lemon gives the salad a spark of flavor, and the parsley just completes the dish. The Pantry has a wide variety of salads other than this like quinoa with feta as well as a mixed beans option. They are all pretty good. You can get a quarter salad for PKR 219, a half salad for PKR 419, and a full salad for PKR 609.
They also have artisan pizzas which people often rave about. If you are a fan of vegetable combinations in pizzas like aubergines and artichokes, you will definitely like their pizza. I am a simple person, so I have only tried their Jalapeno and Chicken Pizza – yes, I do have a thing for jalapenos, they make everything better – and it was definitely magnificent. A thin crust pizza with margarita sauce topped with chicken and jalapenos and covered generously with cheese; there is very little room to screw the dish.
The Pantry is definitely, highly recommended for anyone looking to try a refreshing salad, a delectable pizza, or a feisty sandwich; one I frequent religiously.
The Pantry, Mall 1, (92)42 35790127