I am a world traveller & a mom of two, (8 & 6). I love to meet people, and am fascinated that there are 7 billion stories out there to be explored. I think Melbourne is the most happening city to live in with all the fun activities around town.
Published September 24th 2013
A Fine-Dining Memorable Experience
When you walk out of a restaurant saying "The food reminded me of my mother's cooking", you know that you have not just had a meal, but an experience that will be etched in your memory forever. This is exactly the mantra I was finding myself repeating as I walked out of Khyber Pass after enjoying an exquisite dining experience.
Entrance to Another World Khyber Pass located in Vermont South
It is my pleasure to introduce you to your hosts at this charming eatery: Zafar and Zarina, who have been creating culinary magic since 2000, when the restaurant was inaugurated. 13 years on, the place is bustling with diners, even on a weeknight, who wish to experience a cross-cultural experience and taste the Pakistani delights that are on offer. We have been told that it is best to make reservations starting Thursday to Saturday or you may be in for a disappointment as the place is fully booked out. Run as a family restaurant and open only for dinner (with Sunday and Monday off), all items on the menu are "home-made" and have that earthy feel, which for me translated to comfort food and I just couldn't have enough.
Before I talk about the menu, let me describe the decor a bit. Tastefully decorated, touring the restaurant is like getting a glimpse into the lives of the owners. Named after a mountain pass that connects Afghanistan and Pakistan on the famous Silk Route, the restaurant is nothing short of a cultural experience. Beautiful paintings of Maharajahs and Maharanis in jewelled attire adorn the walls and one cannot help take their eyes off them in admiration. The light fixtures are nothing less than stunning. Small artefacts from around the world dotted around different spots around the restaurant almost want you to go on a treasure hunt, not knowing what you may discover next. When you have taken all this in, talk to your host about the menu, but even before that, talk to him about anything... literally. Sports, politics, travel, life in Australia, all are fair topics. Knowledgeable and hospitable, your experience will begin with the conversation you have even before the food arrives.
The menu is easy to decipher, especially for those who have not had the experience of sampling Pakistani cuisine before. It is divided into "Hot", "Medium" and "Mild" and each category has an item of beef, lamb and chicken. "Hot" is really hot, even to a veteran palate such as mine, and "Mild" is quite mild. There is a delicacy section which offers some specialty dishes including prawns and vegetables, koftay (meatballs) and other items. Accompaniments include rice and home-made chapatis, which are a must try. We were told that the menu changes on a regular basis, as the skilled chef stirs up new exquisite and exciting combinations in the kitchen. Desserts include kulfi, which is a traditional frozen milky dessert and gulab jaman, honey-dripping syrupy dumplings. Note for Vegetarians: talk to your host and he might be able to help you, because the set menu does not have many choices for vegetarians.
We ordered a beef dish, a chicken dish and a prawn dish along with rice and chapati. I must say that the meat was tender and succulent when it should've been (beef and chicken) and crispy in case of prawns. Every bite was delicious till we reached the limits of space our body would allow.
Quirky Outdoor Decor
Before you even walk out of the restaurant, feeling fully satisfied, you will find yourself planning your next visit. Visit the restaurant and tell your friends about this gem.