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Lal Qila Restaurant

Home > Sydney > Food and Wine | Restaurants | Lunch | Dinner
by Maddy Butler (subscribe)
A Sydney based writer, director, actor. Loves going out and exploring what Sydney has to offer.
Published July 23rd 2012
It was a Friday night and I was cold and hungry. The restaurant we were meant to go to had closed abruptly and, so in a bid to find a cheap, nice restaurant, we had stumbled upon Lal Qila.

Lal Qila restaurant
Outside the restaurant


Located on Cleveland St, near Bourke St, this family restaurant has an impressively large Pakistani/Indian menu, featuring curries, meat-based dishes, vegetarian dishes, sides and 'extras'. Banquets ranging from $25.90 - $39.90 a head are also available.

While the décor first struck me as simple and plain, I soon forgot my criticisms while basking in the restaurant's warmth, both in terms of temperature and service.

I was on guard with my basic knowledge gained from Eatability, whose reviews advised diners to order the Pakistani dishes, not the Indian ones. This was confirmed by the waiter who recommended the specials as we were first time patrons. My friend and I shared a half/half pairing of a chicken dish and a lamb dish, which was easily enough for two, and we're big eaters!

Chicken and lamb
Mixing the chicken and lamb on my plate


The dishes were cooked using traditional Pakistani methods: the chicken, cooked in a wok, was tender with bold, fragrant spices that tickled my tongue and taste buds with delight. Cooked in a clay pot, the lamb, while also well seasoned, was a little tough and thus less exciting.

Lamb clay pot
The lamb clay pot


The waiters were efficient and lovely, although ours was keen to open our champagne with a corkscrew! She apologised profusely when she realised her mistake and, especially in light of the BYO wine plus no corkage fee policy, we laughed it aside.

Bookings, via telephone or online, are a good idea: when we arrived at 7 the restaurant was mostly empty but by 8 it had filled up. For just under $50 for two people, including complimentary pappadums upon arrival, it was a satisfying experience.

Chicken wok
A traditional Pakistani wok dish
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Why? To eat authentic Pakistani cuisine
When: Lunch Sat - Sun and Dinner Mon - Sun
Phone: 02 9319 1988
Where: 351-353 Cleveland St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Cost: Depending on menu and your taste, around $25
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