Rating: 8 / 10
When it comes to eating out in Oslo, there are precious few restaurants that offer authentic glimpses into a particular cuisine. More often than not the restaurants "dumb down" the flavours so as not to offend the slowly evolving palate of former full-time potato gurglers. To go from a grind of pepper to eating a true vindaloo is a jump people have to attempt gradually.
The problem with a nation of baby-step takers, is that if someone makes authentic food, it's generally complained about and left to cater to immigrants or expats or people from ethnic backgrounds that crave those flavours.
I am one of those.
Having spent my childhood in India and visited Pakistan three times, I regularly get rabid pangs for tasty, flavourful curries. Lahoree Dera has been a long-term staple for me after the fussy, overpriced stench of Indian restaurants in Oslo had worn off. To walk into the spartan L-shaped restaurant complete with it's countertop for ready-made curries, the two backroom dining rooms and the windows looking out onto life passing by Grønlands multi-cultural root.
More often than not I order the Fresh Lamb Karahi, but today was Saag Gosht. I must quickly add a disclaimer to those vegetable-lovers who balk at the sight of slayed flesh, this place is not for you. Whilst the Pakistani's are masters of manipulating meat, they suffer greatly in the perfection of elevating vegetables. Their Indian cousins to the East have got that covered.
Eating at Lahoree Dera is not going to bankrupt you, the portions are gigantic, and the service is non-existant. You order at the counter, tap your card and take a seat. Two minutes later a mountain of food arrives ready to be devoured. Over the past decade, I have tried most things on the menu and have rarely been disappointed.
Don't come here expecting elevated Asian cuisine, this is basic, bold and comforting home cooking. The curries are oily, but then again every place I ate in Pakistan did not hold back either. This is the way they eat, and if you don't like it you can go to some hip spot that panders to the ill-informed.
Come here to try real Pakistani food, cooked consistently well, that's cheap and delicious. It is not one of those restaurants that you judge based on the service, ambiance, music, wine-list or other inconsequential frivolities; this is purely about experiencing and enjoying real Pakistani food in the heart of Oslo.
If you think this is mediocre or overrated, then i'm afraid you just don't like real Pakistani food.. it's as simple as that.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"