Fast being touted as one of the go-tos for Pakistani cuisine in London, chef Aida Khan’s debut restaurant showcases the melting pot of flavours which have long been enjoyed in Karachi households.
South Asian food enthusiasts, followers of Aida Khan’s cooking, White City workers, groups, couples and friends
In a Word
Settled from an undoubtedly raging lunch service, clientele are sparse but this seems more to do with the fact dinner is a relatively new offer from the little eatery. The yellow-accented restaurant gleams warmly with candlelight on a Wednesday evening and a mix of lively music gives a comforting vibe.
Classic dishes are given a contemporary twist but, with spices and masalas roasted and ground on-site, are yet rooted in authenticity. Chicken pakora are a textural delight, dusted with a mixture of black salt and chilli; the feathery, crispy batter is gluten-free and hums with ajwain, yielding to tender meat. A concentrated tamarind hit from homemade chutney rounds these little morsels off perfectly. In-house produced paneer is lightly scattered across creamy spinach, a nuanced interpretation of the traditional palak paneer, while additional strands of fried ginger give a pleasing heat.
Another highlight is the lamb shoulder, slow-grilled across charcoal which imbues it with a smokiness that carries notes of fragrant cinnamon. And a tangy khatti dal infused with citrus and tomato, wonderfully lifting ghee-soaked paratha and pillowy sourdough naan.
The food at Shola is a convincing interpretation of traditional Pakistani cuisine, executed with modern flair and technique. In Urdu, Shola means ‘spark’, and this sentiment comes across well from the playful nature of the dishes. The charming space, given life by an eclectic soundtrack that oscillates between south Asian pop, movie hits and mainstream chart-toppers, is a lovely place to while away the hours, snacking and chatting. With dinners now being served on weekdays, Shola is sure to become a neighbourhood favourite and a destination in its own right.
SHOLA Unit 6 Media Works, Wood Ln, London W12 7FP
020 8735 2822
Closed on weekends