Sunday, January 29, 2012

live like a local: Khyber Pass

Many, many months ago we went out to dinner with friends. It was one of those evenings where we met at a popular metro stop and wandered around till we found something good. Although we eventually ended up at Spaggios, a great little Italian restaurant, the first place we wanted to go was Khyber Pass, an Afghan restaurant. This past weekend we decided sampling Afghan cuisine would be a great end to the week, and so we made reservations for Friday night.

The outside of the restaurant. It has a rustic feel from the outside, and a cozy feel on the inside.

Traditional dress and textiles are hung from the brick walls on the inside, and the kitchen is located under a cabana-like tin roof to the left. 

Rugs hung on the walls.

Food critic #1.

And #2.

The restaurant was one of the many bring-your-own-wine places in Montreal. Such a practical idea and a win-win situation for all. Restaurants don't have to pay the exorbitant liquor licensing fees, and guests can choose their own wine (or beer! limit 2 per person) and pay $8-15 per bottle instead of per glass.
We chose a mild chianti which went excellently with the spices and flavors of our dinner, without overpowering them.

Appetizers came soon after we were seated. Something akin to mini flatbreads with three dipping sauces to choose from. The green sauce had garlic and coriander tones, the red was spicy and delicious, and the yogurt sauce was minty with a hint of dill.

I hesitated between lamb and the veggie platter, but since Mr. S. chose lamb, I went with my second choice. I was very hesitant to share it though, it was delicious! The salad on the left is cucumber, onion, tomato and LOTS of cilantro. Then is curried/tomato cauliflower and tomato stewed okra, steamed/marinated eggplant with the most delicious creme fraiche sauce, and steamed spinach.
Each plate is served with three types of rice: cumin (red), cilantro (green) and plain. The cumin rice was amazing, I have to figure out how to recreate it. The menu also featured various chicken and beef dishes, either in stew or skewer/kebab form.

That eggplant didn't last very long!

Mr. S.'s lamb is a bit harder to see, but it was a pretty big piece of meat, slow cooked in a red sort of ragu sauce, served on the bone and topped with spinach. Trio of rice and cold salad pictured on the left. 

Although I didn't really think I could stuff anything else in, we decided to share the only dessert on the menu that night: rose flavored rice pudding sprinkled with pistachios. Such unique and not necessarily intuitive flavors, combined into the same dish.

The restaurant was not too expensive- about 16-19 dollars per plate- and it is most definitely one where I would go again. There are so many interesting cuisines to try here in Montreal, you really can find a bit of everything. I had no idea what to expect from Afghan cuisine going in, and I was certainly impressed. Can't wait to go back again, but I think I would have trouble ordering something else, for how delicious my dish was!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about a disclaimer not to view 'before' lunch! Now I'm really hungry


food for thought.

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