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An authentic South Asian restaurant in White City
Shola (‘spark’ in Urdu) is a casual South Asian restaurant with a fresh contemporary take, helmed by chef Aida Khan. Housed in the exciting new creative development at White City Place Shola Karachi Kitchen is on the site where the original BBC headquarters were once based. The area is buzzy by day housing ITV, BBC, Royal College of Art and John Lewis among others, so there’s a happy flow of artsy, business and media folk, and now with the huge new Troubadour White City Theatre on its doorstep it’s bound to hot up in the evenings with the theatre crowd too.
After its huge success as a walk-in lunch-only restaurant Shola is now opening its doors in the evening, continuing to serve up delicious clean simple traditional flavour packed recipes from Pakistan that has been passed on through generations, Aida explained that all the spices are roasted and ground on-site and masalas are made from scratch, leaving no room for artificial ingredients.
Aida has put a beautifully feminine stamp on the décor with the help of design team Kai interiors. It’s stylishly decked out in pretty pastels of pale green and shades of yellow, with long wooden benches, light bentwood chairs, wicker hanging lights and block-coloured kilims on the walls all which create an oasis of calm.
Whilst enjoying a glass of fizz we were served some tasty nibbles – some tender and bite-size Chicken Shaami Kebabs with a real kick and light and some tasty spicy Vegetable Pakora with a home-cooked feel.
We sat down to a veritable feast of delicious aromatic home-cooked dishes from the current menu served with chilled lemony and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc Tananga 2017.
The rich and fruity Chicken biryani was brimming with warm spices and the veggie option – Aaloo Kee Taheri –was a light fluffy mix of rice and potato with cardamom and star anise,
These were followed by a good selection of dishes full of texture and flavour which included the following:
Vegetable Sabzi – curried seasonal vegetables marinated in Shola masala.
Chicken Karachi – juicy and mildly spiced in a tomato sauce.
Palak Paneer – lashings of creamy spinach dotted with chunks of crispy paneer.
Timatar Ka Kut a fragrant, mildly spiced tomato curry.
And my firm favourite was the melt in the mouth Lamb Shoulder, charcoal grilled on the mibrasa oven, with hints of pepper and cinnamon with wonderful smoky flavours seeping through.
Sides of fresh cucumber salad and warm buttery Meetha Paratha and Naan Kahwa made a good accompaniment.
The sweet desserts were incredibly moreish. The Meetha Paratha was sweet and syrupy and I loved the Naan Khatai – a crumbly semolina biscuit with fragrant cardamom which can be enjoyed with an aromatic chai tea cooked with milk.
I can’t see this fantastic venture not taking off, it’s got all the ingredients to be a huge success (Soho here we come) with wonderful authentic South Asian food in pleasing surroundings and very reasonably priced in a central West London location.
And as Aida says:-
“By extending service to the evening hours, we hope to soon be attracting families and locals to our tables, normally populated by a solid crowd of office workers and media creatives. We hope to bring back the intimate atmosphere that is ultimately the inspiration behind Shola – a familiar dimension of simple, clean cooking, the way it has been done in Karachi households for decades. We hope the food speaks for itself and can’t wait to share a piece of our city with you.”
White City Place,
201 Wood Lane,
London W12 7TU
Looking for something different in West London? I can heartily recommend The Hayden in Notting Hill. Check out my review for more!