"Changes colour, changes smell, changes everything". Mr Muhammed's Lahori Falooda Shop and Tooting's new £2.99 Biryani willy wonka stop on Tooting High Street - not just about the food its about how it makes you feel, allure and heart warm like your in another world can chat and really learn things. Alchemic shift from flat to alive through #hospitality and the experience, pickyouup when youre not really feeling with it.
Lahori Falooda was opened in August 2020 by Mr Muhammed, a 20 year professional chef from Pakistan and came to the UK in 2001. Wake me up tonic, skin juice, samosa chaat, hot fried samosas made to order, mango, coconut, pomegranate kulfi (rolled in hot fresh nuts he flung on house after the biryani) and sweet falooda (milk shake with rose water sweet basil and rice noodles, Rauf makes his own noodles!), and fruit chaat. Before he opened this, he had a grill restaurant and curry house in Brixton and Mitcham but wanted a change - sold them both just before Covid struck and says he is lucky. He wanted this place "to bring people something different, everybodys doing curry houses everybodys doing takeaway but nobody is doing this". Fresh kulfi, Wake Me Up Juice, samosa chaat, fruit chaat and rice vermicelli noodle falooda. Loyal customers growing slowly, got ppl driving all the way down from Southall, "im happy" and Covid hasnt changed things.
Chicken biryani on fridays-sunday and last week it sold out. Every week day he's doing a special this week was chicken soup. Rauf's favourite dish to cook is lamb curry cant wait for that one. Display only green liquid and a popcorn machine on deck. Invited me in to see where he cooks the biri it had stuffed with spices cardamom and a stone of a fresh plum type fruit.
Falooda originated in Iran. Central Asian merchants and dynasties settled in the Indian subcontinent in the 16th to 18th century and its now a regular streetfood snack. Rauf's already got a fan base, including Arun been in there every day last week for his falooda reminds him of back home - hes a builder and helps in his family run chicken and pizza shop in mitcham.
His #Pakistanisoup is a winter staple (next time hes gonna do a boiled egg in it). drink one drink two drink three like youre knocking back puchka, "its power soup. Good for the bones good for the heart" he says while Jingle Bell Rock plays. Best bit - chucking on the chutnis and toppings like the jhalmuri wallahs did in Bengal - black salt, garam masala, (10 different spices), lemon, soy and a chilli sauce made with fresh and African chillies, then gets out a deep fried naan dish "my mums recipe" and strawberry kulfi to end on showing how he makes them.
"Tara, Tell me any dish you want and i'll make it, just give me 2 days notice and call". "You are a loyal customer, kulfis are free for you here", so much kindness. These places and pockets are so important. Use them. Places closing places opening but ones like this that blend the old & new 💖 can eat like a queen even when you havent got many pennies to stretch and learn things its healthy for the belly and head, thank you.