By Fareeha Qayoom
like Salt n’ Pepper chain of restaurants – it’s been around for at least a quarter of a century in Lahore. It started from modest surroundings in Liberty to branch out all over Lahore. One of its latest offerings is Golden Lotus restaurant. I had heard a lot about it but for some weird reason, I didn’t get a chance to dine there until recently.
The décor might be interesting; its outdoor patio pleasant in winters and spring. But the food and service leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I have been there twice now in a space of six months.
The first time, a friend of mine was celebrating her birthday and invited a group of her friends for high tea. We were hardly a large party. There were only ten of us I think. It specializes in buffet style Pakistani, Chinese, Thai and a smattering of continental cuisines.
Since we were invited to high tea, for some weird reason, I had been expecting Victorian Style British tea full of offerings like exotic biscuits, tarts, cream cakes, exotic tea blends, sandwiches and pastries. What we got instead was lunch offering at 5:00 with desserts and tea thrown in as an afterthought. Unfortunately, the service was slow. There was a huge crowd and the food was just average and cold.
The second time, my boss decided to invite us all to lunch. The guys all wanted to go to Salt n’ Pepper Village or Golden Lotus. I didn’t say anything. I thought maybe my first experience was a fluke. I was willing to give Golden Lotus another chance.
Again, it was buffet. We were again seated on their outdoor patio. We didn’t get the best seats in the house since we were placed under a tree. Unfortunately, the tree was shedding like crazy. Leaves kept falling on our heads, plates and glasses. The cold drinks were lukewarm. The flatware was not all that clean.
I tried their main course only. First the Chinese and then Pakistani; somehow, the food was equally bad. I left the dessert alone. For some reason, I didn’t like the look of it. My colleagues found that sort of funny as they all know about my sweet tooth. My colleagues all tried the caramel. It was actually going bad but one of them didn’t figure it and ate it all. He thought the sour taste was an innovative touch introduced by the chef! He felt bad when the rest of them remarked that it was going bad and they had left it on their plate. So, we decided to have tea. The waiters forgot to serve my boss. The tea they served us was cold and bland. Unfortunately, after the second sip, something fell in my cup from the tree. I decided not to risk the service again as my boss still had not been served with tea. The place had been crowded since it was the weekend. However, by the time, we got to the tea stage; the crowd had thinned out, so couldn’t figure out why the waiters were so slow to respond and couldn’t be bothered with serving a hot cup of tea? Eventually, they got around to serving my boss too. However, he decided not to drink it as it was cold. Again.
We decided to pay at the counter since we didn’t want to bother waiting the waiters’ convenience. All in all, it was a bad dining experience. The parking space leaves much to be desired too. I had to park a block away from the restaurant. We didn’t linger.
My recommendation – try Village next time. It’s definitely better. At least the chef there knows how to cook! Instead of offering so many dishes at Golden Lotus, they should concentrate on a single cuisine, ensuring it is well cooked. This would go a long way in getting repeat business. 🙂