We all know about Ravi’s. And if you don’t my guess is you’re new to town and will soon be hijacked by a sub-continental food enthusiast for an inexpensive meal at the well-known diner. But, believe it or not, Ravi’s isn’t the only Pakistani restaurant in town, and it’s high time the many others got a look in. My mission was simple: find ace Pakistani food that’s not Ravi’s. To succeed, I grabbed an Urdu-speaking friend, jumped in a cab, and had the Pakistani driver drop us off at his favourite spot for homeland grub.

Silver Eagle Restaurant was your standard, stark eatery, but what it lacked visually it more than made up for aromatically. Riding in on wafts of meat and garlic, my companion and I tucked in to a cafeteria-style booth on the upper level. While the most difficult aspect of eating out in Dubai is usually simply finding the restaurant, in this case, reading the menu was the more arduous task. With more than 200 offerings, and precious few descriptions, we were quickly overwhelmed, and had to send the waiter away several times before finally deciding what to order.

We decided to take the traditional route, and started out with nihari, which proved the very essence of meat; chunks of cow in a gravy tasting like pulverised beef. To taste the dish, however, you had to first dive down through a puddle of oil.

‘In Pakistan, oil is seen as a sign of wealth,’ my colleague informed me. ‘At weddings, if the food isn’t dripping in oil, it’s not seen as a health conscious decision, but as evidence that the family is poor.’ An interesting fact, but not so much as to make up for the thick sheen coating my fork, or the sit-ups I was going to have to do before bed as a result.

Concessions came in the form of the peshawari chicken karahi that followed. I’d say my companion and I duelled over the meat, taking turns ripping it apart, but the chicken leg, floating in a smoky tomato gravy, was so tender it fell apart before approaching our forks. The rest of the menu was a bit hit and miss. The tubular seekh kebab (made from mutton) was as smoky and rich as a fine cigar, while the relatively straightforward alu methi, a curry made with potato and fenugreek, was overly salty. We finished off with a delightfully refreshing kheer, a smooth, if somewhat gelatinous, rice pudding, flavoured with rose water.

So was this a successful mission? Well, partly. The food was heavy, and not always as refined as it could have been, but when the chefs hit the right note, the Silver Eagle soared.

The bill (for two)
1x Nihari Dhs10
1x Peshawari chicken karahi Dhs12
1x Seekh Kabab Dhs8
1x Biriyani rice Dhs5
1x Alu methi Dhs6
1x Paratha Dhs1
1x Kheer Dhs4
Total Dhs46