Does The Mughal Court at Avari Lahore truly live up to royal standards.

As you walk through the arched entrance, you're greeted by smiling staff members, a whiff of roses wafting through the air and music from the classic Indian film Pakeezah almost whispering in the background. This is The Mughal Court, one of the restaurants at Avari Hotel on The Mall, Lahore. Formerly popular as Lakhnavi, the eatery had fallen prey to the Covid-induced economic crunch as did hundreds of businesses across the world. However, the management decided to reinvent, rename and relaunch it, and it reopened its doors once again a few weeks ago.

A fine dining restaurant, it reflects a modern take on the Mughal era through various elements - from the interior and names of the dishes to the servers' wardrobe, the engraved copper utensils to the welcome gestures and the music - all lending legitimacy to the theme. The interior is minimalistic and very formal with a generous use of wood, a lot of arches to hark back to the Mughal era, sofas and tables organised across the marbled space, a large glass window overlooking the kitchen where chefs twiddle with BBQ skewers, and a large fountain flowing outside.

As soon as you're seated, servers clad in burnt orange prince coats fill up your copper glasses with water from a traditional narrow-necked pitcher, while another offers to help wash your hands into a large bowl of rose water. The menu, containing dishes inspired by the royal kitchens - more BBQ, tandoor and dum-cooked items and fewer gravies - has been carefully curated by the executive chef who travelled to New Delhi, India to learn how to strike the right balance between spices to produce the kind of food the Mughals enjoyed.

The first thing on the table is a basket of Missi Roti as a starter. This tandoori besan roti with onion and green chilli kneaded in is slightly crispy on the edges and soft in the centre, served with imli and green chutneys and pickled veggies on the side. Make sure not to stuff yourself with these mouth-watering pieces of bread and leave some space for the rest of the meal!

The Murgh-o-Badam Soup is a lightly flavoured broth with chicken stock cooked in almond paste, fitting for the chilly Lahori winter.

Up next is the BBQ platter with a medley of kababs, tikkas, chops and prawns. The half mutton half beef Sangam Kabab is spicy, tangy and ever so tender that it melts in the mouth. Equally soft is the spicy, flavour bomb Kasturi Kabab, while the barbecued Tandoori Jheenga is cooked well and has an interesting...

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