Khayber Darbar is a Pakistani wayside restaurant on the Masafi Road in Al Dhaid, an emerging residential area located to the East of Sharjah. On both the occasions I’ve dined there its interior, which I briefly poked my head in to see, was packed chockablock with Pakistanis and Afghans dressed in a combination of western and local clothes. This is not date night material and my local Emirati host and I have always been grateful to have found a table at the small dining enclave immediately outside the restaurant. That said, this unassuming little eatery serves some of the best Pakistani food I have had in the UAE.
Although I’m sure there is a menu, we’ve never ordered from one, sticking to a few tried and tested dishes my friend Abdul-Latif introduced to me on my first visit, such as the insanely delicious Chicken Karahi, Chana and Bhindi Fry – all of which are served sizzling in the karahis they were cooked in. Oh, we’ve also had their Peshawari Chapli Kabab, the desi answer to a smashed meat patty. There’s an Afghan bakery next door from which the restaurant sources its delicious fresh bread. And that’s all you’re ever going to need, believe me. If you are more a red meat person, substitute the chicken karahi for mutton which is equally good.
Service is friendly and super accommodating, especially if Abdul-Latif is around. They treat him like Elvis. Khayber Darbar is about a 40-minute drive from where I live in Arabian Ranches and I won’t think twice about making the trip so good is the food. I’m told they only use fresh produce, and you can tell from the crowd, that they sell out whatever they have on the same day. The fact that the place is filled with truck and taxi drivers only confirms what I am leading to – that this restaurant serves some of the best food around and at remarkably affordable prices. So, the nest time you crave Pakistani food, consider the trek out – believe me, it’ll be worth it.
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Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on email@example.com.