I wonder why there is a sudden rush for Arabian like food in Chennai! It must be doing well and if the trend goes, we might soon has Indian Arabian, just like we have Indo - Chinese. None of the dishes are Arabian really, but, of course, one cannot open a restaurant for people who want authentic food and price it low. They have to play to the market and going by the crowd at Laham, with a simple but nice interiors, quirky posters, I think the owners have found the sweet spot.
Three of us walked in and found that both brands, Laham and Tas Tea, belong to the same person. Tas Tea, is a bubble tea that I have had at Malaysia and I was keen to see how well they have fit the concept to the Chennai market. So we ordered for chicken shawarma, Shish Tawook and Chicken Sheekh Kebab. Apparently the restaurant had just opened and a lot of dishes on the menu was unavailable.
The bubble teas came up first and though the 'bubbles' were similar to what I have had before, the tea did not seem to have any tea in it. Only then did I realise that I had ordered the crushed ice bubble and since there was no crushed ice at all, it didn't seem like it and I presumed I had ordered tea. The other two guys had their tea and I tasted them both and they were fine. The bubbles are nothing but small flavoured tapioca balls added to the tea and the straw is large enough to suck them through.
The owner recognised us as his school seniors and joined us for a chat. He told us about his previous experiences with restaurants and told us his plans for this restaurant, which included bring in sheekh kebab burgers in both chicken and lamb. With a vast background in food, he seemed to know what he is doing. But I found the shawarma to be like a Bengali kati roll. There was no veggies, no pickled veggies, no french fries - just a pita roll stuffed with chicken. So if you like your roll to be full of chicken, you will like this, if you're like me, wanting a balance between the chicken and the veggies, then you wont. The roll was tasty, it is just not shawarma for me. The chicken sheekh kebab was juicy and very tasty, while the shish tawook was very differently spiced and not what I am used to. There is a lot of gravy and roti on the menu that we did not try.
The owner refused to take the bill and said that the place was just up and running and he was glad to get feedback from us and waived off the bill. He has asked us to visit him again in a few weeks once his full menu is up and then we could pay! So I am not rating this place yet! Prices of dishes are between 80 and 200 for most dishes and a meal for two should cost about Rs. 500! But this is Indo Arabian, not Arabian and with an almost full house, I guess it has clicked.
Laham is right at the Kelly junction in Kilpauk with a parking space for about four cars.