Originally published in Austin Monthly - November 2014 Issue
Craving something entirely new? Try Afghani and Pakistani dishes at Chapli Kebabs 'N' Curries
Proof that great culinary experiences can be found behind unassuming exteriors: Chapli Kababs ‘n’ Curries. Open since May, Chapli’s has a plain but pleasant atmosphere. A purple paisley wall decorated with traditional musical instruments adorns the otherwise simple dining room. But that simplicity puts the focus squarely on the food. With the Afghani dishes at least, you won’t find anything else like it in town.
Pakistani and Indian cuisine, which are similar, are also on the menu, “but Afghani is totally different,” explains co-owner Syed Waheed, who along with business partner Shahzad Bashar hails from the northern part of Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan. “It’s more Mediterranean, with fewer spices.” Exhibit A: Borani Baunjan, a sauteed eggplant curry sprinkled with cilantro and dolloped with thick, Greek-like yogurt. The Kubli Pulao, called “Afghanistan’s most famous dish,” is a mild, tender lamb shank served atop buttery basmati rice studded with raisins and carrot shreds. But it’s the restaurant’s namesake dish—"chapli" comes from the Pashto word for "flat"—that's the standout. Like the popular street food of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Chapli Kabab is a thin, dinner-plate-size minced beef patty flavored with coriander, cilantro and green chiles, which give it a low-burn heat. “We wanted to offer something that no other restaurant around had,” Waheed says. Consider us glad they did.
1200 W. Howard Lane, Ste. 2B, (512) 989-2928, chapli-restaurant.com