Bundo Khan Halal Restaurant is a small storefront that serves an intriguing array of curries, kormas and exotic stir-fries of goat brains, kidneys and liver. But we were surprised to also find a Philly steak sandwich, burgers and chicken wings at the Sunrise nook. Still, what we’re here for is Bundo Khan’s aromatic, authentic Pakistani and Indian cuisine. The “halal” part of its name refers to meat in line with Islamic dietary guidelines. A Pakistani friend who comes here several times a week says it’s the only restaurant she’s found in South Florida that reminds her of home — with good reason.
Owner Abdul Hakim grew up in Pakistan. He was born in India but when Pakistan became an independent nation in 1947, his family moved to Karachi, the country’s largest city. His father, Bundo Khan, owned a few well-known restaurants there. When Hakim moved to Miami 30 years ago, he broadened his skills, attending college to study hotel and restaurant management, then working as a manager for the Lums chain and Doral Country Club. He owned and later closed two Miami Beach restaurants, including one named Bundo Khan. He opened the Sunrise restaurant more than a year ago, serving traditional dishes with his own blend of heady spices, which include ginger, coriander, clove, cinnamon and garlic, a treat for the senses when you walk in the door.
If this is your first experience with Pakistani cuisine, you’ll recognize many items you’d see at an Indian restaurant, like tandoori meats, curries, samosas, rotis (breads). Pakistani dishes generally have more of a spicy wallop. No pork is served, but the meat lineup offers chicken, beef, lamb, goat and shrimp. Prices are so low — the most expensive dish is $13.99 — it’s easy to experiment. We were given a stack of plastic foam plates, which may not be fancy but we were able to easily share an array of foods.
Ambience: Don’t expect much decor-wise at Bundo Khan, but you can catch a Bollywood movie on the flat-screen TV.
- Sauces of deep tamarind and cooling raita — a blend of yogurt, mint, coriander and cumin seeds
- Waferlike pappadam
- Naan cooked in a clay tandoor oven
- Chapati, thin as a tortilla and cooked atop a round domed grill
- Flatbreads like partha and sheermal
- Deep-fried pakora (stuffed with chicken, shrimp or vegetables)
- Shami kebab, a pan-fried ground meat and lentil patty fragrant of ginger and garlic
- Aloo choley, a bowl of mildly spiced chickpeas served cool but not cold, with a crisp topping
- Nihari, tender chunks of stewed beef reminiscent of a richly flavored pot roast
- Tika masala combining marinated chicken, onions and tomatoes in a delicious cream-spiked sauce
- Nicely charred tika breast cooked on a skewer over the grill and accented with a potent kick
- Haleem , a slow-simmering, porridge-like dish of boiled lentils and marinated beef.
- Palak paneer, with creamy spinach and squares of deep-fried cheese in a curry sauce
- Aloo palak with potatoes
- Sweet, buttery carrot halwa, severed without the customary nuts and raisins
- Gulab jamun, deep-fried cake-like balls in syrup