October 10, 2017

For Old Time's Sake - Lahore's Most Nostalgic Hot-Spots

Remember Polka Parlor? I do, but not because the ice cream was OMG. Those back-lit photo-boards mounted high behind the counters featured my naughtiest frozen dairy dreams — a perfect Peach Melba, a beautiful banana split, a classic triple-scoop sundae topped with a cloud of whipped cream and a neon red maraschino cherry, and my holy grail, a huge watermelon, hollowed, carved, and filled with a million tiny scoops of ice cream — all a bunch of cruel lies. Dude, my frickin’ fantasy monster-melon wasn’t even on the menu...

Still, mention the name and I can’t help smiling, because, really, disappointing dessert was but a trivial detail, an annoying distraction, if you will, in a day that included a trip to the holy land of extreme 90’s-kid fun, Amusement Arcade!

You know the one I’m talking about — that musty basement that offered a grand total of 3 thrilling fun-time activities, including the iconic heart-thumping dodge-em cars with dubious brakes and long, bendy antennas that crackled and sparked against that wire-cage roofing. That lingering smell of hot metal was oddly satisfying. The mechanical horse-race felt as intense as the Kentucky Derby, beads of sweat forming on our foreheads as we screamed our lungs sore until the shrill buzzer finally ended the game. A mix of excited shrieks and disappointed groans always followed. And the pièce de résistance — the mildly shady and definitely moldy room known as the “Shooting Gallery.” Nobody ever won the game,but we all played anyway, just to get the creepy old cowboy to half-rise out of his creaky rocking chair and lift his lame shotgun to squirt water at us. 

After an hour of so of this daredevil awesomeness, the gang of cousins, and whichever Khala had been conned into watching the kids for the afternoon, descended on Polka Parlor and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Food is a powerful, emotional affair, folks. Not convinced? Hit up these five nostalgic Lahori hotspots and we guarantee some serious feels!


Literally, eat ANY of Gino’s pizzas and it’ll take you straight back to every cool kid’s childhood birthday or last-day-of-school party you’ve ever been to. Yes, the dough is still thick and bread-y and the sauce is still oddly sweet and, no, there’s no epic stringiness to the cheese — it sits in one waxy, congealed sheet on the top, just like always — and it’s still so, so delicious. Nothing beats kick-butt kiddie party food.