Named after the valley in which a pair of towering stone Buddha statues were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, Afghan restaurant Bamiyan is the product of an unusual tale. Beijing’s Afghan ambassador was already a regular at original sister establishment Punjabi, but revealed he was longing for a restaurant that served the fare of his homeland. The obliging and skilled kitchen staff entertained his request by not only creating an Afghan restaurant just one floor up, complete with convincingly authentic menu, but now also donate 10% of Bamiyan’s profits to help fund the rebuilding of the demolished monoliths.
The bright, lantern-lit Persian space is draped with sumptuous Afghan tapestries and even features a fabulous low-tabled shisha lounge – opt to sit in one of the tented alcoves for a more intimate experience. A quick scan of the menu will suggest that Afghan fare is not so different from its Indian and Pakistani counterparts, but milder, lamb-centric dishes such as the kabuli pullao is entirely unlike its drier, cardamom-studded Indian cousin, and is made moist with onions, carrots and juicy raisins. Meanwhile, the shammi kebab isn’t just a simple roasted stick of spiced lamb, but minced together with lentils, potato and egg. And in true Afghan style, bin the booze and get sipping on their lovely masala tea or Rooh Afza cordial. Bami-yum!
3/F / C-8 Lucky Street / Gongyuan Xi Lu / Chaoyang / +81 10 5867 0223 / www.punjabichina.com