At the age of 33, Syed Asim Hussain has achieved a remarkable feat as the youngest restaurateur in the world to hold two prestigious Michelin stars.
This achievement marked a historic milestone, as the New Punjab Club became the first Pakistani restaurant worldwide to earn this culinary accolade.
Asim Hussain’s second Michelin honor was bestowed upon his French bistro, Belon.
The New Punjab Club pays homage to the liberated era of post-colonial Pakistan and India. This vibrant tandoor grillhouse celebrates the spirit of that time, offering a diverse culinary experience in an elegant setting.
It earned its Michelin star in the 2019 Michelin Guide thanks to its commitment to high-quality cooking, making it the world’s first Punjabi restaurant to receive this honor.
For Asim Hussain, co-founder of Black Sheep Restaurants, New Punjab Club is a deeply personal endeavor, reflecting his Punjabi heritage with authenticity and pride.
The restaurant’s name is a nod to a social club founded during the British colonial era, with the owner’s father still being a member.
The menu mirrors the vintage decor and art collection, featuring beloved classics transporting diners to the old times.
Dining at the New Punjab Club
The dining experience at New Punjab Club starts with gin cocktails and tandoori anda, a grilled egg snack infused with the delightful aroma of langoustine.
Not to be missed among the main courses is the murgh methi tikka, prepared with local three-yellow chicken.
The restaurant’s menu boasts an array of delectable offerings, from tandoori dishes and seafood to Indian curries, kebabs, BBQ, lamb chops, karahi, rice, daal, chutneys, and traditional Indian/Pakistani breakfast items.
The New Punjab Club and Belon are two of the 22 restaurants within the Black Sheep Restaurants portfolio, co-founded by Asim Hussain and his partner, Christopher Mark, in 2012.
About Asim Hussain
Although Hussain was born in Hong Kong, he spent his formative years in Pakistan, attending Lahore’s Aitchison College at the age of five.
Aitchison College holds a significant place in the New Punjab Club’s narrative, embodying nostalgia for Hussain.
Hussain remarks, “The key element in the story of the New Punjab Club is nostalgia, of which Aitchison is a big part. Everyone at the restaurant knows about the school; they’ve seen pictures. My Aitchison stories have now become their Aitchison stories. The 13-14 years I spent there have helped create the New Punjab Club. The essence that comes from Aitchison is very aristocratic and regal. As a kid, I also spent much time at the Punjab Club in Lahore, so I affectionately named the restaurant after it.”
Before venturing into the New Punjab Club, Hussain and his partner had already established 15 restaurants.
However, persuading Chris to open a restaurant specializing in Pakistani and Indian cuisine was difficult.
Pakistani cuisine is often misconstrued worldwide as Indian food.
Hussain’s solution was to take Chris to Lahore in 2016 and expose him to Aitchison, Punjab Club, Gowalmandi, Lakshmi Chowk, and even Cocoo’s.
He aimed to convey his vision and demonstrate that they could craft a compelling narrative around this cuisine.
His efforts have paid off as his restaurant has received a Michelin star, bringing Pakistani cuisine to the spotlight!