Monday, February 26, 2024

Michelin-recognized Chef Imran Ali Mookhi to open Desi-focused Shor restaurant in Hawaiian Gardens (premium mocktail bar included)

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In Fullerton, Chef Imran Ali Mookhi’s Khan Saab is not just a local staple that has helped North Orange County redefine its conception of Desi cuisine—the Southeast Asian food that is centrally wrapped around the flavors of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and more—but twice recognized by the Michelin guide to Southern California. And now, he will be opening his Shor restaurant in Hawaiian Gardens come 2024.

Oh yes, bring on the naan, dal, curries, and kabobs.

What can we expect from the Shor restaurant in Hawaiian Gardens?

Yes, the naan and dal will be on hand—but the born’n’raised in Pakistan Mookhi is known beyond Khan Saab in Fullerton. He was the executive chef at Tantra in Silver Lake, Tamarind of London in Newport Coast, Dosa in San Francisco, Tumbi in Santa Monica (for which he also garnered Michelin recognition)…

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“Shaping the vision of Shor has been a journey grounded in my upbringing amidst the vibrant culture of Pakistan and passion for elevating Desi cuisine,” said Mookhi. “Fueled by the success of Khan Saab, Shor’s new location affords us the chance to captivate a wide-ranging audience, introducing them to an exciting blend of culture and cuisine that goes beyond the culinary expectations of the area.”

And if we think anything like the creations he makes at Khan—like his pomegranate Bhel Puri, featuring crackers, rice puff, peanuts, vermicelli, mint, tamarind, chili, garlic, and chutney, or his standout “Sloppy Kahn,” made with chopped and spiced keema wagyu beef laid on gun-powder toasted pav bread—then we are in for a treat. And yes, Mookhi’s love affair with halal-centric meat prep will be on hand, from seafood and veal to Australian Wagyu beef and chicken—all prepared using traditional methods.

In tandem with Mookhi will be Executive Pastry Chef Mark Medina, paying homage to the sweet world of Desi offerings that will have no shortage of cardamom, saffron, mastic, and tamarind. The team “aims to elevate the dessert experience with interactive presentations, including pouring rich sauces over select dishes, table-side flambé, and overlays of 24k gold,” according to Shor rep Abbie Mueller.

And, keeping with Khan’s one-hundred-percent halal spirit, Shor will feature a fully-fleshed out, alcohol-free mocktail program as well as a “unique water bar menu featuring aquatic options curated from around the world and ranging from six dollars to upwards of one thousand dollars,” Mueller continued.

Drinks that put Khan Saab’s alcohol-free bar menu on the map include Standouts from the craft mocktail selection include the Mango Mojito made with mango nectar, as well as the Negroni and Peshawri Mule, which are crafted with Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits.

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The interior of Shor continues to evolve. Courtesy of business.
The interior of Shor continues to evolve. Courtesy of business.

And the vibe at Shor restaurant in Hawaiian Gardens—what can we expect to feel?

The Shor restaurant name is one that is synonymous with “noise” in Desi culture—and that comes from, according to Mookhi, “the eclectic and vibrant energy found in Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar, one of the largest historical markets in India. Originally named Shor Bazaar due to the bustling atmosphere of Indian markets, the British mispronunciation resulted in the market’s renaming to Chor Bazaar, which translates to ‘Thieves’ Market.’ Over time, it became renowned for selling stolen goods alongside vintage items, and the name Chor Bazaar sustained.”

With a design by AkarStudios, led by creative director Sat Garg, along with designers Mahetzi Hernandez and Monica Roh, the interior “promises a captivating experience, featuring a central bar backdrop, moody dining room, and private dining areas decorated with a kaleidoscope of hues, textures, and patterns inspired by alley markets, with a clean, contemporary edge to set the atmosphere for a premier dining experience,” Mueller said.

Shor will be 12155 E Carson St. in Hawaiian Gardens.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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