What and where? This deceptively huge new Pakistani restaurant is handily near the awesome Panda Dim Sum and a welcome new option for BYOB fans and/or those on a budget. Yep, that’s probably all of us.
The good news is that the food, at least on our one visit so far, is delicious – and, thankfully, well-priced. You can even walk in and get a table with no booking or begging upfront.
The vibe? Neon. That was our first impression. Step inside and it’s a dazzling wonderland of pink and blue neon, with a bit of bottle-green spaceship lighting overhead for good measure. There are red strips and glowing orange pendants, meaning it feels more nightclub than local restaurant. Such exuberance makes a change from the simple decor in many of our local favourites.
The best seat? In the rear dining room are booths, popular with family gatherings, running alongside the bustling open kitchen, while facing the street, where we sat, are more casual (and comfy) tables. It’s also more dimly lit: tick!
And so to business. The menu is biggish so we headed straight for the comfort zone of the grill. Charred lamb chops – five bad boys for £12.95 – were juicily tender, on a bed of sweetened onions and scattered with coriander. Better still was a dish of marinated boneless herby chicken thighs, butter-soft, with a choice of three dips, spicy and cooling by turns.
Meanwhile, home-made rotis were on hand to mop up the tasty signature fiery tarka dhal, as was pilau rice, expertly fluffy. Even starters of chicken pakora (fritters), with a piquant dip, and paneer spring rolls, delivered a crunch, tang and umami hit as we sipped our own (cheap) BYOB red from the corner store opposite.
Next time? We see ourselves tucking into the fish (the karahi has our name on it) and curry sections of the menu (smoked chicken masala, anyone?); there’s also a comprehensive vegetarian selection, as well as house specials like slow cooked lamb shank, and a chicken liver masala. Perfect winter fare, in fact.
Anything else we should know? Service was efficient if, at times, a little erratic. And it was good to see a fairly busy restaurant on a dank Wednesday night in November.
In summary? The bill came to £46 (without tip) for a feast between two. No corkage costs, either, unlike some places nearby. In short, this is a solid addition to the area’s eclectic BYOB dining scene. We’ll take it.