Sunday, 13 February 2011
Understated and underrated!
I have been in Manc long enough now to see past the bright lights of the curry mile and know not to take some of these jazzy looking restaurants on face value, after all, there is no such thing as a free lunch. However, I have not ruled out the curry mile entirely, especially when one is expecting guests from outside the city and have heard such legendary tales of the Mile. My guests had come from Liverpool and sadly, the city is somewhat lacking in good Indian restaurants these days. Any newcomers to the Scouse curry scene tend to be of the nouvelle cuisine, yuppified variety with small portions and all the ambience of an overpriced 5 star boutique hotel. Curry is about cheesy decor, twangy Bollywood choons and being as stuffed to the gills as humanly possible! So me and the Scouse ladies were on a mission for old school curry.
The lucky recipient of the VQ posse was Punjab, one of the less glitzy venues on the Mile. Understated yet homely, Punjab hides shyly away behind its larger, better endowed neighbours. We all know size isn't everything, it's what you do with it that counts and believe me, Punjab may be small, but its kitchen packs a punch, giving your belly a night to remember!
To start, I digested complimentary pops with 4 punchy dips, funny how things taste better when they are free. For mains, I diverted from my staples of madras and vindaloo and chartered unfamiliar waters with a bhuna. This was a fab blend of spices, fresh veg and no nasty greasy bits. Surprisingly, it measured up to some of my vindaloos as far as the spice factor was concerned! YUM. To mop it all up, I tried a chili naan for a change (all peshwari and no chapatti make me a dull vindaloo queen). This went down a treat by all my party, Punjab winning a place on the coveted VQ night out curry itinerary.
Now, no review is complete without the constructive criticism bit, right? The food and staff here are faultless so all I have to complain about are the antiquated toilets which are a bit dirty and the cramped restaurant.On the whole though, Punjab made for what was to be the start of a fab night out. Ignore the touts on the Mile and head for this shy beauty!