It’s hard to be ill-disposed towards Gujarati Rasoi – with its convivial mix of young, multicultural right-on customers, its studiedly makeshift interior (concrete floor, one wall of chipboard, another with shelves displaying jars of pulses) and its feel-good vibes. Service came from a friendly waitress who resembled a Scandinavian model. The business grew out of street-food stalls run by mother and son Lalita Patel and Urvesh Parvais and featured in Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation.
Food is freshly made in the sparkling open kitchen that takes up a third of the tiny premises. The daily changing menu is short – no bad thing in itself, but therein lies a problem. Although our dishes were appealing and authentically spiced, the meal lacked variety. Papri chat was a colourful, textural treat (crisp papri, thick yoghurt and, unusually, pomegranate seeds), yet a main of polenta-like khumni ne sev also came with sev and pomegranate seeds (and coconut); being a dry dish, it needed a side of tangy soup-like khadi.
In short, the menu cries out for a thali. In our quest for variety we ordered widely (finishing with fruit-packed mango sorbet), and our not excessively large dinner, with one 75cl bottle of Meantime IPA apiece, cost over £40 a head – twice the price of Wembley’s Gujarati cafés and excessive for a restaurant of this (albeit joyful) ilk.