The high-backed seat you’re sitting in might be awash with shades of sea blue, but Punjabi Rasoi, in Acocks Green, could hardly be farther from the seaside. Chef Raturi’s modern Indian menu, however, is somewhat more exotic.
The notion of serving street snacks in a formal dining environment is an odd one, but there’s also something about eating gol guppas and papdi chatt at table that feels fun and illicit – plus both are excellent and cost just £3 a pop.
The menu is a crowd-pleaser, and prices are unlikely to deter – you’d eat exceptionally well for £25. There’s a good mix of the familiar British Indian stalwarts and less-diluted Indian items for diners who fancy a taste of homestyle favourites such as rajma – a comforting Punjabi preparation of red kidney beans that’s best eaten with rice.
As the name may hint, Punjabi food is where Rasoi’s strength lies. Scoop up the likes of nall gosht (slow-cooked spiced lamb leg) with kulcha (small stuffed bread), or sample robust vegetable dishes such as Punjabi saag, prepared authentically with mustard greens, or the tinda masala, where gourd flesh acts as a sponge for the spicy sauce. Finish with a lightened-up rendition of that rib-sticking winter carrot fudge, gajar halwa. To drink, a nip of whisky will get you properly in the Punjabi party spirit.