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This hipster dhaba serves mainly North Indian home cooking to City folk who like their lunch boxes spiced with more than a grind of black pepper.
Shoreditch has a hipster dhaba to add to its roll-call of themed cafés. This place serves mainly North Indian home cooking to City folk who like their lunch boxes spiced with more than a grind of black pepper. Sited in a small basement, its interior is a bewildering mash-up of vintage fittings and odd fixtures. How a portable 1970s' television, soda siphons, fake flowers, and ripped-out pages from magazines complement mum’s own masala is anyone’s guess.
There are a couple of eat-in tables, but take-away orders are the mainstay of this fledgling business. The website promises plenty, but we were disappointed to be denied the likes of chickpea masala, meaty curries, and spicy paneer sandwiches on our weekday lunch visit – only a vegetarian cauliflower masala and a chicken-and-cauli curry were available as main course choices. No matter: our curry revived spirits with its robustly spiced onion-ginger-tomato masala clinging to the cauliflower florets and tender-cooked chicken morsels. Served in a cardboard box with basmati rice, soupy dal and okay-ish salads (red cabbage, lentil and a mixed salad), it wasn’t pretty, but it did make for a filling and affordable lunch.
Punjabi-style parathas (layered flatbreads), stuffed with grated mooli (white radish) and nutty-tasting toasted gram flour, did impress with peppery and astringent flavours spiked with a hint of chilli. The only downer was a tiny thimbleful of thin yoghurt as the accompaniment; no dhaba stallholder in India would have got away with it such a small portion. Let’s hope that this spot finds its stride and builds a repertoire of dishes for aficionados of home-cooked Indian fare.
87 Leonard Street
|Transport:||Tube: Old Street or Rail: Shoreditch High Street|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £18.|
|Opening hours:||Open 11.30am-3pm Mon-Fri.|
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