Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review of Punjab Balti

Type: Indian
Price: ***
Service: ****
Mmm Rating: 3.5
Bucket List: You'd survive without this place,

Thinking we need some formal set of criteria for evaluating the dining experience. Something similar to 10 points for Food, Service and Atmosphere perhaps?.... For another day :)

Well we have already established that Matt and I are big fans of Indian cuisine.  Therefore it will come as no surprise to hear that we sampled the delights of Indian restaurant Punjab Balti in Ranelagh at the weekend.

The restaurant offers an excellent value Early Bird from Sunday to Thursday until 7.30pm: for €16.95, one can enjoy a starter, main course, tea or coffee and a glass of Pinot Grigio or Merlot – not bad at all!  However, we found this particular menu slightly limited (3-4 choices for each course in contrast to around 30 in the regular menu!) so we decided to splash out and go the whole hog.

First Impressions:
Though it was empty (dinner at 530pm), there was still a nice atmosphere in the restaurant, and the waiter was courteous and friendly.  We were seated next to the window and their fake hedge – a bit odd to see indoors in a restaurant, I have to say!  We were presented with a HUGE plate of poppadums to munch our way through- which we successfully managed to do.  You would think that all poppadums are the same but you are wrong!  We, having completed extensive poppadum research, both agreed that the ones at Punjab Balti were some of the best we’ve ever had.  They came served with lovely dips – mint, ‘chunky onion spicy’ and ‘spicy spicy hot hot’ as I like to call them.  Good start to the meal.

Matt ordered Punjabi Boti, a spiced lamb chop with some side salad garnish.  He thought it was tasty, chewy and fairly spicy.  Quote: “you had to work for the meat.”  I ordered the Tandoori Chicken which was again served with a garnish of salad.  Nice flavours, quite spicy, but possibly a little dry- but lots of it.

Main Course:
Matt decided to be original (lol) and went for the Butter Chicken with Pilau Rice.  When it first arrived he thought it smelt like Sour Cream and Onion Pringles.  The portion was a bit small, but it was tasty all the same.  I ordered Chicken Tikka Masala and Pilau Rice.  I enjoyed it but I was just left feeling a little underwhelmed.  I think the Masala sauce could have been creamier and slightly less rich and tangy.  Again, the portion was smaller than I expected it to be for what we paid for it.  The fact that I could barely finish it anyway is beside the point!!  We ordered peshwari naan to share.  Though Matt liked it, I wasn’t a fan: personally, it was too sweet for me – you could have eaten it as a dessert!!

I have one more thing to moan about: I was a little cold.  Maybe I just wasn’t wearing enough clothes.  I feel like we’ve been a bit harsh on this restaurant.  We had a lovely evening here and overall really enjoyed the food.  However, I think because of our petulance for Indian cuisine we’ve just become very hard to impress in this regard: something needs to be amazing to wow us. 

I feel like I’ve been a bit harsh on this restaurant.  We had a lovely evening there, service was excellent and very friendly and the food was tasty and well presented. Would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for good Indian food in the area!

Just lacked that spark?-Ya know?