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needoo [London]

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30 years ago, when everybody dressed up to go out and eat in india, its was either mostly chinese, sometimes south indian but almost always punjabi. butter chicken, tandoori dishes, naan - all stuff you couldn't make at home.

one step down from the punjabi restaurant - in terms of ambiance, not necessarily quality - are the punjabi run truck stops, the dhabhas, with a few dishes but done legendarily well. and then a rope bed to relax in after eating.

needood, like tayyabs, is like a dhabha. and i liked the seekh kebabs, rotis and naans here even more than at tayyabs. the dal was a pleasant surprise - for once, not excessively oily - almost delicious. but alas the vegetables - pounded beyond belief sitting sullenly in a pool of oil - good grief, does ANYBODY eat this stuff?

as for the dry meat and the lamb chops etc: lamb really doesn't do well under indian treatment. it gets way too dry. what you need is goat - and then maybe the chops and dry meat etc would be palatable. right now its like eating rubber.

in summary: good-to-excellent seekh kebabs and dal, good naan and roti. i avoided the chicken tikkas because they (as does tayyabs) grill them as opposed to using the tandoor - which is bizarre. somebody should send over a plate of reshmi kebabs to show its done. and i'd avoid the rubber lamb and the veg dishes.

  1. howler, you are sort of right when you say 'like a dhaba'. There is a difference between Pakistani Punjabi cuisine and Sikh Punjabi cuisine. Dhabas are traditionally run by Sikhs, and originally catered for long-distance lorry drivers, a profession dominated by Sikhs in India. In India, I have never come across a lamb chop or sheekh kebab in a dhaba. Standard order at a dhaba would be a whole tandoori chicken and several naan/kulcha, perhaps sides of tarka daal and palak paneer, and in winter, makki di roti and sarson da saag. At a Muslim restaurant, grilled meats with rumali roti and biriyani couldn't be missed.
    By the way, do you know of any dhaba-style Sikh Punjabi restaurants in London?

    1 Reply
    1. re: medgirl

      well said, i should have been clearer. i was trying to point out that we should think of needo/tayyabs more as we would a dhabha, with a few things done well, than as a full fledged punjabi restaurant.

    2. It's a shame you avoided the chicken tikkas - they are excellent, one of the highlights of the grill - really succulent and tasty. Why would you avoid them because they are grilled?
      (PS mods, can we can this thread merged with the other thread on Needoo?)

      1 Reply
      1. re: pj26

        We don't have the ability to merge threads, but we're locking this one to direct the discussion to the other at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/649685