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.
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?
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