Indian cuisine – two words loosely used to define all of the rich, cultural tastes and flavours native to India. There are so many spices, aromas and even ingredients I typically associate with Indian food. Garam masala, palak paneer, cardamom, nutmeg, lentils, tandoori, dosas…the list goes on and on! The flavour profiling for Indian cuisine is unparalleled; nothing else can hit the spot when you’re craving it!
Stepping into Pukka felt a little different… in a good way! The atmosphere was buzzing with energy; people holding cocktails by the bar, dim-lighting and modern fixings to pull everything together. To start, we had okra fries that were perfectly executed – lightly battered and crispy with a hint of curry spice. This was perfectly accompanied by a mustard raita dip that was tangy and subdued the heat from the okra fries.
I was able to sample a number of new cocktails on the menu – each one was outstandingly well done. My favourite was the Mumbai sour – Bombay Sapphire gin, Aperol, grapefruit, cardamom bitters and egg white. Delicious!
For appetizers, we sampled the:
Tandoori Calamari – with coconut chutney and citrus slaw
Herb-Infused Chicken Tikka – with tamarind chutney
String Chaat – puffed rice, mung bean, pomegranates, mint and coriander chutney (my favourite app!)
Next up – rounddddd two! I was SO ready to dive right into the main courses!
Pumpkin Curry – with Kashmiri chilli, curry leaves and tomato
Punjabi Chicken – spicy home style curry
Beef Short Ribs – with black cumin, garlic and ginger masala
I was preoccupied with eating (can you blame me?!) and was not able to capture a picture of the Boatman’s Fish & Prawn Curry with tamarind, mustard seeds and coconut broth (pictured below to the very left) on its own.
Each dish was complex yet delicate, allowing the main ingredient(s) to shine. The fish & prawn curry had a sophisticated flavour profile with a light and creamy broth, but the seafood still took centre stage. The beef short ribs were to die for – deep, golden brown gravy and fall-off-the-bone short ribs that begged for naan, rice, or a spoon! What I also appreciated was the presentation of the food – the rice came in a hermetic glass mason jar, which was a cute touch!
Dinner was accompanied by two wine pairings chosen by the restaurant’s sommelier, Peter Boyd. A fantastic white (Vina Esmeralda, Torres 2014), and a full-bodied red (Vizcarra Senda del Oro Roble 2012).
For dessert, we had chai, caramel popcorn and decadent dark chocolate truffles. I am addicted to dark chocolate (among other foods…namely peanut butter), so this was the perfect way to end a fantastic meal!
The service was wonderful, the company was great, but the food truly took home the prize for top dog! I highly recommend Pukka for a date night, get together with friends and family, or just a solo dining adventure if you’re craving Indian food with a modern twist. I can’t wait to return and try the rest of the menu!
*Disclosure: The meal was complimentary. As always, the opinions in the post are my own.
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