I remember going on a creative thinking course which told us to constantly do things differently to stimulate our brain and provide new experiences e.g. don’t always buy the same newspaper or use the same route to work. Because of the disruption at the top of Walthamstow’s High Street, I walked a different way to the nail salon and passed a new restaurant - Naseem’s Punjabi Cuisine. Point proved.
I wasn’t sure what Punjabi cuisine was but we decided to try it early one Saturday evening. You cannot fail to notice the glam décor: a sparkly, white leather banquette runs down the wall with a striking animal print wall paper above. Other walls are adorned with a variety of coloured metallic paint and white leather chairs and sofas have diamond/glass studs.
Tables have linen cloths with gauze runners and large cream napkins are elaborately fanned from wine glasses. There was also a fantastic range of glasses behind the bar ranging from champagne flutes to cocktail glasses which was slightly strange as the restaurant is unlicensed. My can of sprite came with a large brandy glass and a salty lassi was served in a pint glass with two luminous straws.
The concept is simple and straightforward. A sizzling platter of mixed starters is served to table before a buffet. We opted for a mixed meat and vegetarian platter so when a hot platter of chicken and lamb kebabs and chicken tikka arrived, we assumed they’d forgotten the veg. The meat was well cooked with onions and coloured peppers which still had crunch to them. A little later, the vegetarian selection arrived: cheesey potato croquettes, tiny vegetable samosa and for us a surprising highlight, small cubes of paneer with a spicy coating.
A choice of six meat dishes (lamb and chicken) and six vegetarian, provided enough variety for even the most picky eater. Naan bread was provided fresh from the oven and a small dish of dips brought to our table. I was sorry I couldn’t do the meal more justice.
Despite feeling really full, a mango mousse in the chiller tempted and didn’t disappoint: it was light and fluffy, not too creamy and the mango sauce dribbled on top was tangy. Having finished, I was offered kulfi ice-cream and chocolate brownie. This is clearly a restaurant which doesn’t want you to leave hungry. In fact, a neighbouring table were offered, and accepted a further helping of sizzling chicken tikka.
This is a great new restaurant with lots (and lots) of good quality food and very attentive service. They’re obviously keen to improve as we were asked to add a comment to their review book. My only minor criticism is that I left still not really understanding how Punjabi food differs and the reply of ‘it’s different’, didn’t help me.
The buffet (including starters and puddings) at £9.99 is excellent value.
Takeaways are also available: £6 for one portion with a complementary naan or £10 for 2.
Naseem’s Punjabi Cuisine, 166 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4QH - 0203 092 3867