Karama restaurant serves up unique Punjabi eats in a fun and vibrant setting

Pind da Dhaba is part of a unique two-tier restaurant concept from the same owners. Downstairs is the cooling but cosy looking white wash and azure blue of Goan Coastal Curries. Winding up the steps of a giant cotton reel lined banister, you’ll find Pind da Dhaba, a restaurant specialising in Punjabi cuisine.

The restaurant aims to replicate the spirit of a humble village (dhaba) street side eatery (pind) and it was utterly charming. It was vibrant, bustling and colourful. It shouted loudly at me, but it wasn’t tacky. The walls were painted in dusty ochre shades and between them hung copper artefacts from an Indian kitchen and colourful Indian film posters with a worn and vintage look to them. Doubling as a serving area and cleverly set around a column was a farm-yard wooden cart. Jutting out from the floor boards was a hand water pump. In the corner (just in case you’ve ever wanted to wizz through India in a rickshaw) there was a rickshaw converted into a dining-table. Granted, it’s not exactly authentic, but it was fun and full of the energy and the warmth of India itself. And I wasn’t alone in thinking so. When I visited, the other diners were all South Asian and judging by the group posing and taking photos with the rickshaw, they were enjoying it as much as me.

The waiters were attentive and friendly. Although in some cases their English wasn’t great, it became clear that even if staff didn’t know all the English names for ingredients, they had an excellent understanding of what they were serving.

I enjoyed a complimentary basket of some rather peppery poppadoms to start before moving on to a half portion of tandoori chicken. For me personally, the chicken was too fiery, despite having asked the waiter to tone it down. However, I could still recognise and enjoy it as a well made dish, with tender meat and a lovely smokiness to the flavour.

As a main course, I tried the sarson ka sarg, which the menu described as unique to the Punjab. Made with mustard leaves, this vegetarian curry was thick and extremely buttery and made for a unique and interesting experience. I particularly appreciated the manager’s suggestion that I try this with a makki da roti. Another speciality of the Punjab, these rotis, made with corn flour, had the great sweet and chewy quality of corn dough, and it was a pleasure to try something veering so differently from the average menu. I also tried the stuffed paratha, amrisa kulcha. Stuffed with thin slices of deliciously buttery potatoes, it was very spicy, aniseedy and enjoyable.

The bill (for one)
1x half tandoori murgh
1x sarson ka sarg Dhs24
1x amrisari kulcha Dhs10
1x makki da roti Dhs5
1x lassi Dhs12
1x large water Dhs5
Total (excluding service) Dhs84