Restaurant Review: Padosan
Indian cuisine is wide in terms of the ingredients used, the spices sprinkled, and of course, the cooking techniques involved in the prepping of meals. Back home, in India, meals cooked in the neighbourhood would be the highlight of the weekends, as neighbours hailing from different parts of the country would send home a dish, which bore the stamp of the state they came from. We’d sample each other’s fares and exchange notes on ripe mangoes pickle as made in a North Indian home vs. a South Indian one. You get the drift, right? We relished the medley of the flavours of India — which, is what got us to order a meal from the newly opened delivery-only kitchen, Padosan, Al Karama. Padosan, when translated from Hindi to English, means ‘neighbour’ and we looked forward to sampling what was getting cooked next door.
The kitchen offers only a vegetarian menu and we were tempted to opt for the winter menu, keeping in mind the slight nip in the air. First up was the Sarson ka Saag platter, a must-eat dish made with mustard greens, best relished with Makki ki Roti (maize flour bread) and a glass of Lassi (buttermilk sprinkled with herbs/spices). The platter came with all the accompaniments, including bits of jaggery, which is how it is consumed in most homes in Punjab. The fragrance, rich texture, and the green hue stood out (always an indication of the greens blanched well) here. From Punjab, we moved to Bihar, as we bit into Litti Chokha, where Litti (dough ball bread) is often confused with its cousin Batti from Rajasthan. A wholesome meal, the Chokha had a little extra oil than what we would have liked, but the eggplant and the other vegetables saved the flavour as did the spice quotient. It may remind you of the common North Indian dish, Baigan ka Bharta. Kashmiri cuisine is often not well explored, and that’s what makes Malai Methi Chaman a delight to try, i.e. if you like your greens as much as we do. Chaman is the Kashmiri word for paneer (cottage cheese) and this gravy item prepped with fenugreek leaves was well prepared, and was just the right kind of sweet and creamy (courtesy: cashews); as most chefs do end up preparing it like Palak Paneer.
Taste (3.5): Decent quality ingredients and home-style cooking techniques stood out, but excess use of oil (we didn’t mind the clarified butter) did play a spoilsport.
Ambience (5): You are eating at your own home, in your comfort safe zone, so yes full marks on that.
Service (3): Our order was delayed the first time we placed an order; the team was quick to fix the same for us though. The food packaging material used is basic, average quality.
Presentation (3): Plastic boxes and foil wrappers make up for the same, but then is a regular, affordable delivery only eatery, so we weren’t expecting them to go all sustainable, etc.
Value for Money (4): Everything aside, if it's a taste of pan India you want on a certain evening, especially as an Indian expat, a meal for one would cost Dh30 (approx.)