CURRY HOUSE & TAKE-AWAY
There aren’t that many Indian restaurants here in the P-O full stop, but the good news is that once you’ve found Le Punjab in the heart of Perpignan, you can then look forward to trying out its elder sister, the Rajah Mahal, when in Canet Plage during the Summer season.
Mr Ejaz and his family founded the latter some 25 years ago, whilst Le Punjab opened its doors in 2004 and has become an institution ever since.
Perched at the far end of the Pont Joffre, when leaving Perpignan in the direction of Narbonne, it overlooks the river Têt which Mr Ejaz fondly calls ‘our very own Ganges’.
Parking is easy with a car park opposite (and free at lunchtimes) and more parking further away at the Palais des Expos.
The ambiance is typically Indian from the deco through to the music and the simple desire to please. Waiters dressed Indian-style greet you at the door with a beaming smile and nodding head and escort you to your table. And the smile doesn’t go away. The service is excellent from start to finish.
For lunch during the week you can sample the 16€ 3-course menu or for a lite bite, the Thali at just 9,50€ – a fish or chicken kebab or crispy vegetables in batter. Not forgetting the excellent value-for-money dish of the day at just 8,50€ (weekdays only) which includes a glass of wine and a coffee! Nor the 3-course menu available at 24€.
Tandoori chicken or lamb is their speciality. The meat is gently grilled over wood coals to retain its full flavour. But Le Punjab also offers a wide range of vegetarian dishes to suit, both in terms of starters and mains, in addition to the vast selection of lamb, chicken and prawn curries on offer.
My friend and I couldn’t resist the temptations of the à la carte menu. Whilst making our choice, we were presented with a welcome Padmam (Poppadom) flavoured with lentils and cumin as amuse-bouche. Carnivore that I am, I opened the game with a Sheek Kabab – otherwise known as two lamb sausages spiced with onions, fresh mint and coriander. Tasty and filling, it came with a trio of inviting sauces. Anita, in contrast, chose crispy aubergine and potato fritters (Pakora) with Raitha aux légumes for a change. The creamy yogurt contained a good mix of crunchy vegetables and was so copious it made an ideal accompaniment to our main courses.
I cannot say No to meat balls, so the Kofta Korma was an obvious choice. Very finely minced lamb in a medium sauce flavoured with a hint of cashew nuts, peppers, onions, fresh mint and coriander. Melt-in-the-mouth moments of absolute pleasure. Anita decided to go for the Chef’s Speciality – the Butter Chicken. Mild and tender pieces of lightly grilled chicken au Tandoori. Both dishes were accompanied by a fluffy pilaw rice to die for and a deliciously different nan au fromage.
Note that that if you prefer your food on the spicy side, then apart from the hot dishes on the menu, Mr Ejaz will happily tailor-make the dish to suit your requirements. He speaks English, so just ask!
Desserts include 5 specialities, all home-made, plus Kolfi Indian ice-cream which I would highly recommend.
The overall feeling was one of satisfaction and the desire to return.
Le Punjab is open every day, except Wednesday and they offer a take-away service too.
It’s wise to book, particularly at weekends, and it’s a must for their soirées where typical Indian entertainment straight out of Bollywood enchants a full house.
2 avenue du Palais des Expositions, 66000 PERPIGNAN
To book at table or order a take-away: 04 68 50 94 22