advertisement

Ignore that it looks like every other hack kitchen sponging off the Covent Garden tourist trade—this place predates the recent curry trend, which is why it survived the crest of the popularity wave. Punjab has been cooking since 1947, when it was opened by Gurbachan Singh Maan, a wrestler, and moved to this location in 1951 to serve the bureaucrats of the India High Commission during a tumultuous political period. Now, his fourth generation runs it with striking professionalism. It proclaims itself the oldest North Indian restaurant in the U.K., and staff have worked here for decades. Cooking is light on the oil and ghee (clarified butter). Meats and tandoori (the oven was installed in 1962) are well marinated, and so they arrive tender. The menu is cheeky, too: “If you have any erotic activities planned for after you leave us, perhaps you should resist this sensational garlic naan.” Reserve ahead on weekends.