Rangoli – a revelation
Friday 9th May:
Just an update to add in a few photos taken last night. They aren’t the best, being taken on my phone but oooh it is delicious. I was chatting with the lovely young Goan chap that works there and he was telling me of plans for the place, a lunchtime buffet and getting some Goan dishes on the menu too. So even more reasons to rave about Rangoli than before.
“Rangoli offers the first Indian chef worked under Michelin star restaurant, to cook authentic Indian dishes with modern twist in Swindon”
Well, I reckon I’ve found a new favourite Indian Restaurant in the shape of Rangoli – on Groundwell Road. It opened in November last year apparently but I was blissfully unaware of its existence until last night when I, and my daughter and son-in-law (up from London for the weekend) were introduced to it by friends of theirs.
My son-in-law is Punjabi born and has long lamented that the Asian food in the town, whilst undeniably delicious in many establishments, is not actually Indian but Bangladeshi. Well, he was smiling last night when a bowl of yoghurt appeared with the Biryani: with Indian restaurants, a Biryani comes with yoghurt and not vegetable curry. If you get vegetable curry with a Biryani then the food is Bangledeshi. Indeed it was notable that there were a good few Indians eating in the place. Harmeet hails from Amritsar, famed for The Golden Temple and also for its fish cuisine – which has given its name to a well-known starter, “Fish Amritsari”. We have seen this dish on menus is several Swindon establishments and always tried it; It’s been tasty enough for sure but not the real deal. Rangoli got 8 out of 10 for theirs – so there’s a recommendation if ever there was one.
The menu is small but perfectly formed – it has some of the usual favourites on it but also some different dishes. The aforementioned Son-in-law opted for the Railway Curry – a dish with an interesting history:
“…..is a direct throw back to the days of the British Raj, when travelling by train was considered aristocratic. This very popular and slightly spicy dish was served in Railway Refreshment Rooms and on long distance trains, with Bread or Dinner Rolls. The curry was not too spicy keeping in mind the delicate palates of the British. It was also popular with the Railway staff who had to be on duty for long periods at a stretch.
The story goes that an English army officer found himself ravishingly hungry during his journey. He followed his nose to the kitchen car where spicy mutton curry was simmering. He was offered a taste and burnt his tongue because of the spices. The helpful cook reduced the heat with some coconut milk and served it up. Since then it has become a staple on all First Class Compartments of the train as First Class Railway Mutton Curry.”
We had the ubiquitous poppadums to begin with but even these had a twist being served individually and with the sauces being light and fresh rather than the heavy pickles you tend to get. Though I do have a soft spot for a lime pickle these made a refreshing change.
One of our party wasn’t too keen on spicy food so at all so they willingly and swiftly produced a Korma for her, though it wasn’t on the menu – and actually it was a good Korma sauce that was evidently made with fresh coconut. So a good bit of customer service there I thought. As was the speedy bringing and regular replenishment of the water jug – something that seems to be inordinately difficult in many Asian places I have frequented.
The rice was served in pretty steel bowls that were deceptively deep and contained much more than we thought – what we didn’t eat came home with us – and indeed everything we ate was completely delicious.
The place is scrupulously clean and the kitchen is on show but behind glass so that you can see right into it. Our table was right by this and it was great – I was looking in and the chefs gave me a smiley, friendly wave. Well, to be honest I waved at them (much to the daughter’s embarrassment) and they were well-mannered enough to smile and wave back.
As far as I can see the only problem with the place is the same problem for all the restaurants down there: NOWHERE to park. We drove round the block a couple of times before finding a slot on one of the side streets. And then you’ve to walk back to the place in the rain….and it is off-putting. SBC take note – take car parks away and you also take away the life-blood of businesses that depend on it. So I really hope it, and the other places down there, manage to survive and do well because they deserve to.
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