Sugar and spice and all things nice! A familiar line from the poem “What are little boys made of?” c. 1820. Not so much at Archana, on the Dublin Road in Belfast, where the influence is North Indian.
Owner Munish Sharma is proud of the fact that his team of chefs limit the amount of sugar, ghee and cream in their extensive menu celebrating the finest of Punjabi cuisine.
I have always loved the depth of flavour found in Indian cuisine. It can be the subtle spicing of a Dhal to the intense aromas and flavours of a Jalfrezi.
We started off with deliciously light and crispy popadoms and a selection of chutneys including their own homemade spicy mint chutney, a light raita, a mango chutney and some chopped onions.
First up were starters!
There were so many things that we could have had, but we opted to share the King Prawn Puri (Delicious King Prawn, shallow fried, delicately spiced and served on bed of deep fried puffy bread) and the Alu Chhole Chat (Diced Potatoes & Chick Peas (Chana) mixed with spices, diced onions & tomatoes, lemon juice and tamarind sauce).
The King Prawn Puri had a delicious richness with a sweet finish that made us wanting more after the first bite. The puri was light and was a perfect vehicle to lift the delicious sauce with. In contrast the Chat was refreshing with the tang of the tamarind and lemon juice apparent in every mouthful. The texture of the chick peas made it very pleasant to eat.
With my local Indian restaurant being heavily influenced by the foods of South India we were keen to try the Thali. A Thali is basically an Indian style platter, made up from a selection of dishes and served with rice. This gave us the perfect opportunity to try a few of the curries from the menu.
We had the Achari Lamb, Onion Bhaji, Dhal, Chicken Tikka Masala and 2 others whose names I didn’t catch! Sorry! They where all delicious, but the stand out curry for both of us was the Achari Lamb. Rich, tangy and very satisfying.
The Chef’s Special is described as follows: “We encouraged our Chefs to create & present a dish of their own special Dishes. They could be from the menu or entirely new…” Our inquisitive nature didn’t let us miss out on this! It was very tasty!
Naan bread is one of my favourite things! However, nothing beats a naan thats just been plucked from the heat of a tandoor oven. This is exactly what Mark and I experienced in Archana.
You can probably tell that we really enjoyed our lunch at Archana. The staff where excellent and Munish’s passion for his native Punjab food is very evident. Thanks to you, Munish, and your team for a great experience.