Ranjit’s Kitchen – Pollokshaws Road, Southside

This week’s review is on the Panjabi ‘street food’ of the newly opened Ranjit’s Kitchen on Pollokshaws Road in the Southside of Glasgow.

Having changed hands regularly the newly refurbished venue takes form more of a canteen than a restaurant and boasts a cool street food eclectic vibe.

On entry we were seated at a long bench next to other diners. This reminded me of eating out in Thailand. In fact, I was under the impression the whole dining experience would be the same in that when the food was ordered it would just come as and when ready. However, there was no way of knowing how the food would arrive or in fact how the menu worked as no one explained it to us which was disappointing.

Nonetheless, Ranjit’s Kitchen was indeed busy, certainly a thriving eatery on a Saturday night in the Southside. We thought maybe we were holding out too much hope for a space. We asked the waiter if there was space for 2, he looked around gormlessly and shrugged his shoulders. A waitress from behind him – who appeared to be the only one working – gestured to a tiny space at one of the benches where in fact one of the waiters was sitting chatting to the diners. Feeling awkward now for interrupting his conversation he kindly moved and allowed us to sit down.

Seated at a huge bench there was a backpacker-esque, traveller feel, not to mention the wall art and decor looked hip. The gormless waiter who seated us asked if we’d ordered…… well how could we have? We had just sat down and didn’t even have any menus. We kindly asked him for some and he brought them over. Very strange.

As mentioned this is not a straightforward menu as like the venue itself it hints at a different dining experience. The menu was a list of around 10 items with some things that I’d never heard of before. Which is fine but I thought maybe the waiter would have taken time not to only explain the items but explain the starter to main course set up. After some time a different waiter – the one who’s conversation we disrupted – came over to take our order.

We thought it was the same street food café set up that the dishes you ordered arrived when they were ready, in no set order – not to mention the fact that the couple sitting next to us had all their dishes at once.

So we ordered a Mango Lassi- Ranjit’s Kitchen is not licensed – and a Lemonade. The Mango Lassi was lovely and really light. A Lassi is just like a milk shake but instead of milk, yoghurt is used. It was really refreshing!

When it came to ordering the food no one was on hand to explain or even offer an explanation – we had to guess. There were 2 dishes on a ‘Sabji’ and a ‘Daal’. Some of you may be familiar with these terms some of you not. I had to google ‘Sabji’ (I’m so glad I had 4G). We decided to try 1 of each and a Pakora and samosas. Expecting it to all come at once it sounded like a good idea- no it wasn’t.

To make things worse the waiter said “oh yes…. The sabji today is ‘gourds”. I apologise if I sound ignorant of such terms but I had no idea what gourds are, again I had to ask Google. Delighted it was similar to butternut squash, now we just had to wait.

And wait we did.

Ranjit’s Kitchen lacks atmosphere and it was a boring wait. The staff were not exactly chatty or helpful, they seemed more interested in their own personal image than giving their restaurant any sort of friendly atmosphere.

Eventually our food arrived, but it was only the pakora and the samosas. Ok that was fine, we just assumed maybe there was a starter to main course layout in place and the soups would arrive afterwards.

But hold on ….. there was at least 12 pieces of pakora on the dish – yes 12 – and 2 large samosas with a chick pea curry on the side. Can you imagine eating 12 pieces of pakora??? As a starter???? I was truly hungry and not to mention bored waiting on it. Half way through it the waitress who at least seemed slightly more competent brought over the lime pickle, but we ordered a trio of pickles which never arrived – just the lime pickle alone.

Needless to say well and truly stuffed after the heavy fried ‘starters’ and bored with the atmosphere a good hour later, the waiter came back to take our plates away. Trying to make out “oh you’ll be wanting your soups now” when in fact I believe they had actually forgotten about us.

Now the pakora was indeed lovely , heavy yes, but that is pakora. It was lightly fried and not greasy. The yoghurt dressing was light and fresh. But again an unnecessary 12 pieces – unless you want it as a main course. The samosas also were lovely and lightly filled with potato and veg. The curried chick peas to accompany were also a delicacy.

The ‘sabji’ which was like a stew was nice. Different from my usually culinary tastes. It was thick with green peppers and the mystical ‘gourds’ indeed were a different taste. However, I was expecting spicy? Where were the chillies? The dish was laden with oil, you could actually see a ring of oil forming around the top of the stew. It was lukewarm too. I don’t know about you but I really like soups, stews, curries all piping hot. It did come with a roti bread but to be honest I could barely eat it more than half of the full dish, by far the heaviest food I’ve ever tried. It lacked flavour and intensities. Not to mention the fact I’d also ate more than enough pakora.

As for the ‘Daal’ like a bland Indian inspired lentil soup, well you can imagine sat in the stomach like a lead weight was not finished either.

A party of 7 arrived and were planted on the end of our bench – all squashed up – and made it quite evident they were waiting on others. It was time for us to leave – gladly.

The bill itself was reasonable at £21.50. However we weren’t given a receipt- it would’ve been interesting to see if there were any mistakes on the bill as the gormless waiter rang up the bill from memory.

Overall Ranjit’s kitchen is ideal for a quick snack perhaps midday. As for dinner and weekends I could suggest plenty other local eateries you would enjoy better.

Ranjit’s Kitchen may just be suffering teething problems as it is newly opened but it certainly lacks a management system. Ranjit’s kitchen should be offering more training to their staff or failing that the gormless waiter probably shouldn’t be in the service industry. Furthermore, informing customers of the menu structure and layout would also be beneficial.

Food – 2/5 : A different take on a stereotypical curry. Good pakora.

Service – 1/5 : Explanations and information are required when running a different ‘type’ of menu. A management system unclear.

Value for money – 3/5 : OK, but a receipt would have been nice to check.

Decor – 3/5 : Appealing, cool and eclectic gives a good street food vibe.

Total – 9/20 : Maybe just teething problems, got a long way to go before a revisit would be reconsidered.

Please note – Ranjit’s Kitchen is unlicensed and is a meat free menu.

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