It was a cold Friday evening when a friend and me went out to eat at Panas Gurkha on Lee High Road. Although it was seven o’clock there was no one else in the small restaurant, although it did fill up while we ate there. The décor in the restaurant has a slightly old-fashioned feel to it and there were quirky pieces of artwork (to say the least) dotted on the walls around the restaurant.
Dinner started by ordering Cobras and a couple of popadoms, the way all of my curries begin. We were going all out so decided to order starters as well as main courses. The two dishes that came first were the Momo (£4.25), lamb dumplings which the menu described as one of the most popular dishes in Nepal, and Sadeko Kukhura, shredded chicken on salad, a signature dish of Panas. Both dishes were pleasant enough, although the salad was very salty, which ruined the chicken a little bit when eaten together.
Interestingly, the main courses were pre-plated, which is not the norm but our waiter had no qualms when we asked for some extra plates so that we could share our dishes. We choose our mains from the chef’s specials and there wasn’t a curry sauce with either, which wasn’t a massive problem, but again unusual. The dishes were Choyola Chicken (£8.95) and Jhaneko Masu Lamb (£9.95), and although the ‘spice rating’ of both was two chillies (out of three) on the menu but were extremely spicy, so much so that we had to order two more beers. I am a fan of spicy food but would hate to try a dish with three chilies at Panas.
The lamb had a sea-salt crunch to it, which meant, again, it was a bit too was a bit salty for our tastes. This came with a perfectly fine garlic naan and a new dish on the menu: green rice. However, this appeared to only be rice with some coriander in it, so it wasn’t exactly special. The one thing we found faultless at Panas was the service, as all the waiters were very observant throughout the evening. Well done to the front of house staff…
Overall, Panas’ food was perfectly edible, although a bit too salty, and not horribly expensive as our meal was under £60, including the drinks. I won’t be rushing there anytime soon, but if I do go back I would be inclined to try the more well-known curries.
Panas Gurkha, 318 Lee High Road, Lewisham, SE13 5PJ. Tel: 020 8852 9891 or 020 8297 8794.