In the heart of Northern India, lays the state of Punjab. Punjabis are known as upbeat people with a rich culture. They love to party, which is why Bhangra music and dance have become popular all across South Asia. But Punjabi cuisine is what they are most known for, especially the dhaba restaurants. As a major trade route with trucks traveling across its highways, Punjabi dhabas, roadside restaurants for truckers and travelers, feature rich and spicy comfort food that people adore. Rangla Punjab is the first regional Indian restaurant in Nigeria. It is dedicated to Punjabi cuisine, specifically with a dhaba theme.
Driving down Adeola Odeku, it’s hard to miss the eye-catching bright yellow sign with a Punjabi character with a turban and mustache announcing the new Rangla Punjab. Located in a small shopping center, Rangla Punjab, which translates into Colourful Punjab, is full of character, recreating the spirit of a Punjabi dhaba restaurant in a whimsical way. From the moment you enter, the colourful hanging tires filled with flowers lead you up to the restaurant that opens up to a lifesize Indian-styled truck bursting through the wall.
The restaurant is divided into two areas, a sophisticated seating space with the blue bar, or thekka, as its focal point on the left side, and the dhaba section invoking the spirit of the traveler, where you can watch chefs cooking live in front of tandoori ovens on the right. The flirty pink swing tables are in both the sections, sitting pretty in front of the large windows overlooking the street below, and drawing people inside.
Rangla Punjab is filled with special touches unique to Punjab such as the decorative brass chula and clay pots, the phulkari embroidery on the ceiling, and the way in which some of the food is presented on miniature charpei beds. But what really draws you in is the phenomenal food. Punjabi food is rich, made with butter and ghee, and spicy. Rangla Punjab does not fail in delivering mouth-watering dishes honouring Punjab. With homemade masalas, fresh bread and smokey tandoori meats, it’s hard to order the wrong dish. From the Paneer Angara, a creamy soft, fresh cheese presented with burning charcoal to infuse it with a smokey flavour, to the grilled chicken Murgh Kukkad, to the rich and buttery chicken in sauce, Murgh Dhaba and all the different varieties of fresh naan, you can easily get carried away with the ordering!
To either prepare yourself for the feast or help you digest at the end, the Chai Masala is a must. This homemade Indian tea with milk and spices, drank either sweetened or without, is a staple in all Indian homes. Served with Muthi, a savory cracker that can be quite addictive, the tea is a great way to start or end your meal.
But if you prefer something a little more adventurous, cruise through their thekka menu. Their cocktails and mocktails are certainly unique. The Love Punjab is not for the faint hearted. A vodka based cocktail, Love Punjab is a mix of coriander, green chilli, a touch of masala and black salt! For something a little lighter try the mocktail Mashooq Jatt Di. Jatt is a tribe in Punjab and Mashooq means lover, so the the Mashooq Jatt Di is the Jatt lover: a mocktail of peach and pineapple juice, soda and grenadine.
If you want to end with a sweet note, try the Kulfi, a milk-based ice cream with ground pistachios and almonds. They have other dessert options, but it might be hard to squeeze anything more in after a Punjabi feast. To experience a taste of Punjab in Lagos is something quite special, and Rangla Punjab captures the Punjabi culture beautifully. Greeted with a Namaste when you enter, and one when you leave, you can’t help but feel at home at Rangla Punjab.
49 Adeola Odeku St, Victoria Island, Lagos
For months, people would drive by the corner of Adeola Odeku and Agoro Odiyan Street in Victoria...