On the last Saturday of January 2015, the Pure Punjabi pop up restaurant arrived in Broad Chalke. The night was sold out with a waiting list, so we knew the crowd would be fired up and ready to go!
Janet Roe and Rina Musselwhite, two local ladies, had asked us to ‘pop up’ in Broad Chalke as they had been looking to host an event to raise money for the breast cancer campaign, running at Salisbury hospital. The moment they heard about Pure Punjabi pop up restaurants, they said it was just what they had been looking for! £1 from every ticket went to the cause, as well as all bar profits and monies raised through the raffle.
Once we visited the venue and looked at the kitchen, the menu was set…
Fresh Punjabi onion bhajis
Mouthfuls of onions, potato and spinach in a spiced chickpea batter, fried till golden and crisp. Served with our tangy sweet and sour tamarind chutney
Made with our Great Taste Award winning marinade with fresh spices & chilli
Vegetarian ‘meatballs’ cooked made with an assortment of vegetables, served in a light, spicy tomato sauce
Mince with peas cooked in a delicate blend of ground coriander, cumin and cinnamon with chillis
Potato and cauliflower cooked with garlic, ginger, chillis and hand ground spices
Basmati rice with cumin seeds and a pinch of turmeric
Refreshing yogurt dip with mint and cucumber
A refreshing Indian winter salad with white radish (mouli), carrots, crunchy red onion and fresh coriander
A trio of traditional Indian desserts: Gulab Jamun, Barfi & Besan
The evening started at 7p.m. with Pure Punjabi staff ready and waiting to greet them, however, some diners were so eager to get the night started that the first guests arrived at 6.15pm!
The diners really got into the spirit of the evening and went to huge efforts with their outfits. Many of the guests said that the evening was an opportunity for them to wear outfits bought on holidays that had never seen the light of day (or glow of fairy lights!).
Meanwhile in the kitchen, the starters were being carefully prepared…
Hot from the grill and fryer, the starters made their way to the tables…
Diners were then treated to their first performance of the night – the classical dance ‘Kathak’. Kathak is one of seven classical dances in India. It comes from the North of India, and has a mixed ‘heritage’. It takes years for Kathak dancers to master the complexities of this stunning art form. With bells tied around their ankles (called gungarus), they stamp their feet on the floor in time with the beat. Complete with intricate hand movements, this dance really is a delight…especially when the dancers’ lenghas (skirts) completely fan out when they spin! Here the girls are, mid-spin.
Back in the kitchen, I was busy preparing the mains, with the help of the lovely and hard-working Richard.
After the mains, the dancers came out for their second performance. This time, Bollywood was on the cards!
Followed by desserts – the trio…
Then came the funny part…the dance workshop! All the guests joined in, learning their Arabic hands, classical hands and picking the apple from the tree.
Broad Chalke were such a great crowd. They embraced the entire ethos behind the pop up – food, fun and laughter. However, there was one person in particular who was absolutely fantastic from day one, and that is Janet Roe. Her big smile and positive approach was delightful and she was such a pleasure to work with. THANK YOU JANET!
For more information about the Breast Cancer Unit campaign at Salisbury Hospital click here.
For more information about Pure Punjabi pop up restaurants click here.
Photography by On Location Events.