95-97 Customs Street West, Auckland
First, I’d like to introduce you to AP & MP, a fun couple I met at University. As life seems to be so busy since we moved back to Auckland, we decided to make a fornightly mid week date with this couple, to ensure we regularly caught up. So, you’ll probably see them appear quite often in this blog, as we’re using this date as a great excuse for the four of us (and the randoms we often invite) to explore the city.
The restaurant takes its name from a human powered fan, used before electricity was invented. The Panka (fan) was a large cloth fan, fastened to a long rod and attached to the ceiling. The rod was tied to a rope and was pulled by a servant (pankawalla – prounounced punkha wallah).
The décor of the restaurant is very bright and festive, with gorgeous green chairs and bold wallpaper. The menu has many dishes to choose from.
Being vegetarian, I enjoy all types of asian food, as there is always a much better selection of dishes for me to choose from. The menu at PaNKaWaLLa, definitely didn’t disappoint me, or my meat eating companions.
I chose Saag Paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) and MP dived into the Buttered Scallops. Both the hubby and AP ordered the Pankawalla special (chicken stuffed with lamb mince in a tomato/butter sauce and cumin potatoes).Garlic, Garlic and Cheese, and Keema (lamb mince) Naan breads completed the feast.
While it was all well and good to order a meal, bread and drink each, the only downside to this restaurant is the size of the tables. The Pankawalla Specials appeared on long rectangular plates, add that to the large round plates that were already at our place setting, along with wine/beer glass, a glass of water, plus rice and it was mayhem. We ended up having to stack the naan dishes on the ground to make space.
The food, however, was wonderful, and worth the table squash. We all ate far more than we should have, but only because it was so tasty.
The service was prompt and friendly, although I don’t think we required three different waiters asking us if everything was okay with our meals.
Mains were priced from $17-$25, with breads $3.50-$5.
Improvements: bigger tables or smaller plates
In a nutshell: Flavoursome food, friendly staff, good value.