Punjabi Hut is a hidden little gem in the heart of Manuka. It’s tucked away in the Style Arcade on Franklin Street (a few doors up from Public Bar) on the first floor. There’s a sign on the footpath that points you in the right direction as well as a couple of signs inside the arcade guiding you towards the delicious smell of tandoori, pappadums, and naan bread.
The restaurant decor is basic but comfortable. A dark carpet covering the floor, the tables bearing no tablecloths during the day but they have white cloth ones of an evening. One whole wall of Punjabi Hut is a giant window that looks out onto Franklin Street. Good for people watching!
The staff are ridiculously friendly here too which makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable. Lots of smiling goes a long way, as well as the basic pleases and thank yous. I know it sounds silly to be awarding points to staff for using manners but there’s plenty of establishments in the Capital that have horrible service, so this experience was lovely.
I went to Punjabi Hut to check out their uber cheap takeaway lunch special that I’d previously seen advertised. It’s only $8.00. EIGHT DOLLARS!
For a takeaway lunch box you can pick from a list of curries:
- Butter chicken
- Lamb or beef korma
- Beef vindaloo
- Dal Makni (Vegetarian dish made with lentils and kidney beans)
- Sabzi Korma (Vegetarian dish made with lots of different vegetables including cauliflower, tomatoes, different types of seeds and herbs, potatoes etc)
Your curry of choice also comes with a serving of rice. You can add naan bread and a soft drink can for an extra $2.00 or add a samosa and soft drink for $2.00.
I opted for the butter chicken (the token Indian dish that everyone seems to like!) with an add on of naan bread and a soft drink. I waited about 15 minutes for my order to arrive but since I placed my order about 30 seconds after they opened I think they had to get things going in the kitchen first.
The butter chicken here is phenomenally good. Creamy with lots of decent-sized chicken pieces and a strong flavour. My only failing is that I ordered it mild. I’d probably order it medium heat next time as it was very, very creamy. The serving size was excellent. Despite having a tiny breakfast in preparation, I still couldn’t finish all of my lunch. I probably only ate two thirds of it, if that. The rice was cooked perfectly and the naan was delicious – a huge serving of naan too which is always nice.
Punjabi Hut also offer a few other lunch options. You can have the dine-in option of a $15.00 lunch buffet – an all you can eat type arrangement. If you’re a big eater, or you’re just starving, $15.00 is very cheap for as much food as you want.
If you’re not so hungry and you’re on the go, they also offer some smaller snack size options. A chicken tikka meal (two pieces chicken tikka + naan bread + drink) for $6.50, a tandoori chicken meal (two pieces tandoori chicken + naan bread + drink) for $7.50, and a veggie cutlet meal (two vegetable cutlets + 1 samosa + drink) for $6.50.
All up, my meal was delicious, filling and affordable at a total cost of $10.00.
What: Punjabi Hut
Where: 19/16 Franklin Street, Manuka (there is also a Punjabi Hut at Queanbeyan and Erindale)
Opening hours: Weekday lunches 12.00-2.30pm (Mon-Fri); Dinner 5.30pm-10.30pm (7 days a week)