I had been creeping on Puks via social media for a while as they were getting to launch during a pre-Covid world. Many delicious looking posts promised they were coming soon, when the virus hit the UK in full force, and presumably they had to pivot somewhat. Despite having been following them keenly, I somehow missed out on placing an order during their sell out launch week where they had to stop taking on any further deliveries to avoid an overwhelmed kitchen. Luckily I placed a pre-order for week two, and was super excited to finally tuck in after weeks of anticipation. Puks are currently open for Friday evening deliveries only, and you need to place your order by Wednesday midday, but note how popular they are, and get your order in quick if you want to try it!
They offer a ‘feast for two people’, one of everything on the menu, which I would thoroughly recommend if you want the full experience. I’d booked a delivery slot and the food arrived dead on time, with a simple contactless payment (you could also bank transfer, or use cash, but please avoid that last option if you can)! When I got the bag to our dining room table I was overwhelmed with the amount of food, and where to begin tucking in.
The thing I was most intrigued to try was the ‘chicken’ tiki masala, made with vegan Quorn pieces. A number of local Indian restaurants have started to think about labelling vegan options on their menu, but as yet no one else is offering us something using mock meat. The dish didn’t disappoint. We know the Quorn texture isn’t super meaty compared to some other options on the market but it did an admirable job of making this feel pretty much like the tikka masala I would’ve ordered when getting a takeaway with my family back in the days of eating meat. The sweet but tangy tomato sauce was beautiful, really good quality, thick and creamy surrounding the Quorn pieces. I’m not sure whether Puks plan to keep this on the menu as a permanent fixture or whether they’re planning to change things up week by week so that might be something to consider if you want to give this one a try.
Another protein-packed dish was the chana masala, a more dry curry of chickpeas cooked with spices and coriander. It was a similarly mild to medium spice, and the chickpeas were nicely cooked so they retained a decent bite. So far so good! Next on the menu was an aloo saag, the traditional potato and spinach curry. The curry was fairly mild, aromatic, and packed with veg – it felt quite healthy as the spinach and potato weren’t swimming in a pool of oil like they often are with Indian takeaways. That doesn’t mean it lacked flavour by any means though, and I thoroughly enjoyed spoonfuls of this alongside the perfectly cooked pilau rice, with a little added sweetness from a handful of toasted cashews mixed in there.
Last of the main dishes was a coconut dahl, and this was probably my favourite thing. It was just so thick and creamy, with a really rich and luxurious coconutty curry sauce. Some coconut dahls can be a bit bland or lacklustre but this was not one of those dishes. I enjoy spicy food but sometimes you just can’t beat the comforting goodness of a mild dahl like this, and I’d be happy eating bowls and bowls of the stuff. One of the things I also love about this menu is the fact that it comes with vegan naan! That most coveted of sides, pretty damn hard to get hold of in a supermarket so it’s a rarity these days. Scooping the dahl up with my hand using a big chunk of naan was pretty heavenly.
Then you get all the other bits that make this the true feast that it is. Puks treated us with their patta gobhi, a semi-dry curry made with cabbage, cooked perfectly so it still retains it’s texture, and paired wonderfully with the tangy dipping sauce. Last but not least, crisp homemade poppadoms with a couple of hot chilli sauces, and a fresh salsa. I just loved snapping off a bit of poppadom and diving into the zingy tomato and onion salsa (not one for you if you don’t like coriander, which I mention because I know it divides the crowd, but luckily I’m a fan). By the end of the meal, I was completely stuffed.
All in all, I will absolutely be a regular customer of Puks Indian Street Food, and I can’t wait to treat myself again. Yes there are quite a few places to order vegan Indian food from these days but I would definitely want to order from a fully vegan business where I can, and Puks really nailed everything in terms of variety of dishes, quality, flavour, and service, which is impressive when they’re literally just starting out. I hope you’ll consider supporting them if you can and placing an order, and I’m confident you’ll enjoy it. They’re currently delivering around Standlake and surrounding villages for free, and further afield with a delivery charge – worth getting in touch to see whether they can reach you. Tried their food already? Let me know what you thought in the comments!