One man, no restaurant. One menu, no website. One Instagram account, no posts.
It’s hardly the winning recipe for a takeaway to make inroads, is it? Especially when you consider the chef has a full-time job away from cooking up a storm at home.
But these are not normal times, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit are seizing the initiative during a time when our liberties and freedom of choice are restricted.
Through the power of social media we’re seeing families and individuals take their shot at finding a gap in the market. Most of us have got more free time on our hands, why not roll the dice?
One such example is Ranv’s Rasoi. Since October last year I’ve noticed this ‘food delivery service’ (you have to collect, by the way), pop up on my Instagram story feed. Images and videos of alluring food and praising comments pricked my curiosity, as did the succinct Instagram bio. Just a few bullet points were contained within that and absolutely no permanent Instagram posts. It’s all in the stories, and clearly, it’s all about the food.
The menu contains just eight items. The descriptions are short, punchy but with charisma woven in – and the all-important allergy guidance.
It’s time to take the plunge. Torn between the chicken tikka thighs and the garlic cream cheese, green chilli chicken breast – I ask for a mix of both via a direct message. It comes with a naan and rice. To accompany this I order fish pakora (fried snack) and chilli paneer (Indian cottage cheese).
That should satisfy my hunger on a Sunday night and give me a good insight into what Ranv’s Rasoi is all about. A time slot is agreed earlier in the week and I arrive on time at his Nuneaton address and the man himself is waiting for me, with PPE in place and a brown bag full of food with my name on it. A few brief pleasantries later, I’m on my way home in a car that grows increasingly fragrant with every passing metre I drive. I paid via online banking earlier in the day but he tells me a new app is ‘imminent’.
Quality, rather than quantity
The first thing of note is the weight of my bag. Given the trio of orders, it’s not that reassuringly heavy sack that fills you with glutinous joy when making your exit from a takeaway or taking your order from a delivery driver at your door.
Peeling off the lid for my chicken dish, it’s clear to see the focus here is quality, rather than quantity. It was more airplane meal sized than a glutinous weekend feast.
Two rows of sliced chicken sat upon a bed of rice. It looks delicious.
Chicken thighs might not be everyone’s cup of tea with the textural difference to breast meat but those juicy qualities were enhanced with the tikka treatment. So tender was the meat that the lack of sauce wasn’t an issue but a vibrant green mint and corriander dip offers a variable that worked well when folded into the naan bread.
My other chicken option is wrapped in cream cheese and green chillis and, like the thighs, there’s mild heat but nothing overly challenging. The balance is just right with the dairy element bringing another layer of flavour that also helped bind in rice when plunging in my fork for some more.
There’s a charming, well-crafted tub of chickpea salad with finely chopped radishes, cucumber, chickpeas and spices that comes with the mixed chicken box too.
Passion for his craft
The fish pakora is golden brown and light. The ‘solid handful’ per portion as promised on the menu is a fair assessment and is the first time I’ve had fish as a side dish when eating an Indian meal. The taste was a little salty for my preference but the cooling dip was on hand to help smooth off the after taste.
Finally, the chilli paneer. This was my favourite element of this order, with the chicken coming in at a close second. Once more there are bright, glowing colours before me. It’s far more than just sauce with blocks of cheese. There’s an intricate combination of ginger, garlic chilli and peppers that provides freshness, zest and body. The slightest crunch to the perimeter of the cheese chunks is encased in this sticky but sickly sauce.
This looked and tasted like no Indian meal I’ve consumed before. While part of me pined for that weighty bag of treats that renders you comatose on the sofa after consuming, mildly regretting your life choices, I took plenty of satisfaction in knowing this is the healthier option, and, it was made by one guy with a passion for his craft.
There’s no shortage of options for people to get their takeaway Indian meal fix, even during periods of lockdown during a global pandemic, but I’m confident in saying there aren’t many offers quite like this. It won’t please everybody, especially those who like three ingredients on their naan bread and a swimming pool of sauce to their dish, but it will intrigue and challenge you, without busting waistlines or bank balances.
Ranv’s Rasoi can be found on Instagram: @ranvsrasoi
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