Rangoli - patterns of flavour or in need of a makeover?
July’s tasting adventure took the roving Oakham Curry Club to Shanghai’s Gubei district on the city’s western periphery, where dinner awaited at the recently relocated Rangoli restaurant.
For those unfamiliar with Hindu traditions, Rangoli is intricate, decorative patterns of colorful sand and rice that adorn entrances and living rooms during religious festivals. They represent happiness, positivity, and liveliness, radiant features that coincidently represent all OCC feasting sprees.
Just as Rangoli, the artform, welcome Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and good fortune, into Indian homes, so too were the OCC warmly welcomed to Rangoli, the restaurant. And although not quite the personification of the Goddess herself, the club did bring good fortune by way of voracious demands for food and drink. Good fortune indeed on a slow Saturday night with few other patrons.
Previously located in touristy Tianzifang, Rangoli was last visited back in 2017. On that occasion, the restaurant failed to curry favor with the mighty Lakshmi for their efforts in gaining OCC approval proved unsuccessful. Now situated in a basement mall, the new premises lacked the charm of their former setting, but a chance to improve their culinary competence ranking was in the offing.
Following a sweaty trek across town, reviving icy beers prompted heightened merriment and jolly banter ensued as menus were perused. Ordering honors were bestowed upon a particularly ravenous club member who, judging by the sheer quantity of food requested, must have been fasting for days.
The seemingly endless torrent of curries, tikkas, and dahl soon had tables groaning as members happily got stuck in. While not awe-inspiring, the plentiful bounty was eminently palatable. No consensus was reached as to a stand-out dish. However, the richly spiced aloo gobi, aromatic rogan josh, and succulent tandoori chicken all received praise, as did the creamy saag paneer and onion bhajis.
Rangoli won’t be vying for the upper echelons of haute cuisine, but a pleasing variety of flavorsome fare will adequately satisfy those seeking a decent, unpretentious Indian meal. The team was welcoming, attentive, and eager to provide a pleasurable dining experience. However, the rather uninspiring décor did little to enliven the atmosphere and, given the restaurant’s name, seemed like an opportunity missed.
As the growing legion of avid followers are well-aware, after every meet the OCC rate curry houses according to quality, service, customer care, atmosphere, and value. Overall, Rangoli scored a commendable 6.7 out of 10, narrowly missing out on OCC endorsement. Nevertheless, this was a significant improvement on the previous appraisal, and had it not been the low score for atmosphere, the OCC Approved sticker would now be proudly on display.
The Oakham Curry Club would like to thank the staff at Rangoli for a highly enjoyable evening. We look forward to our next visit.