Desi Pubs v The ‘Indian’ Restaurant Which Do You Prefer?


Well it is National Curry Week after all. So we take a look at why Desi Pubs are outperforming Indian restaurants! Have you been to one yet?

Well, this week has been an interesting one. On Monday evening whilst out and about, we were approached by gentleman wishing to discuss our Desi Grills/Desi Pub guide. First and foremost we thought that this may be a pub owner who is upset about how we are going about reviewing desi pubs, but we were wrong.

Nope, this was an individual who represented a national curry award group. His anger stemmed from us not covering restaurants and takeaways. His organisation did not wish to include Desi Pubs in its awards as that scene was impacting restaurants hard. In his words ‘they are pubs, not places to eat Indian food, they are killing the restaurant trade.’

Rather than continue to debate this with him, we told him and his pals we would put out an article and let the public decide. So Desi Pubs v Indian Restaurants – You decide.

Here we note what differences we feel have impacted the decline of the Indian restaurant.

Late Night Curry! Restaraunt

The Indian restaurant was almost everyone’s go to after a night out on the beer. You would all collapse into the restaurant and eat half of what you had ordered, then go home with stains down your top.

Desi Pubs Curry! Desi Pubs

No longer do you need to wait until 11pm to go for a curry, no longer do you need to purchase cans from the off license to enjoy in the curry house. Now, you rock up when you want at what time want and enjoy the food at a sensible time.

Sports – Indian Restaraunt

No sport is a big no-no, restaurants stayed away from showing sport due to their hours of business. They got busy after 10pm. No sport is on at that time unless it is a big boxing fight and restaurants do not show that.

Sports – Desi Pubs

Watching sporting events in the pub is as a British a tradition as eating fish and chips on a Friday! Desi Pubs have hands down won this battle. The pub has become a hub for sports fans, you can drink and eat at a sensible time, whilst enjoying a sporting occasion.

Kitchens – Indian Restaraunt

One of the biggest issues with Indian restaurants is that the majority of kitchens are closed off from the public. This has become a huge issue in this modern day era of eating out, people need to see where and how the food is being cooked.

Kitchens – Desi Pubs

Almost every Desi Pub we have been to has an open kitchen area, you can see the food being cooked. Also, you can see and rate the hygiene levels with your own eyes. This is a huge game changer, seeing chefs at work in a clean environment has seen more people coming out to Desi Pubs.

Food – Indian Restaurants

The fact you can’t see the kitchen in many places and the menus seem to offer  100’s of dishes, why do so many of them taste the same? A stock sauce is what damaged restaurants reputations with punters. No matter what you ordered the differences between dishes was minimal.

Food- Desi Pubs

Less variety, but more individuality per dish. The desi grills bought the boys to the yard, but the magic was in the curry. Desi Pubs have upped their food game ridiculously over the last decade. Chefs are now much sought after and each venue has it’s own unique take on dishes.

Social Media

Desi Pubs have embraced social media to a new level compared to Indian restaurants, daily posts, specials, and selling themselves as family venues. Desi Pubs are winning this battle hands down.


We still do have great Indian restaurants, but rather than have people bemoan the rise of desi pubs, they need to look at them and say what are we doing wrong. Punjabi people are changing, more go out to eat now than ever before. The reason desi pubs are attracting them is because of how they sell themselves and what they have to offer.

If you think the desi pub scene is killing your trade, maybe you need to look closer to home first and foremost and fix things before coming at others!!

Check out our National Desi Pub Guide here:

Images by Bespoke Menu Design



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