Among the red bricks of Plungington Road in Preston, family-run Indian restaurant RK Dining welcomes customers to both dine-in and take-out in its casual shop.
The family business has been serving Indian food to customers for 30 years and is one of the county’s few completely meatless restaurants. Over the years, he’s garnered a bank of accolades from satisfied customers, with one even taking to TripAdvisor to ask “who needs meat?”
We’ve been keeping RK Dining on our must-have list for the past few months, like it’s some kind of sky-high Amazon order that we should probably wait to finally place. Extortionate is a word that won’t come up in this review, the only outrageous thing about RK Dining is the portion size to cost ratio. I mean that in a good way.
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We drove down from Lancaster to Plungington Road and stopped at the parking lot behind RK Dining. The first one very Obvious difference between the two cities comes flying at you – Preston is so red compared to Lancaster. It’s like he got the memo of being a red rose county and took it literally.
RK Dining is fairly low-key in appearance and sits by the side of the road in a heavy residential area across from a line of convenience stores and charity shops. Inside, a counter spans the left side of the store and serves up lovely takeout for those who want to pop in and out again.
On the right side is the very casual restaurant which is nothing fancy. There’s a booth to one side and nine tables in total, two of which are lined up against a floor-to-ceiling window.
The menu is what it’s all about. It offers hot and cold street food, starters, Nasto, Thali, regional flavors, Indochinese, mains and a whole host of extras. It seems that the Dhosa is what attracts the attention of visitors, with several huge dhosa walking to different tables.
We had the Masala Dhosa (£5) which is described as a ‘famous’ dish by RK Dining themselves and the reason for it quite obvious. For £5 a toddler-sized Dhosa came out, complete with a generous helping of sambhar dal and coconut chutney. The Dhosa itself was so neat you can’t help but look over your shoulder in case Gary Lineker jumps up to steal a bite.
The Samosa Chat (£4) is labeled as a ‘must try’ on the menu and definitely deserves that badge. The street food plate is mashed samosas with chickpea curry, yoghurt, chutney, onion, sev and cilantro and had the power to keep you coming back for it again and again. I recommend you add it during your visit, I would take it at every opportunity.
We had a make your own Thali (£7) which included onion bhaji, Bombay potato curry, Chana Masala, Pilau rice, three roti and a serving of Gujrati. What quickly came out is like the combo meals you can get from Bundobust, but more special.
The Bombay Potato Curry was one of the highlight dishes for me. There was a tiny little kick behind it and the potato was so soft you’d think they had been individually wowed by Patrick Swayze.
The Chana Masala was the one that excited me the most, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to it, perhaps overshadowed by the dish that came with it. There was a load of chickpeas involved and the onion and tomato sauce was good, but it wasn’t as overpowering as I’ve had elsewhere.
Afterwards we had a Mango Lassi for just £2. It was recommended by the waitress and I’m glad we took her recommendation. It was the perfect blend of softness and stillness and providing this lovely little close to which was a great experience.
Many times in my life, I’ve walked away wondering “who needs meat?” but that didn’t even cross my mind. The lack of meat was really nobody’s business – and I like to have chicken in my curry.
The most outrageous thing about all of this is how a trip to RK Dining brings great food to your lap and doesn’t break the bank. In total we paid £23 for everything listed above plus two cans of Diet Coke. That’s what’s so brilliantly outrageous about RK Dining. It’s as if they were saying: we know the food is good and you deserve to try it.