Liverpool isn't one of the most forward thinking of cities when it comes to vegetarian cuisine, only the Egg Café springs to mind when most people used to ask me where to go, but Sanskruti does fit the bill rather well - as long as you are a fan of Indian Punjabi and Gujarat cuisine. Luckily for you dear reader, I am.
Tucked away on Bixteth Street, by Mercury Court and the old Exchange Station on Liverpool's Dale Street is a below-street-level establishment, which has been a Mediterranean restaurants amongst its other incarnations and it now houses Sanskruti. Sanksruti eschews the traditional 1970s British curry house look of carpets, ornate but tight wooden booths, crushed velvet fittings and garish décor in favour of something a little less ubiquitous. There is a sensitivity to a customers personal space with more of an open canteen feel, along with a slightly more terracotta and tiles look in place. It is comfortable albeit a bit more spartan with the soft furnishings, but not an overload on the senses.
The food was overall, very very good and hugely enjoyable to eat. Looking enticing on the plate is one thing, but delivering upon hitting taste buds and providing a pleasing texture are another matter. Sanskruti's wares delivered on pretty much every front, with great contrast between spice and cooler elements, crisp and harder textures with softer, chewier and the more fluid.
The first foray into the Sanskruti kitchen experience was with the puri; recommendations to come to restaurant had come with the caveat that we simply had to give some of the street-food elements a try here and they proved to be correct. The Sev Puri had a wonderful punch to them, an array of textures in a single mouthful along with fruity notes, deeply savoury and a balanced pinch of spice. The dahi puri were gilded with pomegranate (isn't everything these days?!) stuffed with potato and chickpeas and again, ticked all the boxes in providing an enjoyable appetiser.
The chickpea and paneer curry was a welcome saucy dish to go with the array of bread, dosa and puris that we ordered and as with the other items, the balance of the dish was excellent. No over-reliance on chilli to provide some punch, this was a wonderfully subtle dish on the side.
The only bum note of the whole evening was more a matter of personal taste; perhaps we had made a mistake in ordering the sahi naan, which was heavily perfumed, flavoured with cherries and was too heavy on the tang of rosewater for many of the other dishes we had ordered. It was also simply too sweet.
I'll finish with this anyway; any vegetarian restaurant that can make you smile at the competency of the food and forget you've not eaten anything with meat is okay in my book.
Bixteth Street, Liverpool, L3 9NA
Tel: 0151 236 8886