Those who play together, stay together. Our final event of the year was a meal in the Apni Haveli, a recently opened Punjabi restaurant in the former Woodman pub. The photographs were got out of the way early on to avoid anyone being caught with sag in their teeth. Besides which, it is a bit naff to take snaps in a restaurant, it looks like you never go out.
Business has been brisk since the restaurant opened, but we were able to book a table for 14 in advance. Staffing ratios have improved as the owners have adapted their business knowledge to the challenges and opportunities of running a restaurant. Service was a bit slow, but it allowed everyone who attended to socialise in a convivial atmosphere. With a few extras that A.P.s had provided, like Christmas crackers, Karen’s homemade biscuits and the obligatory After Eights, the scene was set for a perfect celebration of what we have achieved so far, without funding and without stressing about informing the ‘right’ people. The price is about average for a curry house. The food is fresh, with ginger adding a certain piquance to several dishes. The Lamb Sag had us guessing the ‘mystery’ ingredient, apparently butter (not ghee, but Anchor) was responsible for the creamy taste. Light levels are decent, so at least we could see what we were eating, unlike the Stygian gloom that is encountered in some Indian restuarants.
After we had digested our meal, we took a gentle stroll along the common, to The Old Mill where a pint or two was consumed by the stalwarts. It seemed that no sooner had we sat down, than Andy was ringing the bell for last orders – we had stayed in the restaurant, chatting and mingling for over 3 1/2 hours! It was a really enjoyable, relaxed evening with no-one feeling left out. Here, we discussed future plans as we looked forward to our next projects in 2013.