Gandhi once said where there is love there is life. And even though Pub Royale is an ode to England’s occupation of India, we’re pretty sure he’d love to hang here with the Queen of England herself. The Indian influenced food and English cocktails are good enough to make longstanding enemies friends for a night.
The former Small Bar space on Division Street in Wicker Park is, well, small, and bar-like. The brick walls are accentuated with Indian colors and artifacts, but the vibes are reminiscent of an old English bar. The casual yet cool style makes Pub Royale a good place to hang for drinks, but the menu is more than sh*tty fish and chips - Pub Royale serves excellent Indian inspired food. It’s a combination that doesn’t otherwise exist around here, which is what makes Pub Royale so unique and great.
It’s not traditionally Indian, but rather a pub food take on classic Indian dishes and flavors. You can keep things light with items like a curry dressing salad and cucumber raita, or splurge for the comforting stuff like palak paneer and an order of India hot chicken. The best way to experience Pub Royale is to go with up to three other people and indulge yourself in a variety of food and drinks. We’ve sampled almost the entire menu and like it all.
The only questionable part is a seating policy that closely resembles the Hunger Games. It’s a free for all, with a first come first serve policy and no host taking names. You can either be nice and let others who beat you there sit first, or lurk around with no remorse and grab any open spot you see.
Gandhi also said the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others, but we’d push Gandhi out of the way at Pub Royale if it meant getting ourselves a seat.
Pimm’s Cups are their thing, which is why there are four different versions on the drink menu. Our favorites are #1 - gin, Pimm’s, ginger beer, cucumber, and mint, or #3 - scotch, Pimm’s, cinnamon, lemon, and peach. We suggest you at least try one before possibly switching over to beer.
Heavy on the lamb taste with a little bit of kick from some chili oil. Dumplings are always a good choice.
Two larger samosas with potato, fried onion, and peas. You should get either this one or the salt cod version.
We prefer the salt cod samosas over the regular ones, and if you’re into salty fish then go this route. The filling is a combination of whipped potatoes and salt cod - it’s delicious.
Great dish if you want to mix in something on the lighter side. A base of cucumbers and red onion is mixed with a heavy dose of yoghurt, plus some tahini, mint, and lemon. Use the naan for mop up duty.
Refreshing salad with lentils, scallion crispy chickpeas, lime, and a light curry dressing. Worth ordering and not just a wasted mix of greens.
Basically Indian creamed spinach, and one of our favorite items on the menu. It comes with spicy naan that should be your utensil for eating this dish.
Hot fried chicken in the spicy kind of way that is best shared. Stuff has some kick to it in addition to the excellent flavor. Wrap the chicken up in naan with the pickles, and make sure to get the tahini sauce involved to cut some of the heat.
Our waitress once told us if Chipotle served a chicken tikka burrito, this would be it, and she was right in the best kind of way. Served in a whole wheat paratha (flatbread) with caramelized onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese. An ideal solo dish, or go halfsies with a friend.
They come in a coconut curry base with citrus and green chili. It’s fine, but we like the other main dishes more. We aren’t saying don’t order it, but you get the point.
There are two kinds of people in this world - those who order dessert and those who don’t. This giant ice cream sundae with a whole bunch of stuff in it is delicious if you’re up for the task.