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PUNJAB GRILL

When I first heard the news that Chef Gurpreet was spearheading the new winter menu at Punjab Grill.. I knew it would be a lucky throw of the dice for the property. When you've eaten the variety of foods that I have had the good fortune to do.. you learn to discern the skill set of the chef. In Chef Gurpreet's case it's his ability to prepare authentic Punjabi cuisine and give it an unexpected delightful twist: the description on the menu don't even come close to describing the intensity of the flavors that await!!

Perusing the menu one can easily gain an appreciation for the Chef's variety and diversity. This is one time I was delighted I was officially reviewing the menu and sat back with a tall glass of 'Kaali Gajar Kaanji' (72-hour earthen pot matured black carrot juice with a hint of mustard) as the AVP-Operations and Planning-Lite Bite Foods Deepak Bhatia made us feel welcome and comfortable. I do feel it's these small significant gestures by the management that makes the meal enjoyable. Back to the table.. instead of describing each dish I'll mention the highlights. First up was 'Shakarkandi Kamrakh Ki Chaat' (apple wood smoked sweet potato and star fruit). The  Chef had tossed it in a thick creamy sweet and sour tamarind sauce and trust me I never ask for second helpings and here I was salivating for thirds! This was quickly followed by a hot bowl of 'Kharode Ka Shorba'. Honestly this was the first time I had lamb trotter soup tempered with fenugreek.. and it was blissful on this cold winter noon. The potent flavorful shorba was both refreshing and stimulating and I could have sipped it all day. I did the same with the completely unique (tasteful.. and how!) Chukandar Ke Kebab. I know I'll be back at Punjab Grill just for the crisp beetroot kebabs with hung curd and pine nut stuffing.

The 'Bheja Masala' (sautéed lamb brain with garam masala) and other entrées like 'Tabak Maas' (lamb ribs simmered in fennel flavored milk) and 'Methi Chicken Tikka' were good too (what wasn’t?) and might have received more attention had they not been served alongside the Punjab Grill Deg Hot Pot' packed with mutton kofta, mutton jus and winter vegetables. The surprise element was apricot and lamb was infinitely tender (all lean and no fat). Though we were stuffed to the brim.. the Chef insisted since we were reviewing the winter menu.. how could we leave without another crown entrées and dessert? Too full to argue I relented and Sarson Da Saag with dollops of white butter and makkai tava roti was a delight as was the Bahurangi Biryani with winter vegetables... Chef's specialties. We didn't have a lot of room for dessert but I felt I deserved a treat to combat the chill outside the mall. The dessert selection was quite impressive: 'Gurh Wale Chawal' flavored with black cardamom and fennel coconut chips topped with Vanilla ice cream and 'Bajre ki Choori' with lotus seeds and chiroli nuts. These weren't any ordinary dessert: they wanted things to end on a sweet Punjabi-flavored note.. and that was it!

In retrospect, there's a reason why Punjab grill is proud to host Chef Gurpreet. He knows what he's doing and the growing number of guests at the split-level restaurant (with lovely backdrop music) are proving it. For a first class taste of Punjab that's priced just right.. head here soon! Bon appétit! (21.12.2013)

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Punjab Grill. Select City Walk Mall. Saket. New Delhi.

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