"Live Life king size!!" - this saying holds true for most Punjabis, especially when it comes to their love for good food. I have yet to come across a more robust and hearty cuisine, which is also internationally renowned. Think "Punjabi" and vivid images of Butter chicken, Maa ki dal , Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti with dollops of butter and a huge lassi glass flash through your mind.
An invite from 'Made in Punjab' at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon, had me landing there on a chilly winter afternoon, looking forward to warm my insides with some soul stirring authentic Punjabi food – kukkad shukkad te some makki ki roti and sarson da saag!!
Recently opened at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon by Zorawar Kalra, son of the legendary chef Jiggs kalra, Made in Punjab is already creating quite a stir in the gourmet circuit. Hailed as a mecca for food enthusiasts, Cyber Hub boasts of the top names in the culinary industry like Soda Bottle openerwala, The Wine Company, Nando's, Angels in my Kitchen, Soi 7 Pub and Brewery, Kebab Express, Zambar to name a few just going along to show what a food obsessed city we are. Even the day we dined at Made in Punjab, the restaurant was choc-a-block full which speaks volume about the growing popularity of the place.
The first thing that catches your eye is that just outside the restaurant , flashing in the display window is a series of burning flames, which one can just imagine looking spectacular at night. As I stepped inside, quite expecting a rustic rural display of interiors, I was pleasantly surprised by the brightly lit, elegant and chic modern interiors. Just inside, on your left, is a glass-paned window, where you can catch sight of the huge kitchen lined up with a row of shining copper covered tandoors showcasing the chefs at work. I think it is very strategically placed, as the moment you enter, you see the chefs rolling naans and pulling out skewers of scrumptious tandoori tikkas, instantly your gastric juices start flowing, whetting your appetite in anticipation of what lays ahead.
The restaurant inside has a huge, comfortable seating space with a lavish spread of buffet (which is available for only for lunch) laid out on one side. At an unbelievable price of Rs 650, offering an amazing array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, it undeniably is any foodie's dream. No wonder, it is hugely popular with the diners. (I definitely have to come back to try out the buffet.)
As we seated ourselves we were offered our drinks. I decided to go in for the Made in Punjab special cocktail while my husband had a Martini. I loved my drink - with black salt, pineapple juice and Vodka I couldn't have asked for a more refreshing start to my meal.
Very soon we had a very appetizing looking Palak Patta ki Chaat placed before us. Crispy spinach leaves topped with a generous serving of sweet and tangy tamarind and mint yogurt sauce were a treat for my taste buds.
Next we were offered what they call the "World's heaviest lassi". Good sense prevailed us and not wanting to spoil our appetite for the meal ahead, we decided to just have a taste of the lassi in shot glasses. The lassi was really sweet, thick and creamy and topped with crushed nuts and strands of saffron.
To arrive next was a wooden tray with an array of papads served with four different kind of dips. After the sweet lassi, we happily dug into these.
For Appetizers, we started with the Beetroot tikki. Though perfectly crisp on the outside, I found the insides a little pasty and felt they could have done with a little more flavor.
The Tandoori Chaap were outstanding. They were juicy and succulent with the spices having penetrated right through till the bone. The meat was exceptionally well cooked and tender. Highly recommended on your visit there.
Grilled fruit Chaat was an interesting mix of apples, star fruit, pineapple and potatoes, grilled and tossed in a delicious sweet and spicy sauce. Makes one want to lick their fingers afterwards.
Galouti Kebabs were served next with mini naans. Spiced to perfection,they were full of flavor and just melted in your mouth.
Bhatti Paneer was lightly spiced and had an amazing earthen aroma. The Paneer was soft and fresh and was rated as being really good by our vegetarian friends.
A punjabi meal would be incomplete without featuring Sarson Ka Saag, Maa Ki Daal and Butter Chicken on its menu. The Maa Ki Daal was delicious, rich and creamy, it looked as if it had been simmered for a couple of hours, the way it is supposed to be. Also served was the Railway Mutton Curry, the meat was cooked perfectly tender, was served in a thick flavorful gravy which thankfully wasn't too spicy. I loved the fact that the dishes were not brimming with oil, something we all can do without, which thankfully did not leave you with a heavy feeling at the end of the meal. The Sarson Ka Saag was ghuta hua, as all Punjabi will be familiar with, churned with a ladle lending it a great texture.Usually not a big fan of this Punjabi trademark dish, I really liked it here. What was sorely missed was the Makki ki Roti which somehow was quite conspicuous by its absence next to the saag.
The Butter Chicken was excellent. Tender, succulent pieces of boneless chicken were cooked in a rich buttery creamy gravy and had a perfect balance of sweetness in the gravy.
Served alongside was a basket of warm breads.
Last to be served was Gucchi Pulao. Made with Morel Mushrooms the pulao was delicately seasoned. Though cooked perfectly, I found it to be generously laden with ghee, much too much for my liking.
Rabri Jalebi had super thin crisp jalebis dunked in a thick and sweet Rabri. By this time we were bursting at our seams.
Not to be missed is the cute little chooran box, served at the end of the meal, which has a mix of digestives like anaardana, heeng dana, aam papad and ram laddo, which I think will be absolutely essential after this sumptuous punjabi feast.
Head towards Made in Punjab if you too want to experience the true essence of Punjab.