Wednesday 8 January 2014

Beat The Chill With Punjab Grill's New Winter Menu

As the temperature outside drops to freezing cold, most of us want to reach out to hearty soul-warming foods that help satisfy our insides and blast away the winter chills. The newly introduced “Winter Menu” at Punjab Grill at Select Citywalk, Saket promises to do just that - in true Punjabi style feed your tummy and soul alike.
A few days back, I had the privilege of being invited to sample the Winter menu at Punjab Grill, Saket which has been cleverly crafted by Chef Gurpreet Singh, to perfectly complement the weather. The evening was hosted by Mr. Amit Burman, Chairman, Lite Bite Foods Pvt. Ltd.

The Winter menu, bursting with indulgent flavours and tastes of the winter season is reminiscent of the authentic dishes cooked in the homes of Punjab. It is truly amazing how each and every dish on the menu was perfectly executed in terms of flavour and authencity.  As a family when we go out, as a rule we generally avoid eating Indian food basically because of its high masala and oil quotient, but here at Punjab Grill, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the dishes were not overtly spiced or brimming with an unappetizing layer of oil and at the same time there was no compromise on the authentic taste and flavors. 
Kudos to Chef Gurpreet Singh and the Punjab Grill team to devise such a delectable menu that truly brings out the essence of Punjab totally sweeping us off our feet.
We started our culinary journey with the Kali Gajar Ki Kanji. Sour and fermented, this tangy appetizer which is generally considered good for digestion, is usually made in winters when purple carrots are easily available in the market. Married to a Punjabi, I have usually seen it being prepared at my mom-in-laws house where she keeps it ready in huge martabans. Because of the look and the smell emanating from the prepared Kanji, I have generally kept myself away from it. Here at the restaurant I decided to be brave and take a sip of the drink and was taken quite by surprise. It was not bad at all, infact, it was quite refreshing taken in small sips. Sour and tangy, what I really enjoyed was the strong kick coming from the seasoning of mustard seeds. Along with the drink we were served Shakarkandi Kamrakh ki Chaat - smoked sweet potatoes and star fruit tossed in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce and sprinkled with chaat maasala. The chaat, which reminded me so much of what my mom makes at home, succeeded in having my gastric juices flowing and actually, I would have been quite happy staying with just this dish the whole evening.
Next to be served was the Kharode da Shorba - gently simmered lamb trotter (paya) soup with a hint of fenugreek, served with burnt onions and mini cheese naans. Known for its medicinal properties and numerous health benefits, like the Kaali Gajar ki Kanji, I was quite surprised to see this unique dish on the menu, something which I haven't seen or eaten anywhere else in any restaurant. As a kid, I never liked the soup because of its intense meaty smell and taste and the very thought made me shudder that it was made from the goats legs and hooves, but here again the chef managed to surprise me as the soup was deliciously light and aromatic with spices, without any overpowering meaty smell. It was perfect for the cold evening totally warming up your insides.
After the hearty soup, came the appetizers "Chukander Ke kebab". Made from beetroot, again a popular seasonal vegetable, the kebabs were delicious stuffed with hung curd and pine nuts. Nice and crisp on the outside with a soft filling inside with bites of pine nuts, they were a delight for the palate, and that means a lot coming from a hard-core non vegetarian like me.
Bheja Masala, succulent lamb brain, served with Kulchas had me brightening up as it is my all time favorite dish. Quite often me and my husband drive down to Karim's in Sector-14 Gurgaon to relish it. Here too, I was mentally comparing the brain curry to the one we have in Karim's and honestly found it quite comparable if not better than the dish we usually have there. The Bheja Masala was prepared really well (its quite unpalettable if the brain is left under cooked and chewy) and had a delicate buttery flavor. What I really liked in the Bheja Masala here that it was a relief to see no visible signs of oil floating on top of the dish which sometimes in Karim's can leave you feeling quite queasy and heavy later on.
The Methi Chicken Tikka that followed next was equally delectable. Soft and juicy, the tikka were grilled to perfection. The addition of fresh fenugreek leaves added an intense aromatic flavor to the chicken tikkas leaving your taste buds salivating for more.

The Tabak Maaz, succulent lamb ribs simmered in fennel flavored milk and served with a mooli and walnut chutney, was again a beautiful preparation, a feast both for our eyes and our taste buds. Inspite of the dish looking quite complex (when it arrived I was wondering how to eat it as I thought it would be a challenge to get the meat off the ribs with a fork), the meat was melt-in-the-mouth tender and the meat just fell away from the bones. In terms of taste too they were exquisite.This is a dish I would highly recommend you should try out.
In between the courses, we were served a Kandhari Anar Sorbet to cleanse our palates. Spiced up with black salt it had a lovely blend of sweet and salt, making us totally ready for the next course.
Can any Punjabi meal be complete without the quintessential Sarson Da Saag and Makki ki Roti? Here too, we were served Sarson ka Saag with Makki ki Roti with dollops of white butter and Gur (jaggery) in the traditional way. Chef Gurpreet told us was that saag was hand pounded as it was done in olden times and not churned in the mixture giving it a lovely rustic coarse texture. Though married to a Punjabi for 20 years, I still haven't developed a taste for this dish and till date wonder what is the great hype about Sarson ka Saag and Makki Ki roti. I think you need to be a true blue Punjabi to love the taste like my husband does and he would kill to have this dish anywhere at any given time. Here too, I could see him thoroughly relishing the saag and the garam-garam makai rotis served with it.
The winter bread Basket had an assortment of Makki Ki Roti, Bajre Di Roti and Palak Di Roti.
Punjab Grill signature Deg 'Hot Pot' with Mutton Kofta, Mutton Jus and Winter Vegetables was served in a charming tagine. The meat casserole cooked along with a lot of winter vegetables was hearty and quite filling and would have made a complete meal for me.
A special mention here to our wait staff Tejendir Singh who was warm, cheerful and enthusiastic throughout the evening. He was quite clued up about the dishes and helped guide us through the menu making our evening even more enjoyable.
Also served were Butter Chicken, Maa Ki Daal, which quite lived up to their expectations and were fantastic in taste and texture.
Bahurangi Biryani as its name suggests was nice and colorful. The rice cooked perfectly on dum had an assortment of winter vegetables which I just loved.
Just when I thought I could have no more our dessert was served. Expecting the usual Jalebi-Rabdi or Gulab jamun kind of Indian dessert, it was a pleasant surprise to be served totally desi Gurh Wale Chaawal and Bajre Ki Choori. The Gurh wale chawaal nostalgically (once again) sent me down memory lane as they reminded me so much of my mom's 'meetha chawal' which she prepares on special occasions- an absolute treat for me. Fantastic in taste and flavors, every bite sends you into a sweet haven, both the desserts are unique and absolutely sensational and a must-must try for everyone.
The meal at Punjab Grill is absolutely memorable and is certainly going to have a few of you nostalgically revisiting your childhood memories.
Before the winters get over, do go over and check out their special Winter Menu. I can assure you their hearty soul warming menu will definitely sweep you off your feet.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. Had a similar experience.