The B Team’s latest sojourn in its food journey was at Punjab Grill – the fine dine from the house of ‘Lite Bite Foods’ when they invited us to witness the launch of their revamped terrace for its patrons. The terrace area had always been there; overlooking, the al fresco courtyard of the Phoenix market city better known as the ‘Liberty square’ but more recently they launched it with an upgrade – a version 2.0 per say. The Pune outlet was known for its vibrant tone, bright décor and a chic ambiance courtesy the multiple chandeliers and portraits that adore the walls and the newly opened balcony was giving the perfect extension to this luxurious ambiance. Now, it wasn’t just the new terrace they had to showcase to us; they had altered the menu as well. The brand had unveiled a new Chakna Collection with dishes starting at Rs 100 with out of the bar grub such as amritsari macchi and desi aloo chips (400), tandoori kukkad wings (300), kotkapure da atta chicken (300) in addition to some new cocktails like Punjabi krantt (350), Nimboo ka achaar Caipiroska (350) and bloody chameli (350).
Served in a set of 6 tea glasses and 4 variants their Chakna menu comprises of dishes like:
Classic masala peanuts with kafir lime – With mild dash of kafir lime and some colors courtesy of bell peppers and tomato; this was the mildly spicy version of chakna. #JustOk
Mixed Seeds Chana jor garam – Conceptualized to be sweet and spicy originally this recipe failed to impress me for it was far too sweet thanks to generously used tamarind-jaggery chutney. The concept of chakna is to have some spicy grub with alcohol. Dessert and alcohol is still ok but a Chakna that is sweet is a strictly no-no for me. #NotRecommended
Chhalli masalewale corn off the cob – Yet another mild sweet dish using sweet corn along with some chillies powder and coriander for garnishing. The net result was still a bit sweet and not with hard drinks or cocktails but this can be better paired with beers if they make it a little spicier and flavoursome. #NeedsImprovement
Masala anda corn meal toast – Served with two triangular corn nans this anda bhurgi caught the better side of our wild imagination. The shadow casted by the dish helped come up with a batman movie in making he he 😛 This was the standard anda bhurgi served with corn toast. Again a very simple preparation but then better than the other three to pair up with some drinks.
All the above 4 mentioned items were priced at 100 and eyed to be more on pocket friendly side however; very frankly speaking they failed a major time to impress me for the simple reasons:
1. Were on sweeter side rather than tangy or spicy side
2. Even at 100 bucks the serving was miniscule (barely filled tea cup of inexpensive ingredients) and hence failed to give any VFM whatsoever
Suggestion: The restaurant shouldn’t really view at making any money out of this; rather give it as complimentary and most suitable partner to the pocket friendly drinks on the menu. The outlet should make on alcohol and not on these grubs. I would recommend a major overhaul in the final dish that makes to the table.
So our evening started on a rather slow note but then this was more of experimental start and one of the reasons why we were invited in the first place — to give honest feedback. The journey form their on was a much better one and kept on improving to end on a high note.
The starters were making their way onto the tables but what took us by storm were the newly launched cocktails. We ordered just about 2-3 variants and we were pretty impressed by them. We ordered ‘Nimboo ka achaar caipiroska – a potent bomb using vodka, brown sugar and yes you guessed it correctly – Nimboo ka achaar. The way it was served was simply stupendous for it came in a small barni / pickle jar. Now the concept scored a perfect 10 for the flavours were indeed very strong and sharp. So also, just like a pickle which gets stronger as it ages this drink got stronger over time. So you get different intensity coming in from the same drink. #HighlygRecommended
The starters started with tandoori kukkad wings and tandoori pineapple with shaslik but I was a little late to arrive at the scene and as such missed out on the two dishes. Coming to next in line starter the Paneer ke soole.
Paneer ke soole – grilled over charcoal, these huge and I mean seriously huge, absolute melt in the mouth texture Paneer chunks were instantly loved by one and all. And although all of us swear by non-veg dishes there was no denying that this was a magnificent larger than life dish. #Recommended
Now at Punjab Grill be prepared to be overwhelmed with the quantity and size for everything that comes on to the plate is always served larger than life. So a word of caution order in installments to figure out how much food will be enough for the occasion.
While Paneer made a grand entry the chicken 3 ways delighted us totally with its assorted flavours which had Murg Tikka, Murg Malai Tikka and Murg Haryali Tikka served on a platter. Served together they gave an impression of the Indian tri colour. The Murg Malai Tikka was the best of the three. The Murg Tikka used cheddar and garlic glaze and as such made as a mild and different variant of the traditional Murg Tikka. The Murg Malai Tikka was a royal recipe my all means for the generous use of cashew, cheese along with high grade yogurt. The marination paid of really well and as such the dish was bound to be a hit. Murg Haryali was a little disappointment and just ok as compared to the other two varieties offered on the platter. #MustHave #Yumyum
Chukkandar ke kebab or beetroot kebabs – made with generous use of cheese and coated with bread crumbs. The good part was that they had retained good deal of moisture, take that out and they would be lifeless. #Recommended
Next came in their unique serving on the menu the – Kotkapure da atta chicken. This is the latest addition to their menu and certainly brings in lot of drama to the entire dining experience. The boastful part about the preparation? No Oil used…Yup, you heard that right. This recipe is all protein and no oil in the making. The chicken marinated in spices is wrapped tightly in a muslin cloth which is then cocooned inside an atta capsule. The whole drama was good to look at but sorry to say the experiment back fired yet again as none of us liked it. A great recipe poorly executed, something that cost them dearly as it was quickly side-lined. The chicken was absolute tasteless and flavours hadn’t been absorbed as should have been. So all show and no go was the case here. #NotRecommended
Mains: The starters improved over times but the mains were the real attraction of the place.
Paneer Lababdar [Rs. 525] – Thick creamy gravy and handful of super textured chunks of cottage cheese garnished with delicate herbs and spices. This gravy can be described in one word as Royal. Finally vegetarians have something to rejoice. #HighlyRecommended
Next we had Murg Makhani – a totally different take at the standard butter chicken. This one was o special because of the use of an equally special ingredient – fenugreek. Simply beautiful and paired perfectly with a butter nan drenched in butter. Bliss — pure bliss. #HighlyRecommended
Next came in the soul of the Punjab grill by all means the absolutely legen—-wait for it—wait for it –dary – Dal Punjab Grill. This has to be their signature dish and know what most of the non-veg dishes at other places can’t even come close to this beauty. After eating this, I felt like it had come straight from Gaia’s kitchen. This is one such dish that vegetarians can get back at the meat mongers and we will have to take a hit for once. #MustHave #Legendary #SignatureDish #HighlyRecommended #BestDalEver
We finished mains on Chicken dum biryani and it was just the right way of finishing a great meal. I won’t think twice in calling the biryani I had there as one in top 3 biryani’s that I have had In Pune or otherwise. The biryani was brilliant and I loved the balance of flavour created with use of generous amount of fried onion, delicate use of spices and the most thoughtfully diced chicken pieces. I kinda hate the fact at many a places that the chicken used in biryani is just cut hurriedly and thrown into the rice. The proper cutting and dicing increases the satiable value of the biryani manifold by all means. You won’t agree to this until you have such a biryani for yourself. The saffron rice was just right, not too much nor under done. The use of dough to seal the earthen pot and cook it on a dum made it score on preparation factor as well. Simply loved it #MustHave
For desserts we were served Gulab jamun with Phirni: The gulab jamun was really good for the fact that it was sweet to the perfect extent expected, the sugar syrup used was of perfectly diluted consistency (Ek tari as it is called) and the jamuns were very lite and fluffy in texture. The aeration was given due weightage during preparation which made the otherwise simple and traditional dessert into something special. And oh did I mention that it had a nutella, honey and almond filling in the centre? Yes something to make it royal and Punjab Grill standard. The phirni was little less sweet and was more of texture element which completed the dish in perfect sense.
Press Note: Sunday Brunchin’ with Punjab Grill
Punjab Grill has now introduced a king-size Sunday Brunch with live kebabs and flavorful biryanis.
Known for its rich and robust cuisines from the royal kitchens of Punjab, presented with a contemporary twist, Punjab Grill adds taste and value to your Sundays. The restaurant’s newly launched outdoor section is the perfect Sunday setting for this brunch. A live grill section which offers six varieties of Kebabs such as Paneer Tikka Multani, Bhutiyaan de Kebab, Lahori Seekh, Murg Tikka Punjab Grill, Murgh Malai Tikka and Murgh Haryali Tikka.
For the mains, there is a widespread buffet with signature dishes like Murgh Lababdar, Paneer Lababdar and Dal Punjab Grill with accompaniments like Salads, Papad, Raita and Assorted breads. Special mention to the delicious Dum Biryanis served which enhance the experience. Save the best for the last – dessert includes hot Gulab Jamun and Phirni.
The Sunday Brunch is priced at Rs. 649++, from 12 pm to 4 pm every Sunday.
A big shout out to the gorgeous ladies of Carpe Diem – Carina and Pracey for inviting us and Sanjay Wankhede and his team for hosting us and making a part of this special experience that Punjab grill is.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed are my own and from the single or multiple experiences that I have had with the food joint. While you are free to disagree with the opinion below; please respect the originality and fairness of the content. The taste and experience might differ from the one portrayed for varied reasons like the Chef and staff that serves you, Ingredients used and other factors that change from time to time. The opinion/ review is purely based on my experience and there is no biased, favoured or commercial angle to it. At times, I might have used a few references from the freely available information on the internet to draw a correct more accurate picture but the sole intent of the is review is to give back a piece of my experience to the foodie community.)