Will a local avatar prove to be more popular than a pseudo Gallic one? Punjab Grill at DLF IV is out to prove it. Located at the same premises as the now folded up La Mocha opposite Regency Park gate, Punjab Grill emerges from the French remains in a franchised form of the well-known chain. Pawan and I were there last Wednesday to check whether the hard to put down Sher-ka-Punjab spirit is anything to write home about.
The décor at the restaurant is neutral, low lit and with comfortable seating arrangements. The restaurant operates at three levels with the topmost reserved for the happy tipplers amongst us. Viraj, the youthful owner took some time off his busy schedule to engage us with his vision and raison d’etre for the restaurant. Proof of the pudding is in the eating and so without further ado we embarked on our food journey.
The menu is extensive with no dearth of choices. We got off on a good start with a wonton-inspired starter, Veg Kurkuri and Dahi Ke Kebab. The Veg Kurkuri was a delight- a fried spring roll take-off covered with crispy, tasty vermicelli to be had dipped in sweet and hot sauce. I loved the barely there tartness of the hung curd of the Dahi Ke Kebab flavoured with Indian spices, pan-fried as against the usual deep-fried ones. The Tandoori Duck was, while faultless as far as taste is concerned, was smothered in masala so much so that the distinctness of the webbed fowl’s meat was overpowered. The Khaam Khatai, mutton galouti, was delicately spiced and expressed the melt-in-the-mouth quality that it boasts of, adequately.
The tandoor grilled Chaamp Taajdar was a clear winner, the mutton ribs, soft and tender closer to the rib, and nicely browned and crisp, not burnt on the outside. The meat was so tender that one could pluck a bit of the meat off the rib with a piece of roti without much effort. Full marks. The Tandoori Jheenga however, was a disappointment with little bite, the crustacean having seen better days and falling apart in shreds as a result. Viraj was gracious enough to accept our opinion and even insisted that we write about it.
The Dal Pancharatni would have appealed to us favourably but for the generosity of the cook with the humble salt. Mildly spiced and thick, the five-lentil mélange tasted good, scooped up with tandoori roti, if only one could ignore the saltiness. The Kadhi Pakoda was rich and delicious though the whole coriander used to temper it with, troubled Pawan not the least. The Murgh Makhni remained faithful to its Punjabi provenance of creamy, tomato gravy smothered, tandoori-roasted chicken pieces. However, it appeared as if the fowl ran afoul of the gravy, refusing to blend in with the spices and standing apart.
The Guchchi Pulao stole my heart and conquered the taste buds, the perfectly dum-cooked, al dente rice flavoured with the gentle muskiness of morels stuffed with spiced milk cake. It tasted superb with the superlative Meat Punjab Grill, pieces of tender boned mutton in a divinely, spiced liquor with just a hint of natural sweetness. The latter was the star of the evening, I would say.
While the staff is polite and eager to be of assistance, a bit more training shall do a world of good. Despite requesting that the dishes be brought to us, as and when each is ready, the starters were brought en masse. Few can be as unappetizing as cold grilled meat. When the waiter took our order for Dal and Murgh Makhni, we assumed that breads accompany them, as the waiter did not ask specifically for our choice of breads to go with the gravy dishes. Imagine our dismay when the superlative Meat Punjab Grill was served with only our fingers to dip into it! However, the staff made amends as soon as it was pointed out with a soft Tandoori Roti and flaky Butter Naan.
Desserts were a let down. They didn’t have most listed on their menu. The Phirni that was served was not chilled adequately and had the texture of a milk shake while the Gulab Jamun was a plain Jane, devoid of any of the fillings that the menu boasted of.
The famous Paan Shot that Punjab Grill is known for is a sure shot to fame and glory. A deconstructed version of the mundane Indian digestive, it makes you forget all the shortcomings and leaves you asking for more. Like we did!
Disclosure: This review was done upon the invitation of the restaurant.
Food: 3.5/5 | Ambience: 3.5/5 | Service: 3.0/5 | Overall: 3.5/5
Meal for two: Rs 2000 (without alcohol) | Credit cards: Accepted | Alcohol: Yes | Valet Parking: Available
Address: Punjab Grill, Plot 1000, Opp. Regency Park Gate/ Hamilton Court, DLF City, Phase-4, Gurgaon | Tel: 88020-86146