Even though we celebrate three new years in the span of a year, Parsi’s are a bit thin on the festival front. This is one of the reasons why we jump at celebrating just about anything. Be it Diwali or Christmas, you will find a bawa happily digging into some Chaklis and Christmas cake; which is why, when I got an invite to celebrate Lohri at Punjab Grill I jumped on it. I was understandably eager to experience the culture and learn more about the festival first hand over some great food.
The reality however was a mish-mash of a family buffet meets page 3esque style party. While the event promised a bonfire and folk music the only fire was the crackling of the coals in the tandoor and the folk music consisted of three guys playing the drums for 20 seconds each time someone entered. On the food front what awaited us was some stereotypical albeit well cooked tandoori meats, a standard Punjabi buffet of Maa Ki Dal and Sarson Da Saag, an out of place chaat counter and desserts ofcourse.
Now, at this point I must confess that I generally dislike buffets and it is probably for this reason that our Lohri meal at Punjab Grill didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Sure, the food was cooked well and the staff polite; but I felt that it being a special Lohri event, this establishment that’s normally known for its innovation could have pushed the envelope both in terms of the food and the overall experience.
Confessions aside, there were three new dishes that we were served that I fell in love with.
The first was actually a drink – the Ganne Ka Sorbet. Made with frozen sugarcane juice and accompanied with a slice of the ‘ganna’ to suck on, this sorbet was not too sweet at all and was really refreshing. It served as a great palate cleanser after the tandoori meats and served up a piece of Punjab in a very innovative way.
My next favourite was the Kheema Khurchan, which was served over a live counter. There is something about seeing your food cooked right in front of you that excites me to no end and the offal in this dish blended really well with the spicy kheema and green peppers. I had this with freshly made naan and enjoyed it so much that I skipped the Chicken Tikka Salad and Maa ki Dal to have a second helping.
I am normally quite a big fan of biryani and order it every time we have Indian food. However, what caught my eye this time was the simple dessert of Meethe Chawal. Made with jaggery, cardamom, saffron and long grains of basmati, this rice dish came with a generous dollop of ghee and was my favourite dessert of the night – yes, it was even better than the Gajar Ka Halwa!
It can’t be a bad night when there is music, food and a tandoor fire crackling in the background. We came back with filled stomachs and my only grouse was that Punjab Grill could have really taken this festival as an opportunity to showcase the seasonal food of the state, which they didn’t. As for my favourites of the night, I am hoping that Punjab Grill actually adds them to their regular menu. I’d happily return for a second helping of that sorbet, the Khurchan and the Meethe Chawal.
Meal for Two: Special price of Rs 2600 plus taxes | Alcohol: Yes| Credit Card: Yes|
Timing: 11.30 AM to 12:00 AM| Wheelchair access : Yes
Address: 24, Juhu Shopping Centre, Gulmohar Road, JVPD Scheme
Telephone : 022 26245036
Disclaimer : This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review; however readers may exercise their own discretion.