Up North serves mouth-watering dishes for a gourmet experience.
One tends to expect a lot when dining at a fine restaurant in a star hotel; to our delight Up North, the authentic north Indian restaurant at Raintree, Anna Salai, did not flatter to deceive.
The ambience was everything you would expect and yet pleasantly different in its right. Overlooking the city atop the ninth storey of the hotel, the interiors were simple and elegant, dominated by wood and stone.
We glanced at the menu to find out what lay in store for us. Catering to both lovers of the green as well as connoisseurs of meat was an array of interesting and unique delicacies. We were also informed that the restaurant offered some lovely cocktails, mocktails and the choicest selection of wine.
For starters, a platter of various vegetarian kebabs was served consisting of Multani Tikkey (our very own paneer tikkas), Tikkiyan Raajmah Diyan (rajma kebabs), the absolutely delicious Bhutteyan De Kebab (decobbed corn poached and blended with herbs and green chillies and grilled on griddle) and lovely cooked cauliflower. Also on the cards were non-vegetarian delicacies like Lahori seekh (traditional lamb minced seekh flavoured with cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, mace and green cardamom) and Amritsari machchi (fish fillets dipped in a batter of carom-seed flavoured gram flour and deep-fried in mustard oil).
A heavy start can make one unsure of his appetite for the main course. But I was eager to delve into the choice of gravies on offer and the variety of breads as accompaniments. The sabzis are referred to as Gharaan da khaana or homely food on the menu, but I bet you'd be swooning all around your mom if that's what you got for supper everyday!
One would immediately dismiss a Punjabi restaurant if the paneer ki sabzi isn't upto the mark, but Up North doesn't disappoint on that front as well. Phul Aloo, florets of cauliflower and potato stir-fried with garlic, ginger, chillies and spices, and garnished with coriander is another mouth-watering side dish not to be missed. For those with a taste bud for the red, there is Murgh makhani (a.k.a butter chicken), Tamaterwaley jheengey (prawns simmered in subtle tomato gravy infused with spices) and Murg beli ram (boned cubes of chicken breast garnished with yoghurt cheese).
Apart from the regulars, the Khasta roti and the Makai ki roti are noteworthy. A glass of sweet lassi, topped with copious malai and dry fruits is probably the best drink to be had along with a sumptuous meal.
For meetha, the place offers a variety of regular ice creams but you want to beat a little off the track, you could also try the Gajrela (or the gajar ka halwa), Gulab jamun, Phirni or the lip-smacking Kulfi falooda.
Once I was certain I had not left even the bare minimum of space for anything more to devour, I thanked the hosts for their hospitality and left the exquisite restaurant with a well concealed burp!
Arsh is a Chartered Accountancy student.
Keywords: Punjabi cuisine