Huge lettering proclaiming ‘Punjabi Rasoi' at Gachibowli cross roads invites you to try out its taste. Punjabi Rasoi has two restaurants: the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian. The vegetarian one is on the ground floor. As you step in, the ambience is not too inviting. A 50-seater, the place seems a bit confining. A few window ACs take care of the cooling inside. Past 2 p.m., the crowd thickens and there are quite a handful of people waiting to be seated.
The menu consists of North Indian fare with the usual Chinese thrown in. There is a strong Punjabi flavour in all the dishes. Care is taken to avoid overt use of oil and spices. It is a relief to find mildly spiced food. What's perhaps a unique preparation amongst the starters is the paneer-baby corn lollipop. The baby corn is swathed at its broader end with paneer to which garlic-ginger and coriander is added. This preparation is then coated with corn flour and deep fried. Despite being deep-fried, it is surprising to find that the preparation is not oily. You get six such pieces per dish.
Another starter is the sheekh kabab priced at Rs. 115: a preparation of whole wheat flour mixed with paneer, bits of carrot, shreds of cabbage, garlic, bits of cashew, coriander and onion rolled in bread crumbs and skewered. It comes with 8 pieces per plate and is served with mint chutney.
The biryani is awesome in taste. The very long and thin rice grains are perhaps specially chosen to enhance the flavours of the spices. Mildly flavoured and prepared with very little oil, the biryani is accompanied with raita of cucumber, onion and tomato.
Try out the Amritsari naan here. The naan is soft and stuffed with grated paneer, thinly chopped vegetables and studded with paneer and cherry bits. Order for the lassi to enjoy the authentic Punjabi flavour. It is very thick and topped with crushed dry fruits, and slightly sweetened.
One cannot come away from a Punjabi Rasoi without tasting the indispensable ‘makai-ki-roti and sarso-ka-saag'. The makai ki roti is made out of dough of corn meal and whole wheat flour. It contains a few shreds of radish as well and served hot with little oil. The sarso ka saag is a preparation of mustard leaves, mixed with bit of spinach, and cooked with onion tomato, garlic and tomatoes, and also cooked in very little oil.
There are also mocktails on offer which run contrary to the prevalent Punjabi flavor in the menu.
Punjabi Rasoi finds many takers for its thaali priced at Rs. 65 for an ordinary thaali and Rs. 105 for the special one.
The busiest times are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and one needs to wait quite a bit before being seated. However, ample servings and the taste of the food make it worth the wait. Home delivery is done for a radius of 5km with a minimum order of Rs. 300.
A meal for two comes to around Rs. 300.The restaurant runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Ample parking space is earmarked for the restaurant.
Located at Gachibowli cross roads.
Pluses: Value for money