Punjab Grill’s fare is worth writing home about, says Rahul Verma

It’s nice to meet up with old foodies. Last week, I had a pleasant chat with food writer and consultant Jiggs Kalra after a long time, at his son’s restaurant in Gurgaon. I don’t go to the restaurants in Gurgaon if I can help it, for by the time you return from the arduous trek to Gurgaon, you are hungry and thirsty all over again. A persistent young person in public relations, however, was not going to take a no for an answer. So one afternoon I found myself sitting at the Punjab Grill in Gurgaon’s Ambience Mall.

The place is run by Zorawar Kalra. It’s quite huge, and is clearly humming. The 90-cover restaurant on the third floor was full of people even on a weekday. I started with an excellent lassi which came with a peda on top. The lassi was so thick you could scoop it out with a spoon — and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Then I had a couple of kababs, one cooked with yoghurt, and another with grilled corn. This was interesting for the corn had been removed from the cob and poached, mixed with herbs and green chillies, put back and grilled. Then I had a gilawati kabab, which was nice and tender — served on a crisp paratha triangle. I enjoyed the salmon tikka hugely. The fish was delicious, and Jiggs told me it had been marinated with white wine. The main dish — murgh makhani or butter chicken — was smooth, but I was a bit disappointed with the rahra meat, which is essentially mutton cooked in a minced meat curry. I like this when the curry is a little runny, but the rahra here was almost dry.

The Shahi Paneer Ranjitsinghji — the names are all nicely exotic — was great. It was a dish of paneer sticks served in a light gravy thickened with scrambled paneer and infused with saffron.

Lightly seasoned

I like the food at the Punjab Grill. It is surprisingly light, and not overwhelmed by masalas. I had my food with an aromatic rice subtly infused with the flavour and taste of morels.

This is a fine dining place, and the prices are higher than most places. The kababs, for instance, cost between Rs.300 and 350. The rahra meat was for Rs.425 and a full murgh makhani for Rs.475.

I ended my meal with a taste of gulab jamun and kheer — and both were excellent. They had just the right amount of sugar in the desserts which, by my yardstick, is the true measure of a good sweet dish. So, despite my trek to Gurgaon and back, I was quite happy with my outing. It was nice catching up with an old foodie, and the food at Punjab Grill was indeed worth writing home about.