After successfully leaving its enticing pug marks around the country – in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore & Chennai and beyond – Singapore, Bangkok and Abu Dhabi, the Punjab lion roars into Jubilee Hills.
The franchise in Hyderabad is headed by a sherni no less – Bhargavi Yerram. Salt to Taste was invited to one of their first tasting sessions and was mighty impressed by this young entrepreneur’s zeal in managing her lair by making the effort to chat with diners, managing her staff, overseeing service, as well as checking in on the kitchen. And to think she’s had no prior training or experience in F&B.
And what an awesome restaurant with a view this is – right across KBR Park, with tall French windows overlooking swaying eucalyptus trees from the fourth floor, far from the madding crowd below. While Punjab Grill tags itself to be gourmet fine dining, it didn’t really fit my bill of a fine dining establishment (because to me, fine dining involves artistically plated individual portions, different flatware for every course and subtle ambient music with a bit of a hush hush atmosphere. Yup, that fuddy duddy old school style of sophisticated dining). What it has instead is a Happy Shappy Chak de Phatte vibe. Which could also be because the 130 seater restaurant was booked to capacity on a Tuesday afternoon! The interiors are quite tastefully done so all in all I’d call it an elegant dining experience.
Serving primarily North Indian Frontier (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Punjab) cuisine, the dishes are authentic, flavourful and whets your appetite. Cleverly named Cocktails and Mocktails set you in the right spirit (pun intended) for a gastronomic treat.
Noteworthy starters were the salmon tikkas (Masterchef Vijay Sethi let me in on a little secret – he marinates them with dill leaves and honey), Punjab Grill’s famous Chaamp Tajdar and Murgh Malai Tikkas. Then there’s the absolute melt in your mouth Dahi Kebabs and beautifully presented Veg Kurkuri. Its been just a week since Punjab Grill launched and interestingly it’s a bigger draw with vegetarians than meat eaters!
For the mains, Punjab Grill’s signature dishes – Butter Chicken, Dhal Punjab Grill and a spicy Chutney Pulao hit the mark. The Meat Punjab Grill didn’t quite appeal to my palate, perhaps because I’d already tried their Butter Chicken and nothing compares to that.
Desserts are full on Punjabi with syrupy chocolate and ilaichi gulab jamuns and rich and nutty phirni. The Lychee ki Tehri was quite an interesting and unique mix of rabdi and lychees topped with roasted makhanas (lotus seeds). Loved the Pan Shot palate cleanser served at the end of the meal. Serves its purpose innovatively and doesn’t leave any telltale stained teeth either. Perfect!
Punjab Grill has also just launched a weekday lunch buffet fantastically priced at Rs.625++. Book a table while this promo lasts. Dinners aren’t cheap in this lion’s den. But then, thats the price you pay for gourmet food fit for royals.