Punjab Grill is known for serving up exotic North Indian dishes with a contemporary twist. It has stood strong where it is in Koramangala and in the hearts of several Bangaloreans for years now (and that’s not an easy feat). I must say, in all these years that I visited the area, I never walked into Punjab Grill (why? I can’t really think of a reason) but that changed as they graciously hosted us for a lunch recently.
The ambiance has always made me stop and look, even when I used to walk by the place or dined at the restaurants above. It screams elegance from ceiling to the floor, with dark wooden hues, red and gold across the alfresco space. Their service staff is quite attentive and will ensure that you have a smooth experience.
Punjab Grill has a lovely lounge bar and a great cocktail/mocktail menu offering something that suits everyone. I love trying the spicy ones, so I tried Niki Te Thiki (a muddled drink with lime chunks, green chili seeds, mint leaves, vodka topped with sprite). I did have a few sips (and by that I mean finished) from a friend’s Mast Guava cocktail that happens to be a house specialty.
Getting to the food, I noticed how their menu was designed to serve us all a chunk of Punjab. I do love Punjabi food, especially because they say “You put your heart into the making, and eat with your heart.” We began with an amuse–bouche, which was Dahi Bhalla. It was succulent sweet, sour and with a hint of spice (reminded me of our home-made curd vada). Next came Paneer Tikka Multani. This was a huge chunk of soft paneer, juicy with marinade giving off the slightly burnt aroma from tandoor. It is heavy, but a perfect starter coupled with that spicy mint chutney.
It is true that the Dahi ke Kebabs are melt-in-the-mouth one-of-a-kind novelty. This is a patty made out of hung curd may or may not be mixed with spices. Apparently, the prep takes a whole night. Everyone across Bengaluru has gone gaga over this dish. Did I like it? I’m not sure, as I’m not a fan of cardamom, and the spice biases my opinion. I would certainly urge you to try it! As for the Beetroot Peanut Tikki, it is an interesting combination that works. The flavors and textures keep you surprised with sweet and salt, crunch and soft. It is topped with peanut butter too! I would have liked a dip to cut through the dryness of the nuts.
For the mains, you must order their Makki ki Roti (although all Indian breads are their specialty) and Sarson Da Saag. You won’t stop with one, and it would certainly be the dish-of-the-day. Yes, I know it is a rural dish but do you know not everyone can get it right? Ratatouille should prove it you to you. Punjab Grill seems to have gotten the true essence of Sarson Da Saag perfectly right and makes it straight to your heart. On our table was Dal Makhni as a second gravy which was also a mild-flavored heartwarming dish, but it felt bland compared to Sarson da Saag. As for the Veg Biriyani served with Raita, I found the style leans more towards Awadhi Biriyani while I like Kolkatta or Hyderabadi Biriyani. It was well-made, I must say, and well-balanced in flavor.
Now getting back to Indulge mode, if you like a hot dessert, I suggest you order Rum Flambéed Gulab Jamuns. These are huge portions of gulab jamuns that are covered with rum and then set aflame at the table. You have a little bit of theater and a satisfying finish to a lovely meal. We also had their Kulfi Falooda which I’m sure you will enjoy if you are in the mood for something cold and colorful.