Punjab Grill, New Delhi

Sometimes one doesn’t have to take second guesses at the kind of food served at a restaurant – the naming committee that so laboriously sits behind a desk with many crumpled sheets of paper and broken pencils trying to figure out a name for a restaurant makes sure that the message goes out loud and clear! It’s one thing when a celebrity or a chef with a dedicated supply of followers and awards opens their own restaurant, and it’s an entirely different matter when a country’s premier food critic does the same. To put a long discussion swiftly to an end, food critics should not be opening restaurants. No two ways about it.

Punjab Grill, located in a shopping mall in New Delhi, is run by Jiggs Kalra – one of India’s best known food critics and writers. I was told that they did an exquisite tandoori duck dish and that the food there was of a decent upbringing. Well, I suppose a 50% success rate isn’t bad going for a meal if one really thinks about it – I’ve had far worse, and in all honesty, a bubble-bursting makes for a more disappointing meal than just bad food itself. Nevertheless….

Veg platter
Duck
Veg and Meat

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To start with we went for a Vegetarian Platter and the Tandoori Duck. The platter offered little in terms of a selection and the notables were the yoghurt and cashew kebab and the tandoori broccoli. The duck did live up to its name and was surprisingly tender and melting, yet very very orange in colour and didn’t have a unique signatory depth of flavour to it – one would have tasted umpteen tandoori chickens in Delhi with a similar flavour chart.

Our mains consisted of Sarson ka saag (mustard greens ‘curry’), Rarha Ghosht (lamb chops cooked in minced lamb ‘curry’) Kashmiri aloo. The saag had only the flavour of excessive chilli and nothing else, the lamb being too salty and too spicy without being friendly to other flavours, and the Kashmiri aloo were overcooked potatoes in a far too creamy and spicy sauce. Neither was the saag served, as it should be, with jaggery and white butter (the chef later said that most people didn’t eat it so they didn’t serve it). Neither one of us ventured beyond one bite, and we got sent some severely sugary gulab jamuns as compensation.

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And thus it was that we left rather grumbled, our bellies still rumbled, with an apology that was mumbled, and towards home we stumbled after a meal that all but crumbled.

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Overall Experience: 6
Food: 5
Recommend you go: 5

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