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Made In Punjab

Monday, December 05, 2016Me! In words

Sudhakar's birthday this year was quite the gastronomic celebration. While we did a "us only" pub lunch in the afternoon, I decided to take up Rekha Ghosh's invite to Made in Punjab at UB City for the evening. The idea of some good Indian food was quite appealing and even before I launch into the experience, I must say, and I don't say this too often - its a place that must find its way to your list of must-visits. 

It was a Friday evening and the restaurant was packed. Despite that, the tables have a good distance between them, allowing you to have your privacy while being in the midst of a crowd. Unless of course you have a bunch of unruly kids running amok in the restaurant, as a set of parents deemed perfectly fine to let that evening. Nevertheless, we silently blessed the soul that interrupted her meal and told the kids to pipe down, and then launched head first into our lovely meal.

As soon as you are seated, the table is set with tandoori papad, freshly sliced onion/chilli/lemon and the bar menu appears. What's even better is that the fabulous bartender, whom I hear, Farzi Cafe shares as well, who will customize a drink for you if you so wish.

 We began the Ciroc Mineral water - some premium vodka with a citrus base, which was my choice. The Siyappa which married orange juice and malted whiskey and was for the birthday man and the Chocolate Thandai for the friend at the table. Each of the drinks were very well balanced, did not water down during the course of time thanks to too much ice and carried the right level of potency. 

We moved on to the first of the chaats that came to the table. Yes, there is a small throwback to standing in front of the chaatwala as he expertly mixed this up - but that is just about in the names that each of these dishes carry. The chaats are a stylized version, each with a unique twist that does not take away from the classic flavours at all. So When Mr. Bhalla Met Papdi  came to the table, we stared at it a while before breaking down the bhalla, surrounded by papdi and some tangy yogurt and green chutney. Lovely balance and spot on on the crunchiness of the sev and papdi and the smoothness of the bhalla.

Next up was the Tokri Chaat where delicate potato sev forms the little basket that holds a mix of green peas, colocassia leaf crisps and a mix of the standard chutneys. Pretty, crispy, crunchy.

From here we proceeded into the more substantial starters. What is good about the menu is that there is an equal mix of vegetarian and meat based options ensuring, every from Dada to Papa to Pappu have something to order from. The Paneer Barrel Tikka is shaped like a barrel that has then been sliced. This tandoor roasted paneer is stuffed with crumbled pickled paneer stuffing that gives it a nice zing. The 'roastedness' of the paneer is what elevates it. In fact, there is an entire section of the menu dedicated to paneer - so eat your heart out!

Jau Mushroom Chakli - barley and mushroom kebabs spiced by a hand that seemed to have dipped into the spice dabba of traditional Punjabi household. Round patties fried crisp with a steaming hot filling. Be careful of burning those delicate buds - dip into the mustard and garlic dipping sauce first for a heightened taste of things.

Somewhere around this point we realized that we were already at the 75% full mark - but, when the staff sets down the Gabbar Prawns and it looks like what you see above, that fictitious tummy tucked away in the depths of those love handles springs to life! A classic representative of how the simplest of ingredients can make the biggest of impressions - yogurt-chilli marinade, tandoor roasted and then served with drizzle of mustard and prawn head oil. Do I really need to say more?

Legacy Tandoori Champ - Jab pyaar se banate hain to Tandoori Champ Legacy ban jaati hai! (what can I say, good food brings out the cheesy me)  Lamb ribs rubbed down with spices that have been hand pounded with mortar and pestle and cooked two ways - braised to give it that lovely moist flavour and the chance for the spices to seep into the meat, and roasted in the tandoor to bring on that touch of smoke and black. What made this dish even more fantastic was that it yielded to a butter knife with no resistance at all. Flavourful, right down to the last morsel.

There is something about slow cooked meat that can do it for me just right! Lamb shanks, complete with bone marrow, slow cooked with spices and served in a gravy that is a result of all that slow cooking. Nalli Hard Kaur, is quite hard core in terms of flavour and honestly will not need anything from the bread basket - your fingers will do justice to the dish!

Luxury Butter Chicken - how else to describe this dish other than luxurious! Of course, luxurious is an experience and that is what this dish is. It coats your mouth in a way that only a quality melange of butter and cream and cashews can. If there is just one thing you want to treat yourself to it has to be this Luxury BC.

Lehsun Palak Chenna - Again, a good example of how simple dishes done well can be a triumph - the spinach garlic and split cheese dish is a reminder of home.

By now we were stuffed to the bursting point of our seams and then a little more. But there was no way we were going to be let off the hook without dessert and so a combined creation of Nukkad Jalebi with Dates Ras Malai came to the table. It was the jalebi that was the winner through and through.Crisp, sweet, a touch of saffron and pure bliss that follows!

Made in Punjab moves away from being overly dramatic with their presentations to be placing the focus squarely on wholesome, good food. The approach is wholehearted and the result, a song of praise that your tummy will sing. A meal for two will be in the Rs 2500 bracket. The place can be packed and so a reservation is a must. The small grouse I have is the singular restroom between Farzi Cafe and MIP which results in longish lines.

Made in Punjab
Address: Level 2, UB City, Vittal Mallya Road, Bangalore
Cuisine: Punjabi
Accepts Cards: Yes
Parking: Mall Parking

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