Punjab Grill (Ghatkopar, Mumbai)

Punjab Grill in R-City may actually be one of Ghatkopar’s only redeeming features. Located on LBS Marg, the mall is set amidst a heartland of industry (Godrej factories), a mire of pollution from the Deonar waste site and an onslaught of people from suburbia. It is rumoured that 10% of people who live in the Chembur-Ghatkopar vicinity suffer from bronchitis or other severe respiratory conditions.

So after wading through the hullabaloo of coughing, spluttering and droves of wayfaring shoppers, I found Punjab Grill tucked away on the third floor of the mall. Inside, the restaurant is a middle way between the grandiose and the humble. The gold and cream tapestries on the walls deserve special mention as does the open-view of the tandoor.

Being so fascinated by the entire culinary process, any restaurant who has the transparency to put at least some of their kitchen on display deserves my praise. Gone are the days when restaurants magically conjured up dishes from behind the iron curtain that divided kitchen and diner.

If you do feel intrigued by how and where you are food is made, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask a restaurateur for a glimpse of the kitchen. I’m not suggesting Zomato reviewers become eagle-eyed Food Hygiene Inspectors overnight but at least a cursory glance at the kitchen will give you some of the information you need.

The food at Punjab Grill is an assured take on classic Punjabi cuisine, presented with attention detail and in generous portions. The Pakoda Kadhi, a personal favourite, was rich, pleasantly sour owing to the buttermilk. The besan (gram flour) dumplings were crisp and the inclusion of spinach was welcome (4/5) The Vegetable Seekh Kebab was perfectly cooked in the tandoor and had been basted generously in butter to avoid any dryness (4/5). The Phirni (a ground rice pudding) for dessert was a delicious way to finish the meal, sweet but not nauseatingly so. The only detraction from the fare was the “Aam Panna” drink, which was overly strong and had to be diluted to make it drinkable (2/5).

If the other Punjabi Grills are of equal merit, I think the chain will in no time set a new benchmark for mid-market North Indian restaurants within the city.

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