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Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Cuisine at Punjab Grill

I like this new trend of sharing the chef table with other foodies. The food talks are interesting so are the variety of food offered during the meals. This Saturday, I attended the launch of winter menu at Punjab Grill.

 Why winter menu?

There is a tight link between food and our hormones and this can be noticed in our seasonal cravings. In winter, there is craving for comfort food that is generally high in fats and carb. Plants start converting their starches into sugar. The cold-sweetening occurs in many cold-tolerant vegetable plants like beets, carrots, and root vegetables. 

Mumbaites don’t experience the vast difference in climate change but the drop in temperatures to as low as 13 degrees is good enough reason to pamper one self and deviate from normal cuisine.

Punjab Grill understands that, it is all dressed up for this winter session.

There is a great selection of drinks, mocktails and cocktails, to choose from. Normally the drinks have a slice of lime and salt dust on the rim, but here I was staring at a bright green chili on my drink. 

This restaurant has a class of its own.

I ordered ‘Mast Guava’ a cocktail that contains Vodka, Guava, tobasco, coriander leaves and what else?.hmmmn…can't believe my luck!..finely chopped green…that was a complete nirvana!

There is a surprise element in the presentation with every serving. When the men in black approached our table with serving dishes, we stopped midway in our conversation to see what was on the tray behind the smoking glass lid, under the metallic conical cover, in those porcelain cups. We craned our neck to get the view before it even reached our plates.

I don’t much like vegetarian food, therefore my vegetarian serving was just a spoonful of each dish for taste. The winter vegetables are sweetish, not my kind of food. However, I loved matured Kaanji carrot juice served in earthen pots that had a strong flavors of mustard seeds. The sweet potato and star fruit tossed in sweet and sour tamarind, a chaat I have never tasted before, but it was something different (not sure if I liked it) and one needs to develop a taste for it. ‘Sarson da Saag’ bright green fragrant vegetable is ‘must have’ vegetarian dish.

But the non-vegetable was commendable. I especially like the ‘Tabak Maaz’,  and ‘Methi Chicken Tikka.  The succulent lamb ribs simmered in fennel-flavored milk were cooked just right, so soft that it melts in the mouth on first bite. Grilled ‘Chicken Tikka’ infused with fenugreek leaves was a pleasant delight. I didn’t enjoy the ‘Bheja Masala’ that had an over powering taste of Garam masala.

The ‘Winter Bread Basket’ was interesting assortments of Makki di roti, Bajra di roti and Palak di roti. They tasted delicious when laced with blob of white butter and pinch of ajwain infused Gurh.

I was happy that the service was slow. It gave us time to relish every dish, enjoy the varied flavors of each dish. The ambience of the restaurant is seductive. The beautiful Sufi music in the background, the twinkling lights on the trees above, and comfortable cushions on low sofa under the open starry sky added to the romance of the evening. The mood was set. There was enough time to socialize and familiarize with other foodies. We enjoyed sharing notes on wine, snacks and food culture of other cities.

By the time, the dessert arrive, we were friends chatting away.

Together we relished the sweet flavors of ‘Gurh Wale Chawal’ rice flavored with black cardamom, garnished with curled coconut strips and ‘Bajre Ki Choori’ The grandma style rotis and jaggery crumble that brought back the memories of my yearly visits to my maternal uncles house during my growing up days.

And Finally the famous 'Paan Shot'

I had heard about this Paan shot from my friends and I was eagerly waiting for it to arrive. Mixture of betel leaves with paan masala, all crushed together to make a concentrate drink. In one gulp, I emptied the glass, its cool fragrant taste gliding down my throat.

Verdict: Highly recommended for people who enjoy good Indian cuisine.

Where: Punjab Grill
Juhu Shopping Centre, Unit No24
Opp Criticare Hospital
9th Gulmohar Road,
Juhu, Mumbai – 400049
Tel: +(91)-(22)-42433100, 42433101, 42433102

The Winter season is ushered in from 14th January and continues till end of February 2014.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cookies For Snack

Ever thought of giving your loved ones cookies ring? Unibic gave me one to make a bond with me

When we talk of biscuits and cookies in India, the brands that come to our mind are old timers like Britannia and Parle G. in foreign brands more common are Oreo, but recently I chanced upon cookies that were crunchy, crispy and tasty, I turned the packet around to see the brand, I found an Australian brand ‘Unibic.’
I was attending the launch of this product in Mumbai. There was a small game played with the audience. Each person was blind folded and given a cookie to taste. The person had to bite and guess the ingredients from its taste. Not many were successful. Although the taste is delicious, the taste of any particular ingredient is not over powering.

The best that I liked was ‘Scotch Finger shortbread’. It reminded me of the taste of ‘Shrew Berry’, the type that I normally pick up from the famous Kayani Bakery during my visits to Poona.
I brought the cookies home for my family to taste. My 3years old nephew and his 62years old granddad sat down, side-by-side, to relish these crunchy bites of Unibic cookies. It seems like this will soon make its entry into their home.
And why not?
There is an apt description on the packet itself that says
Born in Scotland and loved world over, shortbread is a type of cookie that crumbles delightfully with every single bite. The butter melts magically; leaving an aftertaste you wouldn’t give up for anything. Except, for any set of these delicious shortbreads.”

What more can I say after this description?

Unibic was incorporated in India in August 2004, the company started operations in March 2005 importing two cookie brands Anzac oatmeal and chocolate chips from Unibic, Australia. By late 2005, its manufacturing unit India was producing cookies at costs that were as much as 40% lower than procuring them from Australia.

I almost drooled when they mentioned the fragrance that follows the trail leading to Haskur road in Bangalore, where these cookies are baked. They are a bit costlier as compared to cookies made by other Indian brands but cheaper than foreign brands.
Apart from its current portfolio of ginger nuts, cashew butter, choco chips, Anzac oatmeal cookies, Unibic India is now getting into healthy products like sugar free and digestive oatmeal cookies as well.
Cookies are a bonding snacks, can be enjoyed at any hour of the day and even to kill boredom.

A great snack to go with a cup of coffee or it can be mixed in layers with custard, fruits and nut to incorporate it into delicious dessert.

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