Surprisingly, our rickshaw ride from Andheri to Inorbit Mall, Malad -- where Made In Punjab opens to public tomorrow -- is a smooth one under 20 minutes. We make our way to the top floor up the escalator, and settle into the comfortable seating, bracing ourselves for some Punjabi khana, known for its generous use of butter, ghee and all things nice. The menu includes pre-Independence dishes that are still made in Punjab, that occupies space on both sides of the border.
First impression, they say, matters; and we are served a tall glass of what the menu calls World’s Heaviest Lassi (Rs 220). Can’t be that heavy, right? Wrong. It has chunks of Mathura pedas, kesar, pistas, and of course, lots of beaten curd, and even then, it is not too sweet. We only wish it were a bit more chilled.
Now that we are ready to dig in, the Beetroot Tikki (Rs 275), looking majestic and crunchy, is coated with Japanese Panko bread crumbs, as they create the crunchiest layer. Inside is a mound of soft paneer marinated with chillies. The spicy orange chutney elevates the overall experience. It’s a no-one-can-eat-just-one moment. Who knew the beetroot could create a bhangra number on our palate. The Murgh Malai Tikka (Rs 375) comes with an egg coating and is at its juicy best.
We’ve heard of vegetables sautéed in tandoori masala, but we are served Tandoori Chaat (Rs 275) with fruits such as pineapple and guava. Topped with imli chutney, the overall taste is a bit to sour for our taste. May be a little khajoor chutney would have helped. The Chicken Tikka that comes next is succulent, soft and well-spiced.
With the speedometer in the tummy now leaning towards the half-full line, we turn to the main course. And the first dish is a butter-laden Sarson Da Saag (Rs 375) with tiny discs of Makki di Roti topped with black and green olives. We are bowled over by the simple flavours and the comfort of butter.
Spoilt for choices, we opt for Anda Kulcha(Rs 145) and Gucchi naan (Rs 200). Seasonal dried mushroom from Kashmir create magic in our mouths. And they are almost mini meals that can be teamed with Dal Made in Punjab (Rs 350), which for your information is 1/3 portion each of butter, malai and dal and slow-cooked for 14 hours! The Paneer Kadai (Rs 375) is medium spiced and the tenderness of the paneer intermingles with the sweet and spicy gravy. The result is a burst of tangy flavours; a perfect veg option on a cold wintry day. On the other hand, the Murgh Makhani (Rs 75) is a smoky affair. We are happily surprised that even the masaledaar dishes are not heavily spiced. They are delicately flavoured. Though we can’t say the same about the calories.
A strong believer that a meal is not done until dessert has been eaten, we make room for more. And it is worth it. Crispy, thin Jalebi poking its head out of a martini glass which is filled with thick tempting Rabdi (Rs 195) is placed before us. We drool, we salivate and break a piece of the jalebi with the hand and dip it into the thick sea of white. All we can think of is an afternoon nap.
We cannot rate the experience, as it was a preview