Grub from the gaon
A newly launched Indian restaurant in Andheri is serving comfort food from Punjab's villages with a modern twist
On a weekday evening, we enter the newly-opened Pind at Andheri West. The intimate eatery with an al-fresco section is reminiscent of the dhabas in Punjab. While the outdoor section features rustic wooden tables, the walls inside showcase bright graffiti and astounding murals. The decor is a shoutout to what owners Priyank Singh and Rajinder Bindra witnessed when they travelled to the villages of north India. The idea was to experience the food and replicate its essence at the restaurant.
"The food in north Indian villages is prepared in a simple but effective way. For instance, they do not use frying pans or pressure cookers like we do in the cities. Instead, they use a large handi on a medium open fire to cook their food," says Bindra, adding that they have incorporated this cooking style at the restaurant.The idea was inspired by the owners' desire to help people reconnect with their own roots. Consultant chef Pradeep Tejwani was roped in to put thought to action.
For over a month, Singh and Bindra toured extensively around Amritsar and Ludhiana and tasted each dhaba's speciality. The beeji ke hathonwala baingan bharta and desi dal khicchdi have been recreated from the dishes they sampled at a dhaba in the outskirts of Amritsar. And the mutton Puran Singh is their take on a signature mutton dish from Puran Da Dhaba on GT Road in Ambala. The dishes are thick and spicy and leave you wanting for more.
You can't discuss Punjabi food without mentioning the tandoor. So, an entire section has been dedicated to tandoor appetisers. Tempted, we call for the mutton seekh, gabhru chicken bhatti da (tandoori chicken) and murgh gilafi seekh (minced chicken, skewered and grilled). The meat is juicy, succulent and soft, and melts in our mouths. The prices are competent; vegetarian appetisers ranges from Rs 195 to Rs 355 and non-vegetarian appetisers are priced from Rs 325 to Rs 750.
Founders Rajinder Bindra and Priyank Singh
There are some new, interesting discoveries, too, such as the murgh nal anda, which is essentially a chicken cutlet with an egg inside. There's also the little-known tamatarwali macchi, which is infused with the tanginess of tomatoes. Both are from Moga near Ludhiana. Their stint also inspired them to launch a shorba section. "We tasted a home-style dal with ginger and a spinach soup with a hint of pineapple in a village near Amritsar. We have named it adraki dal and palak saag annanas in the menu," says Singh.
In desserts, there are decadent offerings like the motichoor kheer (kheer with motichoor laddos), badshao (three hulwas on a bed of kesar rabdi) and shahi tukda sandwich. Surprisingly, they are not overly sweet. We go back to kheer for a second serving. It's creamy and decadent, and a befitting end to our meal.
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