Sunday, May 18, 2008

Punjabi By Nature - Restaurant Review

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It had to happen sooner or later. A restaurant could not escape the foodie's critique no matter how much they tried. I have been trying to get myself to do one for quite some time now and somehow managed to avoid it all this while.
That is till, Punjabi By Nature opened its fare for the discerning Hyderabadis. I have been to the place twice till now and have always come back with the same experience. For starters, the city has always welcomed restaurants with open arms. Queues have been the norm of the day for any newly opened restaurant even if it served mediocre fare. But there has been one thing or two lacking in all the restaurants that I have been to here. Either its the ambience, or the service or the food.
So it was but natural for me to be all excited when Punjabi By Nature, a well known Delhi eatery opened up in Hyderabad ( Rd. No. 12, Banjara Hills). The reasons for the excitement were namely, the good brand name it enjoys in Delhi to the fact that at last I'll get some good Punju food. It was their largest restaurant consisting of 240 covers and spread over 10,000 sq. ft. this restaurant split over 2 levels is quite a rage in the capital with 4 outlets in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. Thus armed with a good appetite, I rushed to the place and by the time I was done with my experience of dining there, the feeling wasn't all that gung-ho.
For starters, The place still doesn't have a Liquor license ( they promised me 10 days later they would have it ...they didn't have it 20 days later too) no Vodka Gol-guppas, the most famous thing from its menu in Delhi. Secondly, the menu card is very limited, though it has some signature dishes, you are left wanting for more choices. Lastly, the prices really burn a hole into your pocket.
The meal starts with a complimentary basket of roasted papads and mint chutney. Eat on them and waste no time in ordering for the every order takes around 15 minutes to reach you. In the meantime you can either munch on the papads or admire the 30 ft waterfall which forms the focal point of the restaurant. The traditional beverages range from Aam panna to Jaljeera to Lassi each priced at 95/- which is a little steep ( you'll find this being repeated often). Even the chilled coconut water is priced at the same rate.
All veg. appetizers ( kababs) are priced at 295 and the non-veg kababs are priced at 345, except the Paneer Tikka at 375 and the Fish Tikka Amritsari at 455. Your best bet is to take the kabab platters priced at 465 for the veg and 545 for the non-veg. They are steeply priced but you get a decent selection of kababs. The veg fare in the kabab section includes Tandoori Broccoli, Tandoori Gobi, Dahi Ke Kabab and the veg Galouti Kabab. The Non-veg selection includes the Murgh Malai Kabab, Jhangi Chaamp, Tandoori Prawns, Amritsari Fish Tikka, Seekh Kabab, Tandoori Murgh and Galouti Kabab. The Seekh Kabab was brilliantly done. Very succulent and juicy. If you do not want to go for the platter, would highly recommend the seekh followed by the fish tikka.
Coming to the main course, all veg dishes ( which aren't many) are priced at 395 except the paneer makhani at 455. We tried the Amritsari Bharwan Aloo and found it a little tangy, something which turned us off. The Palak Malai Kofta though was very decent and is highly recommended. The other dishes for the vegetarians include Pindi Chhole, Lahori Masala Paneer, Sarson ka saag and Baby Vegetable with Masala Okra.
The non-veg selection leaves you wanting for more and more often than not all dishes end up tasting at the same level. The selection includes the Amritsari Magaz masala ( yes, you got it, Brains), Raan-E-Punjab ( priced at 595), Bataear Masaledaar ( Masala Quail) priced at 345, Murgh Makhani ( 425/-), Punjabi Meat Masala and the Meat Punjabi by Nature priced at 345/-. The Quail was highly recommended, so we went by all that hype and ordered it. The gravy was good, but the quail was a little tough. Do not order, unless you love having quail and are only two of you eating it. Any more and you'll need to order more. The meat punjabi by nature was next and we loved the meat. It almost melted in the mouth. The gravy though was extra spicy.
More or less, all gravies are spicy, especially the non-veg ones and they are thick, making the portion sizes adequate for two people.
The real killer on the menu are the accompaniments. Imagine ordering masala papad at 45 rupees. OK you can do without the masala papads. But then you need to have Roti or rice. A normal tandoori roti will get you down by 50/- and a tandoori naan by 85/-. If you are feeling indulgent, order the Bharwan kulcha for they are priced at 125/-. If you want to leave the rotis and go with rice, then a portion of steamed rice ( which is sufficient for 2) will set you off by 145/-. A veg biryani will cost 295/- and its non-veg cousin will cost a steep 425/-. Even the green salad and raita are priced steeply. The Dal Makhani is priced at 295/-.
Lastly, the desserts are nothing spectacular to write about. They look stunning but do not live upto the hype created by their presentation. One spoonful and you regret most of them. Most notably, the Hot Chocolate fudge left us wanting for more chocolate. They should have tried out the hot chocolate fudge doled out by Nirula's. That is what I call a hot chocolate fudge. The rasmalai is fine and so are the other desserts. But priced at 165/- ( except flambeed gulab jamuns at 195) they rather be given a miss. If you still want to go in for a dessert, try the lychee with ice cream, that is if you can have canned lychee's.
To sum it all up, the place has lots of space and is really done up tastefully. The dishes taste good, especially the kababs and main course. The service is good, the portion size is decent ( you might end up carrying doggy bags), but the price is too steep. At almost the same rate or a little more you might want to go to ITC Kakatiya Sheraton, a five star hotel and sample the most heavenly kababs and Dal Makahani. If you want to enjoy at a lesser rate you could go down to Angeethi, which is close to Punjabi By Nature and enjoy the north Indian fare at cheaper rates.

Pros : Great Ambience
Good Service
Decent Food

Cons: Value For Money

Bottomline : Great place to take a client out. Good for a one time visit.

Ambience - 5/5
Food - 3/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 1/5
Overall - 3/5


bhags said...

First time here, i think. Nice blog you have got here Gaurav.

Simran said...

To me, Punjabi by Nature always means vodka golgappas and flambe gulab jamuns. Hope yours gets a liquor license soon.

Gaurav said...

Thanks Bhags!
Absolutely Simran ...the golguppa shots are just amazing. Pity they havent got them here.

Swati Raman Garg said...

love punjabi by nature in delhi .. seems its good enuf in hyd too .. wud ask my folks in hyd to tak me there when iam there :) thanks

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