BANGKOK is a gourmand’s destination, just as it's also a shopaholic’s paradise. To the former, to allot an insignificant amount of time to enjoy the vast culinary delights of the city is blasphemous.
Away from the famed street food culture and into the more fancy dining scene, the feast is raised to a higher degree. The formula: what’s seen on the plate should be as visually exciting as the setting it is served in applies.
Restaurateurs offer diners an absolute experience.
Dining spaces are impeccably designed by experts to match the innovative dishes the chefs create.
Entertainment is distinct to the theme to set the mood. There is no short supply of these establishments in the Big Mango.
Punjab Grill is an Indian brand and one of those world-class restaurants in the metro. It serves “the crown jewel of North Indian frontier gourmet cuisine” in its address at the Radisson Suites Bangkok along Sukhumvit 13.
It has branches across India, Singapore, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi.
“Punjab Grill is the latest addition to the food outlets of Radisson Suites Bangkok. It opened February of this year to rave reviews of its guests and the local Bangkok residents. We had seen an opportunity in the market to offer Fine Dining Indian Cuisine with an emphasis on Punjab cuisines so we designed a new restaurant in an under-utilized area of the hotel,” shared Simon Ramsay.
Punjabi cuisine is associated with the Punjab region of India and Pakistan in the northern part of the nation. Its food has a rich tradition, with many local distinctions.
As for Punjab Grill, it gave the dishes a modern interpretation and contemporary twist, both in flavor and presentation.
The well-curated menu caters for all dietary restrictions from vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and Jain.
An invitation to dine in Radisson’s newest outlet was extended by the charming Visayan-speaking hotel general manager, Simon Ramsay, prior to my arrival in the city.
Being a fan of Indian food, I accepted.
While waiting for my dinner mate Khun Saranchana, Radisson Suite’s director of sales and marketing, I was seated by Sarabjeet Kaur, the Indian hostess garbed in traditional sari, and ordered a recommended drink from the bar, which is now trending for its signature Indian cocktails and mocktails as Simon mentioned.
The interior of Punjab grill exudes an elegant, old world appeal of British-India but with modern touches. It utilizes a lot of wood in all sections of the room with the pattern only broken at the entry path, where floor tiles in colonial design were used.
The lounge seats are wrapped in brown leather which complements the look of the bar and framed black and white Indian prints decorate one wall while a small fireplace highlight another in the dining hall. It’s a very masculine room softened by the floor to ceiling sand toned drapes that can provide privacy to sections of the room when drawn closed.
Lighting is perfect, not too bright nor too dim, just enough to see everything in the dining room visibly, including the open kitchen section where three large tandoors (cooking clay ovens) are in full view.
Entertainment is alive with several international Indian artists serenading the diners and taking requests.
When it was time to eat, I was at loss when confronted with a lineup of delicious delicacies to choose from. So I asked the restaurant manager, Siddharth Manjeshwar, and executive chef, Bharat Baht, to choose the house specialties (with no red meat) they wanted to highlight.
The meal started with the Crab and Lentil Shorba—a dollop of spiced crab claw meat, topped with a rich, mustard-infused lentil soup (B190).
I liked the spiciness of the flavorful thin broth. It was at a level I can handle.
Then came the Avocado Papdi Chaat—Avocado guacamole, tossed with sweet and spicy chutneys and marinated cherry tomatoes, and served in flour roll cones (B220). The serving was perfect for sharing.
The cooling effect of the guacamole and the mild sweetness of the chutneys toned down the spice of the previous dish.
Mani presented the first of the main courses, a stylishly plated Tandoori Jheenga—Tiger Prawns scented with carom seed and char-grilled in a tandoori oven, and served with mint and coriander chutney (B900).
The shrimps were tender and moist, perfectly grilled. I personally loved the smoky flavor of the dish.
A favorite dish and a Punjab house classic followed, the Butter Chicken—chicken morsel poached in creamy buttery tomato sauce (B425), and served with two variants of breads: the Kulcha Paneer, made with refined flour and stuffed with cheese (B90); and the Ulta Tawa Parantha, also made with refined flour but mixed with saffron and other spices (B120).
If I could finish the entire bowl of sauce the chicken came with, I would.
There was enough bread to wipe every drop of the tasty sauce off the serving dish. But I had to make room for dessert. I was told it's a surprise.
A baseball-sized Chocolate Sphere (B225) was served. “How is it eaten,” I asked as I ogled at it.
On point, the pastry chef fired up the liquid on a gravy server and poured its fiery contents— cardamom scented chocolate sauce, on the ball melting the sphere and revealing the Kulfi, a traditional Indian ice cream, inside.
The warm and cold dessert was an incredible finale.
I ended the meal the way I started it, with a drink. I was handed Pan Shot—Betel leaf blend with vanilla ice cream and milk. I wasn’t sure I wanted to chug it until I was told it was good for digestion and serves as tongue cleanser. I raised my glass to Punjabi Grill and chugged a couple.
A taste of Northern Indian cuisine at Punjabi Grill was a memorable way to culminate the visit. Sukriya Punjab Grill, Khab khun krap Khun Saranchana & daghang salamat Simon Ramsay for the exquisite Punjabi cuisine and warm hospitality.
Punjab Grill Bangkok?(within Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit) 23/2-3 Sukhumvit Soi 13, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, ?Bangkok. Visit their website at www.punjabgrillbangkok.com
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 16, 2016.
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