I recently had an opportunity to get a sneak peek at the new tasting menu for Punjab Grill Bangkok (official Facebook page). Every other month they switch up their tasting menu in which they strive to present traditional Indian dishes with a modern style. This new tasting menu is special as it begins on August 15th, and is meant to commemorate the 72nd Independence Day of India.
To celebrate the special day, they’ve designed a menu that includes classic dishes from 5 different states in India with an exciting twist in flavor and presentation. From my experience I can understand why Punjab Grill Bangkok has recently been named one of the Top 25 Restaurants in Bangkok by Travelindex. The dish presentation is gorgeous, inventive and delicious. The restaurant atmosphere is also very cozy (with seriously comfy chairs).
Their fine dining non-vegetarian tasting menu is an amazing deal at 1,490 baht net (their vegetarian tasting menu is 990 baht net).
But let’s get straight to the food, shall we?
Start with an appetizer…
Though not on the tasting menu, these complimentary Papadums with 3 Sauces are still worth mentioning. The bowl contains 2 different kinds of papadums, one made with lentil flour, and another with potato flour. The 3 sauces are: mint chutney, cheese with garlic, and tomato with raisin. The cheese with garlic sauce is addictive and the tomato with raisin sauce is very savory. This is a great way to get the appetite going…and it will get you excited for what’s in store from the tasting menu!
Course 1: A treat from the Mumbai streets!
To showcase the western state of India, Maharashtra, Punjab Grill Bangkok offers a contemporary take on classic street food famous in Mumbai. Raj Kachori are puffed flour crisps, filled with a tangy sweet yoghurt mousse, spicy nuts, and chick pea vermicelli.
But to get to the goodness inside the Raj Kachori you don’t just pop it in your mouth. Give it a smack! Then take your spoon and stir it all up. Each bite will taste refreshingly different. If this is street snacks in Mumbai, I think I’d be snacking all the time if I lived there!
Course 2: A melt in your mouth prawn dish!
This classic dish from the Mangalore coast in the southwestern state of Karnataka is also presented with a modern twist. Jheenga Ghee Roast is made with juicy tiger prawns marinated in a special coastal spice mix. The spice is tempered with clarified butter. These delicious prawns are served atop a rice and lentil pancake that’s further flavored with strips of curry leaves.
If you’re a fan of prawns you will love this dish. The perfectly cooked prawns retain their crunch and natural sweetness. The sauce is a little spicy–but not flaming (the pancake isn’t exciting on it’s own but with the prawns and spicy sauce it works extremely well together). I was especially pleased that the tails were removed. The perfect bite is a bit of of prawn and spicy sauce on top of a bit of pancake with a slivery of coconut meat. Yum!
Course 3: Amazing tandoor chicken!
Punjab Grill Bangkok is very popular for its Punjabi cooking accomplished in their charcoal burning tandoors. They’ve got 3 tandoor ovens in full view of the dining area. They mean business when it comes to tandoor cooking. One bite of this Kesar Malai Murgh Tikka, influenced from the northwestern state of India Punjab, and you’re going to immediately understand their popularity.
In my experience, I am often disappointed with chicken cooked in a tandoor. I often find it too dry. But this tandoor cooked chicken is exceptional. A wise chef once told me that when it comes to meat “bone in equals flavor“. So I was really excited when this chicken thigh was presented butterflied with the leg bone standing at attention. Talk about flavor!
The chicken is marinated in saffron extract scented with mace and green cardamom. They upped the spice a bit from the previous course, but the creamy avocado raita that decorated the plate like a Pollock painting both toned down the heat and enhanced the flavor. I had no problem cleaning the plate and no shame in ensuring every bit of meat was removed from the bone.
Course 4: A perfect combination…
The final main course comes from the most northern state in India, Kashmir. From the foothills of the Himalaya’s there are two ingredients that are very popular: lamb and wild mushrooms. This Gosht Ki Boti Aur Kumbh Ki Khichdi combines them both.
These lamb leg leg morsels are incredibly tender and flavorful. They’re scented with fennel and star anise and served atop a generous portion of mushroom kedgeree. My first question (and it may be yours, too) was, “What’s a kedgeree?”.
A kedgeree is basically a creamy rice dish that’s usually cooked with cream, butter, smoked haddock, and eggs. It’s similar to risotto. This mushroom kedgeree is cooked with mushroom stock, mushrooms, and truffle oil. Despite what you’d think it is not strongly mushroom flavored. Rather it’s very savory and surprisingly steals the show from the incredible lamb!
But what really makes this dish a perfect combination is the blue cheese naan. Forget cheese naan. Forget garlic naan. THIS! The naan is served hot, fresh, with the perfect amount of flavorful char. The perfect bite is too tear off a piece of the naan and fill it with the both lamb and kedgeree. It’s quite filling (especially after the other courses) but it’s so delicious I had no problem leaving yet another cleaned plate.
Course 5: A deliciously different dessert!
For the dessert, they presented a traditional sweet dish from Kolkata located in the eastern state of India, Bengal. Steamed yoghurt doesn’t sound that delicious but it becomes decadent when they add some local Thai flavor using Nam Dok Mai mangos.
This Aam Bhapa Dohi is made by steaming yoghurt and chilling it so that you’re left with “curds” that are then further sweetened with condensed milk and chunks of deliciously juicy mango. It’s then served on a bed of crushed ice with fresh berries and accompanied with warm mango sauce. The texture from the curds, chunks of mango, and creamy sauce makes this a surprisingly decadent dessert!
A chat with the chef…
I was fortunate to be able to have a chance to speak with the Punjab Grill Bangkok Executive Chef, Bharath S. Bhat. Chef Bharath is originally from Mumbai, India. For 15 years he’s had the opportunity to sharpen his skills in luxurious 5 star hotel kitchens around the world. He has many career highlights such as working as a Sous Chef at the Grosvenor House in Dubai in the Michelin star restaurant “Indigo“. He’s also assisted in the opening of “Simply India” at the St. Regis Hotel in Mauritius.
In 2013 he joined Lite Bite Foods Pvt. Ltd. as the Senior Executive Chef of the company’s fine-dining Punjab Grill restaurants At that time there were 10 restaurants throughout India, and one restaurant in Singapore. In August, 2015 he was referred to Radisson Suites Hotel to assist in the “set-up” of the Punjab Grill Bangkok restaurant. He was eager for the challenge.
Punjab Grill Bangkok quickly rises…
Punjab Grill Bangkok opened its doors February 2, 2016. Since then Chef Bharath has been responsible for sourcing the best quality local ingredients and produce for the dishes, design the menu, and train the Thai cooks and restaurant staff to ensure that the Bangkok restaurant continues to reflect and maintain the high standards of quality service and food for which Punjab Grill has been reputed.
His leadership of the kitchen team and masterful design of the menu led Punjab Grill Bangkok to be recognized as one of the Top 25 Restaurants in Bangkok by Travelindex. Chef Bharat is especially proud of this recognition because the Tavelindex “Restaurant Rating Index” is driven by the world’s first artificial intelligence technology applied to a restaurant guide, and, most importantly, re-assessed by some of the world’s top culinary experts.
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Punjab Grill Bangkok is located on Sukhumvit Soi 13 at the entrance of the Radisson Suites. It’s an easy walk from the BTS Nana station. Should you drive, parking and valet service is available.
The dining area is able to accommodate guest groups sized both big and small. The atmosphere is very cozy and relaxing with it’s warm lighting and comfortable leather seat cushions. They feature live Indian musical performances Tuesday through Sunday from 8pm to 11:30pm that further enhance the dining experience. Though it’s a fine dining restaurant, it’s very family friendly so you won’t feel uncomfortable bringing children. All are welcome.
If you enjoy Indian cuisine you’ll love trying Punjab Grill Bangkok’s classic dishes served with a modern twist both in flavor and presentation. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below if you visit!