Friday, 25 October 2013

DINING OUT: Punjabi Beauties in Gurgaon's Cyberia

This restaurant review first appeared in Mail Today on Friday, October 25, 2013.
Copyright: Mail Today Newspapers
http://epaper.mailtoday.in/showtext.aspx?boxid=525859&parentid=86723&issuedate=25102013

SNAPSHOT
WHERE: Made in Punjab, 6 & 7, Ground Floor, Cyber Hub, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon
WHEN: 12 NOON to 4 P.M.; 7:30 TO 11:30 P.M.
DIAL: +91 8130911899 / 8800692397
AVG. MEAL FOR TWO (A LA CARTE): Rs 1,500+++
The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor licence yet.

By Sourish Bhattacharyya

The mutton tandoori chaanp is a favourite at the
must-go-to Made in Punjab in Gurgaon’s new
‘food mall’, DLF Cyber Hub, which will have 44
restaurants when it is fully operational. (Photo by
Ramesh Sharma / Copyright: Mail Today)

AS YOU enter Made in Punjab on the ground floor of the country’s “first food mall”, DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon, after negotiating dug-up roads and traffic diversions, you’re greeted by three humongous tandoors encased in titanium shells at the front end of a see-through turbocharged kitchen. It was only a couple of days after its opening that I was at the restaurant in the yet-to-formally-open mall sandwiched between Infinity Towers and HeroBPO and the DLF building that looks like a miniature of Dubai’s Burj al-Arab, just off NH-8.
It smelt, as the deathless Kurt Cobain sang so memorably, like teen spirit. I could only see Youngistan all around me, not exactly teenagers but young executives from the steel-and-glass temples of India Inc surrounding the Cyber Hub, digging the all-you-can-eat buffet priced at Rs 550 A.I. (“it is only an introductory offer, sir,” the manager was quick to add, lest I started entertaining delusions of paying little to live it up).
Halomax lights, a current favourite of stylish stores in malls, give the restaurant a warm, welcoming glow; the tables have Italian marble tops and the chairs are made with Burma teak; the crockery, cutlery and serviettes are all branded. The music of Advaita, my favourite Delhi band, plays in the background — a seamless fusion of rock, Sufi and Hindustani classical that can soothe even the most jangled nerves.
The place oozes quite elegance, despite its opening price of Rs 550 A.I., which, I am told, is not likely to go up beyond Rs 650 A.I. That I don’t expect to happen soon, thoughy, because competition will get serious once the DLF Cyber Hub has its 44 restaurants up and running when it becomes fully operational. The line-up includes India’s biggest Hard Rock CafĂ©; AD Singh’s Irani restaurant venture, Soda Water Openerwala; Dimsumbros/Yo China duo Ashish Kapur and Ajay Saini’s The Wine Company (where you’ll be able to buy wine at retail prices and have your meal with your favourite grape); the Rajasthani restaurant hugely popular in Maharashtra, Panchvati Gaurav; and Made in Punjab’s competition (and mirror image), Dhaba by The Claridges.
Coming back to Made in Punjab, the excitement begin with each table getting a sampler of six types of papad with four different chutneys to stoke the appetite of the lunch-time turnout for the feast lined up on tables crowded with busy induction stoves and stylish cast-iron pots designed by the French company Le Creuset. Curries and biryani kept in these pots don’t get overcooked — a common complaint with buffet food warmed in old-fashioned chafing dishes.
The spread includes ten starters, ten kinds of biryani and curries, ten salads and ten desserts, including a divine Moong Dal Halwa that miraculously doesn’t swim in ghee. It also includes the Made in Punjab version of French tableside cooking — live phulka and dal trolleys, a nifty innovation introduced to Delhi’s dining scene by Masala Art at Taj Palace. The Dal Saat Salaam — no, it’s not a Maoist slogan! — is made with seven kinds of tempering by your tableside (which explains the name). Made in Punjab has changed the meaning of value for money. The variety it offers also would make you want to come back again for the buffet.
The 112-seater restaurant’s a la carte menu has a number of standouts, but my favourites are the saffron-infused, generously creamy murgh kastoori kebabs, the more rugged tandoori chaanp, the generously proportioned Kashmiri morels (bharwan gucchi), the unforgettable prawn kulcha and gucchi naan, which I have never had anywhere before, the World’s Heaviest Lassi laden with rabdi and peda from Mathura, and the Kulfi Sundae.
Made in Punjab is just what Delhi/NCR’s new generation of diners needed but never had. And if you go for the buffet spread, make sure you check out each item in the churan platter that comes to you at the end in an ornate box with brightly hued ceramic pigeonholes.