Sunday, March 20, 2016

#PunjabiNext at Made in Punjab

Punjab, the land of Five Rivers, since time immemorial, has been blessed with rich fields, farms and a natural legacy most sought after. It is this land with an addictive spirit of celebration, forming the erstwhile Kingdom of Punjab, that gave birth to one of the most adored cuisines in the World. Such is the reputation of the cuisine from Punjab, that not only has it become synonymous and representative of Indian food, no restaurant menu serving Indian cuisine is complete without having atleast a few dishes from the region.

As part of it’s converted culinary experience, Made in Punjab, the multi-award winning, critically acclaimed, smart-casual concept under Zorawar Kalra’s Massive Restaurants umbrella, yesterday announced the launch of it’s new menu.

Incorporating a fine balance between earthy-rustic and modern-chic, Made in Punjab endeavors to offer a contemporary culinary experience, retaining the cuisine’s traditional essence, taking the legacy forward as #PunjabiNext.

Speaking on the occasion, Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing Director of Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. who was a picture of politeness and humility, mingling with guests, said, "Representing over 5000 years of culinary heritage, Indian food is one of the oldest known cuisines in the World. Since its commercial proliferation and representation in India and more so, overseas, Indian food has come to be synonymous with Punjabi cuisine in its numerous hues. With the launch of Made in Punjab’s new menu, we are earnestly endeavoring to offer our patrons traditional flavors of Punjab, while also showcasing the vibrancy of its people and their zest for life."

Dahi Pataka

Burnt Lehsun Tikka

At the glamorous evening of food and drinks, guests immersed themselves in the culinary legacy from regions of Amritsar, Patiala, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, among others. Dan Jones, brand ambassador of USL-Diageo Reserve served creatively titled, exquisite cocktails paired with delicious hors d'oeuvres.

I personally loved the Dahi Pataka, a veg starter I found outstanding after long. A crisp shell holding within the richly flavourful, creamy hung yoghurt that melts in the mouth. The Bun Chori is also a slider that made me get over my aversion for anything that resembles a burger. The size is just right, not overwhelming like usual burgers and the taste is exceptional with such a lovely interpretation of a substitute to French fries, small round baby potatoes with skin, fried to perfection. Another noticeable feature was the presentation of each starter. In a crowded restaurant, snacks always end up in a mess but here I saw each platter distinctly original and served with style and aesthetic precision. The staff heaped lavish attention and care on each guest.

The LOL Mary paired with LOL Tikki, a 6 hour-slow preparation of cooked leg of lamb patties in mint & tomato, the Gold Fashioned with Nalli Hard Kaur, slow braised kid lamb shanks in onions & yoghurt and the Kalmi Down paired with Kalmi Kebab, a tandoor roasted bone chicken leg in double malai marinade were some of the innovations on showcase from the new menu.

Bun Chori

Nalli Hard Kour

"While food forms a large part of a true Punjabi lifestyle, no Punjabi celebration is complete without a cocktail to match. Therefore, innovation taking center-stage, Made in Punjab has curated its signature beverage section with equal aplomb, offering concept beverage options such as LOL Mary, Gold Fashioned and Kalmi Down cocktails that taste as interesting as their names sound. Using some of the finest blends and contemporary innovations, these exciting cocktails are crafted to enhance and bring out the complexity of the rich, intense and layered flavors of the cuisine served at Made in Punjab," added Zorawar.

USL-Diageo Reserve brand ambassador Dan Jones added "Be sure to try the LOL Mary, Gold Fashioned and Kalmi Down cocktails that taste as interesting as their names sound. Using the light, sweet smoky blend of Johnnie Walker Gold Label, the warming, rich and fruity single-malt Singleton and crisp, and citrus Ketel One vodka, these exciting cocktails are specially crafted to enhance and bring out the complexity of the rich, intense and layered flavors of the dishes at MIP."

Balancing between global favorites and dishes from the pind, Made in Punjab aims to take the revered culinary heritage of the region forward, enticing the well heeled and exposed diner of today. The evening was made even more special with the performance of desi rock band Faridkot that
churned out one hit track after the other, connecting with the eclectic audience well and often asking them to sing along. Starting with hard core rock, he moved on to popular Indi and Punjabi rock down the ages and even incorporating some popular movie numbers with his distinct style, playing to the gallery singing Mohd Rafi to Mohit Chauhan.

The menu is a delight to just read through. You can't help smiling conspiratorially at the puns, the jokes one has grown up with, the rustic humour that is so Punjabi. With cocktails such as Syappa, Nashili Chai and Jaat Risky after Whiskey, you know the party is pretty much on! The Nashili Chai was a runaway hit, being served in chai glass holders of 6 shot glasses and poured from a kettle into the ice. I also tried the mocktail Khatta Meetha which was refreshing and oozing with citrus flavours I love(Fresh muddled orange with mango juice, lime juice and passion fruit puree) that of course I asked the bartender to spike with a little vodka. As they say, Punjabis don't know any half measures!


My Made in Punjab menu launch look of the day. I anticipated a lot of colourful phulkari inspired outfits all around, so purposely decided to keep it monochromatic(afterall Punjabiyat is all in the mind and attitude). So this black and white Marks and Spencer(That UK brand you know from apna London!) dress it was with my two toned pumps from Charles and Keith(They hurt last year when I bought them but have become really comfy now with wear and tear). A delicate silver and pearl piece in the neck and a black and white animal print bag I don't even remember where I bought from! Okay now it comes back, I bought it from the Mecca of Punjabi in Delhi-Karol Bagh! ;-)

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