After sampling the limited-time-only Rajasthan Food Festival at Grand Hyatt, Goa in August, I hadn’t visited any short food festivals or special menu events. While these events are few and far between, they’re slowly starting to become a trend. I love attending them for a couple of reasons. These limited-time-only menus give chefs a chance to reinvent and step away from the tried and tested menu that often haven’t been re-looked at in years. The creativity in the new menu speaks volumes every single time!
Often, the menus highlight a certain ingredient, festival or region and chefs from outside the restaurant, or even state and country are brought in. During the ‘Culinary Journey through India’ by Marriott, Goa, the resort honed the skills of their in-house chefs from around the country. The Punjabi chefs took over on the day dedicated to Punjabi cuisine, Goan chefs highlighted Goa fare and every day gave a new chef a chance at the helm. Not something you see everyday, is it?
Without rambling on, I’ll get to the point. The Heirloom Festival by Punjab Grill has been on for around 2 months now and the menu reflects a dedication to using thoughtfully chosen fairly traded ingredients. There’s just about a week left until the dishes are taken off the menu, so I hope you read this in time. The main ingredient in every dish is chicken!
Scroll through all the delish items on the menu (I sampled EVERYTHING!)
MURGH SHORBA WITH GARLIC AND BARLEY
Flaming orange, super fragrant and spicy (but not the tear-inducing kind), the soup had small chunks of chicken and a generous amount of barley for some chewy texture. It was rich and comforting and I could feel the warm spice make its way down as I swallowed. One of those feel-good, scintillating soups for sure!
MURGH DALCHA TIKKA
Murgh dalcha is a gravy dish where chicken is cooked with lentils. This was the ‘tikka’ variety. Chicken coated in a smooth lentil/dal paste with yogurt and spices and then dipped into the tandoor to cook. Can’t tell you how succulent this was – the texture of the chicken was neither stringy, tough or too soft. In fact, the chicken in every single dish was spot on perfect. I haven’t seen this dish offered in any restaurant so far, which is quite a pity.
TAMARIND TANDOORI CHICKEN WINGS
BBQ glazed chicken wings is always a crowd pleaser! This one was a tad different as it was marinated with a yogurt-spice mix, cooked in the tandoor and then glazed with finger-licking good tamarind sauce. Beautifully sweet, tart and sticky.
Can’t believe I’ve never heard of Chargha Kukkad before. A delicacy from the streets of Lahore, chicken is marinated in ground spices and deep fried until golden. This would have probably tasted better with the crispy skin left on, but it was delicious without it, nonetheless.
Don’t be fooled – these aren’t your everyday chicken lollipops. These chicken drumsticks were marinated and slow cooked for hours so that the flavours penetrated to the bone. This dish just cannot be faulted! It was so juicy and flavourful and had was slightly charred for a smokey taste.
After those 4 meaty starters, I was in no position to attempt mains. But since I may never taste these dishes at Punjab Grill again, I went YOLO! and sampled a spoonful of each.
CHUR CHUR NAAN – I’m one to choose rice over flatbread, but this naan was such a guilty pleasure! It’s hot and firm exterior was stuffed with a thick, satin-like paste of cauliflower and apricots. It was so yum, I could have eaten it plain. But it perfectly complimented every gravy offered.
RAW MANGO CHICKEN CURRY – This dish really stood out! I can still distinctly remember the taste of that tangy gravy. If you’ve ever tried Kasundi, a Bengali curry made of raw mango and mustard, you’d find slight similarities to this one.
MURGH ROAST FATEHWAL – This was really the star of the mains. It was punchy, well balanced fragrant and the taste of ground spices roasted in ghee was apparent in every delicious morsel. Highly recommended.
MURGH KOFTA – I didn’t find anything really spectacular about this dish. It was pretty standard – chicken meatballs cooked in generic Indian spices.
ALOO MURGH KI TEHRI – Simplicity at its best! Baby potatoes cooked dum-style along with minimally spiced boneless chicken. The long-grained rice was also cooked in spices and the rich taste of saffron made its presence felt. There was generous caramelized onions, something I can’t do without in biryanis.
I thought the phirni I had in Delhi was good. But this one was off the charts! After talking so much about the food, I’m sure you’ll believe me when I say it was Ah-Mazing! The custard like texture, nuts, saffron, broken rice – this was harmony!
Expect nothing less than excellence from the house of Kalra – they’re restaurants never fail to deliver time and again. Head over for a ferocious display of chicken dishes from Punjab Grill before they go.
You may also want to check out my review of another mindblowing Kalra restaurant, Pa Pa Ya.