Restaurant Review:
Punjab Grill

Venetian Village, Ritz Carlton
Abu Dhabi

We love everything about North Indian food! Having grown up on it, even till date, a lavish North Indian meal is our grub of choice either when it’s been cooked by our moms or is the type that reminds us of food cooked by our moms)! We were recently invited to sample the menu at Punjabi Grill at the Venetian Village in the Ritz Carlton. The Abu Dhabi Branch is one of 12 Punjab Grill restaurants gaining renown the world over. Punjabi Grill is perched cozily within the Venetian Village that remembles the streets of Venice and is flanked by the bright blue sea on one side, different restaurants on the other and the expansive hotel and its gardens in the distance.  
The décor is tasteful and boasts of an understated elegance and the natural light and pleasant view of the water made for the perfect lunch setting! Here’s everything we ate and drank at the restaurant:

Drinks

Cupid Strike: Chili Infused Vodka, Guava, Orange, Coriander, Lime
Aneeka: Pomegranate Juice, Mint Leaves, Lime Juice And Vanilla Syrup
Fresh Watermelon Juice

We visited the restaurant a day before Halloween and so, the Cupid Strike with chilies on either side of the Martini glass akin to a Devil’s horns was a perfect fit for the day! The drinks we had were ideal accompaniments for the flavorful North Indian meal we feasted on.
Appetizers

  • Watermelon Slider: Palak Patta Chaat, Herb Lime Glaze
  • Ambarsari Macchi: Amritsari Fish, Pindi Chole, Aloo Jeera Fritters, Tamarind Glaze, Mint Chutney:
  • Kebab Trio  -  Laban: Yoghurt KebabsHara: Spinach Patties With Mango Preserve; Beetroot: Figs And Pine Nut Stuffed Beetroot Galettes, Crumb Fried
  • Salmon Tikka: Chargrilled Salmon With Dill And Cream Cheese Over Khichdi And Kadhai Asparagus
  • Chaamp Taajdar+Bhatti Ka Murgh: Signature Punjab Grill Lamb Chops, Braised And Chargrilled In Tandoor And Leg Of Chicken Marinated With Spices, Grilled In Tandoor.
Mains

  • Kofta Makhan Palak: The Kofta Was Presented In An Intermingling Of Two Gravies; Butter And Creamed Spinach
  • Dal Makhani
  • Kadai Paneer
  • Jumbo Prawn Biryani
  • Tiny Breads – Roti, Garlic Naan, Pudina Paratha, Aloo Kulcha, Missi Roti, Peshawari Naan
Desserts

  • Decadent Chocolate Cake
  • Faux Fried Egg, Rashers (Churros) And Berries

Lately, quite a few fine-dining restaurants around the UAE have been serving up a variety of ‘Chaat’ versions. These savory road side snacks have been getting fancy twists but not all have tickled our fancy. However, Punjab Grill aces this starter and the combination of a fresh chunk of watermelon with tangy Chaat is brilliant! We also thoroughly enjoyed the buttery salmon and even more so with the Khichdi; an unheard of mishmash that is wonderful. The trio of adorable kebabs also flaunted unique combinations such as peanut butter as a dipping sauce for the Beetroot one but it worked. We rank the Laban Kebab as the winner in this one! The lamb chops trumped the chicken leg and the Amritsari fish but overall, the appetizers were all plain awesome.

Now for the mains; the amalgamation of gravies in the Kofta dishes were a stroke of genius and you honestly get the best of both (gravy) worlds in this one. Additionally, neither overpowers the other and they both stand out equally. Punjab Grill’s Dal Makhni is prepared in their own way with the cooking time going up to a few hours. We enjoyed the Kadhai Paneer and it was well complemented with the Peshwari Naan; a slightly sweet flatbread that is garnished with nuts and raisins. When they call it Jumbo prawn biryani, they’re not kidding; it was whopping in both size and taste!

Regardless of how indulgent a meal has been, we always manage to leave room for dessert (or perhaps dessert stomachs do in fact exist). Chef Sandeep Ail loves chocolate and that love translates into the decadent chocolate cake which abounds in rich chocolate and great taste. We couldn’t stop squealing in amusement at the presentation of the second dessert which resembled a breakfast of sunny side up eggs to a T! In fact, it would be awesome for an April fool’s prank and the best part, it tastes remarkable too.  
All in all, Punjab Grill brings to the fore an exquisite arrangement of both classic and contemporary North Indian dishes, some with more quirky and current presentations and elements while others retain their tradition. Chef Sandeep Ail is passionate about food and that is evident in both his conversations and preparations and we would happily make the drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi when the craving for some good North Indian fare kicks in.