Contributed by Amit Uppal
It’s the Navratras and I was vegetarian. A die-hard carnivore otherwise, this is one time of the year (actually, twice) when I am envious of non-vegetarians. Especially ones who sit before me devouring their chicken, mutton and seafood, while all I do is visually caress the food with deep yearning in my eyes. I don’t complain about the 9 days of abstinence however. Gives me time to cleanse the old system.
It was one of those days in the office when I don’t feel like eating regular office cafeteria food and wanted to venture out for something different. My colleague and fellow foodie Jyoti and I met up and decided on the nearest available restaurant, Pind Balluchi. I had heard good things about the restaurant being a heaven for Punjabi food lovers, but had not been there myself. A 10-minute walk from my office (NDMC Building, adjoining Jantar Mantar) Pind Balluchi is located in the Regal Building, outer circle Connaught Place. The location is perfect, though without any parking space… and these days, thanks to the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Connaught Place has become an excavator’s paradise. Visiting most establishments has become a nightmare because of all the restoration work going on.
We were greeted by a burly doorman, and on entering, were instantly awed by the décor. Statues of men, women and children clad in traditional Punjabi attire positioned here and there, bangles in different colors and designs neatly arranged on wooden rods one above the other and dim lighting with a thick trunked tree in the middle of the setting transport you into a typical Punjabi atmosphere. Pind Balluchi isn’t cramped though it isn’t too big either. Tables, sofas and chairs have neatly been arranged, with a total of approximately 150 covers spread across two floors.
The menu surprised us with the prices it displayed. I started getting that weird feeling of low-in-price-low-in-quality. This happens when I walk into a beautifully done up restaurant, and find the prices not commensurate with the decor and service. Anyhow, we were in, and we had to eat. We were served the welcome drink- Annanas ka Panna (A drink made of pineapple pulp, peppercorns, black salt and sugar, served chilled). Good.
We ordered Khumb Pyaaz ki Bhujia (finely chopped mushrooms and onions, in a thick spicy gravy); Karahi Paneer (cubed cottage cheese in a thick spicy gravy made of tomatoes, onions, spices and bell peppers); Daal Pachrangi (Five types of pulses cooked together) Garlic Naan (unleavened bread, made with wheat flour and topped with finely chopped garlic, baked in a clay oven) and Roti (unleavened bread). I couldn’t try any of their non-vegetarian dishes due to the Navaratras. Going by their vegetarian fare though, I’m certain the non-vegetarian dishes too would be great. The dessert was the Chef’s special, Paan ki Kulfi (A frozen dessert, made of milk and dry fruits, flavored with paan).
The Khumb Pyaaz ki Bhujia was excellent, with delicate flavors, and we could taste each ingredient separately. Couldn’t have been better. The Kadai Paneer was good too, but I felt the salt to be a bit on the higher side. The Daal Pachrangi was a mix of five kinds of pulses, and went well with the Garlic Naan. The best part was the Naan itself, which was thin, light and remained soft till it was inside our tummies, unlike most places where they quickly become rubbery and hard few minutes after serving. The Paan ki Kulfi was out of this world.
The bill for two was a measly 700 rupees!
Good food, good ambiance, attentive service, and great prices!
Credit Cards: Yes | Home Delivery: No | Alcohol: No