Food Review: The Funjabi Tadka, Bandra (W)

The latest entrant in Bandra’s food scene promises fine dining with a touch of quirkiness. I joined Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi along with Anuja Deora from Mumbai Food Lovers for lunch there last week to find out if the tadka was strong enough or not.
With just a handful of restaurants offering good North Indian/Punjabi food in the city, a restaurant run by a Punjabi Chef brings a lot of expectations. According to Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi the food here is similar to what you will find in a Punjabi house; with dollops of butter I assume.

Flavoured lassis

The host of Turban Tadka on Food Food channel, the Namak-Shamak Chef is famous for his antics and jokes on the show and has applied a similar sense of humour in the decor. A Mario Miranda-esque mural at the entrance welcomes you and the walls inside are decorated with pictures straight from a village in Punjab along with some regular quotes written behind the trucks.

Mushroom galouti, arbi karari 
We started our lunch with flavoured lassi served in cutting chai glasses, the thick creamy mango and chocolate flavoured yogurt (Rs 140) is a must try. There’s an Oreo lassi too; a definite hit with the kids. 

As we lined our stomachs with lassi, starters were served. What we tried was something very different from the regular kebabs and tikkas; Arbi karari (Rs 170) – arbi tikkis with a coating of cornflakes which added a nice crunch to the otherwise soft arbis, Mushroom ki galouti – mushroom kebabs served on small crispy parathas (Rs 195), Popcorn chicken (Rs 240) – boneless pieces of chicken dipped in a spicy batter and deep fried, Bheera da seekh kabab (Rs 280) – very succulent mutton seekh kababs. 

All the starters were served with a side of Pickled beetroot, Anardana chutney, Gud ki chatni with muskmelon seeds and a very Punjabi style mango pickle. The chef told us that the pickle is specially ordered from Delhi and after tasting it all I wanted to do was to take home a jar of that pickle. yes, my Mom makes similar one.

The bar in this restaurant sits behind a walled partition. While there was little activity on this weekday afternoon, we sure hope to see more guests enjoying their Patiyala pegs soon.

The main course was a great respite from the regular dal tadkas, red gravies and green gravies passed off as North Indian food. We were served four different kinds of dal including Methi palak dal (Rs 175) – slow cooked dal with fenugreek and spinach and served with a generous ladle of cream and butter, Aandon wali dal (Rs 175) – black dal with boiled egg, dhaba dal (Rs 175) – a spicy concoction of mixed dals usually served in the dhabas of Punjab. The methi dal stood out of all and is a must try with crisp and buttery Lachcha or Pudina paratha (Rs 60). Butter chicken (Rs 280), a regular at every restaurant serving North Indian fare, is made with a little twist here. The gravy is not cooked with tomatoes and lemon juice is added to cut through the rich gravy and a little tart. We were a little apprehensive about eating a butter chicken which was white in colour but this can easily be one of the best I’ve had so far, and I am not even a big fan of butter chicken so yes, it was something. There was also a subtle flavour of lemon grass which was used as a garnish.

Nimbu wala butter chicken
Mirchonwala halwa
Given the amount of white butter and cream in the food you might have to walk around a bit to let it settle down and make some space for the dessert. The mirchaan wala halwa (Rs 175) is something not to be missed even if you can’t eat more than just one spoon. The semolina halwa is made with green chillies and quite the kick of spice as an aftertaste. The dessert is a must try just for its innovativeness. Another round of pudina flavoured lassi (Rs 90) would be a good option to wash down all the butter.
I wouldn’t mind heading to The Funjabi Tadka the next time I’m craving for some asli Punjabi food but only if they promise a bed to curl up on after the heavy meal.
Must try: Mango chocolate lassi, arbi karari, methi palak dal, mirchaan wala halwa
Meal for two: Rs 1200+taxes

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