Saturday, March 17, 2018

Restaurant review: Weekend Set Lunch at Punjab Grill, Singapore

I was at Marina Bay Sands with my family last weekend. We were there mainly for a lunch reservation having made no plans for my husband's birthday a few days earlier on account of me being sick. Racked with guilt, my only plan was to make up for it and enjoy a good meal with the troops in tow. We happened to reach the mall much earlier than was required. With no other solid plans, the kids were off running helter skelter all over the mall until we ushered them into a toy store, a move that made them stay put for a good hour 😝 It even helped us work up an appetite for lunch!

Nestled among the stores of the swanky The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Punjab Grill helmed by chef Javed Ahamad is an haute Indian restaurant serving contemporary Northern Indian cuisine. 

Frequently ranked as one among the best Indian restaurants in Singapore, Punjab Grill has raked up an impressive tally of awards since it opened its doors to Singapore diners. 

The sleek interiors give an aura of opulence and elegance. Inspired by the splendour of India’s Maharajas, Punjab Grill has been designed to capture the zeitgeist of that era. The abundant use of glass, metal and plush upholstery ups the glam quotient. My children even remarked how 'sparkly' and 'shiny' everything was! 

There is an outdoor seating area as well but it didn't appear as refined or intimate as its indoor seating counterpart. 

I found the light fixtures in particular very eye-catching!

Beyond the floor-to-roof length glass windows, you can see the chefs in action at the hand-beaten copper Tandoors.

Even though it was a weekend, the restaurant wasn't crowded. The staff attended to us immediately and menus, highchairs and separate kid-friendly cutlery were provided. 

The menu takes the diner through an epicurean journey through Indian’s richly diverse Northwest Frontier Province highlighting food from gourmet metropolises like Lahore, Peshwar, Rawalpindi, Kabul, Amritsar, Multan and Patiala. Also, make sure to check out the curated wine list and get suggestions regarding food-wine pairing from the staff. 

Although the Ă  la carte menu looked appealing, we went for the weekend vegetarian set lunch which consisted of most of the Indian crowd-pleasers given a makeover with a dash of panache and modernity. On the subject of set menus, there are a variety of options to choose from including a five course avant-garde degustation menu so be sure to check them out when you are there.

Here is a round-up of the dishes that were included in the weekend set lunch, 

The drink that was served to us was Jeera Masala Soda. Not being a huge fan of jeera-based drinks, I was skeptical but I changed my mind the second I took a sip of this drink. Chilled, fresh, refreshing, sweet and delicious. Even my children thoroughly enjoyed this drink and couldn't get enough of it!


Gobhi Sampler
A spiced cauliflower fritter drizzled with a savoury sauce and served over a beetroot puree . This was a complimentary appetizer that was small yet so good. It set the tone for the lunch that followed. 

We next were brought an attractive appetizer platter that consisted of three individual appetizers served alongside dollops of beetroot puree, a lemon wedge and garnished with micro herbs. 

Paneer Tikka
A large chunk of paneer marinated in aromatic spices and grilled in a tandoor. I am a sucker for paneer tikka and this one was soft, flavourful and fulfilled my expectations. I only wished there was more! 

Dahi Ke Kabab
An exquisite kebab of yoghurt cheese blended with spices and fried till golden. I loved this appetizer the most. It was the delicately spiced and melt-in-the-mouth interior against the lightly crunchy exterior that made it so moreish. 

Amritsari Ajwaini Baby Corn
Baby corn flavoured in carom seeds, salt, pepper and coated with a tempura flour batter and then deep fried till crunchy. Yet another tasty appetizer that made the platter a total winner in my opinion. 

Main Course:
We were served a bread basket with an assortment of the usual Indian flatbreads. Served alongside were two rich and creamy Indian gravies.

Tava Vegetable Keema
A fresh vegetable mince sauteed in hand pounded spices and cooked in a tangy tomato sauce. This was unexpectedly delicious! Great texture and packed full of flavour, this made for a lip-smacking side dish. 

Amritsari Dal Makhani
A delicate dal consisting of whole urad and split bengal gram simmered overnight with a trace of  mustard. Finished in a masala onion tomato puree and tempered with clarified butter. Dal Makhani is one of my favourite Indian gravies and although the one at Punjab Grill was good, it did not rank among the best I've had. It felt like something was missing although I couldn't quite put my finger on it. 

Sufiyani Shahi Subz Biriyani
We were given a choice between two kinds of biriyani and this was the one I chose. The Sufiyani Shahi Subz Biriyani was a huge disappointment. Needless to say, I have had much better at other Indian restaurants. It lacked the tantalizing aroma and flavour that we have been known to associate with good biriyani but the consolation was that the raita was really good so it made the rice palatable. 

Dessert Platter:
The dessert platter consisted of three individual desserts - a rich gajar ka halwa with slivered almonds, kulfi set over a biscuit crumb base and a chocolate dessert with a white chocolate shard. All three desserts were good. Indulgent and not cloyingly sweet. Thumbs up!

And can I also say how cool was that little white tablet metamorphosing into a wet tissue upon being doused with water. A great alternative to the quintessentially Indian finger bowl I must say. Why have I not seen that anywhere before?! Oh my goodness, I've been living in the stone age 😅

We were offered a paan flavored drink in a shot glass to end the meal and it served as a lovely sweet mouth freshener!

The Verdict:
Punjab Grill gets major brownie points on location and ambience. The restaurant adopts a chic and modern take on the glamour of Indian royalty. You could easily consider this an Indian fine dining experience. The food at Punjab Grill successfully balances complex flavours derived from exotic Indian spices. The menu of the set lunch that we had was well thought out and portioned and all the dishes well-presented. The drink, appetizers and dessert platter were faultless. The flatbreads and Indian gravies were delicious but the rice was a let-down. But overall, I would readily recommend the set lunch. The service was courteous and efficient plus the staff checked on us periodically and asked us if they could pack the leftovers for us so full marks for customer service. Given the location and class of the restaurant, it is naturally expensive and will set you back a few bucks but it is well worth visiting to satisfy your modern Indian cuisine craving. 

I would recommend this restaurant for business lunches, intimate dinners and to celebrate special occasions. 

My rating for this restaurant is

Punjab Grill
B1-01A, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands,
South Podium, 2 Bayfront Avenue.
Singapore 018972

Operation Hours :
Lunch  :  11:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Dinner :  6:30 PM to 11:00 PM

Reservations & Enquiries: 66887395
Fax: 66887396

Have you been to Punjab Grill? What did you think of the food there? Share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment below. 


This is not an invited review or sponsored post. This review is based on personal experience. 

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