North Indian classics, highway style

North Indian classics, highway style

Puran da Dhaba scores well on ambience with live music, rustic decor and outdoor seating

Located on the bustling Residency Road, inside The Pride Hotel, Puran da Dhaba is a rooftop restaurant that serves authentic North Indian fare. It has both indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar and buffet and a la carte options.

True to its name, the place has a Punjabi-dhaba theme with live music. The decor is desi and rustic but comfortable and there are Instagrammable spots throughout the restaurant, comprising cartoons with iconic Bollywood dialogues and witty one-liners. The highway eatery feel is completed with props like a scooter, cutout of a truck and a viewable area with tawa and tandoor. The outdoor seating is charming but it’s also  very windy

When we went there, the Grand Trunk Road festival was going on. As we settled into our seats, appreciating the lovely old Hindi songs that were being sung in the background, the courteous and attentive staff quickly brought out some of their bestsellers. 

In the starters, we started off with street food options like ‘Gol Gappe’ (quite decent though the aloo filling was a little too salty), ‘Chaat’ (quite flavourful with the right mix of sweet, salt and spicy) and ‘Kachori’ (though the filling was tasty, the dish was very oily overall). 

We were served a crunchy ‘Masala Pappad’, which caused us some heartburn as we were worried it might fly away (we are not joking, it is quite windy). If you are ordering this, we advise you to eat it fast because it turns soggy. 

The chicken and paneer tikkas were both well cooked but all the masalas were concentrated on the outer covering; they hadn’t seeped inside. One has to depend entirely on the dips for flavour. Speaking of dips, they come in various flavours like roasted tomato, ‘adrak ka achar’, ‘pudine ki chutney’ and so on — full marks for these by the way.

The Tandoor veggies were well cooked but again low on flavours on the inside; the outer covering, which had a generous dose of masala, was the saving grace. We quite recommend the ‘Sabz Ki Tikki’ had a crispy texture and decent taste. 

In the ‘Pav Bhaji’, the pav is soft but the bhaji was not mashed properly, unlike what we usually see. Here, the chunks of carrot and taste of capsicum were a little off-putting. The vegetable puffs were tasty, though the batter used to make the covering could have been reduced.

The ‘Cornflakes Kebab’ is another good option for vegetarians. The unique taste and crunchy texture makes it a good snack. 

The mains include options like ‘Jama Masjid Ki Paya Curry’, ‘Macher Jhol’, ‘Chicken in Hoisin Sauce’, ‘Dum Aloo Banarasi’, ‘Chicken in Chilli Oyster’, ‘Kathal Ki Biryani’, ‘Aloo Matar Ki Tehri’ as well as some classic dishes. There are also combo meals and thalis to choose from. 

All the dishes are quite low on spice but the non-vegetarian dishes are better in this aspect. The fish tikka is soft and juicy and the spice has blended in perfectly. The Guntur Chilli Chicken too fares well in this regard. The Andhra fish tastes great at first bite but the insides are somewhat bland. PS: Squeeze the lime onto it, it enhances the taste greatly.

There is also a live counter where they serve dishes like ‘Patna Litti Chokha’, ‘Kolkata Roll’, ‘Ambale wali Aloo Tikki Choley’, ‘Lahori Chapli Kabab’ and ‘Gol Gappe’. Desserts include ‘Philauri Phirni’, ‘Seviyon ki Kheer’, ‘Howrah Soojir Halwa’, ‘Gajar Halwa’, ice cream and more. Puran da Dhaba also serves alcoholic beverages and mocktails. 

The dishes are prone to changing, depending on whether they are hosting a festival or are catering to a special theme. Ask the waiters to help you out; they are quite friendly.

Puran Da Dhaba is located at The Pride Hotel, 93, Richmond Road.

 

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