A night by the tandoor
Check out Jat da dhaba at Taj Banjara for a taste of Punjab
Photo: K. Gajendran
A RUSTIC setting in the luxurious comfort of an urbane five-star property is an agreeably fascinating sight. Little wonder why the ongoing Jat da Dhaba festival at Taj Banjara is a huge sell-out.
Beside the waterfront at Kabab-e-Bahar, the scene nearly transports one to pastoral Punjab. Only the lush green fields and its smell isn't there, otherwise the setting - a cornucopia of hanging lanterns, canisters, cinema posters and a corner-counter that says desi sharab ka theka is so typically Punjabi.
Daler paaji's balle balle beat in the background, busy attenders dressed in colourful kurtas and lungis, and people resting on charpoys complete the situation.
A Patiala is an index that Punjabis are great eaters as much they are hosts. So one can expect the helpings in the Dhaba food festival to be quite large. Says sous chef Chaman Lal, "We have tried to give the whole place a dhaba look, hence the low pricing. The aim is to give the best of Punjabi food in a perfectly Punjabi ambience." The 10-day long festival that began on April 8 is open only for dinner.
Among the chef's veg favourites are Mah ki daal, Aloo wadiyan, Baigan bharta and Sarson paneer. Chicken dominates the non-veg line-up and delectable preparations like Tandoori Murg, Murag Tikka and Dhaba Murag abound the menu.
As is typical of Punjabi meals, the use of onion, tomatoes, turmeric, mustard, and garlic cooked in pure cow ghee is felt in the mammoth spread that consists of Pindi Chole, Sarson da saag, Anda masala, Bheja Masala, Meat Tariwala and Aloo methi, among others. Each is better than the other, and the best in the lot is a tough choice.
So tuck in as much as you can and wash it down with Lassi or liquor as per your preference. And should you miss out Sweety Singh's jalebis with rabdi and the ghee-rich malpuas (they have melt-in-the-mouth properties), be sure you repeat the whole experience. Together with the meal, it helps in understating the gastronomic dictum - `Sweet is life'.
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