You say Punjabi food, I say Butter Chicken and Lassi. Sadly, I was in this notion until Chef Amandeep Singh from Up north, Raintree, Anna salai clarified that Punjabi food is much more than that. We had an opportunity to be invited to the food tasting session of Punjabi street food festival happening in Raintree from Nov 4-13. All I can say is, this fest is a celebration of authenticity, variety and just pure love for food.
Up North has been in every ‘ top 10 romantic places to dine’ and ‘best rooftops’ list in Chennai. The beautiful view of our Chennai amalgamated with the buttery smell of Paneer tikka and the pleasant monsoon season makes the perfect combination for a killer night.
It’s a crime to start a Punjabi ‘Street’ food festival without some Chaat. Thus, we were served graciously. Frozen fruit Chat Katori from the Chaat Trolley, tasted as authentic as any Dhaaba but the drama that went behind it ( Served in a Martini glass with Liquid Nitrogen) was truly 5 star quality.
Samosa Chaat is my favourite from the lot as I could feel it melting in my mouth and Oh! That crunch. Divine.
Hello. How can I miss Gol Gappa Dhuawala. I Put it whole in my mouth, the tangy flavours were just lip smacking good ( I know what you are thinking, perverts).
Dal ka Kachodi had an interesting story behind it. After all the Alcohol shopping from Local markets, the Chef and his friends would go to a nice Dhabba, get some piping hot Dal la Kachodi which is a punjabi version of Parupu vadai, wrap it in newspapers, go to the terrace and wallahe! Just imagined myself in that situation and it suddenly tasted much much better than how it tasted initially.
They have a Tawa and a grill counter which is solely dedicated to the hardcore Non vegetarians. Chicken, fish in different shapes and forms and I munch away my dal pakoda in glory! The Chef made me smile when he said that they do have some veg dishes for the lonely girl with lassi in her hand ( me). Paneer Tikka Shaslik is a synonym for paneer haven. I gobbled up faster than it melted in my mouth.
Another interesting dish was Soya Ki Champ. An Indian flag coloured Platter sat in front of me. Looked like chicken, felt like chicken, tasted like chicken. Thank you Soya for being a saviour. It has never been my favourite but the Malai ( white) and the Hariyali ( green) stole the show and instilled a new liking to Soya in me.
Done with the starters, I was eagerly waiting for the main course. DAL MAKHANI, CHOLE and KULCHA are the three dishes which I order in every Punjabi restaurant without fail and if it’s a festival, then should I even think? Dal Makhani was an unanimous favourite as the flavours were so rich and creamy. Chole and Kulcha on the other hand, had mixed reviews since they were high on salt that night.
These Punjabis know how to happily fill our stomachs, I tell you. BUT BUT, We weren’t done.
Falooda Frozen fruit is not a traditional falooda which would be served in a martini glass with the clear segregation of the layers. Serving a bit of it in an earthen pot is a fantastic way and Kudos to the team for it. Since, we were on a pre-launch phase, we couldn’t experience it in the earthen pot but the taste made up for it. We were also served other dishes which didn’t stand out as much as the falooda.
If you are a Punjabi food lover or just good food lover, make sure to drop in for the weekend for some Dhamakedar Asli punjabi dinner in UP NORTH. Call : 044-30853633 and reserve your table since it’s highly recommended.