Review: Singh Sahib (Fine Dining- Punjabi Cuisine)
Hotel Eros- managed by Hilton, American Plaza, Nehru Place, New Delhi. Contact # +91-11- 4122 3344
10000 likes on facebook and we got our new reason to celebrate with a special dinner. My parents(in laws) who are visiting us these days are pure vegetarians and do not like to experiment with their palate so despite a strong urge to try the buffet dinner at Blooms (Hotel’s famous buffet restaurant) that’s celebrating a ‘Thai food Festival’ till the 7th of this month, we just walked past the inviting show of the buffet and reached ‘Singh Sahib’. Demurely tucked away at a corner of the Eros hotel- managed by Hilton, Singh Sahib is a North Indian restaurant that particularly celebrates the Punjabi Cuisine with pride.
The First Glance:
We were welcomed into the restaurant to the mesmerizing tune of ‘kal Chodhvi ki raat thi’ floating in the air. With the live gazal night on the menu for the day and the good singer striking the right chords with the songs of the gazal maestro Jagjit Singh, I had no reason to crib over Thai Mania anymore and instead I looked forward to a memorable evening.
The restaurant is well spaced out, it even has a couple of tables laid out at the large porch facing the hotel garden, but the mosquitoes wouldn’t value your privacy so the hotel staff insured that their guests were seated indoors. Anyhow, the decor was quaint, mostly wood, dimly lit under huge chandeliers’ that cast soft lights across the hall, with many brass artifacts here and there, red glass tumblers on the table, a glass partitioned view of the tandoori cooking station, all summed up to a classy image of the undivided Punjab’s hedonist society that once must have been.
Since it was a vegetarian dinner night for us we started off with Punjab’s quintessential welcome drink, a glass of ‘Matha ‘each. While sipping though the refreshing large tumbler full of a mildly spiced-good consistency Matha we placed the order for starters in a Vegetarian Platter. The menu is elaborate and even has a section dedicated to dishes cooked without any onion or garlic in them.
The platter, though served after a little wait, had four portions of each ‘Sufiyana Paneer’, ‘Bhutteyan de kabab’, ‘Subj til de kabab’ and ‘Palak meve di seekh’. As authentic as their names sound, the kebabs brought us quite as close as we could expect to get to the real taste of the undivided Punjab. Though the standouts were clearly the ‘sufiana Paneer tikkas’ that had a hint of clay cooking intact in its flavour, and the ‘Subj til de kakab’ that had an assortment of seasonal vegetables pan fried and covered in til. ‘Palak meve di seekhs’ were ordinary and somehow lacked flavour and the ‘Bhutteyan de kababs’ were average too.
The large tumbler of Mattha had our stomachs quite full by the time we moved to mains. So we placed a petite order in a ‘Dhingri Kofta’, ‘Dahi wala bhartha’ and ‘ Methi Tadka dahi’ to go with an assortment of Plain and Khasta rotis. The dahiwala bhartha was a typical Punjabi baingan ka bhartha with the twist of dahi ka tadka, but the brinjal roasted on a charcoal grill gave the recipe a delicious smoky flavour and it was an immediate hit with each of us. Dhingri Koftas that was supposed to be spinach and cottage cheese dumplings actually had no hint of spinach or I could find none; the thick tomato gravy was a tad bit extra tangy to make a perfect kofta gravy for me. Tadkewali dahi was a welcome accompaniment with the masala gravy tadka on the top that made it a delicious side. The rotis were cooked to perfection and made a good bite even after turning cold.
Leaving without desserts is a sacrilege to me, so while others on the table choose to restrict themselves I ordered a Pista keasr Phirni all to myself. Only a minute later Mr. H could refrain no more and called for a serve of the Bharwan Gulab Jamun after being denied a serve of Kulfi Falooda for they were out of stock on Falooda that day. My phirni was served in a large bowl and it got me afraid at first but I soon saw that my mom-inlaw (unable to control anymore) had picked up her spoon and she saved me by digging in for a bite a couple of times. It was authentic, delicious yet light and only mildly sweetened, just as I like my desserts to be. The gulab jamuns were good too, dry fruits made its fillings and they were served in a balanced hot syrup.
The staff dressed in traditional Punjabi shirt-cut Kurtas were both efficient and prompt. They guided us through the menu and helped make our pick without being conspicuous on any event.
Go there to impress your in-laws or parents, or with a prospective matrimonial alliance, for the quaint ambiance, live music and delicately delicious cooking, all set the mood just right for a quaint and formal evening. The above meal for four cost us approx INR 6000 including the taxes, which I think was a little over the top for all vegetarian order without any drinks.
Ps:- I wish I could try a few dishes from the non-vegetarian fare, specially the much talked about ‘Meat Beliram ’ or ‘Liberiya Bhatti Murg’ or even the ‘Amritsari Machchi’; but guess its always good leave a few desirables behind as an excuse for coming back to any restaurant.