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    A Gurgaon-based chain brings its salmon tikka to Chennai, after recently launching in Dubai too

    Have you ever had an “I’ll have what she’s having” moment? Trust me, the salmon tikka (Rs 895) at the newly opened Punjab Grill will make aunties at the next table whisper that to the waiters. Soft, juicy, oozing all its delectable salmon fat, there’s good reason it’s a signature at this restaurant chain with branches from Bengaluru to Bangkok. Opening its first address here at Phoenix Market City, corporate chef Gurpreet Singh, solemnly posing for pictures, tells us that the group was waiting for a variety of factors to come together. The stars to align as it were.

    Take your pick
    For Chennai, some dishes have been dropped in favour of more seafood, but don’t let all that locally sourced eating come between you and the salmon. Of course, there are other dishes to try. The chaamp tajdar (Rs 675) and raan e sikandar (Rs 895), double cooked, falling off the bone and melting in the mouth, are lovely and make up for the rather dull Ajwaini fish tikka (Rs 675). The murgh makhani (Rs 425) makes my companion’s eyes pop as she meaningfully whispers “When Harry Met Sally.” The palak paneer (Rs 395) is lovely too. Creamy and flavourful, it almost makes up for a mediocre dal Punjab Grill (Rs 395) and the ‘ok’ mutton Punjab Grill (Rs 475). We also try a dum chicken biryani (Rs 425) that is adequate though salty in patches. But really nothing can live up to the salmon. You need to try the salmon.
    USP hunting
    The restaurant claims a certain standard of preparation, sans shortcuts as their USP. It also demonstrates a willingness to experiment beyond the regular Punjabi, that makes it an interesting option. Take, for instance, the intriguing and addictive chicken and mutton pickles available on the buffet or the refreshing paan shot that is complimentary at the end of the meal or the litchi ki tehri (Rs 175, litchi, nuts and rabdi). The limited faltering may lie with the regular and routine. Special mention needs to be made of the fabulous mocktails, that are unfortunately only available during promotions. Never have I more wished for a hip flask.
    The restaurant is open from noon to 11pm. Lunch buffet from noon to 4 pm at Rs 699 plus tax. Details: 7358646944
     Ranjitha Gunasekaran

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