Do you believe in the theory that it’s risky or jinxed to start a new business at a place where another has miserably failed? Well, Pind Balluchi doesn’t.
When I heard that the popular Punjabi eatery has opened its eighth branch in Connaught Place (CP) at the same location where All Sports Bar had opened just a year back with a lot of hype, and then shut shop within a few months, I thought, “Now that’s brave.” But it was a well thought out strategy — what can work better in CP than a not-so-expensive, typically Punjabi joint?
So I encountered an already packed place even a little ahead of the lunch hour on a weekday. The staff was prompt, the décor interesting. Those who’ve been to a Pind Balluchi earlier would instantly relate to the queer blend of quintessential Punjabi food in a Rajasthani setting.
We started with...not an appetiser, but an argument. When I ordered for the popular ‘bunta soda’ with the aim of explaining the concept to my companion, who is not from India, I was faced with stiff resistance. “We shall not open the bottle at the table,” the waiter insisted. Equally insistent and stubborn was yours truly. When I’m paying for the bottle, why can’t I do the honours of opening it, especially when it involves the thrill of pushing the glass marble in the soda bottle? The manager finally intervened and relented.
The lime soda was followed by Amritsari Chicken (Rs 170) which, because of its shape and the strong ajwain flavour, tasted more like fish fingers. Dahi De Kebab (Rs 125) — hung curd in fried bread rolls — was a better choice. For some reason, though, everything that we ordered for looked and tasted like it’d been reheated — a taste you get when you order for Indian food in a multicuisine fast food joint like Nirula’s, not a specialty fine dining Indian restaurant.
The main course comprised Fish Curry (Rs 245) and Mutton Biryani (Rs 195). The former was good, the latter just about average. The curry, thankfully, did not have an overdose of coconut milk and was well-suited for a Punjabi palate. The biryani was cooked well, but just diving into the handi in quest of mutton pieces was a chore. We sadly gave the dessert a miss but overheard the couple at the adjoining table rave about Gajar Ka Halwa (Rs 55).
All in all, visit Pind Balluchi at CP if you are keen on value for money and don’t mind not getting exceptionally good food in the bargain.