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"WE TRAVEL NOT TO ESCAPE LIFE....BUT FOR LIFE NOT TO ESCAPE US" Welcome to "My Savvy Travel"! Join me on my adventures while I share all the details on the best transportation, accommodations, and restaurants...both in the Washington DC area and Internationally!

MY STORY

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

“Adventure is worthwhile”

Punjab Grill – Saket

I have been to Delhi many times, and not once did I visit The Select City Walk Mall.  For those of you that know me well, you know that I try to avoid malls and prefer local markets where I can get the feel of being in India!  Well, I never knew what I was missing…until this trip.  On the third floor of this mall, I saw a restaurant called Punjab Grill.  Hmmm, I thought to myself, I reviewed a Punjab Grill earlier this year in Abu Dhabi…could this be the same one?  As I approached, I noticed the logo was the same…I was getting excited in hopes that it would be the same type of restaurant that I sooooo enjoyed in Abu Dhabi.

Upon approaching, I noticed the restaurant was nice but was not too big.  I thought… that there is no way this can be the fine dining I enjoyed in Abu Dhabi, so I ended up asking…and to my surprise, it was the same chain!!  I had the privilege of meeting Chef Vineet Manocha who was kind enough to answer all my questions.  I asked him what sets you apart from the millions of other Indian restaurants in India…he said that they make it a point to satisfy their clients.  They happily work with custom orders, and if it is at all possible, they will do it for the client.  They do change their menu twice a year, but they have many loyal clients that prefer certain dishes, and Punjab Grill prides itself on being accommodating to all.

The staff was extremely courteous and very attentive.  They attended to us almost immediately and brought us 2 baskets of Papad…

I hadn’t even started to try these and was already impressed by the exquisite presentation .  The waiter kindly explain it all to us:

Urad dal Papad / Aloo Papad/ Chawal Ke Papad/ Sabudana Ke Papad

I tried all of them and they were fantastic, I especially liked the one with the green specks…that had a hit of methi (Fenugreek)  The papad were delicious just plain, but when accompanied by the wonderful dips, were just outstanding. Had to really stop myself from eating more as I was already beginning to fill up…before appetizers!

….with an variety of chutneys and dipping sauces….such a great concept!  Served with: Chakundar Khajoor Ki Chutney, Jeera Kesar Punch, Mango Chilli Chutney, Avocado Tomato Yoghurt dip, Pyazwali Dhaniya Pudina chutney

 

We then tried two salads: Green salad with honey lemon dressing 

Tandoori Pineapple chaat / Amaranth puff

They were both really good, but I thought the pineapple one was exceptional.  I have never had pineapples spiced with Indian spices..it was like a sweet and spicy treat.

While everything was exceptional at this restaurant, I think the next course was one of my favorites!

We first tried the Tandoori Malai Broccoli.  This was an interesting and tasty dish.  If you have ever had a broccoli and cheese bake, this dish was similar.  Each bite was flavorful and creamy…while the broccoli was crispy because it was cooked in the tandoor (clay oven)

The dish that was my favorite was the one shown below…Dahi De Kebab.  This kebab is quite different from most, because it has a unique texture, which is crisp on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside.  This is a MUST HAVE.

Also had the Bharwaan Khumb Peshawari which was something I hadn’t had before…it was stuffed mushrooms on a skewer…it was served with green and red peppers and looked good as well as tasted wonderful.


We then moved to a traditional Punjabi favorite…Pind Da Saag te Makke di roti, makhan.  The spinach and corn bread dish was served piping hot with pure white butter and shaakar (crushed jaggery).

 

And of course, one of the favorites at Indian restaurants is Daal Makhani…which was called Dal Punjab Grill.  Now for this dish, the chef insisted that we have a taste right when it came from the kitchen because the taste is the best when it is hot.  The butter you see on the top was the touch that put this dish over the top!  After all the food we had tasted so far, I kept trying to eat this daal because it was really made well.

Then we tried the Martaban De charra Aloo…is one of those dishes that makes the delight of baby potatoes come alive.

The selection of fresh breads, Naan/Laccha Pratha/Tandoori Roti are definitely worth a mention.  They were so tasty that one could even have them without anything else!

And then there were the fabulous drinks!  Narangi:  Fresh orange chunks with lime leaves and pomegranate seeds, orange juice and topped with sweet and sour soda.  Meetha Patta Mojito:  Fresh paan leaves with gulakand, topped with sweet and sour soda and crushed ice.  Watermelon Mint Lemonade:  Fresh watermelon chunks with fresh mint leaves, topped with sweet and sour soda and sprite.

   

Then came the desserts!  After being so satisfied and full with the meal, I almost said no to desserts….what a mistake that would have been!!  We shared 2 desserts…Litchi Ki Tehri and Gud Ka Halwa.  To my surprise, neither of them were over the top sweet.  The Litchi one was light and fruity while the Gud Ka Halva was rich and flavorful.  As they say,  a meal is incomplete without a sweet dish at the end…I would definitely suggest saving room for the delectable desserts at Punjab Grill!

 

We had a wonderful experience overall.  I must say that the quantity and quality of food is excellent.  If you are looking for an amazing place for an authentic North Indian meal, Punjab Grill is the right place for you.

Now for all my readers in the Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia areas, wanted to share some exciting news…Punjab Grill is coming to DC in the Spring of 2018.  MySavvyTravel will be there for the opening and provide you a thorough review…check back for updates!

A special thanks to Chef Vineet Manocha for being such a great host 🙂

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Punjab Grill – Abu Dhabi

Sometimes, making spontaneous plans works out to be incredible.  Such is the experience I had when I stumbled on this place in Abu Dhabi called Punjab Grill.  I was touring the Grand Mosque, which by the way I should also write a review on as it was amazing…and after soaking in the breathtaking mosque and taking hundreds of photos…I was hungry!  I was with a few friends and we all agreed that Indian food would hit the spot after the long drive to Abu Dhabi from Dubai and after the long tour of the Grand Mosque.

As many tourists do, we used Google to find Indian Restaurants close to The Grand Mosque.  The closest we found was Punjab Grill, only 5 minutes away.  Sometimes the closest isn’t always the best, so I read a few reviews and the comments were incredible “Great ambiance”, “Creative dishes”, “Excellent service”.  So as most would do, I looked at a few photos of the place and was totally sold to the idea of trying it out.  Here is how the entrance appeared:

As we entered, I noticed the ambiance was indeed in line with the reviews….warm and very inviting with beautiful lighting, spacious, elegant table settings, and a classy feel.

Now, the company I was with had unique and varied dietary preference,  with one being strictly vegetarian and gluten-free.  The staff was so incredibly kind and helpful, in fact, the waiter asked the chef to visit our table so get a sense of what we would like.  Before the meal, bread was brought for us to munch on…it included naan and focaccia bread, which I thought was a nice and unique touch.  Then, to our surprise, the waiter said that chef prepared some gluten-free bread for us as well.  Now this was really a treat since no other restaurant has been so accommodating.

Let me now show you a flavor of what we experienced next:

  

 

Check out these appetizers!  Pani Puri, Naan served with a great selection of chutney and a Watermelon Slider…not just were they tasty, but the presentation was so creative.  I was a bit skeptical after seeing how good the food looked, but was not disappointed at all after tasting it.

Now on to the main course…

This was, by far my favorite dish.  This is Malai Kofta (“Malai” means cream and “Kofta” means deep fried dumpling balls, usually made with vegetables, potatoes and sometimes with cheese added) Punjab Grill did something very unique with this dish, they served it with two different sauces so that we can experience different flavors…

The Daal Makhani was another treat…(pronounced daal makh-nee, “buttery lentils”) is a popular dish from the Punjab region of the India.  You could tell that the preparation of this tasty dish took a while as it tasted simmered and seasoned to perfection.

Bhindi, Okra is one of my favorite Indian dishes…so just had to try it here.  I was not disappointed at all.  It was coated and fried.  I know some don’t like the idea of deep frying, but trust me, this is worth it as there is very little oil and a lot of good taste to this dish.  Don’t miss this one:

 

After all this delicious food, we were planning to skip dessert…that was until they brought it out!

The Indian Jalebi (think bright orange funnel cake-like rounds that are deep fried and then doused in a sticky sugar syrup) and Spanish churros have been named as some of the most fattening foods in the world, so it goes without question that the next logical step was to combine the two. Served with a generous lashing of cream and chocolate, this is indulgent dessert is available at Punjab Grill at the Venetian Village.

We were so very impressed with Punjab Grill, such courteous staff, perfect ambiance, excellent food, good service. When we were leaving, I felt as if I would never have an amazing experience…so I suggested to the manager that they should open one in Washington, DC…to my surprise, he said its in the works and will open soon right in the Nation’s Capital…Washington, DC!!

Stay tuned for a review on that…from yours truly, My Savvy Travels!

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American Tandoor

I don’t know about you…but when I shop,  I tend to get hungry.  I need energy to continue with the shopping or sometimes, I like to end my shopping experience with a nice meal.   Wouldn’t it be great to have something really tasty, I thought to myself.  NO, I don’t want to quick slice of pizza from the food court, or the greasy fast food….  There are many restaurants in Tysons that I enjoy…but I feel like trying something different, something satisfying.  As I wander around, I see a table of samples, rice and butter chicken, in the mall.  Hmmm, this is unique marketing I thought.  When I looked, I saw this sign on the table:

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Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways – The World’s 5 Star airline!

I had the privilege of flying Qatar Airways during this last trip to India from Washington DC.  Join me as I review my travel experience..

 

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ITC Grand Chola Hotel – Chennai

The ITC Grand Chola Hotel does not look like your average hotel…it has the look and the feel of an actual palace.  The hotel is so big that there are several main entrances…and they use specific ones based on the location of events in the hotel.  Let me share some of my personal experiences with you:

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