New Punjab Club
There is something reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel about New Punjab Club, the 15th establishment from Black Sheep Restaurants. Perhaps it’s the boxy, buttoned-down “lobby boy” uniforms worn by the jolly wait staff, or their groomed handlebar moustaches. Maybe it’s the restaurant’s regal, yet flamboyant, interior with embossed walls, leather banquettes and an assortment of contemporary South Asian artworks. Instead of a bar, pre-dinner drinks are served from a trolley with a selection of smart gins, manned by a perky staffer who reminds diners that Thursday nights are never too early to party and offers a shot or two as he mixes the Gin and Tonics.
Michelin-starred chef Palash Mitra (formerly of Gymkhana, London) is at the helm of this convivial Punjabi grill house, which is centred around its tandoor oven and soul-restoring dishes best for sharing. We start with samosa chaat ($98), deepfried samosas broken into rough pieces and topped with crispy gram-flour vermicelli, fresh onion and pomegranate seeds for crunch and tartness. Paired with mint chutney and raita (a yogurt-based condiment), this dish pretty much covers the entire flavour profile, but without overwhelming. Next is keema pau ($118), our favourite dish of the night, with mouthwatering spiced minced mutton scooped up on buttery, house-made milk buns. Amritsari machli ($118), a chickpea-battered river fish, is comfort on a plate. The thin, crispy batter adheres perfectly to the juicy fish and crumbles marvellously with every bite. From the tandoor come murgh tikka angar ($248), or tandoori chicken, and masalewali chanp ($468), or tandoor-roasted New Zealand lamb chops. Both are exceptional and neither is overpowered by spice so the quality of the meat shines through. By then we are absolutely stuffed, but we can’t leave without trying the butter naan, which we use as a vehicle for mouthfuls of New Punjab Club’s version of butter chicken, Mughal Room makhani ($148).
Enticing menus draw crowds, but it’s a great vibe that keeps them coming back and New Punjab Club has done a good job of both. We were not let down by a single dish, and the G&T trolley added to the already attentive service. Eat with your hands for ultimate enjoyment, and make a note to visit its gloriously lustrous restroom.