No curries here, this is Punjabi fare
District: Central, Hong Kong
How much: Dishes range from $148 to $238, but you can easily fill up on an assortment of appetisers, which range from $88 to $198
The Best For: Dinner with family or friends, or date night
Must Order: Keema Pau, Tandoori Machli
New Punjab Club is not your ordinary Indian food joint. For one, it specialises only in cuisine that can be found in both the Pakistani and Indian areas of Punjab. Which means if you’re looking for your favourite curry, you won’t find it here. Instead, you’ll find a wide range of creative and delicious food that will leave you satisfied and your taste buds very happy.
The restaurant is slightly easy to miss, as even though it’s on busy Wyndham Street, its exterior is subdued and has a bit of an old-world café feel to it. That’s because Sean Dix, who designed the space, took his inspiration from the courthouses, rail stations and estates of historic Punjab. The interior, however, is beautifully designed and cosy, with only 40 seats (with leather banquettes and a couple of tables), and has gorgeous, embossed walls with original artwork from the same Punjab region as the food. (Dix also designed Yardbird, Ronin, Carbone and several other restaurants in HK).
Michelin-starred Chef Palash Mitra (from Gymkhana in London) helms the kitchen at New Punjab Club, and serves up street food favourites on the appetiser list, such as the Samosa Chat ($88) (smashed samosas, crispy noddles, tamarind glaze and yoghurt) and Lahori Seek ($198) (Wagyu mince kebab, green chilli chutney and aloo chaat). But what you’ll also find is some really tasty dishes you won’t find elsewhere.
The standout menu items were the Tandoori Machli ($198), a line-caught cobia fish made with dill, carom seeds and tomato chutney. The crispy outer skin and flavourful fish was incredibly delicious and satisfying. I also really loved the Keema Pau ($118), which was spiced mutton in a thick sauce, which is meant to be spread upon a buttered milk bun and eaten open-faced. My mouth’s watering just thinking about those two. The combination of spices and herbs were fantastic. The Mughal Room Makni ($148), was also a delight, which is a braised chicken tikka with spiced tomato and butter. And if you’re a naan fan, you’ll be loving the naan here – I had the Butter Naan ($28), which was a generous serving of fresh, warm, and lightly browned sections; these were the perfect complement to each dish.
Although I didn’t sample the vegetarian dishes (but will next time!) there are plenty on hand to sate the non-meat eaters out there. You’ll find Aloo Gobhi ($98), (cauliflower, new potatoes, coriander and ginger), Mattar Paneer ($98), (fresh cheese, green peas, fenugreek and cumin), Masala Palak ($98), (baby spinach, garlic and tomato) and even Ghar Ki Dal ($98), (home-style yellow dal and bitter gourd).
Despite being full to the point of being overstuffed, I could not resist tasting (okay, eating) the lemon frozen yoghurt served with raspberry sorbet and puffed rice for dessert. It was light enough to cleanse the palate and not too heavy that I regretted the fifth spoonful.
The only setback to dining here has nothing to do with the place itself; a few times during the meal we heard loud, thumping bangs from above us. But don’t let a little noise distract you – the food here is good, and I would definitely go back for another meal.
New Punjab Club, World Wide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2368 1223, www.facebook.com/newpunjabclub