Sabji Hunter goes international
So the Sabji hunter went on an all expenses paid whistle stop tour of the land of the 5 rivers (well technically its 2).
It was a very short trip but I must have eaten about a month’s worth of food whilst out there. I did in the main stick to the golden corridor between Jalandhar and Ludhiana, and there were many requests to visit food places but it was just not possible to visit them all this time round.
However, if the budget allows for another trip we will be happy to pay the other places a visit.
The first place we visited was Pahalwaan Dhabba which is in Murthal, Haryana. This was a good place to stop on the way from Delhi to Panjab. My first meal in India on this trip, and it had to be paronthey.
I ordered an aloo parontha, and then also went for a paneer parontha. The dhabba style paronthas are made in a tandoor style, so are quite heavy, but I managed 2. I was initially skeptical about the paneer parontha, but surprisingly it worked. The paronthey were amazing.
I had dahi to accompany the paronthey and some achaar. If this was a sign of things to come, then I was about to pile on serious pounds over the course of the next week. The dhabba was very clean and the service was very quick. They also had an AC room if you are struggling with the heat.
We also visited the much touted Lucky Vaishnu Dhaba – now from the name you can immediately tell this is a vegetarian restaurant. This is around Jalandhar and is a stones throw away from Haveli. Lucky Dhaba is another well known food joint.
One thing I’d say is – it does need a facelift inside the seating is very old school style, especially when compared to some of the newer places opening up.
Even the cutlery and plates etc seem dated. Now back to the food, we ordered chilli cheese (similar to the chilli paneer we have in the UK I guess), paneer bhurji, and daal.
The portions for 4 of us were just right, and priced very reasonably. Once again the food was great, I just love the food in India. The service was on the slow side – but it was extremely busy. The customers seem to be all families and the restaurant caters for this well.
The next place we tried was Hotel RC Plaza which was in Goraya. This is a relatively new joint, and you can tell from the décor they are catering for the NRI’s in the main. They have TV screens playing the latest Panjabi tracks too. There are pool tables available for those interested.
I would say this is not a family orientated place, but more for the lads – I may be wrong but that was my feeling when I visited. Looking at the menu I picked out the veggie grill to start with chilli paneer. Now I was expecting the veggie grill to be similar to the ones we get in the UK in my naivety.
I was wrong, and I was disappointed in the offering – they had a pineapple slice in there for some reason!!
The chilli paneer was spot on though, it made up for the veggie grill for sure. We then ordered a veg Manchurian with gravy, daal, paneer bhurji, and shahi paneer (I think I may have a paneer addiction judging by my order history).
The veg manchurian was fantastic, I’d highly recommend you try this. The rest of the mains were spot on too, portions were on the heavy side and we had to take away the left overs. Overall this was a good spot to eat, it’s a lads place in my view, but its clean and fresh.
Certainly a bit more classier than Lucky in terms of presentation. I guess I just need to leave the veggie grill next time. Oh and just before I forget there is alcohol and meat available at this venue. The drinkers in the group seemed impressed with the draught beer and said it was comparable with the UK.
Next up we ventured outside Jalandhar, and visited Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar.. not too sure about the so called modernisation of the surrounding area – that’s a completely different topic. We decided to visit a highly recommended place called Bade bhai ka Brothers Dhabba.
This is situated about 10 min walk from Darbar sahib. It is very busy and seating is hard, but we manage to get a table for 4. This is a pure vegetarian restaurant and no alcohol is available.
This like lucky dhabba caters for families, and you can see that from the customer base. We’d been up since 5am so we were quite hungry by the time we got to the dhabba. We ordered Daal, Saag, Shahi paneer and dahi. They do set thaalis with a mixture of daals and sabjis too if that what you want, we wanted to try our own mixture. The food was once again to die for and you can see why this place cam highly recommended. I couldn’t fault it, so this one also gets our five star approval.
The next joint was back in familiar territory in Phagwara on Banga road – Khaana Khazaana (formerly Basant Plaza). Once again this came recommended so we had to try it out. It’s a classy joint, the décor and tables and chairs are new, and once again they seem to be targeting the NRI’s and families.
This is another pure vegetarian restaurant. We ordered veg Manchurian, Pizza, Fries, daal and shahi paneer – a real mix match this time. The service was quick and efficient. I was disappointed in the pizza im afraid, I don’t think they’ve quite mastered the art of the getting the base and the cheese right yet. Maybe other places are better and places like pizza hut and dominos know what they are doing. The daal and paneer were spot on, they did those well, and the fries were good too. Minus the pizza this was another recommended joint.
Now we come to the haveli – which is one of the, if not the most well known restaurants in Panjab. Boy was it busy, the atmosphere was buzzing there was entertainment, and this is a great night out for the family and groups of friends – it’s a really great friendly buzzing place.
Once again this is a pure vegetarian place. You can take pictures with the truck, the manja, the charkha and many other items reminding us of rural Panjab.
There is seating outside available too, and the Tea at the outside stall I supposed to be the best (I’m not a tea drinker so I can’t validate that claim). We went for a late night visit to the Haveli and it was still packed. I went for the thalli of Cholley and bhaturey (just to try something different from the paneer – as I felt I’d maxed out on paneer by this time). The cholley were on the oily side so please be aware. The bhaturey were heavy and 2 of those had me stuffed. All in all it’s a great night out and is highly recommended.
So there comes to an end my short trip to Panjab. I tried to visit as many food places that had been recommended as I could but the timescales didn’t allow all of them. But if the management decides to send us again we will make sure to review more places. Now I need to hit the gym to shed the paneer.