Feast on delicious Punjabi fare as you listen to ’90s Bollywood music at President Dhaba
A warm, hearty Punjabi meal could be a blissful answer when there is a nip in the air. In search of that, we head to the newly unveiled, President Dhaba, to sample what they have to offer. After walking a few paces through the by-lanes of Madhapur, we know we have arrived at our destination when we spot cutouts of a huge moustache and a pagdi. Quite an apt logo for a Punjabi restaurant, we think! Adding to the charm is the blue door at the entrance, which is reminiscent of old bungalows.
Chai on charpoys
As we walk in, the first thing that grabs our attention are the charpoys (a traditional woven cot). The 120-seater restaurant has more than 15 such charpoys set up under the open sky, while there are a number of wooden table and chairs indoors as well. The walls are painted in bright colours and the outlet has a bamboo roofing resembling a dhaba on a highway. Humming along Kishore Kumar’s Mere Sapno Ki Rani playing in the background, we glance through the menu. Apart from the specialities of Punjab, the eatery also offers a fair share of Chinese dishes and thalis. There is a special snack menu that includes Papdi Roll, Aloo Bhajji and Chai, something one would want to try during their breaks between work. However, the restaurant specialises in Kebabs. One of the four partners, Abhinav Rao, says, “Thanks to the location, our customers mostly include the young corporate professionals who don’t mind eating Indian food almost every other day if it is served hot and fresh.” We understand what he means as we notice the outlet buzzing with people on a weekday afternoon, enjoying steaming parathas and biryani.
My attention quickly shifts to an array of starters that make way to our table, along with the good-old tomato soup. With a generous amount of fresh cream topping and crispy croutons, the soup is thick and the flavour is right – neither tangy nor too plain. Banjara Kebab (pieces of boneless chicken coated in a marination of yoghurt and spices) comes next. The kebabs are tender and scrumptious, loaded with flavours of cumin and mint.
We move to Chilli Paneer (cottage cheese cut into pieces and cooked in in-house sauces), which is quite delicious, though basic. Stuffed with the starters, we plan to keep the main course simple.
We choose to taste the Talahuwa Chicken combo – a mix of Talahuwa Chicken, Khatti Dal and white rice. Two spoons of dal and I’m sold. It is served hot and tastes exactly like what mom would serve at home, with the right amount of masala and lots of love. Pair it with a butter naan and your meal is set.
Staying true to the dhaba culture, a huge glass of Patiala Lassi is served to us. Topped with pistachio, cashew nuts, almonds and saffron, the lassi might not be one of their bests, but is satisfying enough to end your meal with.
President Dhaba delivers exactly what it promises — wholesome Punjabi food served straight from the heart that will keep you warm this winter.
Price for two: Rs.550.
Pics: R Satish Babu