Get a taste of Punjab in namma Chennai, courtesy the new menu at Up North
Enjoy a desi Punjabi meal under the starlit sky at Up North, the new menu of which has everything from the inventive cheeseling jhalmuri to classic Lahori seekh kebabs
If you're looking to take a culinary journey up north, you only have to head as far as Mount Road now. Up North, the eight-year-old Punjabi rooftop restaurant at The Raintree Anna Salai, has a new chef from Ludhiana, who has revamped their menu, to include some authentic dishes from Punjab (including some from Multan, now in Pakistan), and also give our desi Punjabi dishes a global spin (think tacos stuffed with tandoori chicken).
Shorba, starters & a li’l something more
Sous Chef Amrick Singh, the man behind the new menu greets us with steaming bowls of flavourful mutton da shorba and a hearty smile. “We have retained some tried-and-tested dishes like the bharme aloo patohari and sarson da saag from the old menu, but the new menu also includes some dishes from the part of Punjab that lies in Pakistan, like the Lahori seekh and Sirindh di boti kebabs, among others,” the chef explains, as gol gappe loon mundi wale (pani puri for the uninitiated), arrive in shot glasses. Adding a touch of quirk to the jhalmuri is a generous dollop of cheese, which we discover, is not such a bad addition to bhel.
The starters, however, are what have us full, yet wanting more, at the same time. From the tandoor and robata grill, we begin with the deliciously smoky multani tikkey, housemade cottage cheese coated in a multi-flour batter and charred. Another vegetarian starter we can’t help but order, is the khubani hara bhara kebab – exotic apricots stuffed with a spinach pattice, best had with the accompanying cheesy yoghurt dip. Non-vegetarians must try the spicy mahi tikka that’s just the right amount of flaky as well. But it was the murgh tikka kandhari, chicken rolled in cumin, cream and cheddar, that had all the makings of being the perfect kebab, which it was.
From the main course menu, the saagwala meat (lamb cooked in spinach, cumin and kasoori methi) looks promising and doesn’t disappoint. The vegetarian equivalent, the sarson da saag, too, is equally tasty. Murgh beli ram, the signature dhaba chicken curry, has all the rustic flavours of a traditional dish, and can be eaten with anything from the Indian bread basket (flaky parathas, piping hot rotis, stuffed kulchas and lachcha parathas) or even their signature narangi pulao (orange-scented pulao with chicken).
The star of the main course, for us, was the maah di kaali dal (black dal that’s cooked overnight, finished with cream & butter), which puts most other dal makhnis in the city to shame. If you’re dining alone, the chef’s got you covered with veg and non-veg tasting platters (a whole meal of lassi, kebabs, curry, dal, rice, bread and dessert), custom-made for single diners. We have little room for dessert, but upon the chef’s insistence, try tasting portions of phirni and gulab jamun, which unfortunately didn’t impress us as much as our meal did.
Timings: 7 pm to 11.30 pm.
Meal for two: Rs 2,500+taxes (approx)