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Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Newly opened New Punjab Club in Central – Indian food palatable, drinks pricey

The offer of a HK$268 gin and tonic set the tone for a meal that included tasty and tender kebabs, refreshing lentil dumplings and a yummy sticky toffee pudding, but the Flintstone-sized lamb chops were dry

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 October, 2017, 3:21pm

The New Punjab Club is the pet project of Black Sheep Restaurants co-founder Syed Asim Hussain, whose father owned The Mughal Room (now closed) on Wyndham Street for 20 years.

Hussain grew up working in the restaurant and even salvaged and restored the tandoor ovens now used at New Punjab Club, which has opened on the same street but has a completely different vibe.

To make sure the food is up to scratch, they have brought in Palash Mitra, who used to be chef at the one-Michelin-star Gymkhana in London.

How chicken Manchurian found its place in Indian cuisine

The attention to detail here is pleasing, from the intricately carved wall panels and dark stained wooden tables to the wait staff wearing sharp navy mandarin collared suits. Tunes from The Beatles and The Beach Boys playing over the sound system, however, seemed out of place.

As we sat down, a trolley was wheeled to our table and we were asked if we’d like a gin and tonic using Monkey 47 gin – for only HK$268 a glass. Water, please!

If that wasn’t a hint of the prices to expect at New Punjab Club, then the menu is an eye opener – if you can read it. The pink-orange letters were in a small font, printed on cream-coloured paper, making it very hard to make out.

The lahori seekh (HK$198) was a large starter featuring two kebabs made of minced Wagyu, served with a spicy green chilli chutney and aloo chaat. The meat was tender and nicely seasoned with cardamom.

To cool our palates from both this dish and the onion and green chilli salad (HK$48), the staff invited us to try the raita yogurt (HK$48) that was seasoned with cumin and pomegranate.

We were tempted by the presentation of three dahi bhalla (HK$88) – lentil dumplings covered in yogurt, tamarind and coriander. Served cold, they were refreshing on this hot day, and we liked the variety of textures and flavours.

The main event was masalewali champ (HK$468). These lamb chops – two large cuts from the rib – were so big that they made us feel like we were dining with the Flintstones. Sadly, the grilled meat was dry. The accompaniment of beetroot korma was welcome because it moistened the meat, while the roasted onion was sweet and crunchy.

Mattar paneer (HK$118) – a bowl of fresh cheese, green peas, fenugreek and cumin – had a nice crunch courtesy of the accompanying potato sticks.

For dessert, the sticky toffee pudding (HK$98) was buttery and sweet, served with a scoop of bland tasting popcorn ice cream. Our waiter enticed us into trying the restaurant’s chai tea (HK$88) as a digestif, but evening diners are advised to beware the caffeine.

New Punjab Club, 34 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2368 1223

While you’re in the area:

Restaurant review: Gough’s on Gough, Central – good food with charming service and decor

Restaurant review: Sukiyaki Mori in Central – a must for fans of sukiyaki with its delicate creations

Restaurant review: Spiga in Central – good seafood and great desserts, but avoid the pizza