Punjab Grill

This evening I walked over to the Marina Bay Sands, an almost never ending journey, across town, down through half-empty subterranean shopping malls, back up onto street level, running across busy roads, and back underground again, before rocking up at the Punjab Grill, an Indian restaurant in the Marina Bay Sands Shoppes. I find that extra"pe" in the name particularly offensive. It’s the sort of thing that a shoppeing centre with ideas above its station would think was a good name to have, giving a bit of class to everything. It’s just a charmless arrangement of concrete and steel, not a thatched roof cottage somewhere.

It is always disconcerting to be the only people in a restaurant apart from the staff. There’s that faint waft of failure combined with the worry that you’re a poor decision maker for ending up in such an establishment. I’d gone there with a colleague to meet one of our business partners, and luckily he was the one who had been sitting there on his own, only a champagne bucket full of bottles of mineral water for company.

Admittedly after a couple of hours the place began to fill up (because it’s uncivilized to eat dinner at 7? Come on …) but by that point we had eaten and drunk quite enough.

Positives: little amuse-bouches between courses, pretty good fried asparagus and an ok paneer.
Negatives: canned Heineken (not even bottled, to begin with, and though they had Stella and Budweiser, no Indian beers whatsoever). No vegetable biryani on the menu, which was horribly confusing, as my routine involves eating that at every Indian meal I ever have. And possibly over-solicitous staff, who felt they had to spoon out every blob of curry for us, pour every inch of beer.

I’m used to a British curry house, where a bad tempered man slams down a bunch of dishes and leaves you to it. Having somebody wait on me hand and foot is disconcerting and distracting.

Still, the food was good, and I chose the restaurant, so I can’t really complain about the location. I’m worried that drinking three beers and a gin and tonic is really not going to do much for my running, or indeed for my weight, so it’s lucky that I didn’t have three beers tonight.

I think I had four.

Anyway, it’s serviceable as Indian restaurants go. If you’re trapped in the Marina Bay Sands, I suppose it’s ok. Otherwise, there’s a plethora of Indian restaurants covering the rest of the island that are just as good, which makes me wonder about Punjab Grill’s raison d’etre.

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