Saturday, October 2, 2010

Queen's Restaurant: Good Bangalore Punjabi eats

Queen's is a bit of a Bangalore institution. Located on Church Street in a weird mud-brick paneled room, complete with simulated cave-art, it definitely doesn't look like much from the street. I passed by it multiple times in a state of extreme suspicion during my first trip to Bangalore, passing it off as one of the city's multiple bacteria-farms. Good thing I was assigned to write about it. Queen's has some of the tastiest no-frills Punjabi food in the city, and it has a weird sort of charm - especially at night, when they break out the candles and the Carnatic music. The Church Street people watching? Even better. (You probably never imagined that so many young, drunk, and rowdy IT professionals existed in one place, but folks, Bangalore is it.)

It's a Punjabi place and by default, they have good tandoori items. I like the murgh tandoori here a lot. It's very tender, the spice combination is forward but not in your face, it isn't coated in over-exuberant yogurt (which masks the flavors) and there's plenty of it. These were not anaemic birds in life. The addition of a candle inside a tomato is totally delightful. More of my food needs to be served to me flaming. They also have some kathi kebabs and tandoori paneer here, for the veg inclined.

Sarson ka saag is on offer here, along with the traditional parathas. Well, only in season. The mustard greens aren't available fresh this time of year in Bangalore, but plain ol' palak proves to be a tasty second-runner up. Also: it is completely impossible to take an appetizing or sexy picture of palak. I mean, come on. Just look at it.

Aloo gobi is another good rustic Punjabi dish, and they do a fine turn with it here. Good cauliflower to potato ratio, a nice cinammony spice mixture, and most importantly, it doesn't come out doused in oil. This is a dry curry the way it *should* be.

They also do an excellent daal makhani (black daal with pounds of ghee) and very tasty butter garlic naan here.

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