For anyone living and growing up in Dubai in the 80’s (and even the 90’s) Sind Punjab Meena Bazaar was synonymous with excellent Indian food. It was that must visit restaurant when the curry cravings came a calling. This follow up branch in Karama, unimaginatively named New Sind Punjab, always had its work cut out, having some big shoes to fill.
The layout of the Karama branch is similar to the original with a window open on one side for chaat, and juices, and a charcoal grill on the other…for their amazing kebabs. Sadly, the interior of the restaurant looks badly neglected. And it smells – a lot. I would not be able to eat a meal there. If this is what the newer branch is like, what does the original look like I wonder.
Either the quality of the food at Sind Punjab has come down or I have gotten used to a higher standard (probably a little bit of both), because I didn’t feel the wow! in any of the dishes I ordered (to take away). In all fairness, the Rogan Josh did get my heels clicking, its gravy rich, and meat beautifully tender. The over-creamy Butter Chicken though, was miles off my benchmark at Chawla’s Meena Bazaar. And the Daal Makhani…well, it was just black daal with a couple of kidney beans thrown in, no character, no soul. Even the complementary pani puri I was served while waiting for my food was…um, underwhelming.
The staff are a friendly, accommodating bunch, I’ll give them that. But all in all, I was hugely disappointed with the experience. I’ve always kept Sind Punjab on a special pedestal in my heart, it reminds me so much of my early days in happy-go-lucky Dubai. Well, that’s another bubble burst…