The story begins with the trauma of partition when Mr. Bahadur Singh crossed over from Pakistani Punjab and made their way first to Amritsar and then on to Mumbai. Like most displaced people, he was searching for a means of re-establishing himself and his family in a new land. With little support or means of sustenance, he turned to what he knew best - cooking.
In the early days, they served just three dishes - Koliwada Rawas Fry, Koliwada Jhinga Fry and Koliwada Pomfret Fry. These were mainly snacks that were packed in leaves and newspapers to be savoured literally as it came out of the pan. The freshness of the fish and its special taste caught on, and the roadside eatery soon became a runaway success.
An expanding menu
Given the fact that customers kept queuing up for the fried fish, they decided to widen their array of offering so as to indulge a variety of taste buds. The first to come were mutton and chicken biriyani. Soon the eatery added tandoori to its menu and offered chicken tikka kebabs and tandoori paneer.
The business had earned a well established reputation, and for most people, Mini Punjab became synonymous with Koliwada Fish Fry. Many Celebrities from Bollywood were patrons and would often drive down to Koliwada to indulge in their favourite fish fry and Punjabi tandoori dishes.
Eager to expand their repertoire, they decided to expand and set up a branch at Bandra; the fast growing upmarket suburb. The Bandra establishment started with Chinese food, but went on to become a multi-cuisine restaurant that catered to the unrelenting demands for Mini Punjab’s Koliwada Fish Fry and Punjabi Tandoori fare.
The beginning of the outdoor catering venture...
With their reputation growing along with the number of patrons, the group launched its catering venture. The venture quickly caught on with parties, weddings and special occasions being the reason for the dawn and rapid rise of Mini Punjab Catering. Orders poured from all over and Mini Punjab catered to clients as far away as Ahmedabad, Surat and the interiors of Maharashtra. While Punjabi food remains its speciality, the Group also offers international and other Indian cuisines.
The move into the banqueting
In the mid-90s, they bought a plot of land facing the Powai Lake which was earlier used as an open air party venue and expanded their operations there. That premise now features private party halls, a central kitchen, lawns for marriage receptions and large parties; a restaurant serving buffet, as well as a la carte & TDH menu in dinners. The banquet centre also has rooms to accommodate guests.
Today, the small enterprise that was started in 1951 has come a long way. The business is now managed by Mr. Karnail Singh, who is ably assisted by their sons Mr. Parvinder Singh and Mr. Harmeet Singh.
Befitting a family business that has grown in size and reach, the third generation are professionally qualified with degrees in catering from premier institutions. While a lot has changed in the way the business is run, what remains constant is the single-minded attention to the quality of food, along with its unique taste & unmatched service.