Mini Punjab's original owners were pioneers who began the "Koliwada Fish Fry" taste revolution and singlehandedly made it a national and international favourite.
Today, while there are many who serve "Koliwada Jhinga Fry" and "Koliwada Rawas Fry", those of discerning taste know that there is only one that offers the authentic and original taste of Fish Koliwada - The Mini Punjab Group! Mr. Surjit Singh & Mr. Karnail Singh, the founders of the Group and the creators of the original Koliwada Fish Fry, literally started this revolution on a roadside with a coal fired stove, a frying pan their secret recipe of chosen masalas special marinade and handpicked fishes. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, two generations of the Singh family continue this tradition.
Partition and thereafter...
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 Punjabâ€™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 banqueting...
Today, the small enterprise that was started in 1951 has come a long way. The business is now managed by Mr. Surjit Singh and Mr. Karnail Singh, who are ably assisted by their sons Mr. Gurucharan Singh, Mr. Jagjit Singh, Mr. Parvinder Singh, and Mr. Harmeet Singh respectively.
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.
Mr. Karnail Singh is one of the most respected and admired name in the culinary and foodservice industry in India. Along with Mr. Surjit Singh, he is one half of the visionary founders of the Mini Punjab Group and proud originators of the legendary Koliwada Fish Fry.
With his special understanding of ingredients and appreciation of the deeper nuances involved in its preparation, Karnail Singh is renowned for being able to judge the quality and taste of the dish just by its look and appearance alone; especially helpful when overseeing the preparation of non-veg foodconsidering the fact that he is a vegetarian.
Having set the foundation of Mini Punjab decades ago, he was also instrumental in laying the groundwork that formed the basis for a prosperous future that propelled it towards becoming one of the biggest and most distinguished names in the world of foodservice and hospitality - especially astonishing when you consider all this was achieved sans any special industry-specific education.
He has been hailed as the doyen of industry by many experts and connoisseurs alike, and Mr. Karnail Singh is still at the forefront leading the group forward by leaps and bounds with just the same joy and gusto he had when he started the roadside eatery all those years ago.
True to his principle of continuing to bring the best of taste, quality and service to the adoring patrons of Mini Punjab, Mr. Karnail Singh â€“ along with the able team at Mini Punjab â€“ continues to push the envelope of taste and quality, setting new standards is service, innovation and experience.
Today he continues to shepherd and inspire the next wave of growth for the Group and under the aegis of his magnificent leadership; the continuing ascent of the Mini Punjab Group is virtually assured.
Mr. Surjit Singh, part of the fabled partnership that gave rise to the Mini Punjab Group has the mesmeric ability to lead and shape true success. The meteoric rise of Mini Punjab is largely due to his charismatic and transformational leadership.His counsel is still considered talismanic in all matters concerning the restaurant, hospitality and catering industry.
His vision and foresight at the helm was the cornerstone around which the spectacular rise of the popular Mini Punjab Court, Bandra and the Mini Punjab Lake Side, Powai was scripted and took wings. He promptly realized that the burgeoning demand for the taste and quality of Mini Punjab needs to be satiated with the same quality and taste that had made it so celebrated.
He also realized that diversification, specialization and expansion are real pillars to success and quickly drew up a roadmap for the rapid yet elaborate plan for consolidated growth and all-around development. Mr. Surjit Singh remains a vanguard in the Group and although the extent of his official involvement at Mini Punjab may have reduced, he still remains the beacon of guidance and a source of strength for one and all.
Mr. Gurcharan Singh, the elder son of Mr. Surjit Singh is a quite achiever whose dedication to his responsibility and proficiency in his area of expertise is second to none.
His keen knowledge of the culinary arts and his deep affection to the business of catering has made him the authority in matters relating to the world of food and hospitality. Gurcharan Singhâ€™s pursuit of continuous improvement and proactiveness in always delivering the best has been a driving force in Mini Punjabâ€™s monumental growth.
His foresight in introducing outdoor catering in Mini Punjabâ€™s Lake Side Restaurant to make events, ceremonies and other occasions more cherishable proved to be a watershed decision that continues to pay rich dividends.
Spurred on by Gurcharan Singhâ€™s propensity to set an example and lead from the front, the Mini Punjab Group is poised to grow from strength to strength with every passing day, true to his motto of â€˜aiming for the best and preparing for the better.â€™