Good Food but terrible hospitality !
Rating – 3/5
I was here for New Year brunch on January 1st 2016 and I was both surprised and shocked at the same time. I know it’s a strange combination but that’s what it really was – pleasantly surprised because of the food quality of the buffet and terribly shocked because of the rather cold and indifferent serving staff which messed up my dining experience !
We (me, wifey and little princess) thought of starting our new year with a long pending brunch at Oakwood Premier which incidentally is listed as the #1 Hotel in Pune on Tripadvisor. We went with an impression that the food might not be the best in class but the service level would definitely be owing to such good reviews however what followed was definitely a dampener of sorts to our new year’s dineline (more on this in the Service section) !
Location and Ambience – I would rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.
Located in the KP Annex within Mundhwa, the location is good with a Valet Parking on disposal though your cars may end up in the open parking by road if you’re not a hotel guest. The Ambience of the restaurant is good with an option for both indoor and outdoor seating and both sections are quite spacious with a portion of the indoor one which runs parallel with the live kitchen. There’s then a water body located just before the restaurant which has a fair share of some colorful fishes which keeps the kids interested.
The Food – I would rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.
They have a pretty varied buffet with lots of options for Salads, 4 starters, a pretty good Indian main course and some options for Italian and Mediterranean cuisine as well.
I would list out the impressions in brief and highlight the items that need to be outlined due to reasons good or bad as below:
The Goods – Chicken Tikka, Sikandari Lamb (though a bit dry), Mutton Dum Biryani (very good), Paneer Lababdar (the best dish of the buffet – cottage cheese balls in a tasty Tomato gravy), Egg fried rice, white thai curry, chicken shepherd pie, veg variant of Sushi, khandvi and patra (the interesting additions in tid bits).
The Bads – Vegetable Tikki (filling was sour), Tofu based starter (nothing exceptional about it and didn’t see any effort to even out the dryness associated with Tofu), the chicken and mutton gravies were ordinary as well.
The Desserts – They had a fair share of options in Desserts and some of the ones worth mentioning are the Chocolate fountain, the chocolate cake (the best), Ivorey Marquse, kaju katli and Chocolate brownie. The Desserts were good and couldn’t find any flaws 🙂
The Service – Now comes the worst part of the meal. I would rate them a poor 1/5 on this parameter. I would list my very specific observations here and it’s for anyone to judge what rating can be associated with this aspect of the Restaurant.
#1 – While we had initially been seated at 12.40pm the place was fairly vacant and with just two other tables occupied, still our server Mr. Gautam didn’t ask us for water.
#2 – The starters had gone hard and dry as they were laid out on the buffet which is something I don’t prefer usually. However from my experiences in Marriott and other places where this arrangement is prevalent, as soon as you tell the serving staff about the dryness they promptly offer to get a fresh serving from the Kitchen which never happened here. When I asked my server he very reluctantly agreed to get us a fresh chicken tikka from kitchen which came after a good 30 minutes. I saw that the fresh preparation was left unattended for at least 5-10 minutes and by the time it reached our table it was cold.
#3 – The Sikandari lamb starter was good but due to the aforementioned reasons had gone dry and hard, when I informed our server about it, he nodded as if he would get a fresh on the table but unfortunately it couldn’t make it to our table for our entire duration of 3 hours.
#4 – I had given the above feedback to the Restaurant Supervisor/Manager Mr.Sahil and he was very apologetic about our experience and he himself served us the breads when again none of the other staff was interested in asking us about our preferences in breads when they clearly saw we were moving to the main course.
#5 – After all we went through the worst was yet to come when someone had asked us if they can get us something. I reluctantly asked the person if he could serve us a tiny portion of Mutton biryani as the one on the buffet was sticking to the base of the serving utensil. The person readily agreed with a smile however that was the last of him I saw and after reminding others thrice the Biryani was served on the table after a gap of thirty minutes as we were moving to the desserts, phew !
The Verdict – I am not quite sure if I’ll be back here again though as I stated before the food is good but the serving staff made our experience pathetic. It wasn’t as if they were understaffed however I could just see them passing by without being bothered too much. Although I might be hallucinating but I didn’t see the place overbooked or swarming with people so it could have been easily managed but for some unknown reasons it wasn’t and all this was enough to spoil our first dining experience of 2016 !