The Dimsum Festival at Conrad
Rating – 4.5/5
To begin with I feel the urge to clarify that I am no expert on Dimsums & Japanese cuisine in particular. This experience is solely based on the preparations that appealed to my taste buds while I was out there on a tasting invite to Koji which happens to be Conrad’s Japanese specialty restaurant and certainly among the best in Pune in my humble opinion.
Ambience – The more I say the less it will still sound about the spectacular Ambience of the place with some really unique artifacts which I reckon is true about Conrad in general and the place just exhibits classy environment all around. You need to be present in person to experience the amazing food, warm hospitality & ravishing ambience. They have a special private area that is booked as per cover charges and some of the elusive families in Pune are their usual customers and all of them fancy this particular area which was setup as a Tasting table for us. This area is completely private with a Door and you feel like as if you’re having a Five star dinner in the comfort of your home.
Koji has an adjoining and connected bar through a passage within the Restaurant as shown in the pictures above and the Bar area is fantastic and extremely photogenic as well.
About the Dimsum Festival – The Dimsum Festival at Koji is already in place from 10th November till the 19th of this Month. It is available on an ala-carte basis where especially curated Veg and Non Veg Dimsum Menus are designed for this festival. Talking about the value for money quotient, the pricing is in the premium range considering the quality and exotic ingredients which can be found in their preparations. Most of the Dimsums are available in the range of 600-700 bucks plus taxes and each Mocktail will cost you 350 bucks plus taxes.
The Mocktails – The Furutsu Mocktail came with the goodness of Lychee, Kiwi, Guava Nectar & Lime Juice, on enquiring I was told that they don’t use any fruit syrups and all the fruit based mocktails indeed have muddled fruits which I could feel as well and it was lovely. The other Peach based mocktail which came with Soda, mint leaves and 7up was refreshing and pretty good as well.
The Food – Among the Dimsums that were served, they ranged from Lamb, Chicken, Vegetables & Prawns, some of the ones which I would recommend would be the Chicken Jiaozi, Prawn Truffle with Edamame, Spicy Lotus root with Pok Choy and the Signature Chicken & Chive Pot Sticker. Each one of these preparations were quite delicious & I would highly recommend the Chicken Jiaozi (Poached chicken with Ginger) & Chicken Pot sticker (Steamed chicken with Shanghai Sauce) for their rather unique presentation & taste.
The Barbecue Chicken Bao was expectedly a little on the sweet side due to the generous amount of barbeque sauce but the Bao (steamed bun) was so delicately soft that it went well with the sweetish chicken filling inside.
The Chicken Sesame Ball seemed a bit unusual for a Dimsum but came across again as a unique yet a bit on the sweeter side preparation. Looking at the picture you wouldn’t realize how tender the outer covering was and one needed to be careful while serving so as not to break the Ball. The inside filling was of barbeque sauce with caramelized onion and chicken which served the preparation well, I liked it.
The Signature Chicken with Black Pepper had a lot going for it through relatively spicier ingredients with the Pan fried chicken and if you like your chicken preparations infused with a lot of Black Pepper then this is for you. As a feedback I found the black pepper level to be a little too much for my liking but then it totally depends on your taste buds.
The Traditional Egg & Custard Bun was the biggest surprise of all the dimsums and if you haven’t had it before then by all means you should order it. This was one slightly crunchy dimsum with a sweet Egg based custard filled inside, each bite had a bit of sweet crunch to it and I totally loved it. #definitelyrecommended
Koji Experience Platter – This platter finds its place in their regular Menu and is one heck of a preparation if you’re Sushi & Seafood lover. Due to the extremely expensive variant pf Blue fin Tuna imported from Japan and other rare & imported seafood ingredients this platter is priced at 5500 bucks. From the platter I loved the California Rolls the most and I would let my other Co-bloggers to talk about the Sea food part in their blogs as they’re die-hard fans of seafood & sushi compared to what I usually fancy.
Dark Chocolate Pocket with Lemongrass Ice-cream – While browsing through their regular menu, this particular dessert caught mine & another blogger’s attention and we were absolutely delighted with the way this dessert turned up. A pocket of sorts containing rich dark chocolate served with an Ice-cream that has more than a hint of Lemongrass flavor yet doesn’t overpower the taste completely is what this dessert is all about, if you like what you hear then it doesn’t make any sense not to order it while you’re here ! #definitelyrecommended
Lastly about food, it would be a complete injustice if I don’t mention their Signature Appetizer “The Koji Chicken” from their regular Menu which I happened to order on our table. This preparation which is Executive Chef Mandar’s take on the humble Chilly Chicken is so awesome that for the first 30 minutes of the tasting session this one ended up overpowering almost all of the preparations we tasted. The fact that no one would be putting up the picture of this preparation because no one has it as everyone just gobbled it up speaks a lot about the dish. To call it a Chilly Chicken would be a bit trivial but I can say this is the best Asian Chicken appetizer I have had in a Five Star – it was crunchy, wok tossed chicken with cashews, onions and bell peppers and is #mostdefinitelyrecommended.
The Verdict – I loved the overall experience with varied food items suiting my taste buds coupled with the esteemed company of their top F&B executives who did their best to give us that pleasant and rocking time. This is arguably the best tasting I have been to this Year and I look forward to be here more often. This festival definitely is quite inviting and innovative combined with the fabulous ambience and courteous Conrad hospitality makes it a sure-shot one time visit at least.