Evviva Sky Lounge Courtyard Marriott, Bund Garden Pune

Evviva Sky Lounge - Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Christmas Brunch to remember !

Rating 4.5/5

We went to Evviva Sky Lounge by chance on 25th December 2015. Our original plan was to go for the special brunch in Momo Cafe as there was live carol singing along with a dedicated kids zone being put up for Kids. We reached there at around 1.30 pm after watching a movie and the place was full of people, probably overbooked and a tad more than the staff could handle.

Consequently the seating, service etc wasn’t in the greatest of shapes and after a bit of a rough time for the half an hour we spent in Momo Cafe we were showered with a special courtesy of their Executive Chef Mr. Pradipt Sinha – to dine at the Evviva lounge for the same terms and conditions as in the Momo Cafe ! We gladly accepted the offer and made our way towards one of the most famous rooftops in the City 🙂

As we made our way to Evviva we were personally escorted by Mr.Pradipt (awesome gesture) and he introduced us to the Restaurant Manager, Mr.Jitendra and rest of the staff and we got hold of the humongous menu on offer.As we were settling down we got to meet Chef Hitesh, he’s the one who treated us with one delicacy after the other when we dined at Momo Cafe the last time we were there and it’s a pleasure to chat with him about food.

The concept of Evviva, Ambience and Service.

I rate them an outstanding 5/5 on all the above parameters.

As explained by the Executive Chef Mr.Pradipt Sinha the concept of Evviva is pretty simple, you don’t go and fetch the food instead the food comes to you ! Right from the starters, mocktails to the main course and their special dessert trolley, all this ensures you indeed have a personalized experience 🙂

As is evident for the concept to work one needs to have an exceptional service and I was extremely glad and touched by the services and outstanding courtesies bestowed on us by the entire staff.

As far as the ambience is concerned I think it looks best during the evenings, however with a little princess I have it’s not possible for me to visit during the evenings since kids are not allowed at Evviva during the evenings. The seating and overall atmosphere though was pretty good in the afternoon as well but it’s best to be visited during the evenings.

Food and Drinks – I rate them an excellent 4.5 on this parameter.

Being a non alcoholic I can only comment on the mocktails and I can say the litchi based mocktail was the best of the lot while the Virgin Mojito was how it should be so no complaints on the drinks part.

The Starters

There were a number of starters that were on the menu but in order to conserve space for dishes to follow we decided to go for a select few like Fish kalimari, squids, chicken spring roll, veg spring roll, bhatti ka paneer, barbeque chicken, veg bruschetta and murgh ki asharfian.

The starters I really loved were as follows:

Murgh ki Asharfiyan – saffron tinged chicken tikka served live on the grill, was really juicy and moist and wasn’t too spicy at all yet pretty good.

Bhatti ka Paneer – very nicely done paneer tikka that had a spicy and tasty marination kept overnight.

Barbeque Chicken – a different take on the usual recipe with an absence of the commercially available barbeque sauce in the preparation.

The Main Course

Nalli Nihari – Amazing lamb shanks preparation where the meat is cooked for hours and hours oozing in it’s own juices. The end result is a meat so tender that you could even use a toothpick to separate it from the bones.

Butter Chicken – The most outstanding butter chicken that I have ever tasted in Pune for a long long time. It was spiced in a subtle manner and not at all sweet as it should be and I loved the preparation with mirchi ki roti.

Bengali Fish preparation – A mustard based fish preparation that was so very tender and nicely done that the fish almost melted in my mouth and though I was more focused on the butter chicken still this dish registered it’s presence in my food palate.

The Murgh Amber Biryani

I am reviewing it separately, a typical awadhi preparation – belonged to the kacchi kind of biryani wherein the meat and rice is cooked together. The resultant was a juicy and moist biryani, as is expected from the awadhi preparations the biryani was aroma based and is very lightly spiced so full marks on the authenticity of the preparation.

Desserts – I would rate them a good 3.5/5 on this parameter.

Without going into too many specifics I felt the desserts were more of a dry cakes type variety and I guess an addition of different variants of pastries and Indian desserts would only improve the desserts part of the meal.

To sum up my experience at Evviva was pretty awesome !

Special thanks needs to go to Chef Akhilesh who manages the Evviva kitchen and has a speciality in the Awadhi Cuisine. He cooked and served all the Awadhi dishes himself and we had a nice little chat about all of the preparations and I would cherish the food conversations I had with Mr. Akhilesh as much I loved what was served. As told by Chef Akhilesh for most of the dishes the spices are prepared in his supervision within the Evviva’s kitchen and the commercially available spices are not used in their kitchen.

I also had interesting conversations with Chef Hitesh about the food, lifestyle of working in hotels etc and it only made our experience even more eventful and I am so very thankful for the same as well.

I don’t have enough words for Mr.Pradipt Sinha for making our Christmas brunch so special and kudos to him for going out of his way and arranging the brunch for us in a special place called Evviva 🙂

Eighty Eight – Hyatt Pune, Kalyani Nagar

Eighty Eight - Hyatt Pune Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

An experience of its kind !

Rating – 4/5

This Hotel is located on the Nagar Road close to the Aga Khan Palace and was formerly called as Ista until it was eventually taken over by the Hyatt Group. As is usual with the five stars there’s an efficient Valet Parking on offer and you have to go through the usual Security checks which I seriously don’t mind at all since it’s for our own safety. A big thumbs down to folks who consider this as a waste of time and pretend as if this is a wastage of even 2 minutes of their precious time. Grow up Guys, seriously !!

So if you ask anyone who has visited Hyatt as what’s the first thing they noticed upon entering and I would seriously doubt if they will forget to mention about the Lobby Area of the Hotel. Trust me it’s a Grand setting with a huge and spacious lobby to greet the visitors with some exquisite interiors, a piano on one side and a decorated wall in the background where water flows from the top creating a nice effect.

All these ingredients put together present an absolutely delightful view of the place and I can easily say that it’s among one of the most beautiful settings for a Hotel that I have witnessed if I compare them to my stints in North America and Hong Kong. A special credit needs to go towards the Interior designer of this place and the same reflects in their banquet halls, hotel rooms and the restaurants.

I know a bit more about this place than I would generally know just by dining somewhere because I was involved in a huge training of sorts for the HSBC Software development folks and during that time I had the chance to make some observations. Though not all was perfect as the food served during that time was sort of average but I had decided at that time to give this place another try by visiting one of their three Restaurants and that’s what I exactly did on the occasion of my wife’s Birthday.

Hyatt Pune (different from Hyatt Regency) boasts of three dining places to be precise namely:
The Fish bowl (a lounge type setting perfect for drinking hobbyists to go with finger food)
Ban Tao (their special take on the Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine)
Eighty Eight (their buffet restaurant with a fair mix of Indian with international cuisine)

We chose to have our Dinner in Eighty Eight as we don’t fall into the category of drinkers and Chinese/Vietnamese cuisine we sort of like but not something that we would go out for every now and then. We zeroed in on Eighty Eight to taste a mix of the huge buffet and though the rating on Zomato was a bit of dampener to start with but we were glad we still went ahead and chose to dine here.

Ambience – I would rate them an outstanding rating of 5/5.
As we entered the Restaurant much like the Hotel’s lobby the area was huge, nicely decorated, well lit and tables were placed at a comfortable distance allowing you to have privacy during those dinner conversations where you discuss on topics ranging from climate change to the fate of big boss contestants so I like my seating area to be well spaced out 😉

There’s also a door towards the much darker shades available in the open air part of the restaurant which is apparently a smoking zone as well for you to take in Nicotine should you wish to. That area is dimly lit and situation among a decent cover of greenery and looked equally charming in the dark. I guess it’s not too difficult to admit that I absolutely loved everything that’s got to do with the ambience of this place 🙂

Food – I would rate them a respectable 3.5/5.
My rating for the food is slightly because of the ordinary set of starters and equally ordinary mocktail (presumably a slice/maaza with a hint of basil flavor) that was served while we were there. A brief on each course of the meal as below:


Starters – what gets served and the Quantity?
Starters comprise of three veg and three non vegetarian items, during our visit we could only find the Fish fingers with Tartar sauce and a mushroom based veg starter worthwhile. The rest of the items in starters were ordinary to say the least and not something that I expected to be served in a Quality place like this.

Main Course – The Main course was relatively good compared to the starters and I enjoyed most of the gravies including the cottage cheesem chicken adraki and the daal makhani with the star of the main course being Urlai roast. It was a dry/minimal gravy preparation of baby potatoes roasted in a fingerlicking masaala and I remember having a butter roti just with this dish as it was so good.

An addition like a Chicken/Mutton biryani would have definitely added a lot of glaze to an already decent main course and something that I thought was missing from the ensemble.

Desserts – Unsurprisingly with quite a large presence in terms of variety this was the best course of our meal and I really ate the sweets like a kid. I loved the Indian sweets more than the western ones 🙂

Service – I would rate them a respectable 3.5/5.
It would be an understatement if I say that the service needs to improve by a notch or two, if it was not for their Captain they would have figured poorly in my books. The Captain was a courteous person who attempted that anything which was not according to our taste atleast an effort be made to replace it with the improved version. Though it’s a different thing that there wasn’t a lot of change in the improved items but they deserve a pat on the back for trying and showing that they care about the customer feedback.

Impressions in brief:

The good:
1. Ambience – one of the most beautiful settings and perfect for celebrating special occasions.
2. The buffet spread – it’s a lavish buffet by all means with loads of options in salads and other tid-bits (Thin crust roasted chicken pizza was good) and options to order stuff from the live counter.
3. High quality desserts and a decent main course.

Improvement Areas:
1. Service – wish if they can be a bit more forthcoming to listen to feedback and should strictly ensure that nothing cold gets served as it sets the wrong impression to start with. As mentioned before if not for the captain our outing could have been really bad as some of the servers had little clue on some of the most basic of things, not sure if they were new on the job. This feedback is only to ensure that they undergo proper training and other customers are able to have a better experience than this.

2. The starters – The chicken starter only had cumins overpowering the entire preparation and it felt that all you were eating was cumin and it didn’t matter whether it was chicken, paneer or soyabean, all would have tasted the same due to the magnitude of cumin used in the marinade.
Similar problems surfaced for the mutton starter which was also overpowered with loads of cinnamon.

In a nutshell the starters section of the buffet needs to be improved considerably if they want themselves to be counted among the top buffet serving five stars in the vicinity.

Despite the shortcomings we still enjoyed our visit to Eighty Eight, it’s definitely better than the rating of 3.3 which is how it’s currently rated on Zomato at the moment.

Sigree Global Grill, Amanora Mall, Hadapsar Pune

Needs urgent improvement in Starters but Service and Biryani were Top class !

Rating – 4/5

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As happened the last time when we visited Sigree the starters were not too good. Infact I must say they were below par mostly and I can’t single out a starter as the one that would be worthy if I pay for them in Ala Carte which was disappointing.
The Main Course and desserts were however good as always but again the Star of the show was their Biryani. The placard claimed it to be the Lucknawi variant but it was amply spiced. The staff were courteous enough to prepare or rather present the biryani in a separate pot for us which had the right amount of moisture retained within the preparation.
Service was top class and Mr. Asis among the serving staff left no stone unturned to give us a great time while eating, just for the Biryani and immaculate service they deserve a 5/5 rating however the starters were so ordinary that I can’t help but reduce their rating by .5 based on the latest as it undermines the overall buffet experience in terms of taste and Value for Money.
A lavish yet tasty buffet! (Reviewed Q1 2015)
Rating 4.5/5
So here we were at our first Sigree outing closer to Home at Amanora. It was an off for me on a Friday and we thought of making the most of it by trying a buffet at a place we had never tried before.

We have been to Bbq Nation a zillion times and knew their concept is somewhat similar to Sigree but somehow never found a chance to visit Sigree.

So we walked in without a reservation for lunch and we were seated instantly and at least couple of people came around to ask for any special request or to just brief us on how it works.

We were greeted with pieces of breads of the day with a variety of dips to munch those around with a ginger ale like welcome drink.

Soon our service for starters began and tbh we were disappointed with the first few servings of starters namely Bhuna Jeera Chicken tikka, Bbq chicken and Arabic Lamb Kafta were not that impressive.

Bhuna Jeera chicken tikka had only the taste of cumin seeds as it had completely overpowered every other flavor/aroma, I didn’t like it a lot. Same goes with the lamb starter which was hard and I didn’t like it one bit either.

At this stage of a buffet with literally three starters going for a toss we were not really sure if we chose the right place?

However what followed was nice, nicer and Yummiest buffet fare we had in a while.

Some of the yummier items to mention from the other starters were Paneer Tikka (so soft and aptly spiced), Fish tikka, mushrooms and prawns. Some other tid bits like the thin crust corn pizza and Chicken soup were quite flavorful as well.

In a buffet place usually I find that starters and desserts are good and main course is mostly present to make up the numbers and I was so wrong.

I can vouch from all the buffets I have had in Pune including some of the very big names comprising of five stars etc the main course at Sigree was top notch! Some of the most flavourful items from Main course as below:

Teen Mirchi Kadhai Paneer – 4.5/5
Mutton Rogan Josh – 4/5
Murgh Kali Mirch – 4.5/5
Hyderabadi Murgh Biryani – 5/5

Murgh Biryani was the standout dish and it’s so refreshing to find such a preparation in a buffet setting. To top it all I placed a request to have the chef prepare a portion of Biryani for me if possible ofcourse and it was gladly accepted. I am very particular about my Biryani and I have seen many a good preparations getting spoilt due to exposure to constant heating and thereby drying out the Biryani so I didn’t want to take any chances. What came out was an almost perfect preparation of Biryani that had some of the most tender chicken chunks, rice just perfectly cooked and spiced with a subtle hint of Saffron and it was just too good a preparation:)

Desserts – 5/5, Rabdi, Red velvet cheese cake, chocolate mousse, butterscotch mousse, lichee phirnee and mango tart – all were pretty flavourful and nothing really to complain about.

All in all it was almost a perfect lunch, with top notch service, good ambience and awesome taste. We will definitely visit this more often. Taking out half a point as starters can definitely be further improved.

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Oye Pape, Amanora Mall, Hadapsar Pune.

Among the best value for money buffets !

Rating – 4.5/5

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March 2015 Updates
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The price of the buffet has now increased to 500 on weekdays and 550 on weekends whether Lunch or Dinner. However over a period of time, their menu has almost remained the same but their food quality and service has also remained the same which is appreciated. Request them to think about some variations and bring something fresh to the tried and tested formula.
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31st October 2014 Visit Updates
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To begin with the quality of food I saw in my last outing remained consistent and they just have the most tender and tasty mutton Shami Kebabs that you can ever get. It was just awwwwesssome! If you have not tasted the kebabs you’re definitely missing out on the joy it would otherwise bring to your taste buds and as I write this I just can’t help but to try and somehow relive that experience again 🙂
Service was top notch and one peculiar thing about this place is they won’t wait for you to ask them for the refill of starters and compared to other places you have to stop them and ask not to bring any more else it would just keep on repeating.
Two of the chicken gravies were really good and tasted wonderful along with the Mutton Dum Biryani.
Last but not the least the Malai Kulfi was out of this world.
I am pleased to rate them again 5/5 and it was an extremely satisfying experience.
I am attaching some pics this time, however I couldn’t capture a lot of images of food as each time I thought about it my hands and mouth worked in perfect coordination to gobble up all the delicacies that were on offer 😉

Alright so I have been a frequent visitor on Zomato for checking Restaurant’s reviews and guilty of not adding my experiences here ):

However the meal I had last night i.e. 17th October at Oye Pape, Amanora has nearly forced me to write this review to let other folks on Zomato enjoy their Lucknawi Food Festival.

I have been to Oye Pape before and liked their setup (Dhaba setting) and courteous servers (Mr. Ranjeet) and Managers (Mr.Sam) so there was no issue in that department. They have always had a varied Buffet with 4Veg/4 Non Veg Staters, 4-5 items each in Veg and Non Veg Buffet along with Chaat counter, Ice Gola/Ice Cream, Chaas, Sweet Milk and around 5-6 Desserts.

I think the above is a really good deal for 450 all inclusive.

So here I was in Oye Pape on the night of 17th October and I fairly had an idea of what to expect but was a bit skeptical whether there would be anything close to be Authentic to Lucknawi Cuisine and I am glad I went ahead and it was a pleasurable meal 🙂

All the starters were fairly good with Paneer Tikka being very soft and mildly spiced, Veg Tikki was fine, Chicken Tangdi is always good and now they have replaced the Chicken wings with Chicken Tikka which was good as well. Fish starter was nicely prepared with not a lot of spices to alter the taste and with no evidence of the usual smell associated with fish, it was also good to eat.

However what came as a real surprise were the Mutton Kebabs and oh they were awesome, if anyone is familiar with Tundey Kebabs of Lucknow then these Kebabs were resembling the same taste and once I had a bite I knew the rest of the items which were part of the Lucknow food festival were going to be Authentic. I am a die hard Biryani fan and to be fair in Pune I haven’t had too many great Biryanis as they call them, at best they are chicken/mutton and rice mixed together and mostly qualify as pakke gosht ki biryani so Pune has long disappointed me on that.

So as soon as I tasted the tender and succulent Tunday style Mutton Shami Kebabs the next thing I did was in middle of starters I got a small helping of the Chicken Biryani, Mutton would have been better but I can live with a nicely prepared Chicken Biryani and it was WOW !

From that point onwards my area of concentration were the Shami Kebabs, Chicken Biryani and just to add more flavor I added Mutton Nihari to the mix which was prepared to perfection as well. It was absolutely delicious and I only got a chance to taste the Chicken gravy barely and gave the rest of Main Course items a skip 🙂

The Manager there Mr.Sam came up to check with me about the food as I had warned him in the beginning that I would realize if the food is Authentic or not and I congratulated him for living upto the expecations of a food festival. After a while as I was busy munching the delicacies I was greeted by their main Chef Mr. Naushad Khan and it was a pleasure to meet the Master himself, he’s originally from Lucknow and during our conversation when I asked him about the resemblance of Kebabs taste with Tunday, he admitted that he worked with them in the 80s and this indeed comes from the same family of Kebabs as Tundays 🙂 Superb !

After exchanging wishes it was time again to concentrate on the food and I proceeded with Desserts which didn’t disappoint me either.

The Senvayi Kheer was awesome, Sevanya Halwa and Moong Halwa were good, Gulab Jamun was the usual but the icing on the cake was the Malai Kulfi.

After around close to 2 hours of eating and wrapping it up with a Magai Paan, with a heavy heart and a heavier tummy 😉 I bid Adieu to the place with a promise that I’ll make it atleast once more before the festival ends.

I have seen some reviews which are rated as 2 which was surprising, it may have been a case on that particular day but folks at Rs 450 I don’t think there’s a better Buffet Deal with so many tasty items as is the case with Oye Pape right now. Go ahead and give a try to the Lucknawi Festival and I am sure you will not be disappointed 🙂

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Barbeque Nation, Kalyani Nagar, Pune

Legendary concept still going strong !

Rating – 4/5

So what can I say about Barbeque Nation that hasn’t been said before? Despite a strong chance of this review getting lost like a rain drop in a vast ocean I would still go ahead and share my thoughts 🙂
I have visited the kalyani nagar outlet innumerable times during the last 7-8 years and mostly my experience has been wow during the first few years and then trending to average during the last two years or so.
I thought that the management here became complacent as they were getting the customers anyway but importantly the quality in food was missing.

So after a lot of deliberation we decided to give this place another try for Team Lunch. The primary reason was the close proximity of the property with my Office.
For large groups (we were around 25) it’s highly recommended you book a day in advance else chances of getting a single section for all becomes bleak.
So I booked in advance and we were shown into our seating area and promptly order for drinks were taken. My all time favourite is the litchi mocktail and most of us non alcoholic drinkers went for this.

The starters:
Murgh Bano (chicken legpiece) 5/5 – This was awesome, the best I have ever had in all my outings to Bbq. It was so flavourful that I almost had 5-6 of servings of this alone 😉
Very reluctantly I tried to move onto other stuff, the chicken starters on the grill are always kind of rubbery and it was not an exception during our visit so I hardly had a single bite of it.
Next which I never seem to like is the mutton seekh kebab, somehow the folks here just cant prepare a tender and melting in the mouth type seekh kebab as it’s supposed to be, so didn’t like that either.
Other starters which were good were Potato in Cajun sauce, Paneer tikka, fish tikka was alright and so were the prawns as others told me.

I had also negotiated on two extra starters on top of the menu. Though the Veg starter which was some form of corn was a complete letdown, the chicken satay starter which was served during main course (they were pathetically slow to serve this) was really nice with the chicken so tender and juicy that it was a shame we couldn’t get this served on time. I could have eaten one Tangdi less 😉 but overall the starters were 4/5, a point taken off because of hard mutton seekh and the rather mundane chicken tikka on the grill with no innovation since forever 🙂

Coming to the main course the butter chicken was excellent. It’s rare to find a nicely prepared butter chicken these days as mostly it’s either too sweet or too watered down with hardly any flavour.
The butter chicken in this case was tender, curry so flavourful with just a subtle hint of sweetness in the buttery flavour and it still brings water to my mouth as I write this 🙂
Other dishes worth mentioning are the Mutton rogan Josh, chicken Biryani, Paneer curry and Daal tadka.

Desserts were the usual and I wish the management thinks about introducing something new in this area as well. However that doesn’t the desserts were not good but it’s in an urgent need of variety!
Service was mostly good and when we tried to tip them while adding amount to our credit card receipt, the captain came back and politely told is that they don’t accept tips since they anyway add a service charge within the bill.

Overall the experience was good but can be excellent if attention is given on some of the aforementioned areas.

For this review visited August 2014 but have been visiting them very often recently and the quality remains good if not exceptional.

Exotica Yerawada, Pune

Lunch buffet for a reasonable price point is the USP here!

Rating – 4/5

Exotica exists in the Yerwada Panchsheel complex surrounded by IT giants like IBM, Hsbc, Deutche Bank, Master Card, BMC Software among the more prominent ones.

What that ensures is a consistent supply of patrons thronging the place at all times whether weekend/weekday or lunch/dinner.

The rush is comparable to Bbq Nation outlets and the service is mostly good with appropriate attention given while serving the starters (2 Veg and 2 Non Veg in lunch).

Though the service was mostly alright what I missed was a lack of genuine friendliness by the stewards and little or no interest in listening about any potential shortcomings in the food.

All of the above being said we still had a good experience at Exotica last week with a few parameters exceeding our expectations while others bordering around that dreaded below average dotted line.

A word of caution ⚠ please make sure to have a reservation in advance else it can get extremely difficult to get a table during the usual lunch or dinner hours.

Ambience – 4.5/5, it’s a rooftop setting covered from the top and with a lot of green plants a small water streams all around. So the Ambience is almost soothing to the eyes with the only downside that during summers it can get really warm and might be a little disconcerting.

Service – 4/5, they do take some time to warm up once you initially arrive so expect a lag of around 5-10 minutes but post that the service for starters is decent and mostly they will be able to refill just in time so you won’t end up waiting for the starters very often.

Food – 4/5.

It’s an extensive buffet so I won’t be listing each and every item here but I would try and mention my experience for below and above average items.

Mocktail – Two variants were available, black current and orange. Most of us had the black current and it was a welcome change from the usual fruit based mocktails.

Starters – Out of the four starters I liked one each from Non Veg and Veg. The mutton seekh kebabs were not melt in the mouth types but were not hard either and the Paneer Tikka was pretty decent as well.

Among the ones I didn’t like were the chicken starter in green sauce – it sort of confused me whether it was of oriental origin but had green chutney all over it so it wasn’t something I liked a lot but still had around 10 pieces of it 😉
The other Veg starter was a Corn tikki which I didn’t like either as well as it was too dry for my liking and when I told the same to the server, it evoked no reaction at all and the ones that arrived afterwards were equally dry as well.

Coming to the main course, it had around six variants of salads which I didn’t even look at seriously as there was a mountain of buffet dishes waiting to be scaled 😉

I jumped straight to the laid out buffet and the items worth mentioning are Daal Makhani, Chicken Rogan Josh, kadhai paneer, pasta, Hyderabadi mutton Biryani, Daal tadka and a mix Veg preparation.

What I didn’t quite like was the Olive fish preparation, as the name suggests it was supposedly a fish preparation in Olive oil wherein the fish was fresh and tender. However it seemed like someone had dropped a bowl of olive oil accidentally on the fish which had completely overpowered the dish and was a little too much for my taste buds.

Talking about desserts, there were about 5 of them and this is where they need to improve further. The litchi based mousse was quite good but everything else including the Gaajar Halwa was pretty ordinary.

Overall it was a decent outing and there was a promotional offer up for grabs in August where the lunch currently costs at 495 per person (100 bucks less than the usual) and definitely is a value for money experience 🙂

Visited August 2015.

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Eternia Rooftop Resto Lounge At Skye Senapati Bapat Road, Pune

A Rocking rooftop place even for families!

Rating – 4.5/5

I was extremely but pleasantly surprised at the quality of food and top notch service at my recent outing to Eternia.

A Groupon that I bought way back in June certainly helped for the unlimited buffet (served on table) which gave me a chance for sampling their various items.

In a setting like this where even main course and desserts are served on the table, the chances of things going haywire are so high and can be unbelievably frustrating if proper attention is not paid towards the customers. However even in such a scenario their service was impeccable so 5/5 for that for sure 🙂

Coming to the food, though it was a buffet the food was of a good Ala carte quality.

The best of the lot were chicken wings (juicy and crispy), Chicken Angara, garlic bread, watermelon Mocktail, Chicken bhuna, Chicken Lababdar, kadhai paneer (so creamy and soft), chocolate Brownie and variety of pastries.

Our Captain Mr.Mohan and our server Mr.Nok Lel were awesome and left no stone unturned to fulfill our orders in a reasonable frame of time. This despite being a big party going on for Symantec in a separate section.

The seating is available in various options like open to Sky, partially covered and indoors as well.

The atmosphere is electric and the Manager Mr.Ambuj is a courteous and accommodating person with no airs about him.

Overall we had a fantastic experience, the Veg starters could have been a little better and that would have made the overall deal as 5/5 but no real complaints actually!

Visited July 2015.

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Barbeque Nation Hadapsar, Pune

A tryst with Iftaar special at BBQ Nation!

Rating – 4/5

Enough has been said about the chain of Bbq Nation and to set the record straight it’s indeed my favourite place for starters and when I am in a real mood to hog 🙂

This was my first experience with the Amanora one as I have always found myself stuffing those delectable starters over the last 7-8 years at the Kalyani Nagar location.

My outing here was refreshing in the sense as every server I saw was with a smile and the usual sense of urgency as visible in popular places like these was missing and for the good for sure 🙂 Hats off to their service that they are able to handle large crowds with so much ease and one hardly feels undeserved!

Add to that their fairly relaxed policy on kids (one 6 year old can share with each accompanying adult) and it’s a steal for a Non Veg lunch any day from Monday to Saturday for 630 per person AI. Too many buffet places these days fully charge the kids from 4 years onwards and it’s so disappointing and total wastage of money as I am not sure who are those 4 year olds that can eat as much as an adult so why pay that price?

Ambience wise it’s fairly alright if somewhat cramped for space at some places but the outdoor seating is definitely a plus during cooler days.

Talking about the food that day, stars of the show were Fish tikka, Tandoori chicken, prawns, mushrooms, Matar paalak ki tikki and special mention for mutton seekh kebab.

The mutton seekh kebab was not the usual piece of wood that Bbq Nation almost always serves and which I so much dislike but it was surprisingly soft and had nice flavor to it. It wasn’t quite still the melt in the mouth types but a vast improvement from before. This was in a variant of gilafi seekh as part of their Iftaar menu and was quite good.

Other Iftaar specials like Haleem (awful), saivaiyaan(3/5), Nihari (3.5/5) didn’t quite live upto the expectations of their special menu and I believe they should have been much better.

As usual the Pacific blue Mocktail was quite good and the roohafza in milk was strictly Ok and didn’t quite deserve to be served as a special Iftaar menu item.

Main course was fairly ok and I would rate it as 3.5/5, I could have rated them at 4 if it wasn’t for their Biryani goof up. The chicken Biryani was as dry and tasteless as you wouldn’t want your Biryani to be and it was the deal breaker for me in Main course. I have had 10 times better Biryanis in Bbq Nation before and I hope this was a one off case.

Desserts were pretty good and a special Kulfi counter was the star here. One could order 6 types of Kulfi combination with falooda, different types of sprinkles and flavors. This was a welcome change from their usual desserts fare and we liked it very much.

Overall ratings:
Service – 5/5
Ambience – 4/5
Starters – 4.5/5
Main course – 3.5/5
Desserts – 4/5

Visited September 2015.

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The Square – Novotel Viman Nagar, Pune

Five star Ambience and Five Star experience !

Rating – 4.5/5

There are many five stars serving good food in and around Vimannagar however what sets this place apart is the consistent taste and impeccable service.

It’s such a lavish buffet with so many different food counters available but what I liked is that most of the items (if not all) are worthy of being served in Ala carte and I can pay for individual items for their taste and preparation. This is so refreshing to see in a buffet as otherwise items are just there to make up the numbers but not here.

There were too many items in the buffet, I have uploaded pics and tried to taste as many as I could.

I would capture the out of the ordinary items here – butter chicken, fish ginger starter, fried rice and lamb chilly, Kerala fish curry. The chicken hariyali tikka was awesome and was well spiced and very tender as how it should be.

Starters – 4/5
Main course – 4/5
Desserts – 3.5/5
Ambience and comfort – 5/5
Service and staff courtesy – 5/5

I would have given them 4/5 just on food but. 5 extra for the service and feel good factor.

The buffet pricing is at a higher side 891 plus taxes, when I went there used a Groupon for 699 AI.

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Taareef Kharadi, Pune

Give yourself a treat at Tareef !

Rating – 4.5/5

Tareef as the name suggests is definitely praiseworthy for its yummy taste, impeccable service and the overall feel good factor 🙂

However I must warn you that its a little strange to get in here since it’s located inside the eon it park, kharadi where the entry is usually allowed only for employees.
If you can keep the patience while calling them in advance and then as you enter the IT park call them again so that a restaurant employee would walk over to the security gate to arrange for a gate pass and then finally you would be allowed to take your vehicle inside. I guess this place basically exists to cater the IT folks within but with a little effort you can take advantage of the tareef-ke-kabil food fare.

Coming to the food we opted for a buffet lunch that is usually not available on Sunday but they agreed to serve all the items on table much to our delight 🙂

We were also interested in trying their Biryani so we kind of requested them to trade off some items from Main course to replace it with Biryani which they agreed to as well, superb!!!! As I have seen many good places with such rigid rules that it kind of piss you off at times but not Tareef!

The Menu:

1. Multani Mutton Shorba – 5/5, this was one of the tastiest mutton soups I ever had, with little chunks of mutton pieces it was a pleasurable experience.

2. Chicken reshmi tikka – 4.5/5, this was mildly spiced, tender and super tasty. I am taking. 5 because I would have liked to be a bit spicy but still no real complaints.

3. Chicken Tangdi – 4/5, the marinade was ajwain based and was fairly spicy and was quite alright.

4. Chicken Tikka – 5/5, this was served as an extra starter when I gave them a feedback about the reshmi tikka being very mild. This was amply spiced, tender, succulent and what not? Very nice.

5. Mutton Seekh – 3.5/5, tasty but it wasn’t tender enough to make it 5/5 but was fairly alright.

6. Paneer Tikka – 4/5.

7. Tandoori Mushrooms – 5/5, this was right up there to give competition to its non Veg counterparts and was very tasty and just aptly spiced.

8. Potato and Cauliflower – 4.5/5

9. Chicken Lahori – 5/5, a nice rich gravy based boneless chicken dish with a distinct pepper flavor.

10. Dal makhni – 5/5, the best I ever had in Pune and almost like what you get in Northern parts of India. It tasted like it was slow cooked for a good amount of time if not the entire overnight and I loved it. Though I am not a big fan of Daal, speaks volumes about the preparation.

11. Mutton Dum Biryani 2/5, sorry to say but the most anticipated item of our customized menu turned out to be a dud. It was a typical Pune style Biryani but was almost bland. It was sad that my favourite dish didn’t quite live upto it’s expectations but the other items were so good that I was able to get over this quickly.

12. Shahi Tukda – 4.5/5, mouthwatering and apt starter to finish off a delicious meal.

So next time I am there would definitely try the full buffet as I missed 1 NV and 2 Veg Main course in lieu of the Biryani but I wonder after having so much of tasty starters would I have gone for those items so I don’t think we missed anything really.

At Rs 549 per person, this was an absolute treat and I would love to come here over and over again.

A word of caution, they are closed on Sunday evenings and are operational for lunch till 3.30pm

Service was absolutely delightful and ambience was pleasant. A special mention is required for one Mr.Baba who arranged for the gate pass, came to receive us and obliged all our rather strange demands 🙂

With a heavy heart I am taking 0.5 off because of the Biryani debacle but I am definitely going there again soon 🙂

Visited last in December 2014.

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