April Rain, Aundh, Pune

April Rain Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Rain with a fresh perspective !

Rating – 4.5/5

Food blogging definitely has its perks in visiting new places and meeting people that you otherwise wouldn’t converse with but when you do your whole perspective on food and the business of food changes. I got this chance to talk to Chef Milind Sovani while on a food tasting invite of April Rain on the first Dry Day in October.

We struck some great conversations on Pune people’s fixation with Maharashtrian touch in North Indian cuisine or for that matter even in World cuisine preparations. How the Pune food scene is evolving with the ever growing influx of youngsters and their taste orientations which the Restaurateurs are always on the look out for and innovate/re-innovate their strategies over and over again. Also got a chance to learn about Chef Milind’s journey to a Celebrity Chef and his various outlets in multiple Countries including India, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore. So many stories over some delectable food served as the perfect combination to make for an exciting afternoon.

The Ambience – Pretty impressive and contemporary, we were seated on the first floor and it was a pleasant and comfortable experience.

Food & Drinks- Our overall experience over food was fantastic and we tried both the Indian and World cuisine preparations, a brief as below:

Drinks (Non Alcoholic) – Peach Margarita, Spicy Basil, Orange bliss & Hot Guava Punch.

The Spicy Basil and Hot Guava Punch were among the innovative ones while the Peach Margarita tasted more like a Pina Colada with a tinge of Peach – all of them tasted quite nice. I would definitely recommend the Hot Guava for a different yet refreshing experience.

Starters – Most of the starters were quite tasty and following is a brief on each of them:

Jalepano Cheese balls with Salsa dip – Your regular cheese balls accompanied with a Salsa dip and served in a unique manner where your salsa dip is served along with each of the cheese ball. The cheese balls tasted like a regular preparation but were enhanced by the Salsa dip.

Butter Garlic Prawns – This for me was the stand-out dish of the evening and this is coming from someone who is not exactly crazy about prawns and their usual pungent smell. The prawns were juicy but the USP of this dish was the creamy sauce that was plain delightful and I gobbled it up in absolutely no time.

Veg Kulzza – This was easily the most innovative yet tasty preparation of the evening which happens to be a combination of your humble Kulcha and trendy Pizza ! I am not sure if it sounds exciting but the end result was good and the Kulcha base went well with the cheesy toppings of a usual vegetarian Pizza, good stuff indeed.

Malaysian Chicken Satay – This tasted like how a Chicken Satay should taste like with not a lot of Indianised interference, served with Pickled Cucumber and peanut sauce – went well with the Mocktails.

Murgh Tangdi Kebab – The first time this came on the table it was a bit under-grilled, I had to request them to grill it a bit more. The next serving was better and it was a decent preparation.

Tandoori Khumb – Cheesy mushrooms grilled in Tandoori flavors when done properly yields fantastic results and it was a delightful treat for the taste buds for sure.

Dal Makhni with Lacchha Parantha – The Dal Makhni was good here but we had heard a lot about it from their Staff and to be honest it wasn’t like a preparation that you haven’t had already elsewhere. The Lacchha Parantha however was amazing, it was fluffy, soft yet had a bit of a crunch in every bite and went really well with the Dal Makhni. This is all we could have after having a super-dose of the above starters.

Service – On a food tasting event the service is usually good and this one was no different, we were briefed about all the served dishes and given good recommendations.

Parking – Aundh, ITI Road is a busy area and they do have their own dedicated four wheeler parking which is definitely good news. One has to head towards the basement after taking directions from the security guard, be a little careful though as the way to basement is a little cramped but on a Saturday I could see ample parking space available for the Restaurant patrons.

Credits – We were taken good care by their staff comprising of Ms.Arti, Mr.Ishwar and Mr.Jayanta. I am grateful to Chef Milind who took some time off his busy schedule to sit with us at the table, made us feel comfortable and for being a gracious host.

I would definitely be back to taste more of Indian Stuff and I believe you should visit them too 🙂

Syrakko, Kapila Matrix, Mundhwa

Syrakko Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fine dining at it’s Best !

Rating 4.5/5

I would begin on a different note from my usual tone of reviews to straightaway come to the point, this place is guaranteed to evoke extreme emotions – either you’re going to like it very much or you may shrug it off just like another place and in that case may frown as well given the prices 😉 However I am not complaining at all, every foodie who likes a bit of experimentation with their food needs to visit Syrakko at least once ! From the same owners/Management of Sin Envy Pride this restaurant is here to to build their own niche in the sphere of fine dining and fusion cooking and whatever I tasted they seem to be very good at what they’re striving to achieve !

Talking about experimentation, imagine Solkadhi without Kokum, an innocuous Pumpkin transforming to a delicious Soup or having a dessert called Espresso Firni – if that’s what excites you then you just cannot afford to miss Syrakko for sure.

At the danger of writing an extremely long review I will try to limit my food emotions to the minimum and talk about food objectively 😉

Location & Ambience – 5/5 – Situated in the well known Kapila Matrix in Mundhwa or KP Annexe as some people like to call it the place is easy to locate (on the 7th floor) and has their own Valet Parking Service to ease you of any Parking issues that are usually associated with the side of the Town. The location comes in handy as it’s still a bit insulated from the usual hustle and bustle of KP yet it’s so nearby to all the happening places in the vicinity. Talking about Ambience, being a fine dining place the Ambience is pretty good and the decor is tastefully chosen indeed.

The Palate Cleansers – This was another highlight, we were served with specific palate cleansers before each course of the meal, a first that I have witnessed in my outings in Pune so far.

Food – I’ll give them an overall rating of 4.5/5.

Terming something tasty and palatable is always subject to an individual’s opinion and I cannot guarantee that everyone who eats at Syrakko would find the food as taste-worthy as I did but I can definitely say that you would find the preparations unique and different from the usual.

I am going to post pics of all the dishes I tasted however will write about the ones I really loved and want the readers to really try them when you’re there.

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The Soups – 5/5 – The best soup of the menu for me is the Prawn and Garlic Chowder Soup (Rs310). It’s a white creamy based textured soup and has small chunks of prawns and is absolutely delicious. Mind you this is coming from someone who just can’t stand the smell of prawns and still I have no hesitation in terming this as the best soup of the evening.

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The Chicken and Almonds Shorba comes a close second with shredded almonds enhancing both the flavor and the appearance and the flavors are mild yet it impresses with it’s richness, subtle spices and tender chicken chunks.

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The Starters – 4/5 – Out of the Array of starters served the best I found to my liking was the Murg Thecha Kebab (Rs.300). It’s an absolute delight with the traditional Maharashtrian thecha masaala with a surprising yet competent and tangy Sundried tomato thecha further accentuated by Solkadhi (without Kokam) and pickled cucumber and beetroot. The Sundried tomato thecha was everything that I have never tasted before, it was tangy, a little sweet and did a very good job in balancing the spiciness of the regular thecha masaala.

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Malai Prawn Tartlet(Rs.350) – The only word is WOW ! The prawns were tender, creamy, sprinkled with tarter sauce, devoid of any pungent smell and were complemented by a short bread accompanied with the preparation.

Other notable mentions were the Pea Escalope(Rs.260) and Shish Taouk (Rs.310 – Chicken needed to be a bit more tender). The Shami kebab (Rs.310) didn’t quite live up to my expectations as the flavors and required tenderness associated with the preparation was missing.

The Main Course4.5/5 – This is where the things really started to hot up with almost all of the preparations being Top Notch with the exception of Awadhi Lamb Korma (Rs.460 –  was too subdued for my liking). The Indian Mains come with a small serving of Rice and 1 piece of Naan.

Strongly recommended – When you’re here you may order any of these Mains based on your preferences and you shall not be disappointed – Coastal Prawn Curry (Rs.490), Murg Dungar (Rs.400 – the best one for me), Mediterranean Risotto(Rs.390)and Herb Roasted Chicken (Rs.440).

The Desserts – 5/5 – Oh and heavenly they were !

White Chocolate & Wasabi Parfait (Rs.280) – Can you imagine Wasabi’s usage in a Dessert? The White Chocolate and cream based Parfait was creamy and rich and went great with the surprising yet subtle flavors of Wasabi.

Salted Chocolate Mousse (Rs.290)- A mouthful of dark chocolate served with Malibu Soup, this is meant for the dark chocolate lovers for surem needless to say I liked it.

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Espresso Firni (Rs.250)– Wow, Wow and just Wow. This was arguably the best dessert I have had in a long long time, the combination of coffee flavored ball with Tiramisu combined with Chocolate soil (as they call it) worked wonders and evoked such fountain of flavors, crunch and punch literally bamboozling me and this for me was the highlight of the Menu.

Dark Chocolate Fondant with Raspberry Caviar(Rs.280) and Fresh Fruit Sorbet (Rs.240) were pretty enjoyable as well and the desserts on the whole were the best course of the meal.

Value for Money – 4/5 – Firstly the portion sizes of almost all the dishes are strictly for one person only and a decent meal for two should set you back between 1800-2200 bucks. Having said that the preparations are unique and I for one don’t really mind shelling out that amount for a fine dining experience and Chef Nagaraj deserves a special mention for the awesome plating on display for all the preparations.

Credits – A huge shout out to the BTeam especially Mishraji (Divyanshu as I fondly call him) for inviting me to the food tasting event. Our Dinner session though got wrapped up by 11 but we had lots & lots of interesting conversations with the Management to understand their ideas of fine dining and fusion. Enjoyed all the conversations with Mr.Prasad, Mr.Ameya, Chef Nagaraja, Mr.Mayank and loved the hospitality of the entire staff.

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All the Bloggers with the Men who matter at Syrakko !