Words like exquisite and excellence don’t usually end up the same sentence as fun and funky, unless you’re playing some weird alphabetical game. But Chef Ajay Chopra has a way of producing cuisine and dishes that are technically extraordinary while at the same time being fascinatingly different. Timo is yet another feather in his already incredible hat, but the best part about this is – it’s his only non-veg restaurant, currently in Pune!
An absolutely beautiful 2 storied restaurant, right next to the famed CCD of Bavdhan, with 2 words to describe the ambiance – chic and funky. The blacks and teals and yellows bathing the distinct 4 spaces into a classy but fun and inviting vibe. Great music with some authentic and some extremely fun fusion European fare which will win your heart, no doubt. The team has done an exceptional job with all the facets of the restaurant and it is a place everyone should visit!
No alcohol is served yet but the shakes, mocktails and drinks are just so awesome. The Spicy Pomegranate Mule was just spectacular with the sweet, tangy freshness with hint of salt and spice from red chilli. The Elderflower and Cranberry Fizz as well as Passionfruit Mango & Chilli Fizz too were so refreshing and delicious!
The have a amazing breakfast menu, but forget your usual stuff. You might have had dishes with the same names before, but never stuff as awesome as this!
Take the Museli Bowl, for example. Proper Alpine Museli marinated overnight in orange juice, topped with fresh sweet and tangy fruits like strawberries and kiwi, then crunchy ginger crumble and lastly basil or sabja seeds. The flavours, the textures and sensations! It’s a true masterpiece and after having this, going back to your run-of-the-mill museli is just impossible. I’ve never just closed my eyes and savoured museli like this!
Nutella F-Toast – French toast but like nothing you’ve ever had. I mean check the photo. Soft but slightly crispy bread topped with a sinful concoction of nutella, chocolate syrup topped with actual Lonavala Chikki Crumble! You’re thinking – what?! It is equally surprising and delicious at the same time. So incredible. The whipped cream and fruits add a great dimension to it.
The Mezze Puchka was something I absolutely was looking forward to, but it wasn’t as great as the ones I had during their launch day. It is actually quite awesome, though. Super crisp big gol gappe filled with hummus, Tzaziki sauce and tabouleh with jowar puffs instead of bulgur. It is just a mind-blowing combination of flavours of textures. The Chef graciously accepted the feedback and said the proportions while piping stuff inside must have gone a bit off and I’m pretty sure they can get it fixed.
Tandoori Rawas – There is no way your brain is going to process this dish in the first go. Until you try it, that is! It is an incredible masterpiece with flavour combinations I have never had before. Steaks of Indian Salmon, marinated in a delicious mix of spices, char grilled in a tandoor to absolute perfection! The onion, garlic, green chilli etc just singing through. Then placed on a bed of Ghee Pilaf just adding amazing fragrance. Served with a spectacularly shocking green peas puree with cumin and mint! On the side are some pickled vegetables and some lettuce.
I give up and can be declared retired hurt from the world of blogging. Whatever little I know about food, this dish has smashed it out of the park. I have no idea how these flavours work and where the devil Chef came up with this. This is a dish which could end wars or may be kick start the apocalypse. I don’t even know anymore.
Caesar Salad Cornetto – We’ve all lusted after cornettos as kids, as we dejectedly gulped down on some peasant cone ice cream, because the former was too expensive. Imagine if the cornetto grew up and became sensible and totally rational. But remained as desirable as ever! Amazing crisp pastry cone filled with caesar salad with juicy roasted chicken with the most creamy and cheesy sauce. Deliciousness in every bite. You’ve never had salad like this and I’m sure even the biggest salad haters will not be able to resist.
Lamb Keftadas – Another masterpiece by Chef Ajay Chopra. Absolutely juicy, luscious and creamy fresh lamb patties, pink on the inside. Absolutely singing with Middle-Eastern spices like Sumac and Zatar, among others. Then comes the bombshell! Topped with a rich and exquisite Nihari Sauce! Prepared with so much care and dedication, it takes hours and about 15 kg of bones to make 500 ml of this stuff. So you can imagine how silky, rich and flavourful this must be! Eye poppingly delicious dish!
PIZZA – We tried the excellent Veg Primavera Pizza and Garlic Prawns Pizza and both are absolutely stonking! The base is made out of sourdough and you can taste the slight sourness and sourdough flavour. But the dough is still maturing and Chef says it will keep getting better with time. What is also amazing is that they first partially bake the base in a tandoor, giving it an amazing smokiness and then finish it off in the oven with the toppings. So the flavours are just so complex and amazing. And I’m just talking about the base!
Primavera has a pesto sauce, fresh vegetables, mozzarella and then topped with parmigiano reggiano. The whole flavour profile is just so incredible due to this. Simple but just amazing. Each element shining through.
The Garlic Prawns one uses Lebanese Garlic Toum sauce, then topped with juicy prawns, bell peppers and light spices. Just such simple but satisfying flavours. Something you just haven’t tasted anywhere before!
Tom Yum Prawns Noodle Bowl – Just a whiff and it transports you back to small lanes of Bangkok and for all the naughty reasons. All the street food, fresh seafood and the distinct slightly pungent sauces and spices. This bowl smells like an essence of Thailand. The juicy prawns, still in their shell giving it even more flavour. The thin glass noodles, the chilli and fish sauce (though toned down massively for the Indian palate), mushrooms, topped with mint, basil and coriander. One of the best Tom Yum I’ve ever had in Pune hands down. If you claim to like Thai food, taste this and I promise you a revelation.
I know this review is getting a bit long in the tooth, but bare with me, my sweet tooth needs to be satisfied too! And how!!
Toffee Pudding – Very classic English style pudding with dates and walnuts, incredible caramelliness from the hot toffee sauce. Some whipped cream and strawberries on the side. So classic, so soul satisfying, so good.
Brownie – Such a simple name, but so deceiving! An amazing crumbly soft brownie topped with the most amazing caramelly and boozy Whiskey Bourbon Sauce. Served with a super crunchy and nutty biscotti with almonds and pistachios. Topped with whipped cream and strawberries. I have no idea how the exquisiteness never stops! So simple but so delicious.
American Raspberry Cheesecake – A really nice slice of creamy cheesecake with raspberry compote. But unfortunately failed to impress on this day. I had it at the launch and it was definitely better. It lacked flavour and the cheesiness you expect from a baked cheesecake.
Don’t even think about asking me a verdict. This is an incredible place with just such different, innovative and incredible cuisine. More than living upto their #EuropeComesToPune tagline, while bringing along loads of friends from all over the globe. Each dish I tasted had something special about it. Something hardly any other restaurants can match. After Paash, I was yearning for Chef Ajay Chopra to open a restaurant which serves non-veg and it not just lives up to it, but surpasses all expectations. This is a must visit place for every foodie!