(Disclaimer: The views expressed are my own and from the single or multiple experiences that I have had with the food joint. While you are free to disagree with the opinion below; please respect the originality and fairness of the content. The opinion/ review is purely based on experience and there is no biased, favored or commercial angle to it)
The review below is for the preview session of the ‘Food and Grape fest’ soon to be hosted at Garden Court, and by son it is as soon as 19th and he 20th of Dec. Now anyone who has stayed in Pune ling enough to call himself a Puneite would obviously have either visited or heard a great deal about Garden Court. This can be for several reasons but for one, they are well over 24 plus years in the hospitality business now and would be turning 25 on the 23rd Dec. Garden Court situated on NDA road for long have been a beloved resort hotel by one n all which has its proximity to Kothrud, Baner, Pashan and a bunch of facilities it offers in the form of banquet halls, party lawns, candle light dinner, poolside dinner, hosting parties and much more. The place has a sprawling premises with ample parking and facilities and would easily be suited to any of your customized needs be it a b’day party or a dinner with office colleagues. The chef’s and the management along with Kushal (he runs the place now) who happens to have his culinary experience inherited from some of the well-known Goan families; have developed their cuisine and recipes over a decade.
(A sneak peek into what’s coming up ahead…..All those who prefer mutton dishes over the chicken or sea food you know where to head for….)
So as I was saying this was a preview meet for the Wine and cheese sampling festival to be hosted on 19th and 20th Dec. A quick glimpse of what the festival beholds and then back to our rollercoaster ride for the taste buds.
Food and Wine Festival: This is first of its kind festival in this apart of the town and there is so much to watch out for. The hosts would be serving a specific/ distinctive menu selected exclusively for the event in the form of finger food dishes and live barbeque counters. There will be wide spread of finest exotic cheese and wine to savor by the pool. And that too free!! Hard to believe? Couldn’t agree more…. Specially selected bands would be playing Jazz under the starry sky for men while the women will be seen flocking the flea market arranged. The kids have special play area and multiple activities going on to keep their feats busy.
Not enough? Want more? Why not get indulged into grape stomping yourself? Or make a customized cocktail – you’re a la version? Ever tried your hands at juggling bottles then here’s your change…Go on, play on and enjoy a weekend like none other.
Garden Court Pune West Food & Grape Fest is an event initiated by Yogi Holiday Resorts Pvt. Ltd., co-sponsored by Fidato Events and Managed by Conklave Ventures.
Date – 19th & 20th December
Time – 11am – 11pm
Food (Preview menu for Wed 9th Dec):
- French onion soup: First time had a chance to taste caramelized onions in a soup. A floating bed of Cheddar from ABC farms and a full sized crouton gave the texture and subtle sourness. The rosemary and traces of oregano brought in the enhanced flavors. A decent start for the day.
- Rajma tikki: The roller coaster started slowly with few veg dishes making their way onto the table. Rajma tikki was well a veggie substitute made by Kushal himself for those who envy the mutton shammi kebab. Sorry to say nothing close to original shammi kebab which was son to follow.
- Chicken cashew nut: Contrary to your imagination this was made in their customized red sauce. Can be called in as a somewhat of the crispy chicken family. The crispiness was a bit too much and made the chicken taste dry. But good recipe I can say, can be perfected.
- Cottage cheese (paneer) cashew nut: Same recipe but for veggies. This was slightly better than chicken one.
- Baby corn finger: This was one amazing dish. The baby corns used were long ones and were coated with thin orange batter. These were really good and made us lick our fingers.
- Schezwan mushroom: Another popular dish from the Chef’s kitchen. A simple yet a winning performance by our beloved button mushrooms drizzled with Schezwan sauce. The sweet sour dish did its job brilliantly.
- Mutton shammi kebab: Had to be a winner. Like is said all mutton recipes are super yum and must try even for people who limit themselves to eating chicken. Don’t you ever miss on any of the mutton dishes being ordered! Soft, tender, minced mutton with mild tanginess and charred to perfection, these could any day turn a veggie into a non vegetarian. Amazing.
- Fish cake: Cake might not be the apt name for the dish but the Rawas based dish was delectable none the less. Spices were subtle and mild but the aroma was arousing ..like totally.
- Paneer Harabhara kebab: This was slight turn down. The bumpy part of the ride if I may say. The harabhara masala didn’t get infused into the paneer nor the paneer were grilled perfectly. Not sure if the recipe was less than perfect or the dish turned half baked but certainly not appreciated even by veggies.
And then came the trough part….our coaster was ready to splash into a pool of cheese….yup, we were soon overloaded with assorted cheese that were used to create some of the finest quiche in town.
- Mushroom cheese quiche: Soft, juicy and quick on fingers. The quiche that came up were assorted and some even used a different cheese layering. While most of them used a hybrid cheese – Processed cheese infused with mozzarella and Cheddar; there were some which used other variants as well. Cheese were spotless no wonder they came from ABC farms. The Garden Court people have a tie up with ABC farms and are frequent in ordering varied assorted range of all the experimental cheese combinations they have on the menu.
- Creamy veg quiche: If not mistaken this one was the one with carrots and beans loaded with creamy cheese. Absolute mushy delight.
- Cottage Cheese (paneer) grilled quiche: Yet another beautifully done quiche. This was a tandoored recipe wherein the paneer was finely diced pieces of tandoori paneer in red tandoor masala. So this was a bit spicy from the tandoori paneer while the cheese made it mild. A splash of flavors in the mouth together.
- Herb chicken quiche: One of the two chicken quiche that came up. Absolute high on flavors this was liked by one and all.
- Chicken grilled quiche: The other variant of chicken a rather spicier variant. This was yet another fusion of flavors with cheese toning down the overall spicy quotient of the dish. The aromas that came up were simply mesmerizing.
- Chicken sahi akbari cashewnut: This was a very aromatic white masala based chicken kebabs. The cashewnut wasn’t overpowering the recipe at all. This one was so appreciated by foodies that it was the first amongst others to be cleared off the serving plate. It also had traces of cheese used. Very little almost nil but it gave a slight sour and specific aroma to the dish.
- Mushroom barbeque: Pizzas were served alongside the quiche and although they were really nicely done with a proper balance of veggies, mushroom, corn and cheese people were focusing totally on the quiche being served. Simply for the amazing use of cheese on those perfect little brittle tarts and the different flavors that they could savor with each morsel.
- Chicken tikka pizza: Chicken tikka was nice. I liked it a lot, but still exercised restraint because I had to keep appetite for the mains and deserts and yes wine.
We were already being served with 2 variants of red and white wine right from the start with starters being served but the real deal was kept on as the finishers. The desserts were served with yet another round of specially hand-picked fruit flavored wines like strawberry and alphonso mango.
NAAN/ROTI and MAINS
- Garlic kalongi naan: Now garlic naan as you us have had is naan loaded with oodles of butter and finely chopped garlic but this one was a different variant being served; for at first it was a garlic kalonji naan and second it had crispy golden brown garlic and kalonji within the naan and not on top. Some new variant for sure. Along with Naan there were plain roti or butter roti being served. I personally felt that the roti/ naan could have been softer and well tandoored.
- Mutton Rogan josh: Absolute Bliss….eat this and relish it for as long as you can. Simply mouthwatering recipe and one of those which you can’t have enough. Your tummy would give up but palette will keep longing for more and more. Clear winner without a doubt.
- Chicken lalpari: A spicy dish finally. AS you guys might be knowing I am very fond of spicy dishes and can take something in even coming straight from the depths of hell, so the cheesy land ride had left me ask for something spicy and my prayers were answered in the form of lalpari. Indeed it was a fairy godmother just the spicy version of it…..and I totally loved her.
- Veg lavabdar: Didn’t notice this coming onto table thanks to mutton rogan josh I was fully engrossed into clearing of my plate.
- Cottage cheese (paneer) sweet and spicy: Another red gravy this time for the veggies. This one was indeed sweet and spicy at the same time. Decent dish….ya you are guessing it right I was completely focused on my mutton and didn’t had more than 1 morsel….
- Mutton biryani: This one had mutton pieces marinated overnight. This must have been good. Sorry no clue on this one as I was not keeping very well and couldn’t have any of this.
- Veg biryani: Biryanis smelled awesome even though I didn’t have them. So I guess even they got some good votes for the night.
Now we bring in the real deal of the night. Some perfectly crafted wines ….ahh sorry fruit wines to be precise and assorted cheese shavings to accompany the desserts being served.
- Mango cheese: This one I guess was to accompany the alphonso flavored wine. Yummy to the core, had this type for the first time and can’t wait to have another on the 19th.
- Cheddar: regular cheddar with slightly better texture. (which I believe comes with ABC farms naturally)
- Masala cheese: This was one with a rather twist. Again a different type of blended cheese which can be used effectively to come up with innovative starters.
- Sunrise tomato cheese: Yet again an experimental outcome but this time using sundried tomatoes in it. The tanginess was redefined with this one altogether.
- Blueberry cheese cake: Cheese cake how can it not come out well? Amazing cheese cake to finish the desserts in grand style.
- Chocolate dip strawberry: Loved it. Freshest of juicy strawberries dipped in chocolate. Pure indulgence.
- Christmas chutney: Fantastic preparation and something which I never expected to be served as deserts. It reminded me of my Grandma’s famous murabba that she used to make out of raw mangoes.
- Cheese cherry pineapple: A rather well known cheese recipe with the sourness of cheese contrasted with sweetness of pineapple and cherry to finish it.
I admit I am novice with wines and as such not much that I can say.
- Red wine by Sula Winery: There were two variants of red wine from the Sula Winery. The guys found this most suitable until the real star attraction entered and brought the show to a standstill.
- White wine: A fine distilled, this one was more in alcohol content.
- Fruit wine – Alphonso Mango flavored by Rhythm Winery. Winner hands down. This is certainly that everyone should try weather you are a wine person or not. Mildly alcoholic this was the finest offered on the shelf and was quick to get thumps up by all.
- Fruit wine – Strawberry flavored by Rhythm Winery. A rather cocktail of grapes and strawberries, this one was mildly sweet but very refreshing.
I learnt a few things about wines the other day but would take some time to bring it to use and in my reviews. But all I can say was the initiative is going to be a solid hit. I can already see 19th and 20th – the place being flocked by people.
Had a very nice experience with like-minded fellow foodies and some of the choicest wines and food menu that the place has to offer. I am on my way for the 19th Food and wine festival…will I see you there?