16th Feb: The B Team bloggers were yet again invited for a tasting this time at The Season’s Hotel Aundh and ‘Cinnamon Spice – Desi Tadka’ in particular. The Place is brain child of the owner’s daughter and they have given it a retro Bollywood theme to deck up. The place plays old classic Hindi video songs and the ambience around help recreate the golden era. Classics o Kishore kumar/ Mohd Rafi and your all time beloved cine stars and some real best in class service apart from the palette pleasing food what more can you ask for. I was kinda shocked to see the place having low ratings on zomato because what we had the other day was absolutely fantastic and classy. I had enquired earlier to check if there has been any change in Chef/ staff or menu or if there was anything new that the hospitality group was looking forward to promote and put forth, but that wasn’t the case. There was little to no change in the way cinnamon spice operates. So I can be rest assured that any time I go there I can expect a very warm welcome and some really lip smacking starters. The ambience as you may see below is really spot on. They have actually gone ahead and spent a fortune to bring an old vintage limited edition car just to be spliced up in half and be used as décor.
Food: The spread was good and mostly focused on Non veg menu.
Soup: Murgh badami shorba/ Tomato and Dhaniya ka shorba: We started off with Murg Badami Shorba and for a change I can say I liked the shorba at this place which otherwise is found to be much watery in nature. The shorba here was adequately thick and creamy and the aroma of stewed badams being very evident made it a good way to start. (Rating 4/5)
Murg Badami Shorba
Starters: (Average rating of 4/5)
Mahi Ajwain Tikka: Fish tikka just the way you would like it. No smell perfectly marinated and well cooked. I liked these most amongst the starters definitely recommended.
Mutton Boti Kebab: These were a bit let down for two reasons. Firstly they were having some weird smell and secondly, they were pretty dry. For long I had this impression prevailing that Mutton kebabs tend to get very dry until very recent when I tried few at the social clinic and now I am not gonna go back on the moist part hence forth for sure. So yes they take a beating with the dryness that prevailed and although they were mutton kebabs I was not totally convinced at the level of marination done. It could have used more spices and some marination to give that melt in the mouth Oomph feeling.
Murg Reshmi Kebab: Decent kebabs with balance between texture and flavors.
Murgh Pahadi Tikka: Succulent green tikkas with good levels of marination. They were liked by one and all, but yet fell short to be the start attraction.
Chicken Reshmi Kebab, Murg Pahadi Tikka and Mutton Boti Kebab
Paneer aur papad ke tikke: This was the real start attraction for the night. A new never before recipe for most and also prepared to the best of abilities this one was quick to win the hearts. These tikkas were soft marinated paneer cubes coated with mildly spicy crushed papad and then deep fried till golden brown. Veg or non veg whatever be your preference there was no soul to deny that this was the hands down winner. When we went all gaga over the recipe in front of the chef he even mentioned that this has been prepared off the menu; as in this one you need to specially order and is not available on their regular menu. So yes atleast that one was different.
Malai Paneer Tandoori Kumbh: A slightly re-incarnated version of your regular malai paneer. This dish was god but was a bit let down for the paneer was highly inconsistent. The texture of the paneer suggested multiple batches of paneer having been used (Probably). The mild variation an inconsistency was somehow pretty evident and hence it turned less an opportunity as it should have. But good preparation overall.
Dahi ke kebab: Decent but I would undoubtedly compare them to ones that you get at Barbeque nation. I have been to several outlets as well and the ones you get at Chichwad outlet is the best. So in comparison these were dry. Yet they were better off the dahi ke kebab that you get outside at most outlets so still a good addition to menu I would say
Dahi ke kebab and Paneer Papad ke tikke
Main Course: (Avg 4/5)
Rahra Gosht and Murg Patiyala Kadhai Se: Rahra Gosht was one dish I loved here. The mutton dish was so perfectly made that the mutton turn into the melt in the mouth types. Also I could easily make out that lamb used to be very tender and of nice quality. Mutton many a times turns out to be a disappointment in Pune but not here. I happen to mention the Chef about the dish and he was quick to admit that it is highly sought after dish at the place and people often come back to have just this.
Paneer Jahangiri and Subz bagicha Handi: Didn’t try these two as I was not keeping very well that day and had to let it go but I heard that both were decent and did a fair job if not better than the starters.
Chicken Dum Biryani/ Subz Biryani: Had a small sampler of chicken biryani but found it just about ok. The biryani’s out there are such a touch challenge that this one failed to impress. Nothing bad about this really but it can be improved much more in terms of cooking methods, the layering, use of fried onions and the spices being used.
Rasmalai: This one was really good than most commercially available variants and I do not recollect having a better rasmalai in long time. The ras was adequately sweetened and the chenna balls were made soft and yet they didn’t crumble to pieces. Very well balanced indeed.
Gajar Halwa/ Dudhi Halwa: Both were decent but has lot of potential to improve as by use of khoya, condensed milk, dry fruits (gajar halwa particularly) etc. Both of them were good in the sense they were fresh, steaming and juicy.
Rasmalai and Gajar & Dudhi Halwa
Mock tails: Blue Sky/Mango Delight/ Cherry Blossom/ Fruity Twister: Had just one round of Fruity twister as it was a guava based drink. I must say very well made indeed. The guava flavor was very obvious and black current crush used was not allowed to over power the drink one bit. Very fresh and refreshing. Except for one drink (I do not recollect the name) all the drinks were highly appreciated by one and all.
Mocktails and the Menu
All in all –
Food – 4/5
Service – 4.5/5
Ambience – 4/5
Value for money – NA (Invited and couldn’t check the price points for each)
A special mention to Mr. Ugrasen the FnB manager who hosted the evening for us, took us on a tour around and kept us involved on our gastronomic journey.