The hospitality scene in Pune is growing in leaps and bounds and it is getting increasingly complex to give a blend of food, service and ambience to the customer which would make him revisit the place over and over. With this in mind restaurateurs are trying to bring some of the most disruptive type of ideas to the hospitality scene. The décor, furniture, cutlery, props used everything which blends in to form ambience of a place are being increasingly exploited to give that hatke feeling so as to lure the city youth. The B Team on its foodie journey had a new sojourn in the form of new roof top bistro – The Open Window. This is brain child of the management of Hotel Ambassador which is well over 17 years in the Pune hospitality market. The newly opened bistro is located atop the hotel Ambassador in Model colony and sports what can be called a filmy look. As you step out of the elevator, you are greeted by lot of coloured painted whiskey bottles on which Bollywood stars have been painted. The location plays the most important part when you plan on opening a rooftop and in this case too, it played just the perfect role. Model colony famous for private bungalows has all low heighted structures and the absence of tall structures gives this place a perfect scenic view. There is plenty of uninterrupted breeze that sets in the mood. The décor is to a large extent has kept a rather bright and cheerful appeal by using white and sky blue colours. The whole architecture seems to be Greece inspired. The chairs used are different from one another and some of them even sport a cycle paddle to toy with. The overall quirk quotient got bumped up a few notches with the generous use of cycle parts at varied places like the bar counter for instance had a huge OW which used cycle wheel rim for an O. In one of the corners you will also see a special cage type couch which I believe is for the love birds flocking the perch. The sight of this one particularly took me back to times of blockbuster Tridev and I could hear a Jaggu dada singing……’Tera pyar hai ek sone ka pinjara o shezhadi…muzh ko apni jaan se pyari hai apni aazadi….. ;P They have a projector in one corner to screen IPL matches and other sports events which is kinda a must have these days. The bar has two fake windows sticking out of the wall with big blue panes that hold the liquor bottles and a rack to hold glasses at the bottom. They have quite a range of liquors to serve and I would love to try there other cocktails sometime.
The team were courteous enough to allow us to savour from amongst anything on the menu and so we choose one-one dish from the different sections to try as many different dishes as we can.
We started with a Caramel Twist which was caramel syrup mixed with pineapple juice and Bacardi. The pineapple flavour was dominating for sure but apart from that the drink got a mixed reaction from all. Has a scope of improvement. Next came my order of Dead man which was a blend of Chivas, J.D, Jonnie Walker in some orange syrup. The purpose of the drink was to set a tingling feeling but it could do that only when it was brought for the second time as the first time it was made a little dilute considering the potent combination that it is. Good drink for those lazy Saturday nights when you can afford to get a little high. Next came the two tinis – Appletini and Kiwi Tini. Apple tini was brilliant with a very prominent flavour of green apple. A little practice and this could be perfect. Kiwitini was a medley of vodka, Kiwi juice and lime and it couldn’t serve up to the expectations. Although a god mix it needs improvement before it is ready to be served. Classic Mojito was a standard affair and didn’t disappoint us. LIIT was a classic and is certainly recommended here. The Caiprinha Berry was a drink for the ladies in the house and packed lemon grass, cachucha in strawberry syrup. We were also served Tropical Island in terms of mocktails which was a pineapple, mango, litchi juice, grenadine syrup mix served in a milk bottle with a watermelon wedge to sit atop the rim. A decent drink for those who don’t resort to cocktails. The bar is slightly on the weak side and needs gearing up to compete with the big giants out there in the market.
Caramel Twist and Dead Man
Appletini and LIIT
Tropical Island Ice Tea Mocktail and Caiprinha Berry
Veg Bruschetta: Finely chopped tomatoes and basil on a crisp toast loaded with mozzarella shreds, this was finished in a jiffy and loved by all. #HighlyRecommended
Nachos: These were sadly not up to the expectations as they had turned soggy already by the time they were served and also lacked a tangy contrast that salsa should offer. The cheese could have been less as it was clearly dominating the dish.
Chicken Peri peri: This was decent in terms of what was served but it was pretty different for the chicken peri peri served elsewhere. The sauce also was not peri peri level spicy. I would rather give it a pass.
Prawn satay: Served as skewers these prawns were pretty decent. The slightly sweet taste that lingered on the palette was noticed by all and voted against. The dish could use a spicier variant.
Roasted Chicken and Mushroom salad: Abundance of romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes is what I would describe the salad to be. This one was a perfect hit and a must have for all those health freaks out there. The crunch offered was really good and the roasted chicken dressed up with Italian seasonings was just too good to resist. The bell peppers brought in some colour to the dish as well. I wouldn’t mind to order it every time I go here.
Next we thought of ordering some burgers and sandwiches as that is picking up space in every menu of the restaurants in Pune.
OW Grilled Chicken Sandwich –A generous filling of chicken, mayonnaise, jalapeno and marinated peppers is what went into the toasted bread to make this sandwich an instant winner. This was served with fries on the sides and was the star attraction of the night. Only one request the bread was a little too crisp and dry for the sandwich. It had lost all the moisture and was turning out to be pretty dry. A little less toasting/ browning and I am sure no one can turn this down.
BBQ Chicken Burger – The burger was yet another homerun for the team OW. A wholesome burger with generous filling of chicken stripes. The sauce used was also complementing and giving a complete feel. The only suggestion here and I am sure that I say this for everyone from #TheBTeam that they could have used chicken patty instead of the strips. The strips were really good but equally messy and clumsy to maintain. This one similar to sandwich had fries on the sides. Iceberg lettuce had the extra crunch needed and this dish was announced a winner.
Our in-house media gal desired of Penne pasta and as such we had ordered a penne in OW special sauce. The sauce was creamy and thick enough but seasoning could have been more. The garlic bread that came along could also be a lot more garlicky and buttery to make the dish score a perfect.
Wine Chicken Pizza – Pizza is always welcome no matter what you are ordering apart from it. A thin crust pizza topped with mushrooms and BBQ Chicken cooked in red wine was what was served next in line. The pizza was rather average – nothing exceptional but nothing disappointing either.
Mains: The mains saw the likes of:
Veg Shepard’s pie: The traditional pie with a twist, this dish has been making some noise and we can say for the right reason. I simply loved it.
The Roasted Chicken – Roasted chicken in butter and garlic served with a thyme sauce, sautéed veggies and mashed potatoes on the sides. Although everyone loved the sauce that this was drenched into the sauce was way too salty for everyone on the table. #Highlyrecommended
We were talking to management giving them honest feedback when slightly wrong in order but a super suggestion came to us from one of the captain to try their kit kat shake. Already full from all the hogging the team just ordered one kit kat shake and then they were fighting to scoop out vanilla ice cream and any of the shake left. The shake was too good and by all means a #Musthave at the OW. We started on a rather slow note on cocktails/ mocktails but this one nailed it and compensated for them in a much generous way.
In desserts we were served a cupcake which was another one of customized preparation form the management. This one had a vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cupcake slices. Next were the crepes in sweet honey based sauce. The crepes turned out really well but the sauce can have a better consistency as it was a little too sweet with all the honey usage.
By the time we had crepe all of us were panting from the hog fest and didn’t have any more room left. The team had tried to put their best foot forward the other day and although there were few disappointments the overall experience was good.