There are a at least 2 dedicated Mexican Restaurants now in Pune, but no one is doing Mexican Drinks and Cocktails and its always a ray of sunshine when a renowned place comes up with a festival that will include both food and drinks from the selected country.
Hard Rock Cafe has decided to take the temperatures in month of May soaring further and festival is definitely spiced enough as the Mexican Festival will last all month.
Hard Rock Cafe does not require much introduction around its food or drinks, everyone loves those burgers, potato skins and all American spread. So we are pretty confident that you’ll get true taste of Mexico during the festival, and I am saying this from firsthand experience.
As part of the festival menu Hard Rock Cafe has added an array of dishes and cocktails, 80% of which are from their international menu and being sensitive to local preferences and tastes 20% are localized and made vegetarian. In all there are 11 food items and 9 cocktails and all cocktails have Jose Cuvero Tequila Gold as base alcohol.
The décor of the place and attire of the staff has also been ‘Mexicanized’, so you can enjoy wearing a Sombrero along with the staff, who are also decked up in the serapes.
We didn’t waste much time and let our taste buds enjoy the Mexican magic. In came the round of cocktails –
- Shot in the head
- Classic blue Margarita
- Mexican Bulldog Margarita
- Cranberry and Lychee Margarita My personal favorites were Troublemaker, a cocktail made with tequila jalapenos and Cointreau, a nice hot concoction one that your palate would enjoy and that won’t burn the food canal as it goes down. Jalapeno levels are just right. Next I liked Diablo, A very summer friendly drink made with mango, cucumber and ginger beer and of course the tequila, a cool soothing drink that was not too sweet and just spot on for my liking.
As we tasted and sipped through the cocktails deciding our favorites and sticking to them, came in the food. We had –
- Fiesta Chicken Quesadillas
- Chicken Tinga Tacos
- Chicken Burrito
- Tex-Mex Spiced Char Grilled Chicken Skewers
- Mexi-Cali Spiced Cottage Cheese BBQ Skewers
All food was delicious and with right Mexican ingredients as expected, on inquiring chef told that they have sourced all the spices and dry ingredients from international suppliers. We liked what we ate –
Quesadillas was made of wheat tortillas that were toasted and brushed with a spice mix and stuffed and grilled that provided them a good form factor and didn’t go limp very fast. They were stuffed chicken in Chipotle sauce, grilled pineapple picante sauce for the spiciness and was served with a guacamole dip and sour cream and more picante for those who love to spice it up. Taste lovely spicy with the sweetness from pineapple, good amalgamation of flavors.
Next were the overnight marinated in Tex-Mex Spice rub and tangy sauce, char grilled to perfection Chicken Skewers. These were tender chicken pieces grilled but still retained the juices and the honey mustard dip served with it. These taste best when hot so don’t let them loose the warmth.
Chicken Tinga Tacos were as interesting as the name. In a soft taco shell had soft shredded chicken in Chipotle sauce, tomato salsa, avocado and picante sauce. Freshness and flavors together, salsa and cilantro did the magic and avocado gave the smoothness.
Paneer Skewers – This was the softest Paneer I have tasted in long long time, it was so impressive that first thing I asked the chef was name of the supplier. Came on a sizzling plate a good mix of Chimichuri and Barbecue flavors, and served with nachos.
Last but not the least came Burritos, these were larger than usual burritos served with super awesome fries (I finished fries first). It had all the right layers – baked beans, Mexican rice, crunchy chicken piece, cheese, jalapenos, and corn ragout. We were thinking that they were too big to be cleanly eaten, but we were proven wrong, they were wrapped so nicely that nothing spilled out and together the taste was excellent, nice crunch from the lettuce and crispy chicken was a good variation nice big chunks of it, jalapenos are my favorite I can never have enough so it checked all the boxes for me. And those crispy fries on the side made it a very compelling re order for my next visit before the festival is over.
They also had Tequila Grilled Shrimps and Corn and Cheese Samosette that sounded very interesting and probably I’ll try them soon.
So if you needed another reason to visit Hard Rock Cafe from what they already do brilliantly, this festival is got to be it. All Mexican food lovers and cocktail enthusiasts must try it out.
Review and Photos: Varun Khanna | Food Prowl - The Hunger Stories | Hard Rock Cafe