Restaurant Name: Zeera
Location: 7, Mangaldas Rd, Sangamvadi, Pune, Maharashtra 411001
10 Chefs 10 Plates
Conrad has been a revolution of sorts in the Pune F&B scene, they have a very young team of chefs who create bold and experimental food with full aplomb. 2017 saw them hosting few of the very unique food festivals, and to celebrate success of their chefs Conrad decided to host first festival of 2018 with 10 most sought after dishes from last year. 10 Chefs 10 Dishes.
Food Prowl Team was invited for this brilliant food festival, and our eyes twinkled with happiness when we saw few of the most memorable dishes we had tasted in 2017, and equally good ones that we had missed.
The gourmet extravaganza started with Mango Chilli Ravioli as amuse bouche, a liquid center orb, a slight bight burst the mango and chilli liquid awakened the taste buds in a second, the chilli flavor though overstayed its welcome and was the dominant after taste, I would have preferred sweetness to prevail.
Ravioli was followed by Wild Mushroom Truffle Kulcha, and if you recall my post from the Culinary turns black festival, you might recall how swept away we were with this magical preparation, same euphoria happened this time, that crisp kulcha with cheesy mushroom filling. I just wish this makes to one of the regular menus, this dish is to be had regularly, and this is me a hard core nonvegetarian going gaga about a veg dish, do I need to say more.
Next up was a fusion dish, Prawn Kataifi. A Persian dish ingredient used to create Fried Dimsum with Asian flavors. Chef wrapped juicy prawns in a crisp deep-fried cocoon of non-oily deep fried Kataifi strands. And to pack the flavor punch the dimsum was drizzled with a chilli orange sauce and contrasting droplets of a concentrated soy based sour sauce. A flavor and a texture rollercoaster, I would call it. When I mention many times how flavors and textures should be combined to create great dishes, this could be a leading example.
Miang Khamb was up next, if I loosely put it it’s a Thai Paan, not that it has any ingredients like an Indian Paan but its main part is a Beetle leaf cousin, the leaf has sweetness to it and is topped with fried ginger, garlic, peanuts, chillies. Wrap it like a pan and enjoy the fresh flavors of individual ingredients.
Kabana – Spanish Patata Bravas. It’s a bite sized, deep fried hollowed potato filled with Spanish smoked paparika sauce and aioli. These are like chips that you can finish entire packer of, without thinking twice. If potatoes are to go gourmet, this is the way I would prefer them to be.
Course number six was Braised Lamb Shanks with Khow Suey Polenta. A perfectly cooked shank with meat just hanging to the bone waiting for the slightest nudge to set it free towards one’s palate. The main flavor was Asian dark sauce with lots of Garlic, and the shank was set on a mild Khow Suey flavored polenta, the consistency of Polenta was superb, and plate was polished off when it left the table for next course.
Done with appetizers and entrees, we were served a palate cleanser – Chyawanprash Foam. Served theatrically amidst lots of dry ice clouds was a glass, and Dabur Chyawanprash was used to flavor the dish, yes Dabur no other, that typical hit can never be mistaken. Really nostalgic and fun thing to eat.
First mains that we had was an Indian dish, Malvani Chicken Sukka in Thepla Taco. Well spiced chicken served in the crisp thepla folded as a taco, easy to manage and eat. A generous squeeze of lemon on it and the flavors opened even further, full on desi full on impressive.
The final mains dish was Tartar Gunkan. Sushi rice and yellow fin Tuna wrapped in cucumber ribbons (instead of sea weed/nori) and topped with Salmon Caviar. Pipet filled with Soy and, wasabi on the side. Fresh raw flavors, unadulterated at all, and the pipet helped me to control the amount of soy I douse on the sushi. This was a good contrast to the previous plate and played magic with taste buds.
Finally, we were served a beautiful looking dessert. A White Chocolate Mousse cake, with Strawberry Sorbet on top and, strawberry jelly, red micro cake, chocolate dust and Moet Rose strawberries to add magnificence to the plate. The cake was feather light and yummy and the sorbet added lot of freshness to it from the in-season strawberries. The web like looking cake was made in microwave and looked stunning, on its own it was tasteless but when had with other elements it lent its texture to add complexity. The overall dessert elements came together well, just the strawberries with champagne didn’t taste much of champagne, they probably needed more mating time with it or a stronger alcohol.
We were left mesmerized as always after such a lavish meal, and we spent few hours attached to the sofas, sipping on red chai (my favorite TWC tea, served at Pune Sugar Box) and gabbing about the world of food.
The festival is on till 28th Jan 2018 and priced at Rs.2000/- (All Inclusive). In my opinion its total value for money for a 10-course meal like this at Conrad.
Special Thanks to Tanvi Deshpande for inviting us and Chef Mandar Madav and Team for hosting us.
Zeera, Conrad, Pune – 10 Chefs 10 Plates | Food Prowl – The Hunger Stories
Join our Facebook Book Group for more Hunger Stories