Abyssinian – Experience the lesser known cuisine – Ethiopian! — Reviewed!

Some places you visit for food and some for drinks but there are certain places which you visit for the overall experience. One of such places is Abyssinian – a fine dine Ethiopian restaurant, under the umbrella of my most favourite brand – Savya Rasa. I was a bit skeptical about the Ethiopian cuisine but trust me you need to visit the place to unbolt the mind block. Basically, you will get the idea of community eating, their culture, concepts, and lifestyle. A small colorful place with antiques, seats and handmade lampshades straight from Ethiopia. Each element has its own story!

Coming on to the food, one, especially Indians, do not need to develop a palate for the Ethiopian Cuisine as the basic spices and preparations are very much similar to our homemade meals. Ethiopian meals are generally served on a single large platter which is shared by the family and guests to build the bond of loyalty and friendship.

There is A La Carte menu as well as 3 pre-set course-wise combo veg and non-veg meals. We chose Baraka (Rs.1199) which includes soups, salads, starters, mains, desserts followed by coffee and also some signatures from the A La Carte. The price is for per person.

Started our meal with the refreshing ginger-cucumber-lemongrass based "Sunny day by the beach" mocktail. Then were served Mandassi, the deep fried dumpling, served with the chutney which was a clear winner!

Before digging the wholesome meal, we tasted the Fir Fir, a warm salad made with tossed injera pieces and onions, garlic, spices, and butter. The salad was extremely delicious. #Highly Recommended!

In the appetizer, we tried our hands on the Ethiopian version of Indian Samosa – Sambosa Lentil, the deep fried parcels of lentils, onions, peppers, and garlic. So delicious. Crisp outside and flavourful inside. Must try!

The platter or Messob is lined with the large pieces of Ethiopian staple bread, Injeera, topped with stews and veggies. The meal is best enjoyed with your hands. Our platter had...
  • Mandassi
  • Adengare Shorba - Kidney Beans Soup (Which I skipped)
  • Timatim Salad - a refreshing classic salad made up of tomatoes, onions and green peppers.
  • Yeduba Wot - A type of curried pumpkin, red onion, garlic and spices. One of my favourites! The mild-spiced mushy stew paired well with the Injera but it was so delicious that you can have it like that only! Highly Recommended!
  • Yedinich Alicha- Curried vegetable stew with carrots, potatoes, onions just like our mixed veg. The subtle taste and beautiful textures. 
  • Fasolia - Caramelized green beans, onions, and carrots. 
  • Ingudy Tibs - Sides had sauteed button mushrooms and onions. It tastes best with Injeera and wot. Loved it. You can munch a bowl of it. So delicious.
  • Shiro- A stew prepared with chickpeas, onion, garlic, and spices. Medium spiced. Loved it!
  • Fried Dumplings - Look-alike spring rolls, the dumplings were prepared with semolina, flour batter and tossed in coffee-honey syrup. It was crunchy, sweet - just the way I like!
  • Baklava - A very healthy version of the regular dessert. Paper-thin layered pastry sheets, coconut powder, shredded nuts and topped with honey. The best part was it was not too sweet!

Concluded our lunch meal over a lot of meaningful conversations, learning culture and traditions of Ethiopia and the best Ethiopian coffee. Lesser did I know, Ethiopia is said to be the birth place of Coffee! Brewed in a terra cotta coffeepot called a jebena over charcoal, poured into identical handle-less cups, and served to everyone. Some Ethiopians might add a bit of sugar (or honey) or salt, or even a dollop of butter. We drank it in three steps – Black Coffee (which offcourse will taste bitter) then adding salt will magically reduce the bitterness and then last step of adding butter. So good. Drinking coffee is a sort of ceremony which is a communal rather than solitary activity.

We were mesmerized by the overwhelming service and the food. In case of any doubts or confusion about the food, the servers are always willing to help and suggest you the best! 

Have you been to Abyssinian yet?

Abyssinian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zeta – Hottest Culinary Destination! — Reviewed!

Zeta is the new hotspot in the Pune's culinary destination. Located in the Hyatt Regency, Viman Nagar, the place replaced much known La Terrazza. The unhurried environment, the minimalist interiors, vibrant al-fresco with abundant natural light, warm staff, open kitchen affordable good food are some of the features of the place. The mantra is to keep it simple and open for all. If you are looking for a perfect dining space, value for money in a five-star hotel, ZETA is for you!

The global food inspired menu had some of the interesting dishes like BCG, Charcoal Smoked Broccoli, Softest Gnocchi, Khachapuri Cannelloni, Hand-rolled Trofie, Red Velvet Chimney Cake and Aunt Anna's Milk Chocolate Mousse which certainly caught our eyes. While, the menu is predominantly non-vegetarian, but nothing short for vegetarians. Since hunger can strike at any time of the day, therefore it is open all day. Went there for a leisure lunch and tried the following....
  • Pune's Favourite BCG (4.5/5)
  • Malai Cottage Cheese (4/5)
  • Burrata and Panzanella Caprese (4/5)
  • Zeta Sloppy Joe (4/5)
  • Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli (4.5/5)
  • Della Casa Pizza (4/5)
  • Aunt Anna's Milk Chocolate Mousse (5/5)
  • Banoffee Pie (4/5)
  • Tiramisu Nostrano (4/5)
We were served the refreshing mint based mocktail, which was much needed in the scorching heat. And a complimentary fresh in-house baked bread baskets with the tomato and smoked aubergine dip to munch on while waiting for your food to arrive.

Started with the Pune's Favourite BCG (Rs.250) which is a flaky filo baked brie stuffed with raw papaya and finished with fresh petite salad. One filo per serving. The crisp, flaky outer layer and the smooth, sweet filling is a fantastic combination and adds on is the salad. The lingering taste of brie elevates the dish. Loved it!

From the Indian cuisine, Malai Cottage Cheese (Rs.375) was served. Soft paneer smoked to perfection placed over the stuffed spiced Indian flatbread served with grilled chilli and dip. The marination was tad mild and subtle. Spice and crunch of flat-bread and pillowy paneer combined well. 

Very fresh, nice, colorful Burrata and Panzanella Caprese salad (Rs.350) was served next. The plate had Panzanella but missed the bread chunks from the salad. Popcorn for the crunch and watermelon for the freshness somehow felt out of the elements. Though, individually each component was tasting good. I assume it to be the Zeta's take on the classic salad! :)

Zeta Sloppy Joe (Rs.475) was a typical NY take away heavy snack. Huge, super-soft burger filled with vegetable mince and loaded with cheese served with a portion of crispy French Fries. Quite heavy. This dish can be a meal in itself! I liked it.

One of my most favourite dishes of the meal was the Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli (Rs.595). Perfect in-house made Ravioli filled with creamy ricotta and spinach blend in a rich, aromatic, spicy Arrabbiata Sauce. The spices, flavours, textures were absolutely bang on! Must try!

Also tried the Della Cassa Pizza (Rs.525). The thin crust, wood-fired pizza was topped with confit garlic, sundried tomatoes and bit of pesto. My personal preference is crisp pizzas and this one was a bit chewy which is equally delicious. Addition of Jalapenos (as mentioned in the menu) would have helped and generous use of pesto could have upraised the pizza to the next level.

All the desserts were sinful. Not too sweet. One of the masterpieces which are not only trending on Instagram but worth a hype is Aunt Anna's Milk Chocolate Mousse (Rs.325). Gooey, Chocolatey, Mousse topped with mighty Marshmallow croutons is absolutely praise-worthy!

Zeta - Hyatt Regency Pune Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Social FC Road – Work.Eat.Play! — Reviewed!

An urban hangout place bringing out the best of Work and Cafe is SOCIAL. When I visited Social Viman Nagar, I was mesmerized by the well-thought interiors and the local flavours to the menu. Just when you think, it can't get better than this, you are surprised yet again! Social FC Road unveils the most happening and largest space in the vicinity. Designed on the "Green" theme, one can feel the place more like a garden. "Kay Mhantos", fresh planters, Spiral slides, small fountains, big bar area, high tables will attract you in the first look.

The whole space is in three sections – Social, Chatt and Working Space. While we all know Social, Chatt is more desi, casual, relaxed, outdoor seating with Dhaba-styled Cots, swings, and live BBQ counter. The menu is also very north-Indian for chatt which includes Kebabs, Chaats, Biryani, Thali, Paranthas and more. I have already tried some signatures at the Social, Viman Nagar outlet, so was keen to taste the Chatt specialties. We sampled the following....
  • Smoked Mushroom Galouti Kebabs (5/5)
  • Bhakarwadi and Sprouts Chaat (4/5)
  • Achari Paneer Tikka (4.5/5)
  • Soya Chaap Masala with Mint and Lal Mirch Parantha (4.5/5)
  • Veg Thali (4.5/5)
  • Truffle Mushrooms Pulao (4.5/5)
  • Falooda (4.5/5)
  • Old Monk and Chocolate Samosa 
We started off with some refreshing mocktails out of which Guava one was my personal favourite. After some chit-chat, we were served Smoked Mushroom Galouti Kebabs (Rs.310). True to its name, the melt-in-mouth kebabs were not only a visual treat but a vegetarian's delight. Devour it with the delicious mint-coriander chutney. Highly Recommended!

Our next dish was the twist to the local delicacy – Bhakarwadi and Sprouts Chaat (Rs.180). Tangy, sweet, chatpati chaat was delicious. Bhakarwadi pieces were loaded with yogurt, chutneys, and sev. Visually appealing, the chaat was loved by one and all. I can munch on those bhakarwadis like that only! :D

Bestsellers and most popular starter for the vegetarians – Achari Paneer Tikka (Rs.260) was served to us. One can also opt for the Basil and Thyme tikka if you want to try something unique. However, the desi achari was super hit! Smokey, charcoaley (if that's a word) and velvety paneer was generously marinated with the mild achari masala and grilled. Loved the texture and taste! Highly Recommended!

Another North Indian specialty in the main course was the Soya Chaap Masala (Rs.320) with assorted paranthas. Protein-packed perfectly made soya chaaps were prepared in the rich, spicy, velvety red curry. Pair it with the so yum Mint parantha or Lal Mirchi ka parantha. I could eat those paranthas as munching. So good. Loved it!

A new addition to the chhat menu with the local flavour was the Epic Thali (Rs.350). Available in veg and non-veg versions. Veg one had Pithala, Veg Kolhapuri, Sol Kari, Indrayani Rice. A complete soul-satisfying meal. One can ask for Roti or Bhakari. Each element on the thali was bang on. A must must try!

Underrated dish on the menu was the Truffled Mushroom Pulao (Rs.310) however, we were hooked by the powerful yet delicate flavour, the aroma of that pulao. Mushrooms, truffle oil, and the kevda water were the highlights. DO not miss this. Recommended!

Falooda (Falooda of respect as they say) (Rs.210) was a large sized, medium sweet serving. The refreshing summery drink is what you need to conclude the meal. The quantity is sufficient for 2 people. Highly Recommended!

We were served Old Monk and Chocolate Samosa but I did not try it.

Overall, FC Road Social is the place where I would like to go again and again for not only the good food but good vibes and soothing ambiance.

FC Road Social Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato