One of the few places in Pune serving smoked, grilled, slow cooked food is The Ugly Duckling. They completed a year in 2017 so the menu and interiors are tweaked a bit. This was my third visit to the Ugly Duckling and this time it was to try the new and improved menu. Keeping the core theme of smoked dishes in mind, the new menu is basic yet classic. Appetizers had two choices of scrumptious Onion Rings and Mozzarella Sticks. Then to ease down the selection of dishes, The Ugly Duckling do have the choice of Sandwich Meal, Hot Dog Meal, Burger Meal, Meal Combo for 1, Meal Combo for 2 and best part they have meal for kids too.
What I tried?
HoneyDew Melon Drink (3.5/5)
Cherry Coke (4/5)
Onion Rings (3.5/5)
Mozzarella Sticks (4/5)
Grilled Cheese Sandwich (3/5)
Mix Veg Platter - Meal for 2 (3.5/5)
Frozen Hot Chocolate (4/5)
Maple Cheese Mousse (3/5)
Started the meal with the freshness of HoneyDew Melon Drink. It was bit syrupy and sweet but with the punch of soda base. On the other side Cherry Coke was a fantastic beverage.
Onion Rings are a perfect appetizer for any occasion. I like them crunchy but unfortunately the onion rings served to us were single coated which lacked the crunch. The feedback has been given to the owners and they surely will work upon it.
Next was the Mozzarella Sticks. This popular and flavourful finger food was nicely crumbed and fried to perfection. Tasted good with the dip.
I am a huge fan of sandwiches and more when it comes to the grilled ones. Tried the Grilled Cheese sandwich at The Ugly Duckling, though it had good amount of mozzarella but somehow lacked the seasoning. Quite bland one. I suggested them to add herbs or spices to it to enhance the flavours.
Main course was the Mix Veg Platter for 2. So, this one platter includes choice of meat/veg served with in-house BBQ Sauce, Boiled Corns, Chipotle Sauce, Mustard Sauce, Slice of bread, House Fries, Coleslaw and any 2 beverages. This veg platter is priced at Rs. 459 ++ which is bit steep for the portion size. I found the platter sufficing a single person only. So I chose Mix Veg Platter which had the Memphis Paneer which was mildly grilled and drizzled with memphis. Paneer tasted raw. I found it very basic and uninteresting. BBQ sauce was super addictive and flavourful. Sweet corn were just boiled, I wish they had some spices and not that then atleast sauteing in butter would have made a huge difference. Mix root veggies were nicely cooked. French fries were crispy. Overall the platter was good, I hope they improve the portion size especially for vegetarians.
Last but not the least – Desserts. I tried Frozen Hot Chocolate and Maple Cheese Mousse. Chocolate anytime is a clear winner. Loved the Frozen Hot Chocolate, totally sinful! The maple cheese mousse needed more of maple punch.
Staff is comparatively new and need some training. Also, I really miss some of the dishes from the previous menu. But its good to know that they are sticking to the core theme of grilled and smoked recipes. Overall, it was a nice experience and offcourse a treat for non-vegetarians.