Always intend to do a list of the best meals I have had each year but so poor is my rapidly ageing memory that by the time I get around to actually writing the piece, I’ve usually forgotten what I ate and where but there’s this one evening I really won’t forget. An evening at the flamboyant House of Medici, Westin, Pune!
The House of Medici is the ultimate luxury destination in Pune city and one cannot just talk about the brilliant food and classic drinks served there before acknowledging the fact that The House of Medici is one of the most lavish and flamboyant restaurants in India. As you venture into The House of Medici, gracefully carpeted wooden floors, luxuriant leather furnishings, artistic Italian sculptures and royal chandeliers greet to give you a feeling of pure affluence. Such is the exuberance and glamour of this place that it leaves you completely mesmerized. Derived from the lavishness of the Florence-based dynasty that was one of Europe’s most powerful and wealthy families, The House of Medici puts together an experience that exudes wealth, passion, power with added flamboyance. The attention to the detailing on the theme is splendid, also, the House of Medici is home to the biggest and longest bar in all of India, visit it to believe!
The executive chef Rahul Kaushik had set a specially curated menu for us and Chef Rishi Verma took us through the menu and gave us every minute detail which made us fall in love with this place. I started my evening with a mocktail and my first impression was rather appalling. The mocktail I sipped on was unlike any other drink I have had in my life, which means I didn’t like it, not one bit! That being said, the drink that I had was called “Pazzi” which was a sour mix of cucumber, cilantro, tonic water. Lacked sweetness and wasn’t really what I normally prefer hence the beverage manager made sure he replaced my drink and gave me something to talk about and boy I did talk! The replacement came in the form of pineapple juice mixed with ginger juice and lime cordial and mint leaves, called “Castello” and I loved it. Just the right amount of sugar and what a blend!
Along with the drinks we were served the “chakhna” of sweet potato chips and wasabi coated peas, yeah, wasabi coated peas! How does that sound for an appetizer? Exotic is the answer! Liked it pretty much and would want to try it again.
We were served a couple of bite sized portions of both vegetarian and non vegetarian appetizers and you all know the carnivore in me tends to bite the meat first, hence I’ll spill some secrets about what all this place serves.
1) Corned Chicken Leg – It’s number one on the recommendation list for a reason. It made all of us desire for a second helping. Such was the beauty of the perfectly fried boneless corned chicken leg.
2) Murgh Pasandey – This had me licking my fingers and why wouldn’t I? Chicken slices on a crisp flatbread, with the right amount of spices, marinated and cooked perfectly.
3) Gosht Shami Kebab – Shami kebabs were apparently invented by a highly skilled chef for a toothless Nawab of Lucknow. The Nawab was so fat from overindulgence that he couldn’t get on a horse, and his teeth were all gone, presumably for the same reason. So a kebab was made so fine that it required no teeth to eat it. When I hear stories like that I’m inclined to think, ‘If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.’ But then again, it’s a nice story, and so are the kebabs – silky smooth and stuffed with just a little finely chopped onion, mint and green chili.
4) Potato wrapped Tilapia – Potato-wrapped fish is like fish ‘n’ chips, but combined instead of side-by-side!
The fish was coated in spaghetti of potatoes and then deep fried to perfection and served along with a caper tartare. I somehow would want to give it a pass next time.
We also tasted a few vegetarian appetizers out of which the “Imli Karela” impressed me the most. The bitter gourd roundels which were crisp and tossed with tamarind sauce were something I had for the first time and it got me hooked. I came home and told mom what happened and she thanked heavens because I had a bitter gourd for the first time in my life! Yes, it was that good.
Few other vegetarian appetizers included Ciabatta involtini which was pepper fricassee stuffed into house made ciabatta bread and served with a blue goat cheese dip. The Jalepeno empanda was decent and the achari khumb was nothing but a vegetarian’s version of the shami kebab.
There were two dishes under vegetarian and non vegetarian main course where the humble chef served us Mapo tofu and I waited for my non vegetarian mains just like I would wait for my dessert after a hearty meal. Steamed silken tofu with onion, tomatoes in hoisin and black pepper sauce which sadly failed to impress me and the others on the table, and no, not because it’s a vegetarian dish, but because it lacked a flavor of its own.
We then tried the sea bass with lentil risotto was again a surprise to the palate, tried the combo for the first time and I must say, I was impressed, not much with the fish but with the lentil risotto. The creamy risotto topped with beetroot foam was a feast to the eyes and then the palate.
The Vegetable Skewers with chilly mash – Well seasoned vegetables, looked so pretty that a carnivore was tempted to try it and I did, and I am glad I did. Truly delectable!
Jerk spiced chicken with potatoes – I would want to include this one into the passable brigade at the house of Medici. Honey chilly roast chicken served with confit potatoes, this one needs rectifications and have been discussed with the chef and I am sure they will look into it and come up with a better version of the jerk spiced chicken.
Well with a lot of hits a few misses this place just doesn’t cease to amaze. A visit at least once to The House of Medici is strongly recommended.
Disclaimer: The invite was for a complimentary food tasting event. This review is a narrative of my experience at the event. The views expressed in this review are solely mine and others are more than welcome to agree or disagree with the same. The review is in no way influenced either personally or commercially nor has it been lifted, copied or plagiarized from any source however I have done my due diligence on the event via publicly available information on the internet.