Restaurant Name: Italy Via Punjab
Address: Shop no 4, Nine Hills, Near RIMS International School, NIBM, Pune.
Timings: 11:30 to 11:30
They serve only HALAL meats.
Fusion dining is in and in these ever changing times, I have seen a lot of takers for it. For the ones who don’t know, Fusion cuisine is a cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions and to be honest I wasn’t really a fan of mix and match food until I sampled the brilliant grub at this quaint and quirky looking restaurant called Italy via Punjab.
Distinctively Punjabi cuisine is known for its rich, buttery flavors along with the extensive vegetarian and meat dishes whereas Italian cuisine has a great variety of different ingredients which are commonly used ranging from fruits, vegetables, sauces and meats, etc. And a place which serves both these distinct cuisines together on your plate is Italy Via Punjab.
Italy Via Punjab is truly a hidden gem of NIBM and trust me it deserves all the due recognition. It’s no easy task to pull together a list of the top 10 Desi, reasonable restaurants but if I ever had to do that, Italy Via Punjab would surely be in the top 5. Yes it’s that good and that reasonable.
I have published a weekly blog since last year but I have never been this excited to share my luncheon. Chef Ninad Joshi deserves all the accolades for curating a menu fit not just for the kings but for the masses as well.
Here’s a list of my favorites at Italy Via Punjab
The Ciopino (Soup)
Considered an Italian American dish, actually it’s an Italian American fisherman’s stew which had oodles of fish, crabs and shrimps. All I needed with it was crusty bread for sopping up this delicious broth.
The Chilled Coconut and Pineapple soup
A cold soup which didn’t sit quite well with me, blame my palate, maybe? Tempered with curry leaves and loads of mustard seeds which dampened the very start of my meal, Thank God for the Ciopino!
Cheese aur Jalepeno ke Samose
Italy via Punjab brings us the erstwhile Indian savory pastry, our very own samosa with a contemporary twist. The ultimate combination of cheese and jalepeno is what makes our desi samosa an instant hit. Pair it with some imli mint salsa dip and enjoy the evening.
Crab cakes that don’t crumble, crab cakes that taste out of this world, crab cakes that are available on all days of the week are my kind of crab cakes. Tender and succulent crab cakes with no starchy binders at all. Go now!
Gulkand aur Malai ka Murgh Tikka
The very first dish on the menu which grabbed my attention was the Gulkand aur Malai ka Murgh Tikka because gulkand (Rose petals) is what I’ve loved as a child and I am addicted to it even today. This tikka is a delicacy I couldn’t resist trying. The chicken tikka is a very common dish served at Indian restaurants but the Gulkand aur malai ka murgh tikka is a very uncommon and a very delicious take on the tikka. Highly recommended!
Now, the arancini has been introduced to the Pune food scene by a couple of top notch restaurants and I have had a different arancini at different restaurants. I tried the meat ragu at this restaurant and it turned out to be satisfactory.
Chicken olive rolls
Green chili pesto marinated chicken rolls, have never been a fan of pesto and to my bad luck I had a roll with the maximum amount of pesto, it hit me where it hurts. So this goes without even penning it down, the chicken olive rolls failed to please me, also they were dry but chef mentioned that these rolls are the most sought after appetizers at Italy Via Punjab.
Mutton Malgoba (Mains)
The malgoba as I know is a mango variant available in North India and when I looked through the menu I was ready to be surprised, called for the mutton malgoba which is goat meat cooked in black cardamom, cloves and is flavored with dry mango. The mutton however was a little chewy but the gravy made up for it.
Chicken Tikka Lasagna
This makes a nice change from ordinary lasagna, it can be very fiddly to make but it’s totally worth it. The perfectly done lasagna sheets made me have some more. I have tried this particular dish at many other restaurants and only few have been able to pull it off perfectly. The one served here is worth all the praise.
Cottage Cheese Steak with Bhindi Do Pyaaza
When it comes to work, you can’t be a cry baby. So when chef offered me some cottage cheese steak, I humbly agreed and unintentionally tried it and to my surprise found it pretty decent. That’s all this carnivore can say about a vegetarian dish. Oh and this dish is served with a garlic naan on the side, that’s one delicious naan.
Southern Crusted Chicken
Served with onion rings on the side the southern crusted chicken which was sweet unlike the other gravies was again a decent substitute to crusted chicken, loved the onion rings which were done perfectly. I tried this while sipping on the Masala Chaas (Buttermilk), trust me I have never tasted better chaas in Pune.
The drinks served to us were pretty decent which included the Pink Iced T’ea and the Kit Kat Shake. One good thing about these drinks is that they’re not exorbitantly priced.
Masala Chai Pannacotta
Yes, you read that right; one of the most loved drinks of our country has been fused with the wobbly pannacotta. I wasn’t ready for this, I am still not! I need another 2 shots at the masala chai pannacotta to completely understand this dessert which means I am going back for this unusual combo.
Gajar ka Halwa with Brownie and Vanilla ice cream
My mom makes exactly the same gaajar ka halwa, there was a point during the tasting where I thought my mom parceled some desserts just because I didn’t understand the masala chai pannacotta. That’s how homely and that’s how delicious the gaajar ka halwa was.
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Disclaimer: The invite was for a complimentary food tasting invite extended by Mr Hatim Lokhandwala and Chef Ninad Joshi of Italy Via Punjab. 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.
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