Saturday, 10 October 2015

Paasha – Quite Pathetic!

Please note: 
I do not have any food photographs to share with this review as I was dining with guests from Holland and I did not want to mar their dining experience by requesting them to wait for their food while I clicked photographs. Sometimes no matter how much I want do something, I just have to be ‘angelic’ and do the right thing. ;-) Also, very rarely do I trash eateries but this is going to be a review where I have very few good things to say.

My bestie’s is married to a tall, handsome, blue-eyed blond and her brother-in-law, Harry, another handsome, blue-eyed ‘eye candy’, was visiting from Holland. We wanted him to try kebabs and Indian food; we wanted to treat him to an evening where ambiance and food would be top notch. Which other place could have opted for but Paasha. I’d been there a couple of years back and the ambiance and the food did not disappoint. I wish I could say the same for the dining experience I am to write about today. Sigh!!

I had informed our hostess, Senthi, during reservation that I was bringing guests from Holland hence would prefer a table with a nice view of the city. As we walked in we were greeted by our hostess who took us to the terrace to show us to a table she had reserved for us but as it was drizzling we could not sit there. She informed us that she had another table with a beautiful view inside the restaurant, also reserved for us, in case of rain. That is where we laid our butts to rest, to relax and enjoy the evening.

Our server, Kumar, handed us the menu cards and we asked him for recommendations. We ordered for drinks (beer, virgin mojito/lime & soda) and read the menu while our drinks arrived. We wanted to try the batair (quail) but it was not available. We opted for kebabs with different types of roti/naan/kulchas. As everything we had ordered was on the dry side our server very wisely suggested that he would serve us a bowl of Dal Makhani with the kebabs. We took his suggestion and agreed to the same.

Now for the food we ordered. We ordered 4 types of rotis/breads. We selected a plain paratha, a phudina paratha, a kulcha and a garlic naan. All four were good, no complaints. The bowl of Dal Makhani was one of the best I have ever had. I used to like the one served at The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson, but this one was definitely better. Loved it!

Kumar, our server, suggested we try the ‘Barrah Kebab’ as it was the chef’s signature dish. *His words, not mine’ The dish was a platter of 5 ‘single-french-boned’ mutton chops with an inch and a half of meat on each of them. No, I’m not complaining about the quantity. I know fine dining places usually serve delicate portions of food and I’m perfectly okay with that. What I am NOT okay with is that with the price of the dish being 1250 Rupees, we had to struggle to cut the damn meat. Even though we used a fork and knife, we struggled to cut through the teeny-tiny bit of meat that was on the bone. Not just one, all five chops were rock hard and we all quietly struggled to cut it. If this is what an Executive Chef, of a luxury 5 star hotel, calls his signature dish, my advice to him is, change your bloody signature.. PRONTO! It felt like he had signed the death certificate of those mutton chops. Someone ought to remind him he’s supposed to be a chef; he’s not supposed to be an axe murderer or a coroner. Oh those poor, poor mutton chops. *Double sigh!!*

The other kebab we tried was Chatpatta Jhinga. One, there was absolutely NOTHING chatpatta about it and second, once again the chef had slaughter the prawns. Overcooked, rubbery and tasteless! I felt I was chewing on a piece of Ceat tyres. Not that I’ve ever chewed on one but I’m sure that is what chewing a rubber tyre would feel like in my mouth. One cannot abuse a delicate produce like prawns. To me, that is sacrilege! If you are an Executive Chef you may not cook the food yourself but when you see junior chef/s, who work under you, putting out a plate of overcooked prawns on the ‘pass’ that you are monitoring, I don’t see how, and why, you would allow such a badly cooked dish to get to the table of your customers. If you do allow that to happen then you do NOT deserve to be an Executive Chef and you do not deserve to be standing there at that ‘pass’. You need to start chopping onions and work your way up, all over again, so that you remember and realize how hard it was for you to get to where you got. Taking the name of your restaurant and your success for granted is a bad thing because that will lead to your downfall and also tarnish the restaurant and hotel’s name for which you work.

By the way, after the Barrah Kebab fiasco when we began to eat the prawns, even our ever so polite guest, who happens to know his food, could not help but mention the prawns were rubbery. We politely agreed and continued eating. *A question to the Exec Chef of Paasha - Can you ever begin to imagine the embarrassment we felt, can you??*

The other kebab we called for was Peshawari Murgh Tikka. It was really nice. Good flavor and the chicken pieces were not overcooked. They were succulent as they should be. Thank God for small mercies! We had selected the Lal Mirch ka Paneer Tikka. The paneer should have been softer, much softer. A nice melt in the mouth paneer would have been so much better than the hard paneer that was served. Flavor wise, it was okay. No complains but no great shakes either.

Had the meal been a memorable one (in a wonderful kinda way) we would have loved to try the desserts but with the kind of food they served us we just did not want to risk eating sub-standard desserts. We requested for a cappuccino and two espressos instead. Luckily, they did not mess that up.

You all may wonder why I/we did not send the food back to the kitchen, especially the chops and the prawns which were ridiculously cooked. That is because we were dining with out-of-town guests with the intention of having a very pleasant evening and dining experience. We were not out with the intention of screwing up a chef’s life and, in the bargain, screwing up our evening. Had this meal been a girl’s night out with my bestie, rest assured, we both would’ve have given the chef an earful for having slaughtered the beautiful chops and crustaceans. You cannot serve sub-standard food to people who know and understand food/produce and expect to get away with it.

I looked up the meaning of Paasha on the net. Paasha, is a designation of a high ranking Turkish officer. With the kind of food they served us they need to demote the bugger immediately!

Would I go there again to spend nearly 6.5/7K with important guests? Nope, definitely not! Not for a long, long time.

Ambiance: 5/5 *but what’s the use, it was not something we could eat*
Service: 4/5 *I would have given them 5/5 but for the recommendation of that wonky signature dish – Kumar/Senthi, blame the chef, not me*
Food: 2/5 *We did not go there for the Parathas and Dal, we went there for the kebabs, and except for the chicken, they were so disappointing*

Address: JW Marriott, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune

Tel: 020 66833333

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