Sunday, 4 October 2015

Portobello - Un pasto perfetto!

Portobello - Un pasto perfetto!

Last week Zomato invited a few food bloggers for a meal at a small eatery, Portobello. I had heard good things about it but had never been there because it’s located at the other end of town. This invite seemed like a good excuse to check it out hence lazy ol’ me trudged all the way to Viman Nagar. As I entered the restaurant, four, from a crowd of eight were already at the table. We introduced ourselves and sat down to chit-chat and make small talk.

The restaurant is really small and has about 6-7 two-seater tables. It has an open kitchen and I loved that. They served me a lemon iced tea as soon as I plonked my fat a** down. It was really nice and very refreshing

The first ‘to share’ foods were Garlic bread and Zucchini fries with mayo. The Garlic bread was warm and hearty, everything bread should be! As for the Zucchini fries, to the hardcore carnivore that resides within me and growls at the mention of vegetarian food, that was the best surprise of the evening. In all honesty, I mentally grimaced when I heard what was going to be served and thought I’d try a fry or two and leave it be. Damn! I loved them so much, that I could have polished off the bowl if I did not have more stuff to try out. The meal had barely begun and I was stumped in the most wonderful kind of way. I need to clarify... They’re Zucchini 'fries' and hence they’re deep-fried so if you are calorie conscious, please avoid them. (Psssttttt! I'm not calorie conscious at all and I have my girth to prove it. ;-) ) Then again, no matter what, life is short, so enjoy the good stuff while you walk this earth. A MASSIVE A+ for the Zucchini fries. 

For starters we were served the most amazing and perfectly cooked Calamari with fried onion red chilies and garlic mayo. Superb! That’s the one word that comes to mind when I think of this dish. The calamari was cooked to perfection. There were Basa Fish cakes with homemade tartare sauce and soft boiled eggs. That, too, was delicious! The soft boiled eggs complimented the fish cakes perfectly, as did the Tartare sauce. 

They also served Zucchinni fritters, a mixed mushroom salad with ricotta and a poached chicken salad. I steer clear raw greens hence did not try any of them. I believe if God intended for me to have raw leaves he would have made me a goat :P *just kiddin’ – truly no offence meant to the vegetarians* The others who did try the salads, liked them, and specially raved about the mixed mushroom salad.

For the main course, I chose Bisteca with gorgonzola sage butter and fries. I requested the meat be kept medium rare and it was served medium rare. In a city where most chefs tend to serve ‘well-done’ or ‘medium’ meat when asked for medium-rare, getting a perfect medium-rare was, indeed, a pleasure! The Gorgonzola sage butter was to die for. Absolutely loved it! 

The other mains were Pan Fried Rawas with mint puree, Mushroom and olive stuffed chicken breast with tomato risotto, Spaghetti with zucchini mint oregano cherry tomatoes grana padano and we also had three types of pizzas. I loved the concept of rectangle shaped pizzas. :-)

I tried a bit of the Rawas and the risotto. I also had a slice of the chicken pizza. They were all very well made. If I did not need to leave a wee bit of space in my tummy for desserts I would, probably, have munched on one more slice of chicken pizza. I need to say this to the chef. Please, please, don’t drizzle tomato ketchup on the pizza/s. Please allow us to choose the flavoring, be it Tabasco, tomato ketchup, EVOO or chili oil. 

For dessert they served us a beautiful White Chocolate Panna Cotta. I’m not a fan of white chocolate but the panna cotta blew me away. It was served with plum sauce and it complimented the panna cotta beautifully. I also flicked a spoonful of the banoffee pie, the orange cake and the molten chocolate cake. 

The banoffee pie (that everyone raves about) did absolutely nothing for me, but the orange cake was fresh and hit all the right marks, as did the molten chocolate cake. After having eaten as much as I had, I just did not have any room to try even a tiny spoonful of the Chocolate and honeycomb semifreddo. Going by what I heard others say, it was really delicious. What’s not to like about chocolate, right? ;-)

The staff is polite and attends to you competently. We also spoke to the owner-cum-chef who is extremely passionate about what he's doing and that very clearly shows in the food he serves. A big thank you to Portobello Owner and Chef Swapnil. Also, thank you Zomato and Vaishali Meghe for a lovely evening and for that cute goodie bag. I’m crazy about mugs and that Zomato mug is now a part of my mug collection. A BIG thank you for adding to my collection. 

As I end this review let me mention....
I spoke of engaging in chit-chat/small talk at the beginning of this review. I now need to mention that as the meal and time progressed, that simple chit-chat went on to become a full-blown hearty and lively conversation about food (with the two vegetarians cringing a wee bit as the carnivores spoke of kaleji, paya, bheja, crustaceans et more *very evil grin*), books, lives, likes and dislikes. We met as strangers, we began the meal as acquaintances and we ended the evening as friends. Can there ever be a better way to spend an evening? I think not!

Ambiance: 2.5/5
Service: 4/5
Food: 4/5

Address: 108, Sukhai Corner, Above Sleepwell World, Datta Mandir Chowk, Viman Nagar, Pune.

Tel No: 020 30189792

P.S: The photographs coincide with the write up. I have specially posted them such so that the reader gets to identify the dishes as they read the write up. Also please click on the photographs to check out the food. The small thumbnail sized photographs really don't do justice to the beautiful plates of food.

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