Monday, 22 February 2016

Dezio.. A series of hits and misses!

This girls day out has been in the planning for nearly five years and on February 18, of this year, we finally made it a reality. The place we honed in on was Dezio, the non-vegetarian sibling of Dario’s. 

When we made the reservation we were informed that the outdoor seating area and a part of the ground floor were closed off because of renovations and we were to be seated on the first floor.  We were okay with that and when we reached we were promptly lead to the elevator that took us to the first floor. 

The restaurant has a bright and vibrant charm. Beautiful modern art adorn the walls. The tables, too, are well spaced. Our server asked us our preference for drinks. One of my friends chose a fresh lime soda and the other chose a Diet Coke. I requested for a Frozen-Virgin Lemon Margarita. I did not see it on the menu but asked the server if their bartender could make me one. He did and it was exactly what I had asked for: tart and refreshing! 

For starters we ordered Funghi Crocifissi (whole roasted mushrooms with garlic, lemon, extra virgin olive oil and parsley), Crocchette Di Verdura (Seasonal mixed vegetable croquettes with a basil and cheese sauce) and Fritto Misto (Calamari and Prawns deep fried until golden, served with a tartar sauce). 

The Funghi (mushrooms) were beautifully cooked and still retained that perfect bite. The Crocchettes (croquettes) were soft and pillow-y; morsels of sheer delight. They were so darn delicious that we actually regretted not ordering an extra portion. I’m a hardcore carnivore and quite finicky about vegetarian food but the Crocchettes is a ‘must try’ dish. A perfect 10/10 score for those melt-in-the mouth babies. The Fritto Misto (prawns and calamari) were fried crisp and well cooked, but lacked seasoning. The fried seafood, however, worked well with the sauce served. The lack of seasoning was a big minus for the otherwise well cooked dish. If someone wanted to skip the sauce, all they would have is a plate of unseasoned seafood. 

For the mains my vegetarian friend chose Ravioli Con Noci (Ravioli stuffed with cheese and mushroom, with a walnut and thyme cream sauce). My bestie (a salad freak), chose Pedalino (Warm chicken tossed in fresh herbs on a bed of salad leaves with olives, tomatoes, green beans, sun-dried tomatoes and basil with a balsamic dressing). My choice of main was, Involtini Di Carne (Roasted tenderloin parcels with herbs and cheese, served with roasted baby potatoes). We also decided to share a vegetarian pizza and garlic bread.

The pizza was a very big letdown. We ordered a simple pizza with onions, mushrooms and green bell peppers and lots of cheese. The pizza was thin crust but, was bland, lacked seasoning, had inadequate pizza sauce and barely had any cheese. In fact, it felt as if the chef had forgotten to add cheese. Pizza is a lot about hot stringy, yummy cheese and, despite being a simple made to order pizza, was a sore disappointment! It is extremely sad that a restaurant that claims to make Italian cuisine botched up a pizza that badly! The garlic bread was warm, buttery and garlicky. If only the pizza had been as soul-satisfying as the garlic bread, it would have been wonderful.

The Ravioli, however, was thinly rolled out and cooked to perfection. It melted in the mouth! To find a restaurant that can make such superb ravioli was a sheer delight. But, the dish again lacked seasoning. We had to sprinkle salt and pepper to elevate it to the dish it was meant to be. Had it been seasoned well, I would have actually given it an 11/10. The ravioli was that perfect in texture! 

My bestie's salad was well seasoned and she seemed quite happy with it. I’ll take her for her word because I absolutely refuse to subject myself to eating raw leaves!

As for my main course, firstly, because it was a tenderloin 'parcel' I was told it would have to be well done; medium rare or medium was not an option. I was disappointed but told them to go ahead with the order. Secondly, the description of Involtini Di Carne, mentions the word ‘parcels’. I told (verbatim) the server, ‘I’d like the Involtini Di Carne, roasted tenderloin parcels with herbs and cheese, served with roasted baby potatoes.’ While my friends ate their mains, I waited for my dish to arrive and finally reminded our server that my dish wasn’t brought to me, yet. He gave me a quizzical look and said, ‘It’s being parceled!’ I was aghast and went, ‘WHAT?’ I informed the misguided soul that the description said ‘tenderloin parcels’, and that I hadn’t told him to parcel it. Sigh! Double sigh!

I told our frazzled server to leave it be and let the dish remain parceled. I shared my friend’s ravioli and ate an extra slice of the bland pizza. While my main course was ‘being parceled’ my friends were nearly done with their food and it made absolutely no sense to eat the main course all alone. This mix-up, to all of us, was a MAJOR boo-boo! An error I was extremely miffed about! Actually, we all were.

As for the tenderloin parcels (that I ate at home), the meat was extremely chewy and for some reason, the beef stank. I kid you not, it stank! I do not say this just because the server made a boo-boo. Though miffed, I do understand he is human and prone to error. The stench could probably be because the dish should have been eaten served at the table. I still see no reason for the meat to be so stinky though, because there have been times when I’ve had extra steak from a sizzler doggy-bagged and they tasted fine. The Involtini Di Carne was priced at five hundred and fifty bucks which I felt was like money flushed down the drain and, this is me being very polite!

For dessert, we chose a Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Panna Cotta and Hot Chocolate Brownies with Hot Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream. 

I asked our server whether they served Panna Cotta’s in different flavors. He went, ‘Umm Panna (hesitant-thoughtful silence) Cotta (again, hesitant-thoughtful silence)’. After having mulled over my ‘rocket science’ question for a while, he requested me to give him a moment to check if it was available in flavors. It was not. It was plain creamy Panna Cotta. I ordered it anyways. The Panna Cotta was served with a coulis and was perfect in taste and texture (wobbly).  

I found the tart a tad too salty while my bestie thought it was perfect. She liked that extra hint of saltiness. The tart was chocolate-y and the crust, too, was delicious! The brownies were fresh and gooey, with an awesome overload of chocolate sauce. No complaints on this one. 

Two main points urgently need to be addressed by Team Dezio. One, their servers, though extremely polite and attentive, need to be more knowledgeable about the dishes on the menu. Parceling a dish that mentions parcels as a ‘cooking term’ is catastrophic to the person ordering the dish. The chef should have also questioned this decision as the dish was clearly meant to be eaten fresh, at the table. Two, the dishes should have been seasoned better. The near misses could then well have been beautiful, flavorsome dishes.

As I end this review one more point comes to mind. Dezio is an all-day café/restaurant and yet at around 1530 - 1545 hours they shut off the air conditioners. I had to tell our server to switch them back on. It is extremely impolite to shut off the air conditioners while guests are eating their desserts!

As the title of this review aptly mentions, Dezio was indeed a series of hits and misses. The hits were all perfect sixes, hit over the head of spectators, straight out of the stadium. As for the misses, some batted for a while and some were out for a duck! I hope Dezio takes the time to inform their chef in regard to correct seasoning and trains their servers to be more knowledgeable about the food they serve. I feel the place has the potential to do much better if they work on the small negatives that mar the dining experience.

Ambiance: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Food: 3/5 (Had we not had the seasoning issue in so many dishes and had the pizza not been such a big disappointment this rating could well have touched a 4 or 4.5)

Address: North Avenue, Near Mars Society, Kalyani Nagar, Pune.

Tel: 020 69000610 / 020 69000611