Despite the rain Gods being quite merciless this year, we were lucky, it was a nice sunny afternoon when the five of us (not famous though) headed for lunch to Kargo. Kargo has been open a few months now and we had been told that certain dishes on the menu, are a ‘must-try’.
I made reservations a day prior and informed the chappie taking the reservation that we were specially coming in to try the dishes our friends had recommended to us. I also, specifically mentioned the desserts we wanted to try and requested that they be made available to us for our upcoming visit the next afternoon. He said he would ensure the desserts would be available.
As we reached the venue and plonked our butts down, the first thing I said to the reservation in-charge was, ‘We are so looking forward to trying all the desserts.’ He sheepishly informed us that only two of the desserts were available that afternoon. Specifically the one we all wanted to try was not available! This is a perfect instance where the Bawi in me feels not just angry but enraged. I kept my cool, though, and politely reminded him that I had specifically requested these desserts while making our reservation and had been assured that they would be made available. Even though we were already seated, I told him to cancel our reservation if they could not make the desserts available to us. We decided we’d come back another time when they were. He requested for a time-out to consult with the chef. When he returned, he informed us that the desserts would be served to us within two hours. We knew we would be sitting around for a leisurely lunch hence told him to make sure each any every dessert on the menu was available as we wanted to try all of them. He said it would be done and we all sat back with satisfied smiles.
We ordered a few mocktails: Virgin Mojito, Iced Tea and Fresh Lime Soda. We also ordered a Martini. Except for the Martini (I’m a teetotaller), I tried a sip from all the drinks and they were all refreshing and well made but the clear winner of the day was, Iced Tea.
For starters we ordered Potato Wedges, Onion Rings, Lamb Yassa Naanza and Piquant Chicken Naanza.
A Naanza is an Indian Naan (flat bread) topped with cheese, vegetables and meats, very similar to a pizza. The only difference is that the toppings are on a Naan instead of a Pizza Bread. The wedges were nicely done as were the onion rings but what blew us away were the Naanzas.
The Piquant Chicken was very good but the Lamb Yassa was BEYOND EXCELLENT! I could live on that Naanza for an eternity and not get bored of it. Slow braised lamb, robustly flavourful and topped with an obscene (in the most wonderful kind of way) amount of cheese; how can anything be wrong with something like that?
As one of our friends is a vegetarian she ordered for a Corn-Pepper Naanza and Chili Lime Corn Wheel. I took a bite from each dish and the vegetarian Naanza was also well made. The Chili Lime Corn Wheels were slices of sweet golden corn, smeared with chilli and lime and topped with a wee bit of green chutney. Simple but nice!
We decided to try a soup and opted for the Potato & Leek Soup. I make a richer version of Potato & Leek at home; hence this one, to me, merely bordered on good.
For the main course we ordered Smoked Roasted Garlic Chicken Tatter and Squid Chilli FryTatter.
Both were dishes were delicious but because of my love for spicy seafood, the squid, for me, was the clear winner. Not only was the squid spicy but it was cooked to perfection. Most of the gals at the table found it too spicy but I loved it!
I checked out the menu card and happened to see Galouti Kebabs mentioned therein. The carnivore in me just could not resist them. Galouti Kebabs are supposed to be kebabs made from mutton that isn’t just finely minced but ground to a point to which one simply does not have to chew on the kebab. A perfect Galouti kebab should not retain any bite and just melts on the tongue. Unfortunately this one was not a perfect Galouti! The flavour was not bad, I will grant them that, but the texture was off by quite a measure. In fact, to illustrate the ‘not so melt-in-the-mouth’ mince from within, I clicked a photograph of the same.
Our vegetarian friend chose Buttered Paneer (In simple Indian lingo, Paneer Makhanwalla) as main course for herself. They served the Buttered Paneer with Naan and though we requested for butter Naan they sent us plain Naan. Greedy souls that we are, we sent it back to be buttered. The Buttered Paneer was on the sweet side which we felt was a slight letdown (Yes, of course, I tasted it, how else could I write the review? ;) )
For desserts our selections were Dark Chocolate and Orange Fondant, Caramel Baked Cheese Cake, Opera, Cream Cheese Muffin and Paan-Gulkand Ice cream.
The desserts that everyone had been raving about so much were all good but not exceptional. Tastes and preferences differ so I will not elaborate any more on this. We also wanted to try the Mango & Lime Panacotta but were told it would take more than two hours to set. By then we had been at the restaurant for over 3 hours so I wonder how they could have given us that reply in spite of having informed them about wanting to try all desserts. Anyway... sigh!
I deem the service of Kargo as average, firstly because of the dessert issue. In spite of being informed a day ahead, they still weren’t prepped to deliver the desserts. It was only when we told them we’d walk out and change our lunch venue that they pulled up their socks. The other reason I deem the service as average is instead of paying attention to the patrons trying to catch their eye, many a times the servers stood at the far end of the corner gabbing among themselves.
All in all it was not a bad afternoon at all because of the crazy gals I was with. As for the food, some dishes were a hit and some were misses. There are certain dishes that will definitely have me stroll into Kargo again, namely: Lamb Yassa Naanza, Potato Wedges and Squid Tatter. I think these are solid reasons to go back. As for the service, it would be nice if the servers get more attentive. Also, a few who take food orders could be requested to do so with a smile or, at least, return the smile when a patron is polite enough to do so. Sigh!
Food: 3/5 (A 5/5 for that Lamb Yassa Naanza)
Address: Shop No 1 & 2, Marvel Alaina, Lane 8, Near Godrej Nature’s Basket, Koregaon Park, Pune
Tel: +91 9503090435 / +91 7757050199