Usually my friends and I prefer to go out for luncheons; that way we get to extend the meal right into evening tea. ;) The city, these past few days, has been experiencing scorching summer heat which has put a damper on afternoon jaunts. We opted for dinner instead and our choice of restaurant was Rhubarb!
Rhubarb is situated in the same building as Seasons Hotel, at Aundh. It is, however, independently owned and is not a part of Seasons Hotel. The decor is a stylishly minimalistic; mainly in shades of black and white. I loved it!
We were parched and opted for drinks as soon as we reached the restaurant. We chose freshly squeezed orange juice, Two Grandmothers Lemonade and Aam Panna. The oranges used for the juice were not sweet enough and, oddly, felt as if mixed with sweet lime juice. As for the fresh lime soda and the Aam Panna, I’ve had better! They need to up their game with regard to the drinks they serve. They simply did not dazzle.
For starters we ordered, Baked Cheese, Croquettas and Sautéed Mushrooms served with herbed bread, with butter and olive oil-balsamic on the side.
The Sautéed Mushrooms were cooked just right. Atop the mushrooms was perched a perfectly poached egg. As one of my friends is an eggetarian we requested Amogh (owner and chef) for an extra serving of poached egg and he amiably obliged. I could find absolutely no fault with the dish. The reason you don’t hear me going ga-ga over this simplistic yet beautiful dish is because although I did taste this dish and enjoy it, all my greedy attention was diverted towards the next two dishes that I am about to write about.
The Baked Cheese was molten deliciousness; served with thin Melba toasts and olive tapenade. The main cheeses used in the dish were Camembert and Brie. Do I need to say anything more after having mentioned the names of the cheese? When they served us the dish, the tapenade did not look appetizing but, not one to judge food merely by how it looks, I gave it a try. It was stunning! It complemented the cheese and toast perfectly. We kept dipping toasts in that magnificent-melted goodness and licked the dish clean. Well, not literally but you get my drift, right? :)
The Croquettas, were balls of molten cheese and braised lamb served with chilli mayo. They were crumbed from outside, while the braised lamb shreds tangled with melting cheese from within. The chilli mayo served with the croquettas added a classic zing. They were delish!
For mains, my vegetarian friend chose hand cut Pappardelle with asparagus and parmesan, while the carnivores chose Year of the Rooster and 12 Hour Pork Ribs.
My friend loved the in-house, hand cut pappardelle as she is someone who makes pasta at home, from scratch. According to her, the dish in entirety was delicious. I merely took a bite from the bowl of pasta; with chicken and pork staring at me from other plates can you blame me for ignoring the vegetarian pasta? I have to honestly say, my comments about the pappardelle dish are from the feedback I received from the person who had it and raved about it.
The Year of the Rooster is half a chicken, beautifully charred and served with Schezwan glaze, egg fried rice and sautéed vegetables. The chef described a particular technique he used to ensure that the chicken remained succulent on cooking. I recognized the method as similar to the one used by a very famous international chef. The chicken was charred from outside but was superbly succulent from within. The fried rice served with the chicken was not the usual long grain rice. This was a broken variety of Indrayani Rice. I am someone who loves long grain rice, but this rice, and the way in which it was cooked, was so darn good that there is no way I can sulk or throw a tantrum for it not being the long grain variety. This was a fantastic dish!
The 12 Hour Pork Ribs was the dish of the day! Cooked in molasses and Korean chilli paste, it was a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The dish brought back flavourful memories of Yangnkeom Tongdak (Crispy Korean Chicken); a recipe I regularly make at home using the very same Korean paste. I was the only ‘oink’ eater at the table hence could not finish the entire portion served. I requested Chef Amogh to 'doggy-bag' the rest of the ribs. By the time I reached home, an hour later, all I could think of was devouring the succulent babies travelling home with me. I behaved, though, and had them the following day, for lunch. These ribs are among the best I’ve had in Pune! On any given day, I’d travel all the way to Aundh (a total of 50 kms, 25 to and fro from my residence) just to lay my greedy paws on these sinfully pieces of ‘oink’. Sigh!
Our dessert choices were Mint Panna Cotta with Lemon Curd, Strawberry Jam and Meringues (served in a glass), Warm Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Cream and Seasonal Fruit Tart with Rhubarb Jam. The fruit tart was not for me as I steer clear of fresh fruit. My friends enjoyed it, though. The panna cotta was refreshingly different and yummy. The minty flavour melded beautifully with the tartness of the lemon curd and the sweetness of the strawberry jam.
The Warm Chocolate Cake was as comforting as chocolate cakes can get. In fact, it was so yum, I could easily have had it all by itself without the hazelnut cream.
Owner and chef, Amogh, is extremely passionate about the food he cooks and that passion clearly reflects in all that he serves! How then can one leave a restaurant disappointed? We didn’t! Three happy puppies trudged home with full bellies, satiated smiles and we raved about the food, all the way home.
In the past month, Rhubarb has added many new dishes to their menu. They also have a new breakfast menu coming up from Saturday, May 6, 2017. The breakfast menu will be served Tuesday to Sunday (Monday closed), from 8.30 am to 11.30 am. I can't wait to check out the new stuff... Soon, very soon!! :-)
Address: Shop No 1, Seasons Apartment Hotel, Sanewadi, Aundh, Pune.
Tel: 020 30189220