Monday, 12 June 2017

Linked To ‘Link’ - My Tapri For Life!

Link is the tea lounge that my bestie and I have been going to since 2008. It used to be known as the ‘Tea Lounge’ (Le Meridian) but it changed hands last year and the place now goes by the new name ‘Link’ (Sheraton Grand). We go there for after-dinner tea or coffee and sit there talking (read: bitchin’) for hours. 

There was a time when at around 3 am the housekeeping team would come up to us to ask us if they could vacuum the floor. We’d, of course, say ‘yes’ and they would go about their job, around us, while we sat gabbing. Now, after 9 years, they don’t even bother to inform us; they merely smile at the two angelic ladies (very evil grin) talking nineteen to the dozen and go about doing their work.

Link serves a good range of teas and as it is mainly tea that we have at the Tea Lounge/Link, we call it our ‘Tapri’. Our all time choices for tea are, the Twinnings Assam, English Breakfast or Earl Grey.

At various times, we have tried a variety of pastries, sandwiches, croissants, quiche, pies, etc. The pastries that figure on our list of favourites are their Chocolate Truffle, the Berliner and the Chocolate Éclair. The Éclair at Link is all about that delicate, airy choux, filled with feathery cream, smothered with chocolate on top; such a pleasure to bite into. 

The Berliner is a sweet dough pastry, quite similar to a doughnut. The patisserie cream filling that oozes out at first bite is delightfully delicious, as is the actual ‘soft as a baby’s bottom’ pastry! As for the Chocolate Truffle cake, it is densely decadent, rich and everything a chocolate cake needs to be. Truly sinful in the most wonderful kinda way!

The nut pie and cheesy chicken quiche, at Link, figure high on our list of favourites. We’ve also tried the Focaccia Smoked Salmon and the Sheraton Club sandwich, WITH extra cheese; MINUS the tomato and lettuce (most of you, by now, know why). The Sheraton Club is very nicely done. As for the Focaccia Smoked Salmon sandwich, they need to work on the focaccia. The bread is very thick and feels a lot like regular white bread. One can barely taste that gorgeous smoked salmon hidden in all that bread and that is such a darn shame. A thinner, tastier version of the focaccia would be ideal. However, they serve the most amazing crisp fries with their sandwiches. We love ‘em!

Their other bakery items that steal my heart are their croissants; the plain and the chocolate ones. I truly believe the humble dough gets crowned ‘King’ when a baker decides to make a croissant. 

The light crispness on the exterior and the buttery flakiness within: sigh! I fall short of words to describe how I feel when I find a perfect croissant. 

The plain croissants are oblong; tapered at both ends: while to differentiate between the two, the chocolate croissants are rectangular, pillow shaped ones. Both varieties in regard to the airiness and flakiness within are perfect; vital features for a good croissant!

Link serves all that I have mentioned and more but what makes the place even better are the smiles showered on us by their ever courteous staff (Kerman, Shreya, Maruti, Anmol to name a few… and many others). Then, of course, there is always Chef Mark Philipose, knowledgeable, humble, helpful and kind. Having gotten to know our choice of food/cuisine, he always guides us towards the correct delicacies. Link is the perfect place to while away time; to sit gabbing with a bestie or friends, sipping on tea and munching on pastries and sandwiches. Ah, the good life, indeed!

Oh by the way, let me fill you all in on a teeny-weeny secret. Between 8 pm and 12 midnight bakery stuff on the Link counters is available at a 50% discount. Do you need a better excuse than this to visit my ‘tapri’?

Food: 4.5/5
Service: 5/5
Ambience: 5/5

Address: Sheraton Grand, Off Raja Bahadur Mill Road, Sassoon Road, Pune
Tel: 020 26050505 / 020 66411111

Link - Sheraton Grand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Some more photographs...

One of the delicious babies (Berliners) that came home with me in the box featured above ;-)

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