What would you cook, if a celebrity chef arrived at your doorstep? Confused? I was confused too. If I knew, I would be writing a book of my own titled; Recipes Mr. Big Shot Chef has never tasted. Not only is it tough to find unique recipes but also making them really delicious is colossal task. So, I decided to take Chef Rakesh Sethi of Mirch Masala fame, that telecasted on STAR Plus to a restaurant that I could trust. Lately, Chef Rakesh has been working on a show called Tea Time for Foodfood, where I met him while working for the channel. His knowledge and experience about food encouraged me to ask a lot of questions and once I was back in Pune, I invited him over to visit us with his family.
The reason I chose Arthur’s Theme (Pune) in Lane 6, Koregaon Park to take him for lunch on a Sunday afternoon was that everyone I know loves that place. Although, for a high profile Chef the menu of Arthur’s Theme wasn’t really unique, they do have some unique names and the food is fresh and tastes good. I am so glad that I wasn’t in the kitchen making that Brown Sauce or the Hot Chocolate Fudge. It is tough to impress a man who knows that the Fudge has been cooked for 10 minutes instead of 7 minutes which is the precise duration for which it should be cooked.
|Chef Rakesh Sethi and Me|
When we arrived with Chef Rakesh’s teenage, twin boys and his friendly wife we were warmly welcomed by a gentleman who was dressed in casual clothes. We gathered that he might be the owner or a friend or relative of the owner since he was not formally dressed like the rest of the staff he also seemed the more concerned about guest satisfaction than the rest of the staff. We were seated by the glass, the preference for water was inquired and the embarrassing faded menus were handed over to us. When I take a formal guest to a good restaurant, I do not expect the menu card to look used and faded, might as well not give me the menu and just read out the options like on a roadside dhaba. The menu had a wide selection of what is often referred to as continental dishes primarily French and Italian, a few oriental and some options that could pass as an Indian dish given their similarity to Indian descriptions. The wine list was concise but an interesting combination of whites and reds, rose and sparkling, Indian and Imported.
First : If you are accompanied by a guest on one of your trips to Arthur’s Theme, please be sure to either, all order the same soup or tell the waiter to bring them to your table at the same time. On this instance, the Minestrone was served ten minutes before the other soups being the Guy of Warwick, the seafood soup and the Ationette, the mushroom soup. Our guests had to wait for ten minutes before they could start eating their soup and by the time our soups were served, theirs were cold and the taste did not matter anymore. All Chef Rakesh said was, ‘It is Garlicky’. The seafood soup was mellow and subtly flavoured with herbs, while the Mushroom soup had was delicious also dominated by the flavour of garlic. But the taste of the soup did not matter to me after being embarrassed in front of my guests.
|Guy of Warwick|
Second : Make sure you have the waiter repeat the order. We had ordered two fresh lime sodas for Chef’s twin sons. Only one was served at the table and the waiter forgot about the other one. I offered to remind and bring another soda but by then the twins were already sharing the one that was served.
Third : Do not order Napolean and Henry VIII, both chicken dishes at the same table if you are intend to share both dishes or try something new, like we did. Both these dishes have the same sauce, the only difference being Henry VIII had a slight wine flavour. Other dishes included Humbert which was Paneer Shaslik with tomato sauce on a bed of rice, the twins said it tasted good, Chef liked it as well. Ferdinand, this was mushrooms and paneer in a creamy tomato sauce, full of flavour, rich and wonderful. Amanda was chicken with a barbeque sauce, I did not get to try this, by the time I got to it, it was over, so I am guessing that it must have been good. Napolean and Henry VIII are both chicken dishes with brown sauce and pepper flavour. Henry VIII with the ‘chef’s special wine flavoured sauce’ was nice but the chicken was slightly overcooked making it dry and stringy on the inside.
Fourth : This is a strict MUST NOT DO if you don’t want to spoil the flavour of your wonderful meal, DO NOT eat that mint they serve at the end of the meal. It tastes stale and has a chalk-like quality. It totally tortures your tongue and makes you want to buy another mint from the close-by vendor.
|Hot Chocolate Fudge|
To mention the dessert, I thought it was delicious but ‘the expert’ said it was three minutes over the time of cooking! That means even though the Hot Chocolate Fudge was yummy, it could still be yummier, there was room for improvement. Well, that is the benefit of dining with the expert. The experience was Arthur’s Theme was good. Fine company and good food made for a lovely, satisfying Sunday afternoon. I would like to thank Chef Rakesh Sethi for his pearls of wisdom while dining with me.
Rating 7.5 on 10.