To Eat Or Not To Eat; At ESCA , Aundh, Pune

Name: Esca

Location: Aundh, Pune
Date of Visit: 5th March, 2012
 Be honest, do you love your younger sister? She borrows or shall I say steals your clothes without asking. She will tell on you when you sneak around. And just like everybody else’s, my sister too is like a piece of chicken stuck in my teeth since 5th March, 1991. Esca was a perfect to ruin her birthday. Although, I have to admit, I hadn’t planned it that way.
5 Reasons To Eat:
1)   Esca is owned by Arthur’s Theme, Punekars’ all-time favourite restaurant located in Koregaon Park. The brand brings with it trusted flavours and loyal foodies from around the city. Although, the last time I visited Arthur’s Theme, the service was not satisfactory.
2)   Esca is a contemporary fine-dining restaurant with an elegant setting. The dark wood furniture and mood lighting brings a sense of sophistication to the place. It looks more classy than comfortable.
3)   The selection of items on the menu includes European as well as Indian cuisine. However, oriental dishes are not a part of the selection. Arthur’s Theme is known for unique names given to the dishes. The menu at Esca also includes an interesting and unique selection of items. Dishes, which will be hard to find elsewhere. Having said that there were a few regular items in the Indian selection but what got my attention were recipes that came from the various dynasties in India, as described in the menu.
4)   Their starters selection had always met my expectation. I have tried a few European starters prawns wrapped in a salami, if I remember correctly. This time we tried their Indian selection, Alu Ke Gutke, Mushrooms and Tandoori Chicken, delicious! I compare restaurants based on their talent in making tandoori chicken. Succulent, well-flavoured and juicy. The starters were awesome.
5)   The Nawabi Paneer , creamy and lightly flavoured with fennel with melt in the mouth paneer makes you drown in its flavours. It is a very unique flavor, a recipe you will not come across in every other ‘Multi-Cuisine Restaurant’. The subtle flavours and silken mouth feel is one of a kind.
5 Reasons Not To Eat
1)   Bad Ambience. The music was too loud for a place like that. The restaurateurs need to realize that they are running a fine-dining restaurant not a club. It is impossible to have a conversation with your family and friends when the music is so loud and atrocious. Even when we asked them to turn it down, it still sounded unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, the choice of music wasn’t bad, it was bad for a restaurant like that.
2)   Bad Service. There are two ways to go with a corner table. Either you don’t set a table in manner that the guest is out of reach for the server. Although, this was not the case, as I was seated on the corner seat it seemed to me like I set my table, served myself and even cleared my table on my own. I would might as well have stayed back home and done it myself.
3)   Clumsy Service. When the server brought my Chicken Matka to the table, the curry was poured all over the sides of the curry bowl. It seemed as though the chef had clearly it spilled over the counter while serving it. The chef did not notice it, the server was just about to place it on our table when all of us exclaimed at the time. ‘Yeh Ganda Hai!’
4)   FYI, Esca Restaurant, just describing a dish well on the menu is not sufficient. The recipe should be as good as it is described. Chicken Matka, recommended by the server, described as belonging to some dynasty and being one of the most interesting items in the Indian selection was highly disappointing. Not only was the chicken dry and overcooked but also, the flavours of the curry were average and not unique. Also, it was not served in a Matka!
5)   The worst part was that the ESCA seems complacent with its standards. The staff seems untrained and disinterested in serving the guests. I have been to this place soon after its opening and a couple of times after that and had never expected the standard to deteriorate so much. I read about some bad experiences in Esca and I chose to revisit the place, only to find that they were right!
A very disappointing experience, I hope that Esca will improve its standards. That thing about this place is its unique selection of items on the menu.
Ambience: 3/ 10 Poor
Value for Money: 6/ 10 Average
Menu: 8/ 10 Very Good
Food: 6/ 10 Average
Service: 4/ 10 Not Worth It
That Thing About This Place:  8/ 10 Very Good
Poor Ambience + Average VFM + Very Good Menu + Average Food + Service Not Worth It + Very Good That Thing About This Place = Average
Rating: 6/ 10
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