Name: Shakahari, Marriott, Pune
Location: Marriott, Senapati Bapat Road, Pune
Date of Visit: 15th May, 2012 (Dinner)
My Mom is a vegetarian, so is my mausi, mami, nani and Pinku. Picking a restaurant is not easy all around. Until five years back, their only options were udipi restaurants and pao bhaji places. Among the few vegetarian fine-dining restaurants that have popped up in the city, Shakahari is one of the most talked about. I will be honest, I am a true carnivore and going to Shakahari wasn’t my first choice. We had to go for Mom’s choice, it being my parents’ 36th ‘Meeting’ Anniversary. Yes, I was born to a very romantic couple. Anyway, getting back to Shakahari, this is a very beautifully designed restaurant. I’d say it is even better than Alto Vino, the Italian restaurant in Marriott.
It is spacious and private, the wooden aesthetics and mood lighting promised a cozy and elegant evening ahead. Our server was courteous, attentive with a good knowledge of the menu but most of all, he seemed interested in what he was doing, a rare find.
|What a Delicious cabbage roll!|
I do appreciate a chef who manages to respect the integrity of fresh ingredients by not over-flavoring them, and also one that whips up a light mousse like theirs.
Honestly, apart from their Tava mushroom appetiser which was lightly flavored with fresh ground spices and mustard oil, lightly flavored baby potatoes for main course, the dumplings and few items on the dessert buffet, the food wasn’t extraordinary. Even so, now I realize there were quite a few dishes that I liked.
The menu and method of service had some interesting aspects to it. For starters, the menu included vegetarian Sushi, steamed broccoli, a wide range of salads and a wider range of condiments and dressings. In the appetizers as well as the main course selection there were Asian and Indian items with a good mix of regular favorites and some unique dishes to choose from. The Buddhist likes of glass noodles and steamed vegetables as well as Indian, Rajasthani delicacies like Papad aur Mangodi ki sabzi made up for a rare range.
Shakahari’s is what I call a Smart Service Style. The soup, salad and dessert are laid on the buffet, while the appetisers and main course are served at the table. Each group of diners can choose two Asian and three Indian appetisers and two Asian and three Indian main course from the selection specified on the menu card. There are two advantages in this form of service; the first being that the quality of food is maintained at a la carte standards because the food hasn’t been lying in the trays for hours, and the second being that the wastage of food is minimal because diners don’t tend to over serve. I know that I always fill my plate up in a buffet because I don’t want to get up for a second helping. The irony is that I end up going for the second helping of the dishes that I like anyway.
The dessert selection was charmingly extravagant with chocolate gateau to passion fruit cheesecake, lamingtons and my personal favourite, baked yogurt. There were ice creams and balu shahi along with moong dal halwa and other Indian sweets. The white chocolate mousse was beautifully done and the best part was that all of the desserts were lightly sweetened. This allowed us to load ourselves heavily with the sweets without wanting to cleanse our palate with karela juice!
I was pleasantly surprised by this extravagant and fine vegetarian meal. It is a treat for the Global vegetarian and certainly did not fail to amuse and entice the palate of a meat worshipper like myself and that’s the Thing About This Place.