Being Vegetarian in Pune; Ditch the Meat for Greens & Olives

Name: Greens n Olives

Location: Aundh, near Medipoint Hospital

Date of Visit: 11th November, 2013 (Dinner Hour)

What We’re Talking About: This is a testimony more than a review of my experience at Greens n Olives. A meal for four came up to Rs.2000 as on date. It includes a list of great vegetarian options that have come up in Pune in the recent past. Enjoy the Global dining designed for vegetarians in the city.

All senses alert, scanning through the jungle aka menu for my prey, eyelids narrow like a shameless and greedy hunter to attack that target, the crisp, honey gold crackling skin of a roasted thigh that veils the supple, moist and tender meat within. What do I say? Us carnivores, we love our meat! Bury our head into the plate (though I do use my cutlery) and then wipe it clean with that intense, meaty brown sauce. So clean, I bet you can’t tell my plate apart from a clean one. That is just to explain that when it comes to true blood, hungry non-vegetarians, vegetables are best served only as the side.

What if there was no thigh or breast on the menu? (Ha ha very subtle!) Putting up a ‘yumminess’ face, pretending to have a ‘bitchin’ time eating at a vegetarian restaurant over chicken thighs for my mother’s birthday was going to be tough. Until I tasted the vegetarian food at Greens n Olives I was secretly missing my meat.

There is no doubt that this place can convince us carnivores to surrender to the yumminess that is its vegetarian food. So far we have had a certain cliché understanding of vegetarian menus, with Shiv Sagarz and Sukh Sagars of the world serving us “Pure” vegetarian, Pav-Bhaji, Masala Dosa, Idli Chilli and Pizza aka Pijhha. Italian has always been a wonderful option for vegetarians eating out, but few Italian Restaurants are “Pure” vegetarian. In Pune, especially the Aundh area and its vicinity have more restaurants that offer Indian, Chinese with a tiny section called Continental with (often) unappetizing options.

Menu

The selection of Italian, Mexican and Indian food along with a selection of Sizzlers at Greens n Olives was a breath of fresh air in the world of vegetarian menus. Usually you don’t even need to look at the menu to decide whether you want paneer makhani or mushroom chilli but carry your glasses for this one, they have options like Lebanese platter and an Italian Sizzler.

Food

The A la Verdure Pesto Soup, Olive Mozzarella Crostini and Cheese sticks with mustard mayo were a luring promise and we couldn’t wait to get the main course on our table. We went for the Italian Sizzler, a Sicilian Pizza and Vegetable Rahra with Butter Kulchas to mix it up and try a variety from the options.

The Italian Sizzler was the first to appear within minutes of placing the order. The silken and comforting creaminess of the saffron risotto with firm, yet soft grain that would disappear the moment the mouth acknowledged its presence. And what a tease for the tongue that impactful spike of garlic was, and what a soothing aroma the sprinkles of parsley added. The portion was so large, my father and sister had to share it as my mother and I stole a few bites, yet no one wanted to stop eating it and miss their turn of spoonful of that risotto.

Sizzling Italian Sizzler with Saffron Risotto

Sizzling Italian Sizzler with Saffron Risotto

Next was the Vegetable Rahra with butter kulcha, which was a delightful and full of robust flavours but this classic favourite red gravy was overshadowed by other interesting options. Drumroll for my Sicilian Pizza please! As the crispy percussion of the base crackled and crumbled in my mouth, the garlic raised his pitch, then red chillies peaked like opera singers and the deep notes of mushrooms pulled the song into a perfect balance, as the cheese brought it all together in a chorus to make a matchless symphony. Distract yourself with the hearty tomato sauce pizzas but this one is an untold story.

Butter Kucha with Veg Rahra

Butter Kucha with Veg Rahra

Siciliana Pizza

Siciliana Pizza

Service & Ambience

Our evening was wonderful, all thanks to a happy staff. They were smiling, talking to us and even telling us the names of all the fancy looking dishes that the people on the next table were ordering. It seemed almost like their best friend in the kitchen was waiting our verdict, when they asked us eagerly how we liked the food. Well the verdict had to be positive, didn’t it? Cause this place has that happy spirit of Italy. The friendly attitude of Italian people, with bright European style lights, the walls were a pretty picture done up like Italian window sills loaded with bright flowers that reminded me so much of Italy. Such a happy place!

They had a very tempting dessert menu. Possibly the most luring one around this area, with apple crumble, mud cake mousse to a moist chocolate cake with cherries. The description was very tempting but we were so full after the soup, appetisers and main course that we decided to comeback another day, just for the appealing desserts.

What Greens n Olives Needs

There are a few things that will complete this Italian feel and make the meal at Greens n Olives more memorable. I would really like to have a glass of wine with my meal when I’m here. I was told that my wish would be fulfilled as soon as their liquor permit comes through. Fresh pastas like ravioli and gnocchi are pure joy and there presence in the menu was missed. It was a delightful meal that would be complete with some fresh pasta to offer. My heart was singing anyway, so this is a mere nudge for greater joy, a live band playing Italian songs for the diners will be a fun addition.

What Vegetarians Want

Earlier on there were fewer options for vegetarians, especially ones who preferred dining at an all-veg or “Pure” veg restaurant. With people travelling the world more and thanks to food shows and facebook, there is more exposure to Global Cuisine. This has resulted in the opening of a number of speciality, vegetarian restaurants that offer a great variety to vegetarians.

My favourite vegetarian restaurant is Shakahari at the JW Marriott Pune, which even features vegetarian sushi, Asian and a variety European food during different food festivals around the year. If you’re a vegetarian searching for a buffet of great cuisines and delicious food then look no further than the building next to Pune Central in Shivajinagar. This entire building has vegetarian restaurants. South Indies offers scrumptious delicacies from the South, some even unheard of; Little Italy offers titillating vegetarian Italian food while Soul Kitch offers a selection of Asian favourites.

It has always been easy being vegetarian in Pune with Jain food, Mathura’s thalis and Bedekar’s missal pav, but now the majority diners have much more to look forward to in Pune. So, Jain, Brahmin or Vegan, your choices are wide.

Ambience: 3 Forks

Service: 4 Forks

Menu: 3 Forks

Food: 4 Forks

Value for Money: 4 Forks

That Thing About This Place: 4 Forks

Rating: 4 Forks

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