Restaurant Review – Little Italy Chinchwad, Pune

 

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

For vegetarians and Italian food lovers alike, Little Italy is not a new name in the game. The famous chain has opened its third outlet right here in Pune, throwing wide its doors only a couple of months back. Little Italy Chinchwad came to be after their Hinjewadi outlet became non-operational.

The PCMC area is booming, enjoying good proximity to the IT Hub Hinjewadi and other areas like Baner and Aundh. Also, Pune being a city of food enthusiasts, most of us are willing to travel those extra few miles if it means dining at a new amd enchanting place. We received an invite from Prathmesh from Praxis Media to review Little Italy Chinchwad. I have dined at its sister branch in Coimbatore but didn’t really enjoy the food there. Each branch is different, though.

After a few not-so-good Italian food experiences in Pune, I was almost on the verge of taking a break from eating Italian altogether. Since I had the Little Italy Chinchwad review lined up, I thought, why not. So here I am to give this one a shot. Let’s hope it has me going ‘Mamma Mia!’

Off I went tagging Umesh and two other friends along who are quite active on ‘Zomato’ with their restaurant reviews.

We experienced quite a drive from where I live to the restaurant. But when hunger pangs roll, every minute seems like an hour, so you can’t really blame me for complaining. Finally, after what seemed a little like forever, we reached this nice little place tucked inside a quiet lane with a huge signboard hanging outside. Little Italy is a no-frills place. The neat seating and minimal décor held immense charm compared to plusher restaurants. I especially enjoyed the comfortable seating and liked the dark beige table linen.

The restaurant manager Ganesh was kind enough to come and share a few details about the menu and the theme/concept of the place. Ganesh also made sure to pass on a few suggestions about their signature dishes. He was thoughtful enough to do this as we placed our order.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The first round of mocktails arrived and while each of them was nice in its own way, I preferred the Peru Pomegranate. Contrary to mocktails in general, where I observed them serving a mix of juices poured from tetrapacks, this had the actual fruit pulp going for it, guavas and pomegranate in this case. It made all the difference between a fresh drink and a dull one. The Virgin Pina Colada was average. The Peach Please lacked the peach flavor.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The Garibaldi, on the other hand, stole the show. A zingy blend of apple juice with crushed green olives and lime served in a salt-rimmed glass. The taste was as amazing as the list of ingredients. I couldn’t put it down until my meal came to a full close.

The starters followed, coming quickly once we’d ordered. Plus marks for this, namely the speedy service.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The Funghi Alla Trapanese practically melted in my mouth. I tasted the mushrooms with their subtle flavors of garlic and the citrusy sour lime sautéed in olive oil garnished with parsley. This is a must-eat at Little Italy Chinchwad.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The cheese cornballs had their moments but lacked the crispiness of the corn kernels and weren’t cheesy enough.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The assorted platter, which is a part of their Mexican marvels, had onion, capsicum rings and deep-fried babycorn longs. You could give this a miss, if you want, it might only end up filling you with no real reward by way of taste experience.

If you are at Little Italy Chinchwad (I’m not sure if their other branches serve it too) do not miss the three salsas they have ready to order.

1. The Classic Tomato Salsa

2. The Sour Tomato and Garlic Salsa with their bold bright red color and

3. The Raw Tomato Salsa

These encouraged me to go on biting into them time and again. That’s how lip-smackingly delicious all three were.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

We went on to order the Minestrone Soup and Zuppa Di Cipolle, which is a kind of spring onion soup. I don’t know how this happened but the soups lacked the expected punch. Soups are intended to set the mood for the main course and both the ones here were a little off on that mark.

We wanted to save room for the main course and desserts, which is why we ordered just one salad among the four. The lucky one was the Insalata Gladiatore. What a beautifully refreshing combination of ingredients it had. Lettuce, Rucola, Parmesan shavings, sliced Apple and small Broccoli florets with Rum and Balsamic Vinegar dressing. The dressing was perfect but the parmesan made the dish a little too salty. It was therefore not much to our liking. I am not a big fan of Rucola either. I didn’t quite like the salad even though it had everything right going for it. Perhaps you’ll find it yummier than I did. If so, leave a comment when you return from Little Italy Chinchwad.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The menu here is exhaustive, to be honest. You have endless varities of each course and they spoil you for choices to the point that you grow confused. I was going ‘which one to try?’. While range is good for casual diners, its hell for reviewers because of how much we have to cover. I would like to go back for a couple more reviews so I can better know everything they have on their menu.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

Our next highly expected dish was the Pizza Napoli. Little Italy serves thin crust wood-fired oven-baked pizzas though they have a few thick crust options on their menu as well. This one’s thin crust base was done to perfection, neither too crispy nor too soggy. The sides packed a nice small crunch while the centre blended magically with the tomato sauce base. The chili oil added a hot and spicy touch to the bite and along with the jalapeno peppers and sundried tomatoes ensured a distinct tang to the pizza. All in all, the Pizza Napoli was full of flavors. It earned its way into our books as few of the best pizzas we’ve eaten in Pune.

Generous helpings of pasta followed. In my opinion, if a chef can nail the Spaghetti Aglio Olio well, he can do a fair job at any pasta dish facing him. So, as a part of my hunt for the best Spaghetti Aglio Olio in Pune, I decided to order one at Little Italy Chinchwad. (I remember having an unpleasant experience with Risottos at another eatery, which goaded me not to choose the one here). My friends ordered the Risotto Funghi E Zaffarano, which is a brown rice risotto with parmesan, mushrooms, cream and a hint of saffron.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

I tried a little, filching some from my buddies. The Risotto Funghi E Zaffarano came with appealing color because of the saffron. The brown rice did wonders to the dish. Loved every bite, it wasn’t too cheesy and mushy but cooked ideally with diced mushrooms. It’s quite a generous helping and should be good for two; it compliments your order of starters and soup/salad.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

Now for the Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino test. My review: I’ll kill for it or die for it or both at the same time. Not only was it prepared exactly the way I liked it, it’s like the chef read my mind before he did it. Plenty of chilli flakes gave it a hot palate backlash. A mild flavoring of garlic and a generous drizzle of olive oil with a sprinkling of parmesan together worked sheer magic on the dish. I highly – and I mean highly – recommend the Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino. I will go back times ten to Little Italy Chinchwad just for this one dish.

And now, the time we’ve all been waiting for; I know I have. Desserts! Each of us had saved enough room for the sweet side of our review. We ended up ordering four different dishes in this department.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The Classic Tiramisu was light and mildly sweet but I missed the Kahlua and strong coffee I expected to go into it. The mascarpone was whipped well with the cream, and the garnish of coffee powder worked fine.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The Vanilla Flavored Panna Cotta with Kiwi Compote was nothing less than delicious, without the over powering taste of gelatin. I have tried Panna Cotta at home several times in different flavors and prefer other flavors over vanilla. The kiwi compote was a great addition.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The Ferrero Rocher Mousse cake came in three distinct layers. You can taste all three types of chocolates used in each layer. As splendid as that sounds (and I loved this dessert, that’s for sure) it could still have done better with the addition of Ferrero Rocher’s nuttiness.

Little Italy Chinchwad Review

The Chocolate Bomb, purportedly one of Little Italy Chinchwad’s signature dishes, looked like a chocolate lover’s dream come true. The hot and freshly baked molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream ensured an entry into food coma at the very first bite. It tasted just as awesome.

What’s the best way to end a nice meal? Hmm… A nice hot cup of coffee. As if the above dishes weren’t enough of a treat for our foodie tummies, us ladies ordered the Cappuccino while our hubbies who had no more room left in them looked at us with unveiled surprise. The Cappuccino was creamy and strong, packed enough of a caffeine kick, and left us completely content.

To put it simply, it was an amazing way to end our day here at Little Italy Chinchwad. The restaurant is magnificent. It did of course make me go ‘Mamma Mia!’. I am recalling the Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino and my mind for once nods along with my stomach.

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