As most of you know, I don’t really live in Pune. My home is miles away from the city and the best city hangouts. However, I am happy to say that my side of town has a few places that don’t fail to impress the food enthusiast in me. One such place tucked away a couple of minutes from the Chandni Chowk area is the Ambrosia Resort and Spa. For Puneites, Ambrosia Resort and Spa needs no introduction. It has been around for almost 22 years and was once one of the most luxurious places in Pune.
I remember visiting it sometime in 2006 and was impressed by the ambiance and the rich Indian food I tried there. Ambrosia Resort Pune has three parts – The Frangipani restaurant, The Xanadu Lounge and the Patisserie. You’ll find them all nestled inside the same zone but neatly divided into separate sections. A few months back I visited the Xanadu Lounge for dinner and was mighty impressed. You can imagine my elation when I was invited to review Ambrosia Resort Pune. Eager doesn’t come close to covering what I felt.
Over the years, there have been quite a few myths about the place closing down due to being non-operational and other such nonsense. However, the place is very much the jewel of Pune, it’s fully operational and buzzing with creativity. In fact, a little tête-à-tête with Mahua, the owner of Ambrosia Resort Pune, led to me learning something new. I was told that they are coming up with a Mediterrenean themed restaurant next month. Awesome is the word for it.
Now, I’m going to take a small detour for those who are wondering why you must travel all the way to another corner of the city when there are enough options in Koregaon Park or Kalyaninagar. Well, you should for the same reason I travel to KP and the city restaurants – THE LOVE OF FOOD! Not just food, AWESOME food.
Ambrosia Resort and Spa has everything going right for it, from the lavish spaces and quiet comforting ambience to the exhaustive multicuisine menu options. Don’t get me started on the warm hospitality.
During my dinner visit, I found the place attracted quite a lot of people regardless of it being a weekday. I was disheartened to see a few not-so-good reviews for the place before I came here. I’m still wondering what could have possibly gone wrong for those customers. I tried my best to critically review the food here and could barely come up with any negative points. You know me, I always say it as it is.
Okay, enough banter. Lets get to eating…
Ambrosia Resort Pune Food Review
The Drinks at Xanadu Lounge
We began the evening with a Rusty Nail for Umesh and some vodka with spicy pomegranate juice. They were smooth but what really stole the show was the Bartender’s Special.
Coming to Ambrosia Resort Pune and not having this drink will be blasphemy. One of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. This is the bartender Gowrow’s secret recipe: a potent vodka based mix with over 25 spices mixed to perfection.
It’s sure to give you the kick and tickle your taste buds have been searching for. The day they launch this mix for sale will be the day I’ll hoard a few bottles for home use.
The Food at Frangipani
For the non-veg or Tandoori platter, we chose our preferences from a wide range of choices. The platter comprised Murgh Makhmali Kabab, Reshmi Tangdi Lassoni, the Nashakat-e-Murgh, Hazzare Kebab and Patrani Kabab.
If you aren’t in possession of a huge appetite and want to settle for a single choice, I highly recommend the Patrani and Rosalie Kebabs. The first one has a neat filling of spinach and minced chicken cozied inside a soft succulent chicken piece. The second dish is hot kebab packed with the right combination of flavors to give the regular Tandoori Chicken a run for its money.
The Lamb Chilly was a delectable preparation. It came with tender juicy lamb pieces and green chillies going on the side. The onions were cooked in the Oriental style. It was quite authentic while still managing to suit spice-loving Indian palates.
The manager also recommended the Ennai Kathrikkai, which is mini Urad Dosas topped with a lipsmackingly delicious eggplant mash spiced using Southern masala. This one’s another star dish at the Ambrosia Resort Pune. I found Umesh, who isn’t a great fan of South Indian cuisine, savoring this number with delight.
Frangipani has a variety of soups and though I was as full as a tigress after a hunt, in this case a round of starters, I requested a small portion of the Paya soup. This dish not just spelled health but was such an intense yet simple preparation, it left me breathless with wonder. The Indian spices and meat broth is sure to create magic on your palate. The soup somehow set my mood for the main course.
For the mains, we opted for the Bharwan Bhindi, the Awadhi Murgh with a stuffed kulcha and a Gosht biryani.
The Bharwan Bhindi was cooked to provide a perfect crunch. They stuffed it with a spicy mix of onions, ginger and garlic. It was so well balanced I could enjoy this plate without any accompaniments.
The Awadhi Murgh, on the other hand, was a mild preparation with light-brown gravy flavored with red chillies, onion seeds and mustard. The chicken was marinated in lemon juice, which imparted a nice tangy backlash to the creamy curry. The stuffed kulcha is a massive bread, soft and with stuffing distributed at every corner – it just melted in the mouth. One kulcha was more than enough to stuff Umesh, especially after all those yummy starters.
I tried the Gosht Biryani, which had its moments but was slightly dry and mildly spiced for my preference. I also missed the aroma that exudes the moment a handi of Biryani arrives.
During my earlier visits, I have tried the Garlic Hot Pot Rice at Frangipani, which is again a star dish.
The Desserts at Patisserie
We had to clear some room for dessert. These were coming from the Patisserie. So we took a brief break and decided to have a chat with Chirag Sangani who heads the Operations at Ambrosia Resort Pune. We also chatted with the Chef.
I was content to see they were extremely receptive about my feedback and so full of energy to share their vision and ideas with us in turn. Chirag was always around checking on not just us but all the customers at Frangipani to ensure every guest went back a happy foodie. It was beautiful watching such passion at work.
The Chef had chosen to prepare two new desserts so he could offer them for my review. One was the traditional Bread Pudding with Bourbon sauce and the other – wait for it – a 3-layered Chocolate Mousse Cake.
(I have tried their Tiramisu before and it’s quite delicious, so I knew they would get the consistency of the chocolate mousse right as well.)
The mousse cake had semi-sweet white chocolate and a dark-chocolate ganache layer. It was nice but not as smooth and soft as a mousse cake should be – probably my only disappointment for the evening.
It’s a tiny negative remark that takes nothing away from the dessert scene here at Frangipani Pune. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to food.
The bread pudding was creamier than puddings in general. That’s because this one had some white chocolate mixed into it. Scream Yumm! The Bourbon sauce lacked the malt taste as you’ll find in most restaurants across Pune. However, Chirag had a valid reason for it: not all customers would prefer a sharp Bourbon Sauce going into their dessert. I agree with him.
Special Note On Prices:
While there may be many people who will feel the prices at Frangipani Pune are on the higher side of the scale, I must share that the quantity-quality of the dishes makes up for every penny you pay.
The portions are huge.The quality of ingredients is superior and this is all offered at a fine dining location.
So I’d say Ambrosia Resort and Spa Pune definitely has ideal Value for Money.