Every time I saw people grilling their own food on grills or tandoors, I secretly wished I was in that group. But then again, most of it was on TV and I obviously can’t join in. I first heard of Barbeque Nation in late 2008 or so and I was pretty amazed by the whole idea. That’s when Barbeque Nation opened their first outlet in Pune too and there were hoardings near Sohrab Hall that made me drool. Well, I finally visited the place a couple of weeks back. Long wait, isn’t it?
The concept of getting yourself involved in the process of the cooking food though not entirely is the USP of Barbeque Nation. I mean who wouldn’t love grilling or barbequing their own kebabs and tikkas, brushing them with oil and experiencing the aromas fill your senses!
I have wanted to review many restaurants in the past but Barbeque Nation had to be first on the list as I have waited to dine there for ages. So without much ado, here’s the review. I will try and segregate the points into ambience, service, food and the moolah but they may not be in any particular order.
We visited the JM Road outlet for Sunday lunch when they were hosting the Sun and Sand festival. Apparently, they had a fixed menu for the entire festival which lasted close to a month. The place was full but we did not have to wait for more than 5 minutes to get a table since it was just the 2 of us. The moment you enter, the aroma of the coal attracts you. They have an enclosed dining area and an open air too. Considering its barbeque, one should prefer the open air dining for obvious reasons. The ambience is decent but nothing to boast about. The tables were neat and had a flag and the oils (for brushing kebabs) and marinades neatly placed on them. You are supposed to put the flag down once you are done with the starters.
We opted for the non-vegetarian buffet and the barbeque station was laid. The non-vegetarian buffet definitely has an added advantage as you can try the vegetarian fare too. Mr. H ordered some beer and I opted for a Cranberry Cooler. An array of chicken kebabs, seekh kebab, fish tikkas, tandoori prawns, grilled pineapple, tandoori mushroom, paneer tikkas and assorted veggies were served in no time. The other starters were served without a barbeque option and the corn fritters and Cajun potatoes are worth a mention. The fish tikka was to die for. I am not a fan of seafood but the fish tikka convinced me to start enjoying fish preparations. It literally melted in the mouth. The tandoori pineapple when brushed with a spicy marinade tasted divine. The mocktail I ordered was not up to the mark and when I mentioned it to one of the managers, he did get it changed. Brownie points for that.
The main course was average. The almond broccoli soup was good. There was also a spread of salads but nothing really was worth a mention. Actually, by the time you put your flag down, you are almost done with your meal. So probably my taste buds gave up on the food. I had read reviews about the Biryani and desserts being lip-smacking. But were totally disappointed! Whether it is the phirni or the mousse, nothing impressed me or Mr.H. May be our standards are pretty high because we have these regularly at home.
The service is prompt and the waiters will never fail to impress you. To take their Sun and Sand theme one level up, the staff also performed a dance on some of the beach songs. It was fun to watch their enthusiasm and it did liven up the entire place.
Last but not the least, is it value for money? May be yes because sea food and kebabs are expensive when you order them a-la-carte and here you get an unlimited buffet which not only has these yummilicious starters but the main course and dessert too. Our bill was around 2k for 2 people but we had ordered a liqueur shot, a mocktail and 2 beers too.
P.S. You can visit this place on weekdays as the cost of the buffet is comparatively lesser.
Lifestylerr’s Score Card-
[quote]“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting” – Andy Warhol[/quote]
The visual experience of seeing your starters delightfully grill to perfection at your table makes for an excellent start to the culinary journey you are about to embark here. So if you have not been there, visit it once.