The Pune Nightlife team was invited to try out the new menu curated by Chef Paul Kinny for 212 All Day Cafe and Bar! Another review that took a while to pen down, even though the moment i tasted the new additions in the menu, i knew what i had to write.
To be honest, I used to always feel that the menu at 212 was initially limited. Each time post my shopping at Phoenix market city I used to end up here and I can say that I have tried everything in the menu. So personally, I am very happy with anything new at 212. Earlier, there was a very limited set of people who preferred healthy food. Now almost every other person is okay with the concept of eating healthy and then there are people like Chef Paul Kinny who makes you believe that healthy food can be so tasty!
Its always great when the chef tells a story. He made it a point to come to our table and explain the concept behind each dish that was served. Chef Paul Kinny explained to us that he introduced Asian, Mexican and more wholesome and nutritious options after taking all the feedback from his patrons. The wholesome additions come in the form of preservative-free cheeses, house-made sauces and pasta made from scratch, free from artificial flavours and colours.
Let’s get down to what we had for the tasting.
Soup- Three Mushroom Velouté: This soup had just won my heart. It was rich, creamy and had a lovely flavour with a slight peppery overpower. The three mushrooms used in the soup are Shitake, Button and Porcini. The croutons served along with this were rolled with Parmesan and then baked. #highlyrecommended
Salad-Quinoa Bowl: This can be seen as a complete meal for the light eaters. The salad had mixed greens, cranberries, pomegranate and toasted Almonds. The french vinaigrette was just perfect. The salad had a special touch because of the pomegranate cranberry and almond slices in it. The salad was a medley of textures and flavour.
Salad- Caprese: Cheese, oven roasted tomatoes, basil pesto, balsamic is a combination made in heaven. Those tomatoes were oven roasted with sea salt. The mozzarella was like a mousse and had a citrusy twist in it. This was a fabulous twist on the regular caprese.
Appetizer – Savory Baklava: What a creation, absolutely loved it! The savory baklava was stuffed with kale, leek, potatoes and caramelized onions and this filling was fabulous. It is the easiest way to get all those vegetables in and the caramelized onions adds that extra zing. The spice in this Bakhlava comes from Bhut Jolokia which is an Assamese Chilli. #highlyrecommended
Appetizer- Quinoa Chicken Strips: The quinoa coating on the chicken strips adds an amazing crunch to this dish. The chicken was really juicy and this definitely is a killer starter to go with your drinks!
Mains – Grilled Norwegian Salmon: Sweet Jesus! This was one of our favourite! The salmon was fresh and pink, undeniably one of the best we have eaten in the city. To be precise it was as good as the ones we get out of the country. On the sides were potato and scallion confit and caper vinaigrette which was lemony and buttery. It was a blast of flavours in the mouth! A seafood lover’s delight!
Mains – Grilled Chicken Breast: Two big slices of grilled chicken breasts served with peppercorn jus, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, beans and barley. The dish was filled with flavor. The refried beans were an absolute delight and the mash was very well made. Amongst all those flavours, we could still get the taste of the meat!
Mains – Shrimp Tagliatelle: This came along with sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, crumbled katsiki cheese and pine nuts. The whole dish had a buttery creamy flavor. The prawns were fresh and soft, like how we always say – we love it when restaurants use fresh meat and not those frozen ones! Thank God for those pine nuts in the dish, it’s a favourite. The snow peas added an interesting crunch to the dish. The pasta wasn’t overpowering of sauces and the dish was mildly flavored which we loved!
Desserts– We tried the Triple Mud Cake which was a sinful slice of gooey chocolate, a pretty decent one! The other dessert we tried was the Baked Peach Cheesecake which took us by a sweet surprise. This cheesecake had crème anglaise, stewed peach and oreo crunch. The peach and cheesecake flavor blended so well. Thumbs up! #highlyrecommended.
Chef Paul Kinny is one of our favourite, as he brings out some fabulous creations on the table. The best part is that he is open to experimentations and understands the requirement of the market. We do not end up having the same menu all throughout, as we definitely know there will be something new coming up always. Chef Paul’s new additions are as eagerly awaited as a new Game of Thrones season! #honest
Some stellar wholesome additions include the No Carb Spaghetti made using spiralized veggies; Quinoa Bowl with Almonds and Cranberries; Asian Slaw with an addictive Dressing and Sesame Seeds; Beetroot & Ricotta Ravioli; No Cheese Pizza; Kale & Artichoke Pizza and more.
Chef Paul has given the new menu an interesting twist with global ingredients that add novelty without losing the touch of familiarity and comfort. The Mexican favorites include Quesadillas, a hearty plate of Chilli Con Carne with Nachos; Loaded Nachos with refried beans; Vegetable Gringas… all of which double up as perfect bar food along with the new Buffalo Wings coated with Hickory BBQ Sauce and the Quinoa Chicken Strips.
Asian influences can be spotted in the popular Asian Slaw Salad; Teriyaki Salmon Burger; Tom Kha-inspired Corn & Coconut Bisque; Siamese Crab Cakes with Papaya Slaw; and Dark Soy Shrimp with Wasabi Slaw.
Some other watch-outs are the Tea Smoked Shrimp Salad; Gambas Caliente; southern-style saucy Baby Back Ribs.
Thank you team Carpe Diem for this invite