Excellent fresh ingredients including real cheeses like parmesan. Preparations were fairly true to the original recipes. Ravioli was freshly made but the parcels of cheese/spinach where huge circles of thick dry pasta rather than little moist squares of delicate pasta. Hot food was served on cold plates. Happily no MSG used!
Excellent decor and ambience created by lighting slightly spoiled by a couple of dark patches due to failed bulbs and a technician trying to repair them. Good furniture. Also included is an area like a small lounge for coffee/tea etc.
Excellent. Way beyond normal levels of hygiene in India. Toilet was also perfectly clean.
Excellent. None of the creepy bowing and scraping associated with up-market establishments in India. Very attentive, accurate
Quite high but reasonable considering the expensive fresh ingredients and the high quality of the venue.
Very poor. No lift and worn wooden stair to the first floor. No effort made to make it accessible to wheelchair users. Toilet is back downstairs and is too small to get a wheelchair in and generally unsuitable for disabled people.
The whole story:-
Having just moved into the area we wanted to see what our nearest restaurants where like. Kalsang in town was very good for asian food but we wanted to try European dishes.
We made a reconnaissance earlier in the day to plan how to get my wife upstairs and check what they use as ingredients. Disappointingly there is no way to get upstairs without carrying a disabled person. However on the upside we discovered that the ingredients do not include MSG (aginimoto - tasting powder) which is a harmful/repugnant ingredient used extensively now in India and they seem to have made a very good effort in including real cheeses.
One dish uses processed 'cheese' which was surprising considering how much attention they had given to original ingredients. Chilli Cheese toast does not need processed cheese slices especially as there is excellent fresh cheddar cheese supplied locally. Use of processed cheese is an oddity in such a good restaurant (really only suitable for McDonalds and other junk food outlets).
When we arrived we were greeted warmly and seated efficiently. The table is very comfortable without the annoying foot tangling frame-work under so many tables in India. All the furniture and fittings are very high quality and in very good repair except the lighting. Strangely they decide to to repair the lighting during the evening when customers where arriving to eat! They have used 50W halogen spotlights for atmospheric downlighting. While these provide a good warm 'pool' of light they are energy inefficient and very unreliable. More modern warm coloured LED down-lights would give them less trouble and would not disturb the guests with failures and repairs. The decor is very English. Slightly contrived and cold but good quality. Use of antiques or "found" objects with a historical local connection would give it a more 'warm' and intriguing atmosphere.
The started were well presented and correctly prepared. We enjoyed the excellent humous, falafel and spinach soup. There was a slight downside in the insipid sweet/spongy bread rolls delivered with butter at the start of the meal. Sadly the idea that white bread can be lightly salted with a crisp crust has not taken to the Indian palette (probably because it is wrongly assumed that the bread is crisp because it is thought to be stale).
The food was excellent except the Ravioli which consisted of very large and heavy duty parcels of thick pasta. While the efforts to make fresh pasta is appreciated it is important to remember that ravioli is made with small delicate parcels of spinach/cheese. Also as panneer (Indian 'cottage' cheese) has the almost the correct texture for this dish the flavour is much more bland than the traditional ricotta cheese. I would recommend including with the panneer a little finely grated parmesan to get a more original flavour. The tomato sauce with the pasta was excellent. Freshly grated parmesan on top was delicious.
We had a very good dessert. Key Lime Pie which came not in pie form but as a small lemony cheese cake type tart. Very nice flavour and texture slightly spoiled by the tinned cherry garnish on top.
The coffee was excellent. Nothing more to say about that other than try the expresso for your self!
We found the service excellent. Warm hearted without being intrusive. Precise without being pedantic.
Sadly they cannot serve alcohol in the cantonment area. Isn't this quaint! As soldiers usually like a tipple this seems to be an anachronism.
Suggestions for improvement: Replace the lighting with something more reliable, replace the processed cheese with something fresh, make crisp white-unsweetened bread rolls and sort out the ravioli by purchasing a pasta rolling machine and warm up the plates with hot water if the plate warmer cannot be fixed. Other than this it is a really excellent venue for proper food.
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