Restaurant Review – Deccan Rendezvous
[NOTE ADDED ON DECEMBER 22, 2009 -- Deccan Rendezvous has a holiday special menu (in addition to their regular menu) starting today through December 31st. This menu features traditional Christmas/Thanksgiving items such as Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy and Cranberry Sauce. Tried it today. Pretty good! Had tried this same menu during 2008 Christmas as well...]
I am passionate about good food and always on the lookout for a great new restaurant. However, I try to maintain a small list of regular restaurants that I like to frequent. Over the years, this list has included a few places in Pune as well as in Dallas (where I spent over 10 years…). Vaishali has been a perennial favorite and Clay-Pit in Dallas is pretty amazing as well. In my view, along with great food these places also demonstrate the following impressive qualities: consistency, service and specialization.
Let me elaborate further. I hate change when it comes to my favorite dish! I want it to taste the exact same, month after month, year after year. Take for example, Vaishali’s Idli-Vada Sambar. Some people might call this expectation boring, but for me this is very important. When it comes to service, the usual attentiveness and efficiency are to be expected; however that extra special personalization touch is key. I believe in having a small list of restaurants primarily for this reason. I like to go places where I know the serving staff by name, where I can get to know the manager/chef/owner personally, and where I can provide direct inputs towards continuous improvement. Specialization is also very important. The restaurant should do a perfect job of achieving ‘world class’ in a certain segment of their menu.
Ok, now that I have specified the criteria for my ‘all-time favorite list’, I would like to introduce a new addition, that excels in many of the above criteria – ‘Deccan Rendezvous’, located at the corner of Apte Road and Ghole Road in Pune.
Even though I am a big fan of good North Indian food, it was my quest for nice Non-Indian food choices that really got me here the first time. Coming to Pune after a long stay in US, I used to miss the eclectic multi-national cuisine. Especially Thai and Italian food. Also, living in the Deccan Gymkhana area, I wanted to find something close by, instead of spending 45-60 min in a traffic jam to head to Koregaon Park. Deccan Rendezvous addressed both these constraints. Its multi-cuisine restaurant ‘Glass Window’ offers North-Indian, Italian, South-East Asian, European and other world cuisines.
The appetizer section is interesting with diverse choices ranging from Middle-Eastern to Caribbean selections. Traditional Indian choices are also available. The Jalapeno Cheese Poppers are awesome. ‘Lebanese Maza Platter’ is quite popular, but the Hummus has some room for improvement. The Tomato Mozzarella is an excellent choice amongst the Salads.
Deccan Rendezvous has a decent collection of international Cocktails and Spirits. Many of the usual favorites are very good, but the Mojito and the Margarita need some tweaking. The adjoining ‘Soul Purpose’ bar has a subtle ambience and is amongst the better lounge bars I have been to in India. Most of the other lounge bars, I find too loud for my tastes.
Chef Anand and his team have done an excellent job as far as the various Pasta dishes are concerned. Penne with Pesto Cream Sauce is my personal favorite. The Thai menu is a little limited, but the Red, Green and Panang curries are really good. The Indonesian Nasi Goreng is nice as well. The European dishes are ok, but definitely not Deccan Rendezvous’ strong point. The English classic, Fried Fish & Chips needs some improvement. The North Indian selection is impressive. The Kababs are great and so are the various gravy dishes. The Nans and Parathas are perfectly done. ‘Chicken Tikka Akbari’ and ‘Dal Gilafi’ are my favorites in this category.
The only cuisine that is not up to mark is Mexican. Frankly, I have tried many fancy restaurants in Pune and have still come back disappointed in my quest for good Mexican, Tex-Mex or Cajun food. Many places claim to serve this cuisine, but the taste is no where near (Deccan Rendezvous included) what I have been accustomed to in Texas.
No good meal is complete without a dessert and Deccan Rendezvous excels in this area. The selection is extensive and extremely well done. I guess extending the ‘Baker’s Basket’ heritage (Baker’s Basket – the famous bakery store chain in Pune, and Deccan Rendezvous are part of the same parent company), one can see why this is their forte. I am a big fan of Chocolate desserts and ‘Chocolate Mousse’ and ‘Fudge Brownie with Chocolate Sauce’ are my top picks here.
The service at Deccan Rendezvous is excellent. The serving staff is courteous and attentive. Though a little stretched for space, the restaurant is very comfortable. The décor is simple and modern. On weekend nights, you will find excellent live music here. I understand that there are plans afoot to expand the seating area. That will be extremely helpful. Reservations are recommended; especially on weekend evenings.
To summarize, Deccan Rendezvous offers a great choice if you are looking for a nice multi-cuisine restaurant in the heart of Deccan Gymkhana area. Click here, for the exact location of the hotel (courtesy: www.sadakmap.com).
Hotel Website: http://www.deccanrendezvous.com/
Address: Apte Road, Shivajinagar, Pune 411004
Directions (courtesy sadakmap): http://www.sadakmap.com/p/Deccan-Rendezvous/
Contact: 020 2561 2345