Restaurant Review: 121 Kitchen, Wakad, Pune


Visited on: 04/09/2015

The very purpose of visit was another food tasting feast with some good foodies 🙂 I must accept, to begin with, that we were a little hesitant to accept the invitation initially, courtesy a poor rating on Zomato 😮 and the other reason being the traveling distance involved on a weekday. Luckily, the PR agency and 121 Kitchen agreed to shift the day to Friday from Wednesday. However Priyanka played the major role of pushing all of us till the end to give 121 Kitchen a chance to prove themselves and she also made sure that we travel together, which meant I would be driving for a total distance of 60 odd Kms for the event 🙁 Turned out to be worth in every aspect. So every single person involved solely owes it to Priyanka.

121 Kitchen has both outdoor and indoor seating available. Outdoor seating more suitable for people looking for high decibel levels. Once settled down Anish Bhanwadia, the Owner-cum-Chef of 121 Kitchen, briefed us about the place and requested us proceed with the food. Unlike set menu for the food tasting events at other places that we have visited in the past, Anish did not had anything like it. So it was went on like partially we selected what we wanted to check from their general menu and partially what Anish wanted to check us out on, there specialty I can say. This, I always think, is a better option as it is definitely more interactive compared to a set-menu. Provides opportunity to cover a more wide range of items rather than being restricted to few.

Coming to cocktails, the Dirty Mary (Bloody Mary blended with Dirty Martini) was definitely high in terms of alcohol content but flat or low in terms of flavor. Personally, I will prefer them individually. The LIIT was really nicely prepared with flavor of Rum being on the stronger side and again pretty high in terms of alcohol content 😉

Bar Appetizers :

Flaming Chikpea Pellets – Boiled Kabuli Channa fired with chat masala and garlic pods. Not really crispy as mentioned in the menu, but good. Would have been better if served with lemon, just in case if anyone want to add the extra flavor.

Tangy Onion Rings – Surely the most disappointing compared to all other entities served, as were quite oily and really not tangy.

Tandoori Chooza – Alternate adoption of Tandoori Chicken with smaller chicken pieces. Nicely prepared and really no overdose of masala used .

Starters:

Murg Sharabi Kebab – Definitely the pick of the day for me, hence the first item mentioned. Chicken drenched in Rum till the core and served with a Rum shot ! In short chicken having an hangover courtesy Old Monk and going to have one more shot of the same. And we made sure that not a drop of Rum goes wasted. 😉 Very nicely prepared and good to see that the overdose of Rum doesn’t make the chicken taste bitter. So even if one is hesitant about Rum and it’s associated bitter taste, I can assure you, will enjoy this one fully.

Banana Wrapped Steamed Fish – Two different variants served. First serving used Basa, conditioned with minced Paan leaves and added spices. Yes, I wrote that correctly. Conditioned with Paan (Betel Leaf) !!! Paan is almost a compulsory entity for me after a heavy non-veg diet in particular and what more can I ask, if its included in the food itself. Not at all sure where they came up with this concept. May be Anish can enlighten us with it. Coming back, the Paan conditioned Basa which was served wrapped by Banana Leaves. The moment you open the wrapper turns out to be a Pandora Box of various emitting flavors used. So impressed with the taste work, that we were tempted enough to ask for a Pompret variation of the same preparation, not sure if available on their regular menu but definitely more than worthy of having it there as well. No doubt, Pompret was better than Basa, and I took the honor of having its head :D. Another good aspect is that well balanced use of Paan doesn’t suppresses the flavor and aroma of other ingredients. Not sure whether they have it on their menu, but seriously looking to try out with veg variants of the same concept. Wondering how it will go with Mushroom/Panner !!!

Green Mango Paneer Tikka – Good experiment done on conventional Panner Tikka to create a nice variant. Kachi Kairi and Ripe Mango pulp used to add extra layers of flavor which really went well with the not-too-sweet Kairi-Jaggery chutney served alongside. Panner could have been touch more softer, but was good nevertheless.

Gosht Kakori Kebabs – Had some really nice and tender kebabs after a long time. The last time I remember having good Kebabs was in Lucknow something like 4 years ago … But Varun clarified that these are not authentic Kakori Kebabs per-se… So will be good to get rid of the term ‘Kakori’ and better serve them simply as Gosht Kebabs. Will be more than worthy to have it then…

Seafood Bombil Roll – A seafood delight for sure. Crab and Prawn meat stuffed/rolled in Bombil and fried ! Tastes as interesting as it sounds. Again a well-done preparation.

Murg Chilli Mili Tikka – Attempt to create a variant of Chicken Tikka with Chinese variation served with Schezwan Sauce. The tikka solely, in terms of the mixing attempt, doesn’t really has any clear Chinese flavor as such which one can associate but goes well with Schezwan sauce.

Murg Bambaiya Tikka – Well definitely nothing in it to called a Bambaiya ! But they can get rid of this ‘Bambaiya’ as it was otherwise pretty good or make it more chatpata and retain the name.

Chicken Dumplings – were nice, nothing special but good.

Zaittooni Murg Seena – Cannot recollect the exact flavor right now, but chicken pieces were tender and with usage of Olive and Cottage Cheese. The used flavors really made a very good starter.

Main Course:

So loads of starters, considering we were just four of us !!! Too much already overloaded with starters before switching over to main-course… We would not have really minded to skip with the main course, but on earnest request from Anish we did eventually had some small portions of servings.

Murg Adraki – overloaded with Adrak which definitely was the dominant flavor. Very good indeed.

Murg Mussallam – was again nicely done was really good. I am really interested to try the full version of Murg Mussallam, which was partially served on our request for small portion.

I was done with food to try with the Biryani served next, but as mentioned by others, rice was a little overcooked but nice masala usage and decently cooked meat. So over cooked rice was not a really major issue which can be taken care of easily.

Desserts:

Gajar Halwa Twist – Gajar Halwa served with Gulab Jamun to create the twist. Nicely done and perfect sweetness levels maintained to be withing my comfort zone.

Nuts over Chocolate – Vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce and topped with various nuts to make a good desert.

Paan Shots – Was flat and really did not had a strong flavor of Paan to my liking. It can surely be improved by increasing the proportions of ingredients and a little bit of experimentation.

Post the food we had a really prolonged talk/discussion session, lasted for well over an hour, with Anish. Lot’s of thoughts exchanged and feedback provided to him on the spot where they can/need to improve. To appreciate, he really took the feedback’s quite sportingly with assurance of improving as well as including on recommendations made by us. Anish himself is a food enthusiastic person, who likes to experiment a lot with the food and it does reflects well in the food prepared, to justify the statement.

I would sincerely like to thank Anish, on everyone’s behalf, for the hospitality provided, of course not to forget really wonderful food experience. He was a great host.

Overall it turned out to be a very interactive food trip, that we initially were not reluctant to take. So thanks to Priyanka again for her consistent persuasion and making a wonderful journey possible.

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