Little Italy, Pune – A Vegetarian delight

Crespelle 3As a hardcore carnivore opting for a vegetarian restaurant is never an option. We entered the restaurant, apprehensive of what lay ahead. The first thing that hit us was the heavenly aroma of food.

Our server escorted us to our table, handed us the menu and informed us that a buffet option was available. We ordered our drinks, plain soda with lime juice on the side and a Virgin Mojito. The Mojito was perfect. I have to add though, when I ordered for a refill; it wasn’t as perfect as the first one. It tottered on the bitter side.

Cannelloni Alla Florentina 1We chose a soup, decided to share it. Zuppa Di Cipolle, a clear spring onion broth. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not something I’d write home about. We were disappointed, we weren’t served crisp croutons. They weren’t served on the side; resultantly they were miserably soggy. Feel free to give this a miss.

For Antipasti, we chose Crostini Della Casa. Warm, crisp crostinis, topped with sun dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, roasted Italian aubergine, drizzled with a generous amount of olive oil. They weren’t stingy with the olive oil; the bread too had a lovely bite to it.

Crostini Della Casa 1The second Antipasti was Patate Taormina. Potato slices tossed in cream cheese flavored with spring onions, garlic and black pepper, served with warm bread. I’m not very fond of cold starters but if I had to have this again, I would. Loved the creamy texture of the dish!

Visiting an Italian restaurant and not having pizza? Mamma Mia!! Sacrilege! We requested they make us a half n half so we could try out two varieties. Our choice, Freestate and Manali pizzas.

Freestate Pizza n Manali Pizza (Half & half)Freestate, a three cheese pizza (gouda, cheddar, miraj) topped with olives was a cheese lovers delight, but bland. Tomato sauce as base was available on request but we chose to do without it. One of the three cheeses ought to have been salty to balance the flavor. We sprinkled oregano n chili flakes on it which did improve the taste.

Manali was topped with spicy tomato sauce, mushrooms, onions, corn, olives and stringy mozzarella. Quite like any pizza at a good eatery. I could find no fault with it.

Pasta Al Sole Di SiciliaThe manager, Anil Kumar, came over to our table and recommended we try their Nachos served with cheese sauce. He sent over a half portion. We loved it! Delicious nachos served with a generous smothering of cheese, served with three types of Salsa. The Chili Salsa felt like chili chutney served with bhel-puri (a let-down) but, the Onion Salsa and the Garlic Salsa were delicious.

For the mains, we chose Risotto Funghi E Zafferano, a brown rice, mushroom and cream risotto, delicately flavored with saffron and Parmesan cheese. I wish they’d used Arborio or Carnaroli instead. I guess I’m a tad fussy. What pleased me though was that the risotto was cooked to perfection.

Patate TaorminaWe try out new dishes when we visit a new restaurant but we also hone in on regular fare to compare it with other restaurants. We chose Cannelloni Alla Florentina. Tubes of cannelloni stuffed with spinach, basil and ricotta cheese, topped and baked with tomato sauce and lots of Mozzarella. It was spot on.

For pasta, we chose Pasta Al Sole Di Sicilia (Penne). I know flavors, I know textures and I know my food, but I have my quirks. I don’t enjoy my pasta al dente (an honest confession, no less). The preparation of fresh tomatoes, garlic, capers, olives, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella in which the pasta was tossed, was beautifully created. The flavors just came at you from all directions, in the most wonderful way.

Risotto Funghi E ZafferanoThe last main was Crespelle. A silken crepe stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, cozily blanketed in pink sauce. The crepe was as delicate as a crepe ought to be. The stuffing, so creamy. In entirety, this dish was a total melt-in-the-mouth delight! I was one happy puppy. My taste buds did the happy dance. This one is not to be missed!! A 10/10 dish!!

We were contemplating whether we should try the desserts. After 15-20 minutes we opted for two light desserts. I chose Granita Di Limone. A lemon sorbet with a hint of limoncello liquor. A perfect choice for a hot summer’s day. The flavor brought back memories of homemade lime sherbet made by my maternal grand mum. A distinctive taste I’ve craved for years. It was simple, light and elegant.

Granita Di Limone-001The second dessert was Gelato Al Mousse Di Cioccolato E Menta. We were expecting gelato. They served us Baskin Robbins Bavarian Chocolate and Mint Chocolate-chip ice cream, passed off as gelato. A big disappointment.

The decibel level all through the afternoon was pretty high. As the crowd tapered off, we realized they were playing lovely retro music that we just hadn’t been able to hear over the din of loud voices. As the meal came to an end we sat there listening to Roxette sing, ‘It must have been love but it’s over now’. We felt like singing, ‘it was a lovely meal, but it’s over now’ (yeahhhh! I am corny at times)

A peaceful afternoon, delicious food, spent in the company of a wonderful friend. La dolce vita!!

I had a great time writing this review. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Until next time… Ciao!!

Ratings (Out of 5)

Ambience: 3.0 | Food: 3.5 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 3.5

Meal for two: Rs. 1200 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 12.30PM-4pm

Address: Little Italy, D 111/5, Trsla Crest, Next to World of Titan, Old Mumbai Pune Hwy, Chinchwad, Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune | Telephone: 020-66313099

Kainaaz Writer Bokdawalla















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