Khiva – Phoenix, Pune 

‘Khiva’ from Mumbai, is the latest addition to the restaurant scene at Phoenix Market City, Pune. 

Considering that this place serves rich, traditional Bukhara cuisine, the decor is quite modern, simplistic, with just a few touches like, artefacts, paintings, Middle Eastern music, that try to stick to the concept of the restaurant. 

I was invited to a Preview dinner last month, & the tasting menu we were served that evening was pre decided by the management. 

Not the best mix of dishes, honestly. I would’ve loved to sample their Signature dishes, or something unique in terms of flavour, style of preparation, & presentation. 

But frankly, how different can a Palak Paneer, a Methi Mutter Malai, or a Rasmalai be, than any other place serving it ? 

The kebabs we tried – Chandni kebab, & Murg Mozarella kebab, both had a similar marination of cream, yogurt, cheese, green chili, & were pretty average in terms of flavour, presentation, and portions.

The vegetarian starters – Makai Seekh Kabab, & Mutter aur Cheese ka Tikka, were both dry and crumbly, & not really big on flavour (and Defintely Not Worth spending close to 400 bucks on!) 

The 1st (& probably the only) impressive dish of the evening was Mutton Lahori, a smooth thin onion based gravy, with absolutely tender melt in the mouth chunks of mutton that tasted brilliant with hot Naan. 

Murg Peshawari was another simple homestyle chicken curry, which is worth a try, but is it worth the high price ? I doubt. 

The vegetarian mains, as I said, were just like any other place serving this cuisne, would prepare. There was nothing different, nothing unique, in the Palak Paneer, Dal Makhani, Methi Mutter Malai or Meloni Tarkari that we were served that evening. The presentation was also as regular & run of the mill as any other place would serve. Which is exactly why I keep wondering why they’re charging whatever they are. (check the prices on Zomato, you’ll know what I mean 😐) 

Chicken Dum Biryani served with Mirch ka salan did not disappoint. Good ratio of meat to rice. Generous sprinkling of saffron and spices, and balanced flavours. No complaints there. 

It takes a very good dessert to impress me, & compel me to go for a 2nd helping, as I’m not really a big fan of Indian desserts. 

The Anjeer Halwa, Angoori Rasmalai, & Lychee ki Tehree served that evening unfortunately failed to compel me to go even for a 2nd bite, leave alone a 2nd helping. 

With the Supreme Court highway ban on alcohol still in place, you will have to settle for a mocktail with your meal at Phoenix, as of now. 

So taking all these factors into consideration, will Khiva be able to impress guests, and have them come over a 2nd time ? 

Well… it’s barely a month since they’ve opened, maybe I’ll just wait for a few more weeks, give them some more time to settle, then try the food again… I’ll reserve my opinion till then. ☺

In the meanwhile, if you do try it out, do let me know about your experience there. 

* Bloggers table was hosted by Khiva * 

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Moroccan Food Festival – at Feast, Le Meridien

Le Meridien is hosting a Moroccan Festival at their restaurant ‘Feast’ from 19th-27th August 2016.
Moroccan Chef Youssef Mabchour who is based in Dubai, is in charge of this festival, that will be dishing out an array of delicacies that are sure to please meat lovers, as well as Vegetarians.
Moroccan cuisine which is inspired by Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine is a mix of rich dishes that use generous amount of nuts, dry fruits and sugar, as well as fresh and healthy soups, salads, vegetables and herbs.

Among my favourites at this festival –

* Roast Chicken served on a bed of Vermicelli.
* An assortment of meats, like chicken, fish, prawns and mutton on skewers.
* Kofta Tagine with Egg, which is (Water Buffalo) meat balls, in a tomato based sauce, topped witg fried eggs.
* Chicken Mahammara is surely a dish worth a second helping. The preserved lemons, olives, blanched almonds, give this dish a unique flavour.
* Lamb Tagine which had generous quantity of dried apricots and prunes was a lovely combination of sweet and savoury flavours.

There are a variety of accompaniments like assorted breads, cashew rice, and couscous that can be had with tagines.
My favourite being the vegetable couscous which was light and fluffy, with crunchy bellpeppers, zucchini and carrots.

Moroccan food uses various vegetables, meats, spices, and generous quantities of dried fruits and nuts in all its preparations.
But the food in general is bland, and slightly on the sweeter side (especially for the fiery spicy curry loving Indian tastebuds)

If you are a fan of rich, sugary, sinful desserts, then this buffet will leave you spoilt for choice.
The dessert counter is pretty huge.

From the very popular Baklava, to Basbousa, Umali, M’hhancha, Gazelle horn, Pears poached in wine, fresh fruits and confections , there’s so much to choose from.
My favourite was the M’hanncha, which is a crisp phyllo pastry stuffed with powdered nuts and sugar.
The Gazelle horn, which is another rich sweet stuffed with pistachio, powdered almonds and dusted with sugar and cinamon should not be missed.
Wash it all down with a cup of aromatic Moroccan Mint Tea.

This festival is open for dinner, till 27th August, and costs 1295/- plus taxes.

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