WORDS: AJINKYA NAIR AND YVONNE JACOB
“TOIT does that, the place absorbs you into its carefree world and creates its own element for you”
THE ICONIC BREWERY OF BANGALORE MADE ITS WAY TO PUNE, BUT DOES IT FOLLOW SUIT?
If there’s one thing we Punekars bond over besides a plate of piping hot momos or adrak chai, it would probably be a nice cold pint of beer. And when it comes to that, we know the breweries that Pune has to offer won’t disappoint. Well, all you beer-bros out there have another reason to rejoice now, for there’s a new brewery in town. Well, new to this city at least. TOIT just opened up a branch in Kalyani Nagar and we had to check out what all the buzz was about.
Making your way to TOIT feels like you’ve got the wrong address. You reach the parking area and prepare yourself to walk a block or two away thinking “This can’t be it”, until the guard directs you to the location and your faith is restored. TOIT looks like one of those old yet fancy stone mansions, a complete contradiction to the scenery it overlooks. The place welcomes you with its laid back and vibrant ambiance, you see a group chatting away at one table, cameras flashing at another table as people shout “Cheese!” and two people dancing, completely immersed in their element. TOIT does that, the place absorbs you into its carefree world and creates its own element for you.
We grabbed a table with a good view of the premise and the lingering question was put forth – What do we start with? The menu has a lot of familiar food, favourites you can say. We started off with baked beetroot and goat cheese on toast. It did not disappoint. The well-balanced cheese coats your taste buds and then comes the sweetness from the baked beetroot, a delightful experience that won’t allow you to stop at one. Up next, okra podi chips, perfectly crispy and drizzled with yummy spiced yogurt, totally binge-worthy. If you want to order chicken wings, opt for the barbecue sauce one if you absolutely cannot handle spice because they don’t seem to be kidding when it comes to their hot sauce. The cheese dip doesn’t really kill the spice but it leaves you teary-eyed and reaching for another one of those fiery wings. The ghee roast prawns had a decent portion size and the prawns were flavourful and sweet with no fishy after taste. The highlight for us in appetizer section was the egg puff. A flaky puff pastry base topped with a tangy sauce, half a boiled egg resting on top of it and covered generously with creamy hollandaise sauce.
A waiter nonchalantly came over and placed a tray of glasses on our table, inside which were some liquids ranging from wheatish to properly dark in colour. “Beer samples, sir” said the server, after which he went on to explain the different kinds of beers he had just brought. The crowd favourite was the TinTin, owing to its sweet aftertaste. But it was a bit too mild for my liking. What I fancied was the beautifully coloured, slightly bitter Basmati Blonde. Yvonne here felt out of place without a minimum of two cocktails in her hand. So to fill up that gap, that’s exactly what she did. Ordered two of them, at the same time. One Lusty Chocolate and a Sinful Passion. Both, well made and refreshing in its own way. Nothing to write home about though.
After a round of some delicious starters and drinks we tried the crumb-fried fish and chips. The crumb had a good crunch to it and it was seasoned pretty mildly, light on the palette although unlike the ghee roast prawns, this left a mild fishy after taste which couldn’t be masked by the tartar sauce. Another one from the mains section was the pesto pizza. We tried hard to look for a silver lining with this one but sadly, there wasn’t much that could save our opinions for this dish.
Moving on to desserts, we started off with the traditional New York-style baked cheesecake with blueberry jam and then, on the chef’s recommendation, homemade filter coffee mousse. The cheesecake was absolutely refreshing. Our spoons cut through the cake like air. the creamy and light cream cheese with its buttery biscuit base just melts in your mouth, exactly the kind of experience we were looking for. It was time to taste the filter coffee mousse and our expectations were already pretty high. A little plate was placed in front of us and the visual was appealing. A half coconut shell with a rich looking brown mousse inside (kind of like the colour you get when you make a strong cup of coffee), banana fritters sprinkled with grated coconut and neatly placed on a banana leaf strip. One spoonful of the mousse and all your senses awaken. The robust coffee flavour hits you hard and you would think that its effect will go away after two or three spoons but it doesn’t. And by the time your brain can process the gravity of these constant jump-starts, you’d be scraping the bottom of the coconut shell.
Ambience-wise, the place has it all for your evening unwinding rituals. The food was pretty good and packed a lot of flavours. A few drawbacks here and there but they’re definitely off to a good start and by the looks of it, they are going to takeover Pune’s nightlife.