Review: Grandmama’s Cafe, Pune

Words : Mitalee Deshpande & Ajinkya A Nair

Grandmama finally found a new hangout place in the Peshwa city

Does one wrong ruin many rights?

The cool grass blades tickled my toes. The water was just the perfect temperature - cool enough to calm my racing nerves but not too cold to form an irritating puddle on the otherwise interesting table. If I closed my eyes, and concentrated hard enough, I’m sure I’d have an insight into the lives of almost all the people present there. I’m not describing a family outing where the long lost uncles self-invite themselves, and then the chaos that takes over turns into a story narrated at every other family dinner. I’m talking about that new hangout spot that turned heads by being on the front page of the newspaper. Tucked into the wicked lanes of Koregaon Park, Grandmama’s Cafe has (finally) opened up their first outlet in Pune. Widely famous for the old English interiors splashed with pastel hues, the cafe is filled with ‘floral wallpaper’ inspired upholstery, and unique baubles and trinkets placed strategically to continue the cosy ambience of the classic Parisian cafes.

The interiors with grass floor that invokes a fresh clean vibe

Our journey started with a varied menu that serves almost every taste bud. The universal dilemma of choosing the right dish was a pressure neither of us were prepared for. We decided to stick to the basics for our first round of drinks by ordering a Cosmopolitan - a drink just the right amount of pink to blend in with the interiors, and a Whiskey Sour - a drink that would sit well at a bar. With a unanimous decision of leaving behind the tried and tested, we opted for Trash Can Nachos, a decision that ended even before it began what with nachos being the classic go-to hangout food. Served in a tin can with serrated edges, and topped with cheese sauce, sour cream and spicy salsa, the dish did not disappoint.

With our tummies filling up at a leisurely pace thanks to a surprisingly slow service, it was time to move on to the mains. Next on our minds was the Grilled Basil Chicken, a beautifully cooked chicken breast with a base of mushroom barley risotto floating in a garlic spinach and herb sauce. With the chicken cooked to perfection, the risotto was creamy enough without being a blobby mess. But wait a minute now, the best dish was yet to be served. Let me ask you, what is better than bacon? A thin, crispy slice of sweet and salty bacon! Yes, you read it right, sweet and salty bacon. The carefully brushed glaze of maple syrup was temptation enough for me to polish it off with barely any traces left behind on the plate. I now pass the mic to Ajinkya.

Desserts are the finale; the last impression which leaves a lasting impression.  A bad dessert has the power to ruin a palatable meal experience. And with desserts, you usually needn’t worry. It’s almost always a smooth sailing. Unfortunately, not this day. We ordered something called the Mood Elevator Fondue. Dense milk chocolate ganache served with marshmallows, waffle and brownie bits. Quite tempting, no? Even the presentation was pleasing, with the ganache brought in a big clay pot and the bits to be dipped on the back of a mini wireframe tricycle. The marshmallows and waffle bits were perfect, and so was the ganache albeit a bit runny. But the brownies tasted like they were made out of vegetables. No, I don't mean Veg. brownies. I genuinely mean that it tasted like it was made of vegetables. That’s when it struck us that they served us spoilt ones. Yeah. Spoilt food to the people whom they invited for a review. Mood elevator? HA! The issue was quickly sorted with the manager replacing the dish and throwing in Grandmama’s Biscuit Cake. But it was too late, the damage had already been done. We didn’t touch the fondue, but the biscuit cake was really something, with its crisp layers and thick, heavy chocolate. Lest I forget, we also ordered the Cookie Dough Pudding. Served with vanilla ice-cream, it’s quite a unique offering. Although slightly burnt, it tasted good and when you got a big molten chocolate chip in that spoonful, bliss.

Now I’m sure that the incident was a one off and will not, should not happen again. Grandmama’s Cafe has achieved somewhat of a legendary status in Mumbai, and I’m sure it will in Pune too. Being a brand new outlet, the one in Pune has a few niggles to iron out, which we’re hoping they will soon. Really slow service and quality control to name a few. To answer the question asked in the very beginning, one wrong really does ruin many rights, as that one spoilt part of one particular dish really ruined the mood for us. But hey, at least the water was of the perfect temperature.


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