The massive rise in the number of restaurants and bars in Pune only goes to prove that the city’s culinary scene is thriving, especially the fine dining spaces where an elegant ambience seamlessly pairs with indulgent food. And it looks like even hotels are getting the memo with the launch of restaurants that cater to the taste of the urbane. Sheraton Grand Pune recently launched Nuvo, the city’s new dining hotspot with haute cuisine, innovative mixology and energetic beats. Eager to get an experience, I paid the restaurant a visit.
Classy Meets Comfort
Located just beside Sheraton Grand Pune’s entrance, Nuvo is an elegant fine dining space that is suited for those who want to spend a relaxed evening, away from the cacophony of the urban city. A mysterious and inviting entrance leads me to a short flight of steps and brings me to an Instagrammable walkway. Take a few steps to enter a massive nameplate on the wall inside; keep walking and you’ll come across a large mirror–which tempted me to stop and get a mirror selfie–before entering the dining space. From the crystal chandeliers adorning the high ceiling, and wildlife prints draping the walls to the golden floating pods, each corner is balanced well with colours and lighting, lending Nuvo a graceful touch. For me, personally, it’s the twin emerald green bars with a lit onyx marble that grabbed my attention. So that’s where I headed first.
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Setting The Bar High
Being a gin lover, I began with the Corpse Reviver Unnumbered constituting Dry Gin, Orange Oleo, Chartreuse, Lemon Juice and Absinthe. Now that last ingredient may scare you but it’s only used in the form of drops on the surface of the drink and TBH, it’s quite smooth. After a small break, I take on the role of a bartender and attend a quick mixology session with mixologist Aditya Jangid who shows us how they make the tequila-based Mary Rockett Punch with kiwi pineapple cordial, lime juice and milk, an easy-drinking cocktail that refreshes you. But the highlight for me is the twist to the Jager Bombs–a spherical jelly-like ball with Jagermeister is added to a shot glass of Red Bull so that when you have it together, the sphere pops in your mouth and surprises you with a burst of alcohol. I’m way past my shots era but this is a drink I wouldn’t mind having again.
Plates That Pack A Punch
Nuvo’s menu is extensive and takes you on a culinary journey with global cuisines with many dishes bringing in some form of theatrics. Between the fascinating cocktails, head chef Krishna Chaithanya began dishing out some cold plates. I enjoyed the restaurant’s signature Beetroot & Feta Tartlets which consist of confit beetroot, feta, and dill cream, and mint-infused cucumber–all concealed with delicate beetroot glitter. It’s a scrumptious and flavourful dish centered around just one ingredient. And if you aren’t fond of beetroot, these little tartlets are sure to change your opinion on the root vegetable.
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You can also try some refreshing Summer Rolls (Fresh spring vegetables, avocado, silken tofu wrapped in a super light coco rice sheet, accompanied with an umami air- served in Shitake or prawn) and Blinis (Smoked salmon, salmon roe, sour cream and chives on a fluffy blini base). The String Wrapped Prawn (Tiger prawns wrapped in a kataifi dough served with a warm Singaporean street-style sauce) are a good replacement for Tempura prawns, as it comes with a lovely crunchy batter on the outside and soft, well-cooked prawns on the inside. And if you’re okay with the pungent hit, the Wasabi Florets (clay over smoked broccoli in a creamy wasabi marinade) are also a must-try. However, it was the Gully bowl that came with a smokey, dramatic entry that emerged as the winner for me. A take on traditional street-style papdi chaat, this dish represented India on a plate.
Taking a small break from all the eating, the chef was kind enough to invite us into his kitchen to get a sneak peek of all the behind-the-scenes revelry. There, I got to watch the team in action and learn some of the tricks of the trade–I never knew nitrogen chutney was a thing until chef Krishna showed me how it’s made. After a brief yet fun kitchen tour, I headed into the mains with a Kabayaki poke bowl (sticky rice, seasonal vegetables, Kabayaki sauce with a choice of tofu, salmon and shrimp) and Korean kimchi tofu (a bed of udon noodles topped with crispy sesame silken tofu and kimchi served with an aromatic broth)–equally devouring both dishes.
Offering that perfect sweet ending was the Chocolate Raspberry & Hazelnut–a Valrhona chocolate mousse and brownie layered in a sphere, raspberry jelly and hazelnut praline. I was quite full by now but the chef also recommended I try the Fennel Granny Smith & Celery–a fennel panna cotta with candied celery ribbons, green apple mesh, basil and ginger granita. And I’m glad I did because I was in for a pleasant surprise. It’s not very conventional in taste–with every bite, I felt like I was eating a freshly prepared salad, and that’s what lured me into this dessert.
If a relaxed dining space with a luxurious ambience and indulgent bites that can be savoured pace by pace with delectable cocktails appeals to you, then I recommend you make your reservation at Nuvo STAT.