The food scene is constantly expanding in India, and there was never a better time to try out a new place, especially when there’s a brand new spot every second month. The culinary industry in cities like Pune and Bengaluru has been on the rise in the past couple of months. While Pune opts for experimental menus inspired by global and local cuisine, Bengaluru adapts to combine the best of local preferences with contemporary flavours offering a selection of chic resto-bars, cosy cafes, and casual and fine dining spaces in both cities. If you’re open to new culinary experiences, check out these new restaurants in Pune and Bengaluru.
Located on the fourth floor of The Ritz-Carlton Pune, Alta Vida is India’s first restaurant residency. Boasting a truly unique approach, the space will showcase a rotating line-up of international chefs with a new restaurant each season. The first and current season introduces Nusantara by Locavore, an Indonesia-based restaurant that celebrates Balinese cuisine. Conceptualized by Chef Ray Adriansyah and team, the menu is divided into six sections– amuse bouche, small plates, big plates, rice, an exciting sambal list and desserts. Guests can expect some of the forgotten Balinese dishes like Bebek Betutu, half a duck slow-cooked the ‘Balinese way’; Sate Languan, a tuna marinated with bumbu Bali; Jukut Kelor Mesanten, a moringa leaf soup with a genep base and torched ginger, and desserts like Bika Gula Merah, tapioca baked with brown sugar and fresh coconut milk and Es Legenda, frozen coconut milk infused with pandan leaves, fresh jackfruit, cane syrup, avocado, white bread and mango jam.
A contemporary bohemian concept bar, Butter Bar & Kitchen boasts a massive space of 8,000 sq. ft. space with both indoor and outdoor seating. The interiors are decorated in a chic pink and wood mix, with lush indoor plants and festoon lighting, although the wood terracotta bar remains the highlight of the space. The menu, curated by Chef Shailendra Kekade, focuses on bite-sized food and small plates with offerings like a charcuterie board, flamed pimento hummus, zucchini fries and bowls like crab raviolo, kunyit curry and truffled edamame riso. Putting much thought into the desserts, one can expect gourmet offerings like the infamous Japanese cheesecake, a Godiva cookie and truffled chocolate mousse among others. The real cherry on top though is the cocktail menu curated by mixologists, Nitin Tewari and Suyash Pande. With names that tell a story, choose from cocktails like The Action (green apple,
vodka and sparkling wine), The Rom-Com (gin, berry sorbet and sparkling wine) and The Sci-fi (pea flower gin, basil, elderflower, sparkling wine and edible glitter).
Address: Survey No. 18/2A, Vasudha V-18, Unit R-1, Ground Floor, Balewadi High St, Pune, Maharashtra 411045
Cobbler & Crew
A cocktail-first space, Cobbler & Crew is Pune’s first high-energy cocktail society, sitting in the spirited locale of Kalyani Nagar. Being a cocktail-first space, it comes as no surprise that the menu at Cobbler & Crew is designed with great attention to detail. Using only natural sugars, the menu features fun favourites like The Shrikhand, Bhakarwadi, Khakra, and Thecha for a sweet and salty mix. Martini lovers will enjoy the ‘Martini in a Trolley’ experience, an in-depth session that focuses on the classic flavours of the martini giving you an experience that’s more than just drinking. Pairing cocktails with great food is important, and so, the food menu is curated by multiple consultants from all over the world and headed by ex-Oberoi Rohit More. Expect dishes like Georgian bread, Hass avocado crème fraîche tartine, savoury doughnuts, katsu curry with sticky rice, Israeli couscous risotto, and Sri Lankan prawn curry Ambemohar rice. The menu at Cobbler & Crew is expected to change every couple of weeks, with the team collaborating with an array of expert chefs from around the world.
Address: Ground floor, Barons Club, North Ave, opposite Jogger’s Park, Jogger’s Park, Pluto Society, Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411006
Tao-Fu, JW Marriot Hotel Pune
While there’s no shortage of Chinese restaurants in Pune, the newly launched Tao-fu at Marriott stands among the winners. The interiors of the restaurant are truly commendable; spread over 6,727 sq. ft., the restaurant is divided into a large open kitchen, a dedicated hot pot room, a plush private dining room and several quiet nooks for a more private dining experience. The menu, helmed by master chef Fu Lei, celebrates China’s rich culinary heritage with authentic flavours inspired by age-old Chinese family recipes. Interestingly, many of the ingredients used are imported from China to add to the authenticity of each dish. Some of the popular plates include poached chicken salad, spicy Sichuan “Dan Dan” soup, spicy sweet potato noodles, peking duck roll, beggar’s chicken, baked lotus root, and five spice dim sum. The bar is another big highlight where guests can order drinks inspired by Chinese zodiac signs along with signature tea-infused drinks.
Located in the heart of MG Road, LUPA is the brainchild of critically acclaimed, chef-restaurateur Manu Chandra and hospitality veteran Chetan Rampal. The restaurant gets its name from the mythological creature La Lupa (she-wolf). Blending European flavours with contemporary flair, the menu at Lupa is rooted in a trans-European flavour. Helmed by Culinary Director, Chef Prashanth Puttaswamy, the menu is progressive and borrows inspiration from global and local flavours and ingredients. One of can expect to find dishes like the infamous burrata, Hamachi Crudo which is a sashimi grade yellow tail, Corzetti ravioli, Arroz De Pato – a variation of the Portuguese duck rice, chicken liver parfait, baked salmon, salt baked lamb leg, chilli marinated sea bass. For dessert, expect nothing short of decadence with the 24-layer chocolate, tiramisu and rich chocolate-based gelatos among other indulgences.
If you’re looking for a tranquil space that is perfect for a wind-down session with friends, then Prequel is the perfect spot for you. The ambience, curated to give you relaxed vibes, is decorated with paper lanterns, rattan chairs, neutral-toned decor and ample of green potted plants. The menu is just as easygoing as the space with an expansive European, Middle-Eastern and pan-Asian selection that blends familiar flavours with an added twist. Think raw mango and peanut chicken tikka or poha-crusted fish fingers. Some of their signatures include plates like Prequel Signature chicken ghee roast, spinach & ricotta with slow roast tomato pizza, ebi maki and cheese chilli kulcha bombs among others. Prequel’s cocktails have the much-needed drama with drinks named after iconic films like The Godfather, Revenge of the Sith and Annabelle.
Minimalism meets alfresco dining at Bengaluru’s new Seta restaurant. Inspired by the outdoors, Seta presents a rustic yet vibrant atmosphere with an open-air space by the pool. Combining the best of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, Seta celebrates life with the promise of a multi-sensory culinary experience. The food here is served in the ‘izakaya’ dining style, where guests are expected to share their meals at one table. The menu comprises everything from small plates, soups, salads, grills and wok and of course dessert. Some of their signature dishes include baby back pork ribs, turnip cake, Yuzu kosho shrimp grilled cauliflower and grilled king mushrooms.
Address: Embassy Golf Links Business Park, Challaghatta, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560071