I had all my extended family here at Pune after a really long time. After a tummy bursting session of some amazing GSB food at home & a quick siesta I managed to ultimately convince all my family members out for a movie. Being Sunday, tickets at nearby multiplexes were all sold out & we had to head out a little far from our home to Carnival Cinemas Gold at Kalyani Nagar. We had a gala time going out for a movie after a really long time ( I can’t even remember when did we all go together the last time – at least not in last 15 years ) & the movie Aapla Manus equally did its job quite well keeping us entertained for the evening – do read our detailed movie review here. While it was a hard decision to resist that inviting aroma of nachos & caramel popcorn in the theater, I kept convincing myself about a good dinner post movie. Choosing a place this time was really hard for me since I had quite a few constraints in mind like ,
1.) It should please everyone’s palate
2.) I had grandma with me – so the place should be comfortable & have good access ( no long flight of stairs for the uninformed )
3.) Obviously I am a budget man – being in KP or Kalyani Nagar with a family of 5 I do had to care a little bit for my wallet given my vacation plans are due for next month.
So I had to choose something nearby since it was already 10:30 by the time we walked out of the theater, something that would please everybody’s palate & not to mention my wallet too. With very little brainstorming & after remembering reading a few good words about this place we headed out to China Grill at Viman Nagar.
A little bit about China Grill:
This masterpiece is run by the same team who bought Chinese Room into Pune back in 1976. China Grill is located right near the busy junction of Viman Nagar bang opposite Wild Sugar Patisserie ( If you love cheese cake you would definitely know them , if not you know them now & today is the chance to try it out ) at Lunkad Sky Cruise building ( look out for map location at the end of the post ). The ambiance is very inviting & it has the right mix of classy decor along with that warm comfortable cozy sitting that one would expect while dining out with their loved one’s. From the moment we entered the service was super attentive & the gentleman waiting on us Mr.Abbas was very helpful in sorting things out for us that evening.
A good thing about a place like this is that, there is a lot on offer when it comes to food & flavors on the menu. Although they do have an elaborate menu with required details against the dishes, its often confusing for patrons like me to decide on what to order. A little push in terms of suggestions work wonders to get me out of my comfort zone to try out something unique & new.And Mr.Abbas did exactly the same – he was suggestive at the same time he was very inquisite to the right levels in understanding our expectations especially when we had 3 elders along with us.
Starting with the condiments on the table, kimchi was fresh & crunchy with not too much over boarding on sesame or pungent flavors. The pickled cucumbers & carrots were a refreshing start to our meal.The only disappointment for me here was the sweet chilly sauce(not sure if that was the one or not – since I could hardly make out any chillies) – which was way too sweet than expected & the schezwan sauce which had gone a little too gingery with its taste.
We went through our standard set of orders like any patron would do at a Chinese restaurant, soups followed by starters & mains with a Coke. Although one thing to note here is they have a well stocked bar & it was reasonably priced – but since I had to drive back home on a Sunday evening I did not opt for drinks.
For soups we ended up ordering Tom Kha for vegetarian peeps & Manchow for chickeaterians. Both of them were very flavorful & satisfying. The tom kha was very well balanced with all those intense Thai flavors & the soup was so well appreciated that even my granny went gaga over the taste of it. Although she did mention a slightly negative comment about the freshness of the coconut milk used, I feel the overall taste of tom kha was really good. The chicken manchow soup was equally very good, it had a nice mince of chicken & veggies with soy flavored chicken broth and crunchy fried noodles on the sides.
Starters were the favorite part of our meal. The paneer with crackling spinach was the hit dish for me – the way spinach was cooked matched the description of the dish to a hundredth percent. Each & every bite of this dish had a crackle of that garlicy flash fried spinach which went very well with those soft paneer cubes doused in the soy based dressing. The corn curd mangolian had super soft succulent cubes of corn curd deep fried & tossed in a soy based sauce very similar to the one mentioned in previous dish. This was another dish that many of us enjoyed that evening for its different taste & texture.
On the non vegetarians part – we had our sesame chili chicken which included tender long cuts of chicken deep fried which were then tossed sesame & dry chili based dressing. This was very different from our normal chilli chicken – the smoky flavor of the red chili was very well complemented by the nuttiness of the white & black sesame. I could not keep my selves from ordering chicken lollypop – the drumsticks were coated in a very light & flavorful batter but I desperately needed a good spicy dip to go along with it.
Abbas suggested us to go for simple mains which could be shared amongst all of us since they are a little huge in quantity. We had steamed rice with Thai red curry & veg burnt garlic noodles. The Thai curry was done exceptionally well – the veggies used were cooked perfectly & yet they retained that little bite with crunch. The sauce on the other hand had superb balance of flavors & the coconut cream was very well utilized to give the curryish texture & taste. The burnt garlic noodles were okay & probably not the best one’s we have had. The flavor of burnt garlic some how did not cut through very well because of little over usage of veggies in the noodles.
The food overall was very good & service was spectacular. We came in almost at 11 pm & yet they served us with all the patience & warmth which made my overall experience very nice. The total damages for the evening was approximately Rs.2000( And since I had my very own PEO card – I got a flat 25% off on my bill ) which is not exactly cheap for a Chinese place but honestly the quality & quantity of food along with their impeccable service totally made up for it. So the next time you are in Viman Nagar & are craving for some good ol’ Chinese food you can definitely consider China Grill to be your option.
Must Haves: Corn curd mangloian , crackling spinach with paneer & I would love to explore more on the Thai part of their menu !
Can Avoid: Well nothing specific as such.You can avoid cold drink though – many of them out there say its bad for your health ! 🙂
Address: Lunkad Sky Cruise, A Wing, S. No. 210,, Viman Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411014
Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/euHhoY12zzG2
Contact Number:099223 43033