DoubleTree by Hilton Pune Chinchwad the well-known business hotel in Pune has launched an exclusive, limited-time Asian Platter Food Festival. In conjunction with their regular 3 Spices menu, this menu adds a distinctive and delicious oriental twist to the food. The brainchild of master chefs Jiwan Bhujel and Amarjeet Kumar, the a-la-carte Asian Platter menu is an exciting and mouthwatering blend of Chinese and Thai dishes.
We headed there to sample this ”Asian Platter” and came out with well-fed tummies and wide ear to ear smiles over an afternoon well spent. Hosted in the eloquent 3 Spices restaurant on the DoubleTree by Hilton property, the menu is divided into two sections, Chinese (by chef Amarjeet Kumar) and Thai (by chef Jiwan Bhujel). Each section has soups, salads, appetisers, main course, staples and of course, some delicious deserts!
We started the lunch with a tasting of two delicious soups, the Tu-FoFunci Tong soup, which was a clear bean curd vermicelli with tofu soup and the Spicy Onion and Leek soup. The Tu-FoFunci Tong soup is a delicate balance of flavors reminding us of the adage of the old Manchurian cooks and their philosophy of cooking bringing out the best flavors from simple ingredients. The balance of flavors was simply amazing and the raw tofu cubes were perfect, melt-in–the-mouth cubes of pure joy. The Spicy Onion soup was like the name suggests a very hot and spicy soup full to the brim with veggies. Simply put, both the soups set the tone perfectly for the subsequent courses.
The salads followed the soups as the next course. We had the Yam Woon Sen salad and the Barbeque Style Wild Mushroom salad. The Yam Woon Sen is a glass noodle salad with poached King Prawns. The glass noodles were seasoned to perfection with lemon, salt and some green chilies with expertly poached and cooked prawns for a very bright and citrus-y palate. The Wild Mushroom Salad, served beautifully in a cocktail glass was a sweet affair with oodles of barbeque sauce imparting a slightly smoky flavor to the mushrooms. The mushrooms in the salad were cooked on point. On the whole, amazing salads and for once, we’d recommend that don’t this course a skip!
For appetisers, we had the Taipei Kai and the TohuRaadPhrik. The Taipei Kai is essentially fried chicken cooked with spices, flavors very reminiscent of chilly chicken. The chicken was tender and fried very well and was singing of the spices used for seasoning and cooking. With the TohuRaadPhrik, the delicious tofu made an appearance again, much to our delight. To make things even better, the tofu was fried to a crisp and was cooked with a delicious sweet chili sauce making the appetizers on the whole an amazing experience.
Three courses down, well-fed but hungry for more deliciousness, we had Penang Noodles with Kai Pad Bai GraPron and Bai Cai Kean Choy Tong Koo for mains. The Penang Noodles were brilliantly tossed in a red thai sauce for a bittersweet palate. The Kai Pad Bai GraPron is essentially finely minced chicken in a spicy basil infused sauce. Reminiscent of chicken kheema, the flavor fused brilliantly with the Penang Noodles. The Bai Cai Kean Choy Tong Koo is stir fried pokchoy and shiitakewith a hint of oyster sauce for the bitter, salty punch. The shiitake mushrooms were cooked to a perfect tender texture making this dish another winner.
All good meals should end with a hearty desert and we were not about to make an exception to that. We ordered for Fried Vanilla Bean and Almond ice-cream alongwithDaarsan. You cannot go wrong with fried ice-cream and we were certainly giggling like kids when presented with the dish. Plated with small dollops of blueberry jam and fried with a delicious coconut-y crumb, we had smiles of contentment by the time we were done. Daarsan is the classic honey covered, fried noodles served with a bowl of vanilla ice-cream. The noodles were crispy and were coated to a delicious shine with honey. One bite and I gave up my spoon and fork and dived into the dish, bare hands. So folks, in summary, the Asian Platter Festival is definitely serving some of the very best Asian cuisine in town right now and we highly recommend a visit as this menu is limited time only and is ending on August 28. In another unrelated note, we certainly hope some of these dishes become a mainstay in 3 Spices menu as we would love to see more of them!
(Story and pictures by Kushal Shah)
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