When a brand new mall opens, the food court becomes a centre-point of activity. While most of the premium shopping centres in Pune have branded restaurants within the mall, Kumar Pacific is a relatively small mall at Golibar Maidan. So, while they have their brands in terms of KFC, McDonald’s and Subway, these are just part of the food court. So, we decided to give the new eateries at Kumar Pacific a shot. Some of the new brands that are part of the food court were The Soup Bowl, Indian Tadka and Madras Mail.
The Soup Bowl
They are a chain of outlets with a presence in Mumbai and Delhi. Going by the name we presumed they would have a variety of soups. We were wrong. They have just the regular variety — clear, Manchow, sweet corn, chicken and Manchurian (just about five in vegetarian and five chicken options).
What they do have are different soup bowls: you can choose a bowl of soup with pasta, noodles or rice. We chose the slightly unusual rice bowl with mushroom soup (` 59). While the soup tasted average, we had to look for the rice with a microscope.
Our regular Chicken Manchow soup ( 65) was just about average and had sawdust chicken (our term for pre-boiled meat that’s been lying around for ages). The Spicy Chicken Sandwich (`69) was a hot grilled sandwich with onions, tomatoes and peppers, just minus the chicken.
The service was clueless from the start and when we mentioned the absentee chicken, there was a polite acknowledgment but no offer to replace or repay. Not that we wanted either, all we expected was a bit of courtesy.
This is the counter that serves delicious Punjabi food. On offer are set meals, dals, rice options, veggie options such as Aloo Gobi and non-vegetarian options such as Butter Chicken.
We opted for the Double Combo Butter Chicken Meal (`168). It came with two tandoor rotis, rice that had been pre-filled in the plate, a Dal Makhani that was almost ice cold (it might have been quite nice if it were warm), some delicious and hot butter chicken, a watery raita and a Sheera for a sweet that might have been made in the morning and could not be warmed.
With its generous assortment of nuts and the overall quality, the Sheera would have been quite nice if warm. Overall, the portions are perfect for a single diner. The service was quite enthusiastic. But, it’s just the kind of food you expect at food courts and it’s the kind that was served. We rest our case.
The menu does not surprise. On offer are idlis, dosas, uttapams and set meals. Here too we decide to go for a set meal in order to get a taste of everything. The Delux Thali (` 145) seemed like a lot of food. It took up two trays instead of one. On one tray were two piping hot bowls of sambar and rasam, along with a plate of four steaming puris.
On the other was a portion of the room temperature rice, thoran (a South Indian mixed vegetable preparation that liberally uses coconut) and the same sweet as their next door neighbour. We indulged in the delicious thoran with the puris — a sheer delight. Ditto the generous portions of sambar and rasam which were flavourful, well-stocked with veggies and if not exactly authentic, done to a taste and consistency that any non-South Indian would be perfectly happy with.
We started off asking Madras Mail if they could replace our portion of rice with lemon rice and they accepted. Unfortunately, by the time we were served, they were out of lemon rice. Still, the service was warm and polite. Here, the food seemed to be some of the best the food court had to offer (if they could iron out their heating issues), at least currently.