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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > Check out new glasshouse in the hills of Lonavala

Check out new glasshouse in the hills of Lonavala

Updated on: 09 June,2024 07:35 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Nasrin Modak Siddiqi |

This new restaurant in Lonavala offers seasonal food, craft cocktails, a thoughtfully curated coffee menu

Check out new glasshouse in the hills of Lonavala

Lonavala’s Fiori, with its vintage glasshouse decor, is the perfect spot to enjoy a morning brew with friends, an afternoon wine in the sun or dinner under the stars

On a slightly cloudy June morning, we drove 90 minutes outside Mumbai to reach the heart of Lonavala on the old Mumbai-Pune highway, where the town’s first-ever glasshouse restaurant launched this weekend. Fiori is a brainchild and a labour of love of second-generation sibling-duo entrepreneurs Sanskriti and Suraj Gupta, who envisioned bringing international cuisine in a heartwarming ambience to a town where they spent several family vacations as children. “The idea is to have comforting flavours in a non-intimidating space,” says Suraj, an Economics graduate, who infuses his travel experiences and profound understanding of 
hospitality into Fiori.

Cookie tart
Cookie tart

Named after the Italian word for flowers, Fiori’s decor is a blend of Mediterranean charm and European class, integrating natural elements such as wooden panels crafted by local artisans and carefully curated ambient lamps and flower vases placed throughout the space to enhance the cosy atmosphere, adding layers of intricacy to the dining experience. The delicate fragrance of the flowers engage the senses, creating a multi-sensory experience, and we are particularly impressed by the well-manicured lawns. The green spread is a cool respite for the weary eyes often glued to a screen. An escape from the everyday hustle, even if it is short-lived. Sanskriti, an architecture graduate from Sheffield University in the UK and the creative genius behind Fiori, demonstrates how on a winter afternoon, when the weather behaves, the glasshouse can open up into alfresco seating. The appeal would be even more resounding during the monsoon when the rain cascades over the glass walls. On hot summer afternoons, rooftop sprinklers attempt to give that pseudo-rain feeling, making the ambience more dreamy.

The culinary team is helmed by Chef Gracian de Souza, who has curated an effortless vegetarian menu using locally sourced organic ingredients deriving from the legacies of Europe and the Mediterranean region. We started with the black bean chilli con carne taco with cheddar cheese and caramelised onion (Rs 499). Served with sour cream and tomato salsa, the filling was a burst of flavours with complementary sides. The beetroot and goat cheese salad with orange segments, apple, toasted almond flakes, and honey mustard dressing (Rs 549) had a sound bite, but we felt a dash of balsamic vinegar would have elevated the dish. For the main course, we savoured the mushroom risotto (Rs 799). We felt the flavours coming together in a hearty, comfortable bowl topped with luxurious truffle butter. You might need an afternoon siesta, right after.

Fiori sunset and Mushroom risotto
Fiori sunset and Mushroom risotto

We are told the Fiori Sunset (Rs 799), a refreshing mix of Aperol, grapefruit juice, vodka, tequila, and tonic water has been a favourite among tasters. We had a cookie tart (Rs 499) for dessert, paired with rich, creamy salted caramel ice cream. While we wanted to skip the tiramisu cake (Rs 499), the chef insisted we try it. The rich coffee flavour and creamy texture were a delightful way to end the meal. A couple of rounds of conversation later, we had a Miel latte (Rs 349), blending the robust flavour of cinnamon with the sweetness of honey. 

Whether you are staying here, driving through, or coming down for a peaceful dinner under the stars, Fiori’s vision is to keep it simple but remarkable. The dishes are classic, and De Souza’s style reflects on the menu. “It’s tricky to innovate for the Lonavala market—you must be mindful of the varied requirements,” he says. “Think salads, sandwiches, soups, pasta, mains, good coffee, and a decent beverage programme. So, while pizzas are preferred, we are making Neapolitan-style pizzas, where the dough is fermented for 24 hours and features assorted toppings to balance the crispy crust perfectly. I’ve got my signature mushrooms on toast but with a twist. Our burrata has a red pepper puree, olive oil, and balsamic. My style is very bistro-like. I believe a plate should not have more than four elements. Here, we have kept the mains mostly one pot, comfort—pasta and risottos or a paneer steak with quinoa as the base, topped with chermoula. The Neapolitan pizza features assorted mushrooms and goat cheese while the garlic pizza is served with rosemary herb oil t balance the flavours.” There is also cheese fondue that you can share with friends and family over hearty conversations.

So, will the space offer competition to legendary brands such as Coopers and Oven Fresh, which have been in the area for some time now? Suraj dismisses the thought, “In Lonavala, everyone knows everyone so the idea is to build a powerful food community and cater to the ever-demanding palates of food connoisseurs of locals and tourists alike. In the coming months, we plan on holding flea markets on our lawns where local artisans would be given a platform to showcase their talent and even hold cross-restaurant pop-ups to promote each other’s businesses.”

Address: Regenta SG’s Greenotel Old Mumbai-Pune Highway, Gawliwada, Rao Colony, Lonavala

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