Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Prego at Westin Pune

Prego at Westin PuneA new luxury hotel in town. More importantly, two new restaurants within that hotel to discover! The Westin Pune finally opened its doors in Koregaon Park. They bring to food lovers Prego, an Italian fine-dining restaurant, along with Kangan, which specializes in Indian cuisine.

Prego is a concept that has been fine-tuned by Westin in many of their hotels in Asia. With an open kitchen and modern, contemporary style, this restaurant specializes in regional Italian dishes, home-made pastas, risottos and a wide variety of pizzas. While the setting is definitely upscale, the restaurant has a distinctly casual feel.

Prego at Westin PuneThe hotel and the restaurant had barely been operational for three weeks and it showed. Their pizza oven wasn't functional so we had to modify our dining plans somewhat. As we selected our drinks, they put out some warm bread with olive oil, vinegar and a chunky tomato dip. The bread was fresh and tasted good - always a good sign; stale bread is an early warning for impending disasters in restaurants.

Bread and dips at Prego PuneWe ordered a starter of the Melanzane Alla Parmigiana: baked eggplant layers in tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The starter was good but not particularly a stand-out.

Melanzane Alla Parmigiana at Prego PuneWe followed with an interesting variation of home-made gnocchi (pronounced as noh-kee), the Gnocchi di Zucca Tartufati made with truffle flavored pumpkin gnocchi and mascarpone cheese. At our request they also added some grilled chicken on top. The gnocchi was amazingly soft, chewy in a good way, and very tasty indeed.

Gnocchi at Prego PuneThen came the Spaghetti Con Mazzancolle: spaghetti with tiger prawn, chilli, garlic, parsley and arugula leaves. Again, this dish was perfectly flavored and tasted very nice. The play of flavors and textures was nicely balanced.

Spaghetti at Prego PuneThe desserts turned out to be a very good idea. The Zuccotto Al Cioccolato was to die for! This one is a frozen chocolate 'mud pie' with coffee flavored ice cream. Coffee lovers have it good in this restaurant: The other dessert I tried, the Affogato Al Caffe with espresso, vanilla ice cream and sambuca liquor was bitter-sweet heaven.

Chocolate Ice Cream 'Mud Pie' at Prego Pune
Sambuca spiked Caffe at Prego PuneMy advice to you, keep space for the desserts in this restaurant; you won't regret it!

Overall, the restaurant shows promise for those looking for an upscale Italian dining experience in Pune. The portions here aren't very large and therefore dining family-style and sharing dishes can be a challenge. The service in the restaurant was excellent through-out. The hotel itself was looking bright and cheerful with Xmas decorations in the lobby.

La Dolce Vita and Casanova both had their time in the limelight but haven't been consistent over time. I haven't visited La Dolce Vita recently, but Casanova certainly has gone downhill. Hopefully, Prego will now set the standards for good Italian food in Pune. Westin still has to some work to do and iron out its initial kinks and teething trouble; I look forward to sampling some of their pizzas the next time around.

Westin PunePS: QBA which I earlier thought was a Cuban restaurant is actually going to be a Cuban themed night-club/lounge-bar. It hasn't opened yet.

16 comments:

Aarti said...

Hi!I just looked at that place yesterday on my way home and wondered how the food there was as noone I knew had tried that place i.e Westin..
I think one of the good places for Italian in Pune is Little Italy la pizzeria; one near pune central towards aundh//university ..

Shantanu said...

@Aarti: Well, Little Italy targets a different kind of customer. They are good, but serve only vegetarian cuisine. Also, they focus on affordability and those dishes that are palatable by newbies to Italian food. They now have two outlets - near each of the two Central malls. I have reviewed the Univ Road one some time back.

Vamsee Modugula said...

This is probably the first I am hearing of a pumpkin gnocchi. Those desserts look great.

They opened a new Sheraton in Navi Mumbai and I was hoping they would have an Italian restaurant, but alas...it was not. Yet another Asian Fusion. We will be checking it out next week.

Chica said...

Hey .. btw La Dolce Vita has shut down it seems... When I recently went to Sigree, I noticed a new restaurant called Sicilia there instead ! The name suggests italian, maybe they changed the name or smthing !

Shantanu said...

@Vamsee: A first for me as well. It tasted so good, I would have liked to order another portion. Next time, maybe.

@Chica: So I heard today. Well, La Dolce Vita was earlier run by Dr. Grant of Ruby Hall. I suspect he may have sold it. They tried their hand at a Martini Lounge which didn't take off either.

Lakshmi said...

Those desserts..its been a while since I binged..always like Italian cuisine

Sharmila said...

This place sounds good ... especially since they serve non veg Italian dishes. I do like the fare at La Pizzeria ... but the pure veg stuff does discourage me. :-)

priyadarshan said...

I do not know how I missed it on x'mas when we were hunting restaurants in Koregaon Park.

Waiting for post on Sayaji

Shantanu said...

@Lakshmi: Yup, the desserts made for a great ending. :)

@Sharmila: However, La Pizzeria is a very good place for those who don't mind the lack of meat in their dishes. Especially the one near the Bund Garden Central is pretty good.

@Priyadarshan: I am sure there will be other occasions soon. You seem like a frequent visitor to restaurants.

beaverboosh said...

Happy New Year Shant... you would have enjoyed the Lobster and Montrachet on new year's eve... tonight it is foie gras, cheese souffle and d'Yquem... will have to take some piccies one day... all of the best. BB

Shantanu said...

@beaverboosh: Hello, my friend! That certainly sounds like a feast for the Gods. Glad you had fun ringing in the New Year.

Akshay said...

Excellent restaurant. All the stuff right from their calamari starters, to their risotto, to their pasta was really good. The desserts there, 'Mud Pie' and their "tiramisu" were mindblowing...

Shantanu said...

@Akshay: Thanks for writing in. The food at Prego certainly has promise, but the hotel management has to clean up the rough edges soon.

Anonymous said...

hey great review.. really like the blog. Any indication on how pricey it is though?

Anonymous said...

hey shantanu,

good review, have been waiting for someone to post one for sometime. Just wanted to know have you been to their Seasonal Taste restaurant??

I am not much of a Italian food fan so will give prego a "p"reak" :)

Shantanu said...

@Anon1: Reasonably pricey, since this is in a 5-star hotel. Rs: 2K for two without drinks.

@Anon2: Haven't tried that yet. Will do soon.