The hallmark of Pune’s hospitality, warmth, pure eating power and of course taste resonates strongly with one restaurant- Prem’s. Make no mistake, Prem’s doesn’t serve pure Maharastrian fare at all, but the days of Pune being famous for just Misal Pav are pretty much over. It’s a cosmopolitan multi-cuisined city now, with inhabitants having an ever expansive palette.
Prem’s, the hub of foodies in Koregaon Park, has always been a crowd pleaser and the new menu is surely going to keep that factor alive and kicking. So, if you are planning a visit soon, this review is right up your alley. Let’s dig in, shall we?
First of all, quick note- the setup hasn’t changed at all, its just the same (3.5/5). Straight on to the food then. Prem’s is generally known for its desi food, but this menu boasts of plenty of mediterranean dishes too. The revamp had me spoilt for choice, so we decided to try their signature dishes purely. And oh, signature cocktails too.
Cocktails: Jagermeister Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Long Island Ice Tea
The Jagermeister Mojito is THE drink to start the night with. Not too sweet or tangy (which mojitos usually are), it strikes the right balance and is sizable too! I strongly recommend you try this. The cosmopolitan was served chilled to perfection with a generous portion of vodka in it! Some places screw it up and they end up tasting like cough medicine, although our Cosmo was very sex-and-the-city types. No complaints about the Long Island Ice Tea either- packed quite a punch. Big ups to the bartender, Mr Lokender Rawa! Cocktails: 4.5/5
Starters: Veg Satay, Mushroom Parcels in Basil Coulis, Creole- spiced chicken in Aioli
To my knowledge, Satay was only a meaty preparation. Having said that, the vegetarian version was not disappointing at all! The veggies were served on skewers, had the consistency and shape of desi bhajias- but with an extreme peanuty twang to it. This strong flavour went very well with the veggies. I would totally order this over regular french fries any day of the week. The Herb Chicken was quite regular, didn’t blow me away at all. The chicken was well cooked and although the marinade of herbs was quite intense on the outside, sadly it didn’t do much for its taste. But the revelation of the night was the mushroom parcels. Shaped like little potlis- flaky on the outside and perfectly seasoned mushroom on the inside. The creamy peppery basil coulis (or call it basil sauce) is an unlikely combination in your head, but on the palate- it taste like little parcels of magic. So, so yum! Starters: 4.5/5
Main Course: Baby Corn Paneer Sizzler, Chicken Banjara, Res El Hanout Chicken
And things get interesting! Portion wise- the sizzler is more than enough for one person and comes with a Baby Corn and Paneer mixture in a tomato base. I think it’s aiming to be Italian with the marinara kind of sauce but unfortunately fails at it. It’s just too sweet, so sweet that that’s all you think of while eating it. Not a fan of that. The Chicken Banjara on the other hand was quite fabulous. Perfectly cooked and creamy rich, I think it’s a great alternative to the regular butter chicken courtesy its slight tanginess. The star of the night was the Res El Hanout Chicken! A moroccan preparation with traces of Sumak and coriander, it was quite a flavourful mouthful! The sauce had a very chutney feel to it – sweet and spicy at the same time. Definitely going back for this one! Main course: 3.5/5
Dessert: Banoffee Pie and Tiramisu
Standard fare among restaurants of this calibre. As far as quality of desserts go, the Banoffee pie was absolutely amazing! One of the best I have eaten in a while. The ratio of crust to filling was just right, the hint of toffee and caramel was not overpowering the banana flavour, all the while keeping the consistency firm enough to make you want to dig in repeatedly. Word of advice- you might want to skip the side bananas! The downer was the Tiramisu though. I hate to say it, but it felt stale. The flavour was there, but sadly it was like eating old frosting. If I were you, I would skip this and head straight to the pie instead. Dessert: 3/5
Overall, although the new menu has been on the rounds for a couple of months, the revamp has kept the old Prem’s vibe alive; all the while combining it with the taste of the new. I am going back there for a second helping as should you- especially if you like desi food and the company of good friends and family. A special shoutout to the entire staff at Prem’s Avishek Khan, Mohammed Alam, Vijay Rai, Mayank Mundhara, for being so friendly and nice! And of course Chef Kalidas for the rather tasty spread.
So go, eat, and make merry. It’s totally worth it!