There’s a new warm and familial bistro in Baner whose food and desserts have got the town talking. Navy blue, stark white and hints of teal form the colour palette of this 45-seater bistro. Its tables have paper mats quoting David Mamet “We must have a dessert. Stress cannot exist in the presence of cake.”
Push open the glass door and a sweet aroma takes over your senses. The restaurant is busy with young waiters energetically attending tables and diners happily chatting and eating away. The person behind Minus Eighteen is an affable lady named Kimico Mehta. Previously a Baskin Robbins franchise owner, Kimi has given this venture her soul and passion.
Presumably jaded with repeatedly sharing the reason behind her chosen epithet to curious customers, the opening page of the menu is dedicated to offering an explanation. As an ex-ice-cream retailer, she was strictly required to store ice-cream at minus eighteen degrees Celsius; she found this temperature reading very catchy.
Browsing through the menu, you will find yourself drooling over original and beautifully styled food pictures. Hungry, we kicked off our meal with ‘Minus Eighteen’s Nachos’. A good portion of nacho chips were served with grated cheddar and mozzarella, diced onion, capsicum, tomato, jalapenos and beans. Blending it all together was sour cream and tangy tomato salsa. The warm and crispy nacho chips seemed to be spiced with carom seeds. Sadly, the cream and salsa were insufficient and it made for a dry starter.
Their Fig and Goat Cheese salad is a very popular salad among its patrons. The salad leaves were fresh and glistening with olive oil and vinaigrette; sweet fig chunks, savory goat cheese, citrusy pomegranate and crunchy roasted almond shavings rendered the dish as one bursting with varied tastes and texture.
On Kimi’s recommendation, we opted for Pesto Spaghetti as our main course. As pasta lovers, we wiped off the plate clean within minutes. The punch from the garlic, the crushed pine nuts and the freshness of the basil all stood out in the dish. The generous drizzle of olive oil did a good job of combining the spaghetti with the pesto sauce.
For desserts, we suggest you drop scanning the menu and head over to the counter and decide instead. There’s a lot of variety and mind you, everything looks vibrant and appetizing. We opted for a Lavender Macaroon, Chocolate Hazelnut Eclairs and the Tiramisu. The macaroon was striking in appearance but disappointing taste-wise. It was extremely sugary and we could hardly detect the lavender. The Éclairs too left a bit to be longed for. While the chocolate hazelnut ganache was rich, thick and indulgent, the choux pastry did not taste fresh and was slightly tough. But to the rescue came the Tiramisu. Moistened coffee-flavored ladyfingers were layered with mascarpone cream cheese and topped with toasted hazelnuts and a dusting of cocoa powder. But seeing the number of sundaes that were being churned out for diners, we figured those were the hottest selling item on the dessert menu and we’ll save that for our next visit.
Minus Eighteen also caters to your cake and cupcake orders. We saw lots of people pop by for a quick pick-up of salads and desserts to go. They run quite busy on weekends so expect to wait a little. But we promise the warmth of the service, the quality of food and the bustling vibe of the bistro will make your drive there completely worthwhile.
Address: 273/5, Baner Main Road, Opposite Aman Honda Showroom, Baner, Pune
Contact number: 020 30189707
Timings: 8AM – 11PM
Average price for two: INR 800 plus taxes