Elephant & Co. Gastropub, or as I like to call it, Pune’s favourite new chill-spot, is the pub that the city desperately needed. It is the brainchild of college friends, Anuj Solanki, Karan Kulkarni and Karan Khilnani who wanted to create a friendly neighborhood pub. They got to do wonders with their hospitality backgrounds and we finally got a chilled out place for a drink and a bite.
Why Elephant? Why I’m glad you asked!
Karan (Khilnani) tells me, while I stuff my face, that elephants are the most prestigious and royal beings on this earth, and since ancient times we (humans) are forever at their service. They hold their guests at the same pedestal. So, basically, we’re the elephants. In a good way I hope! Though I must say that the service, hospitality and warmth is absolutely impeccable.
Minimalistic is too outdated; the décor here is ‘millennial’.
The outdoor section is lit with fairy lights, the occasional birdcage and ‘punny’ posters and blackboard art. The wooden tables and benches outside further add to the relaxed look of the place and perfectly compliment the tree at the center of the circular bar top table. The indoor section is smaller and dimly lit with a pop of colour in the furniture. The ambiance is somehow very comforting to the millennial that wants to let loose with zero judgment.
All you need is love and good food (and a cocktail)
Indeed, you’ll be given ample here. While few places in Pune follow the tradition of serving complimentary bread at the table, Eco serves you a large bowl of popcorn! Their menu consists of a variety of pub-dishes that don’t belong to any particular region, but will definitely tickle your taste buds.
Here’s what you should order for the perfect gastropub experience: The Devil Wrapped Chicken is a personal favourite, mildly spicy, succulent pieces of marinated chicken and montejack cheese, wrapped in bacon and served with their fresh, in-house sour cream.
If you want something slightly sweeter though, go with the Filipino Chicken Skewers. The Kerala King Prawns are a must try if you like seafood, made in coconut cream and red chilli paste with a hint of peanuts. I rarely eat fish but their Lemon Butter Garlic Fish, simple and soaked in flavour, still has me craving for some more! The Smoked Chicken Salad is also a great option; light and fresh with crisp salad in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
If you’re not knocking down cocktails at a gastropub, then what are you even doing? Their whiskey cocktails are a must-try and Walkers Walk is a big hit! Personally liked the Jasmine Alger Whiskey, infused with egg, jasmine tea and a hint of peach. If you’d rather stick to your beer, try the Summer Melt Down watermelon beer!
If you’ve stayed with me until the end, here’s something for you: Ask for the special wine cocktail with strawberry, mint and pomegranate that’s not on the menu. You’ll love it. They also have live music nights, pub-games and karaoke on some nights. Oh, and a tarot card reader! (I know right? Mind blown!)
To conclude, I’d say Elephant & Co. is like that dish with just the right balance of flavours that stands out from the other complex and experimental ones for it’s sheer simplicity. It’s one you can eat over and over because it makes you feel right at home and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy.