I’m all for brightly lit, cheerful, unconventionally accessorized, thoughtfully themed specialty restaurants, and 212 is SO.MUCH.MORE! This café-style restaurant sprawls over a sizable part of the Phoenix Market City Mall’s ground floor and sports a moderately styled yet elegant decor. Although I enjoyed the indoor seating more, the alfresco area is a little more ‘private’, what with the dim lighting et al and even sports a 10-seater Shamiana so there’s something to suit everyone’s liking/requirements. The anyway pleasant ambience is augmented by popular numbers playing in the backdrop at an acceptably low volume so there’s that, too. AND, they have an insane 17 page menu replete with options spanning the entire spectrum ranging from breakfast, small bites, soups, ‘wiches and dogs, burgers, flatbreads, slightly serious entrées and big plates, to desserts ! The ‘bar’ isn’t fully functional yet but I was told that the liquor license should be sorted in about a month, tops so we have something to look forward to on that front as well. *winks*
–If it weren’t awesome enough, Viman Nagar just got awesomer!–
So our gastronomical journey of astronomical proportions was comprised of –
1) Crumbling Crostini – a puff pastry topped with –
i) tomato and mushrooms with little bits of feta cheese garnished using a beautiful basil leaf and one cherry tomato.
ii) roasted chicken bits and grainy mustard leading to a lovely creamy-grainy texture over the crumbliness of the base.
Both were light and lovely.
2) Watermelon and goat cheese stack – an interesting juicy, sharp and briny (from the goat-cheese), crunchy (from the almonds) preparation that oozed freshness. The strain I was feeling from my 2+ hour long journey from Hinjewadi disappeared in an instant!
3) Buffalo Chicken Wings – the name, “212” comes from the area code of Manhattan, New York; the place that inspired the theming of this restaurant…And Buffalo, NY is home to the famous BBQ wings which chef Paul has perfected. No NY-themed experience is complete without BBQ wings ! The sharp, sapid tasting sweetish-spicy-tangy sauce did wonders on the bite sized winglets. I’m totally going back for these !
4) Calamari Rings – crispy, mildly tangy (from the lemon-butter sauce), succulent little calamari rings. Couldn’t stop popping these !
5) Gambas Caliente – crunchy shrimp pan-tossed in a spicy-garlicky sauce. The crunchy texture was as important a part of this preparation as the sauce itself; literally made for delight in every bite !
6) Spiced Arugula and Feta Salad – the sharp briny taste of the feta, combined with the citrus drizzle, the ‘tarty’ taste of the apples and the nutty crunch of the walnuts was like a (bass) drop – the world stopped for a second and then suddenly there was so much to take in !
7) BBQ Chicken Pizza – another classic, this. Well done pieces of hand pulled chicken, a sweet-spicy-tangy sauce over a super thin crust and add to that the ‘pepperiness’ of green peppers and ground pepper ! The best part of this preparation was how light it was, and yet, how filling. The point being, when one is in doubt about one’s appetite, what to have, yada yada yada; this is the answer to all of life’s problems (second to beer, of course).
8) Cheese Fondue – a disgusting, goooooey fondue all set to DESTROY waistlines. The fondue was served with croutons and was kept warm and liquid with the help of a candle under the bowl. The setup was unbelievably pretty !
9) Soup Shots –
i) Mushroom Cappuccino – a thick, foamy, creamy and mildly grainy mushroom soup; a must-have if you’re a fan of the ‘shrooms.
ii) Mexican Tomato & Bean soup – a quintessentially Mexican tomato soup with kidney beans.
Both soup shots were served with a sliver of toasted garlic bread. The quantity of the soup was just perfect !
10) Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Creme – The facts apart that sun-dried tomatoes can contribute to about 14% of an average man’s recommended dietary intake and they’re great for your heart and bones….they taste SO DARN GOOD ! The strong flavors of the tomato creme augmented by the sharp-tasting Parmesan bits garnished on top made for an amazing, amazing pasta. HIGHLY recommended !
11) Risotto Ai Funghi – a creamy, mellow risotto with the earthy goodness of mushroom. Another mushroom classic ! The basil garnishing on top was a lovely touch, too !
12) Char-grilled Chicken Breast – I’m not a very big fan of meaty preparations but this steak was really something else ! Smoky, tender chicken fillets served with perfectly mushy mashed potato. Perfection.
13) Cajun Spiced Shrimp – salty, buttery, creamy beautiful shrimp. Another ace !
14) No Carb Spaghetti – a very unique preparation made of ‘zucchini noodles’ and veggies that had a crunchy, nutty texture and a mildly bitter aftertaste, probably from all the juices. The healthiest thing I’d had all week !
15) Warm Choco Lava Cake – comes with all the drama of molten chocolate oozing out of the first dent you manage to make to the cake! Disgusting…Loved it! It was ‘gone in 60 seconds’…and we even called for seconds !
16) Peach Cheese cake – a lovely, peachy, creamy, cheesy cheesecake with the perfect crusty chocolate base. If you’re even remotely into cheesecakes, this is a must, must must have ! Called for seconds on this, too !
17) Carrot Cake – the subtle carrot-ey sweetness is what really hit the sweet spot. A really cute little dessert !
18) Tiramisu – soft, delicious but just a tad behind the rest of the competition, IMO ! Could’ve used stronger flavors (is it just me or do you prefer your Tiramisu nice and punchy too?)
19) Triple Mud-pie Cake – another scandalously delicious chocolate cake. We OD’ed so much on this ONE pastry alone !!!
20) Crème brûlée – a rich, rich creamy custard base topped with a lovely crunchy layer of hard caramel. Loved it !
All in all –
Food – 5/5
Service – 4.5/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Value for money – N/A (sponsored event)
A huge shoutout to Team Carpe Diem – Minoti Makim, Carina Bhagchandani, Shivangi Shah, the restaurant’s management, Chef Paul and his team for arranging this amazing fiesta of seemingly endless gourmet goodness ! I’m definitely returning for the fondue, wings, pizza, penne pasta, chargrilled chicken , shrimp preparations and pretty much all the desserts ! Cheers !
Other Photos –