A tertulia (sic) is, in essence, a soirée of sorts wherein likeminded people gather and yap about arts, literature and sometimes (as in our case), food (and a little bit of photography too)…Aaand the aptly named restaurant-namesake, Terttulia (sic) is a european/mediterranean cuisine-serving high-end restaurant located smack dab in the swanky part of Koregaon Park known for their avant-garde out-of-the-box preparations. The difference between the two is subtle (as subtle as the “t” in “subtle”), or so we were told, when we tweeted and instagrammed about our evening in realtime. So my maiden trip to this gem of a find was courtesy of the generous folks at Carpe Diem and good ole Nishant (he runs the place) who had arranged for a full-blown, intestine-numbing ˜20 course meal for the lot of us including, but not limited to chef specials…It was difficult to hide my goosebumps but I’m glad no one noticed anyway (thank God for full sleeved shirts).
So getting here is a cinch and they have valet services for mitigating parking issues so I won’t waste your time with the usual ‘full marks for accessibility’, yada, yada, yada but what I will bore you with is flowery adjectives describing how beauteous this place is. The alfresco area, as charming as it is, is cleverly functional too – the management have patrons accommodated at the bar while they wait for their turn to get a table (the place tends to get crowded on weekends, so). The walls house interesting little knick knacks handpicked from the restaurant’s owner’s travels which makes for a really interesting backdrop for the tables outside. Neat.
Inside, there’s a shamiana-style seating area with a chilled-out slightly low-sprung setup and reeeeealy low lighting, and a more casual area on either sides of it too (where we were seated).
Pro-tip: Light, in general is a little low here, so photographers might want to go as fast with their lens as possible and/or punch up their ISO settings in case their lenses aren’t ‘fast enough’. You can’t possibly go below 1/60th of a second without introducing noticeable shake ,so. I was using my 40mm f2.8 travel lens and despite the wide aperture, I had to punch up my ISO beyond 6400; that’s my excuse for the ever-so-slightly ‘grainy’/’soft’ photos.
Anyway, photography mumbo-jumbo apart, the service here is not the quickest, so make sure you have a lot to talk about OR your phone/camera battery is fully charged ! That said, the food here is TOTALLY worth every minute that your stomach growls and howls in protest, so no complaints, overall !
Moving on to the big twenty –
1) Sangria – Our table was right in front of their beautiful wine rack so to not have something wine-based would’ve been a real downer ! The Sangria served was a lovely fruity, barely sharp, easy-on-the-palate beverage that went well with pretty much everything that evening. We were told it was brewed with love and for a while, too. It showed, and how !
Appetizers and Bar Bites –
1) Karari Roti – A well seasoned and crisped roomali roti, garnished with coriander. Absolutely loved it and would recommend it with my eyes closed. My new favorite ‘chakhna’ !
2) Rosemary Baby Potatoes with TT’s BBQ Rub – light and slightly crisp at the skin, these delectable bite size wonders had the mild smell of rosemary. Another ace amuse bouche !
3) Portobello with Black Olives & Feta drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil – earthy mushrooms augmented by the brininess of olives and the sharpness of feta. All flavors were trying to overpower each other, IMO and the preparation came on strongly leaving room for a little subtlety. But that’s just my opinion anyway.
4) Sweet Potato (baked) ‘Fries’ with Rosemary, Sea Salt and BBQ Rub – A rather interesting preparation that was crisp outside and sweet and mushy inside. The seasoning of rosemary, sea salt and the BBQ rub was pretty delicate, too. The fact that these were baked was the real winner, here !
5) Mini Quiche of Sweet Corn, Creamy Spinach & Cheddar – amazingly creamy and cheesy but a wee bit chewy. The flavors were spot on but the base could’ve been slightly more crumbly…or just less chewy at least. Still, overall very enjoyable !
6) BBQ Grilled Chicken Tapenade with Black Pepper, Garlic and Mixed Herbs – the succulent little bite-sized chicken pieces were perfect and the sauce, pepper, garlic and herbs resulted in a nice and intense flavor burst of tangy, spicy, garlicky, and salty-herby. Definitely my favorite among the appetizers.
7) Salmon in Labb with roasted Cracked Rice – The salmon was nice and tender and the Labb sauce was mildly briny. The cracked rice was what won it for me; it added a nice grainy, crispy texture to the preparation.
8) Mixed Greens with TT’s Honey Mustard Dressing – romaine, lollo rosso and iceberg lettuce with olives and whatnot, dressed in their signature Honey Mustard Dressing. Now the chef is a Bong and knows his ‘Kasundi’, so I was half-expecting the salad to be something on those lines…only it wasn’t. Now, Nishant had a spoonful of the dressing called for separately as well so I could taste it and BOY, that stuff really was something ! I think a little more dressing could do wonders for this otherwise mild salad !
9) TT’s Chicken Caesar Salad – If you’re expecting an authentic Caesar Salad with all the bacon and the anchovies et al, don’t call for this because this is the TT version of the Caesar with Romaine AND Iceberg Lettuce in a Mayo-based dressing. While I’ve had super-authentic Caesar Salads, this simple no-frills preparation still fared OK by my books.
10) Pizza Terttulia with Creamy Spinach, Parmagiano Drizzled Arugula & Scarmoza – Let me take a minute to educate you –
i) This preparation has won a well-deserved award for its super-awesomeness
ii) Parmagiano is the Italian name for the the same hard, sharp Parmesan cheese
iii) The beautiful, fresh-looking leaf you see on top of the pizza is Arugula, or ‘salad rocket’
iv) Scarmoza is a type of cheese that’s like a drier version of our good ole Mozarella
Add all this up and you get a winner that is the Pizza Terttulia !
11) Herbed Quinoa with Tossed veggies & spicy tomato salsa – a grainy, very mildly bitter, herby quinoa that went very well with the tangy salsa. Loved it !
12) Stir Fried Brown Rice with Tofu & veggies with Creamy Mushroom Ragout – a true fusion preparation that married the awesomeness of stir fried brown rice with the creamy, earthy, slightly herby ragout. Recommended if you’re into mushrooms !
13) Gunpowder Basa with Crushed Potatoes & Curry Hollandaise – The highlight of the main course; this yummy, melt-in-the-mouth tender (cat)fish was cooked in Gunpowder sourced from Tamil Nadu and was served with a nice and rich curry hollandaise sauce. The herby crushed potatoes added a lovely touch to the whole thing, too. Very, very recommended !
14) 5 Spice & Honey Grilled Chicken on a bed of finger veggies – a lovely sweetish spicy preparation that had a distinct cinnamon aftertaste, too. The chicken was nice and tender and had soaked in the sauces very well. If you’re confused about what to have and are undecided after 10 minutes of sifting through the menu, this will most likely do it for you.
15) Chocolate Mud Cake – thick, gooey, mildly bitter and plain heavenly. It’s a mud cake, do I really need to describe it?! 😛
16) Salted Caramel Pannacotta – a mildly salty and rather thick and somewhat creamy preparation that was unique in it’s own way.
17) Baked Blueberry Cheesecake – fairly cheesy, mushy and truly delightful. The compote was super rich, too ! The base wasn’t crumbly enough if you ask me but that shouldn’t keep you from calling for this if you’re feeling like a cheesecake, really !
18) Apple and Cranberry Crumble – a distinctly tartly pie that was very brittle, ergo, so much fun to dig into !
So, all in all –
Food – 4.5/5
Service – 5/5 (Nishant even threw a delicious Hot Chocolate into the mix as we were leaving – Terttulia’s version of giving me a warm hug, I guess !!)
Ambience – 4.5/5 (I’d have preferred a little more lighting)
Value for money – N/A (sponsored event)
Again, a tip of the hat to the good folks at Carpe Diem and Nishant for arranging for ALLLL of this ! Cheers !
My overall opinion of Terttulia is a well-deserved 4.5 with little room for improvement in the speed of service area. If you’re looking for top notch offbeat gourmet fare, this is totally the place to head to !!! 🙂
Don’t forget to leave me a comment in case you liked the post and/or the photos ! 🙂