There are new restaurants launching left, right, and center in this city, but very rarely have I been as excited for the arrival of a new place as much as I have been for Terttulia. Terttulia is one of Pune’s iconic restaurants known for their relaxed, brunch-y vibe, sangrias and delicious pizzas. I remember visiting the Pune outlet a while ago and I fell in love with the place. I was thrilled to hear that they were all set to launch in the city shortly and I was hoping they would live upto the sky-high standard they have already established for themselves.
We were lucky to have been invited to a special preview of the place, before it opens to public on Sunday, July 13th. Situated prominently at Shivaji Park, I think the location is definitely going to work in its favour because there aren’t many fine dine options in that area. Also it’s midway between South Mumbai and the suburbs, so either group doesn’t have to travel too far.
Ambiance: I was in love with the place the minute I stepped through that door. Dining out is not just about the food and having the perfect decor contributes immensely to the experience. I think Terttulia nails that aspect completely. The restaurant has a chic vibe, with armchairs, ornate chandeliers, and curios sourced from vintage shops. My favorite was the Casio keyboard mounted on the lower half of a sewing machine.
Everyone loves pizza. And everyone loves surprises. And when the two get somehow connected it’s guaranteed to get everyone excited. So when a bunch of food bloggers were invited for a surprise launch one evening at Pizza Express, Colaba we were all thrilled. Few of us would not only be spending an evening sampling some scrumptious pizzas, but also be the first to know the secret. My mind went crazy thinking about the possibilities. Was it a new product launch or a new store launch? Or the start of a new campaign? Only time would tell…
Now I’m a huge fan of Pizza Express. I remember travelling frequently to Colaba when they had just launched for my share of pizza and cheesecake. Luckily they have expanded with outlets in BKC and Andheri too. So I’m never too far from my favourite cheesecake in the city. In my opinion, they’re one of the best value-for-money Italian restaurants in Mumbai. So I made sure to trek to Colaba for ‘The Big Launch’ at Pizza Express inspite of being down with a flu on the previous day. All for the love of food (and cheesecake)!
It was a packed house that evening. All of us excited to find out what the big surprise was. We were introduced to the existing ‘Summer Special’ menu and would be eating some of the dishes from there.
Head Pizzaiolo Shri then arrived to speak to us. A pizzaiolo is a pizza chef, the guys who wear the black and white striped t-shirts at the restaurant. To become a certified pizzaiolo at Pizza Express, one needs to go through 12 weeks of intense training. He then proceeded to give us some insight about the restaurant. The Pizza Express franchise comes to us all the way from the United Kingdom with branches all over Europe, Hong Kong, Middle East and now is in India!
He took us on a tour of the restaurant. We got to see the pizzaiolos in action, flipping pizzas around. Not as easy as it looks! Shri also pointed out the Rudyard Kipling quotes placed strategically at various spots in the restaurant and parts of the submarine placed on the ceiling. I’ve never paid attention to these details before.
Finally the huge secret we were all waiting for was revealed to us. It was the launch of the #YearLongPizzaTrip campaign. We all love clicking pictures of our food and then uploading them on Instagram, right? What if I told you doing that could get you free pizza for a year? Just upload a picture of your favorite dish at Pizza Express, write a brief review of the dish, and use the hashtag #YearLongPizzaTrip. Don’t forget to tag the @PizzaExpressIn guys. The pictures with the maximum likes wins free pizza for an entire year. Un-frikkin-believable!
Now it was time to sink our teeth into some yummy food. The starters started to arrive. First came the Polpette- chicken meatballs in chicken Bolognese sauce with fresh parsley, served with dough sticks. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The meatballs were succulent, delicious and was complimented perfectly with the tangy Bolognese sauce. We wiped the sauce off the plate with the breadsticks later.
As we waited for more food to arrive, the staff kept us entertained with a quiz about Pizza Express. We were divided into teams of four and the team with the maximum correct answer won prizes. And they also got to reveal the campaign poster. Best prize of them all! We also tried our hand at juggling artificial pizza dough. Some of us were naturals, some of us not so good. But such a fun game that kept us in splits.
The Baked Mushrooms were next. These are button mushrooms filled with mozzarella, pesto and pesto rosso, and served with dough balls. Now imagine mushrooms, coated with their famous pesto sauce and then enveloped in cheese. Yummy!
I was sipping on a Berry Fresca cooler as I gobbled my food down. A fun, summery, berry flavored drink.
The Polpette Bolognese is the new pizza included in the summer menu. It has chicken meatballs with chicken Bolognese sauce, jalapeno peppers, mozzarella, and rocket leaves on top. I’m not a fan of rocket leaves on my pasta. Salad and pasta are two separate, beautiful entities and should not be mixed. But I actually liked the combination here. I just wished the pizza had been a tad bit more saucy.
The Risotto Pollo Funghi, as the name suggests, was a risotto made of portobello mushrooms, chicken, pesto and parsley topped with rocket leaves, shaved emilgrana. Anything with pesto and I’m a fan. This was a lovely risotto which was not overdone with cheese unlike most risottos in the city.
The dish I was most looking forward to taste was the Farfelle con Salsiccia which had farfelle pasta cooked in a white wine and cream sauce, with pork sausages and rosemary. The pork sausages were delicious, unfortunately that was the only thing I liked in this dish. The pasta was sadly undercooked. Most restaurants overcook pasta making it too soft such that the pasta is no longer ‘al dente’. I think these guys in wanting to not overcook the pasta, ended up undercooking it.
And they saved the best for last. My main reason for visiting Pizza Express has always been the cheesecake. The best cheesecake in the city in my opinion. Feel free to tell me your favorite.
We had a delicious Mango Cheesecake that night. Fine pieces of alphonso inside the classic cheesecake. Absolute beauty she was! And unlike most restaurants that serve cheesecake with cream, they serve it with their in-house vanilla icecream which is yummy by itself. I enjoyed this summery dessert, wish it had more mango pieces though.
We then ordered another round of the mango cheesecake. And we weren’t done yet. Classic Cheesecake toh banta hai boss! It is a ‘classic’ for a reason, because nothing can beat the original.
We downed three cheesecakes between four people, but it was worth that extra kilo I put on.
Such a fun, foodie event this was. Pizza Express remains one of my favorites in the city. And the fact that they’re sending some lucky few on a #YearLongPizzaTrip adds some major brownie points in their kitty.
(As I type this, my friend Harsh aka MumbaiFoodLover has won himself free pizza for a year. Are you next?)
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Maroosh. Famous for their wraps, rolls and shawarmas, in addition to their Mughlai fare, Maroosh is a popular post-partying-drinking haunt. Ideal for grabbing a roll on the move, they have established themselves as a popular Lebanese fast food chain across the city. In fact the owner of Maroosh, Ketan Kadam, decided to launch Maroosh because people were looking for a place to grab a quick bite after a night of partying at his famous night club.
The popularity of Maroosh over the years has recently led to them revamping the brand as MM! Maroosh. Mumbai Food Lovers were invited to the recent opening of their reinvented Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) at Bandra Reclamation. In addition they launch a take away at Shivaji Park, Dadar and kiosks at PVR Cinemas across the city, planning to have 30 revamped MM! Maroosh outlets by the end of this year.
The menu includes Lebanese food like shawarmas, falafel, hummus with pita bread, and Lebanese salads. Indian fare such as wraps, starters and a few mains are on the menu too. The restaurant is brightly done up in cheery yellow and white. I loved the fun vibe to the entire place. Even the food is served in kitschy wrapping paper, interesting take away containers and trays. They even have yellow Vespas to home deliver your orders. I loved the new feel to the place. This new look and feel is intended keeping in mind their idea for Pan-Asian expansion.
They’ve launched three new dishes to the menu, out of which, the Baked Falafel Wrap was my favourite dish of the night. Succulent falafel pieces, crunchy vegetables, and hummus that were enveloped in a wrap. Go try this new addition to the menu!
However, the Falafel Salad we tasted was not as good. It contained falafel, veggies, and hummus. I found the falafel a bit crumbly, and not as good as the ones I tasted in the wrap. The Paneer Shawarma was average. I wish the paneer pieces were a bit spicier. Overall the shawarma was slightly bland.
The Paneer Tikka Roll however compensated for this. Succulent, spicy paneer tikka pieces wrapped in a roomali roti and this was served with lovely, mint chutney on the side. I also loved the hummus platter with pita bread. Three hummus types: Garlic, Sundried Tomato, and Jalapeno were served in containers, which makes it perfect to eat on the go. All three went perfectly with the toasted Pita bread. The Sundried Tomato Hummus was exceptionally good, and we scooped off the entire dish.
The other new dish of the night was the Chicken Tikka Shawarma. I’m replacing my regular shawarma with this one. Perfect combination of two popular favourites: Chicken Tikka and Shawarma. The chicken in this was the perfect spicy, tikka flavour.
The Chicken Hummus Salad was all that is contained in a shawarma, without the outer pita wrap. So if you want to do the healthier version of a shawarma, this is for you. Not that this is too healthy, but still. (On a random thought I wonder if we get whole wheat shawarmas anywhere. Anyone knows?)
Another favourite dish of mine that night was the Chicken Bhuna roll. The chicken stuffing was similar to chicken makhanwala. So this roll was basically a portable Butter Chicken- Roomali Roti. Absolutely yummy, despite the excess oil.
Overall MM!Maroosh retains the qualities it was known for: easy, take-away, delicious, filling, Lebanese food. All of this in a revamped avatar! Sometimes, the sequel can be better than the original, as proved in this case. Maroosh or MM!Maroosh , we know where to get our fill of shawarmas and rolls late at night!