Syrakko in Pune’s Koregaon Park is named after a village in Greece, but one look at the décor and you’ll know it has no bearing on the fine dining restaurant it is. Done up in monotones of grey, the interiors here convey a calm, relaxed vibe. The marble floor and chic, understated décor set the tone for the culinary experience that you’re about to embark on.
In a city inundated with casual dining eateries and quirky gastropubs, a fine dining space like Syrakko comes as an unexpected surprise perfect for catching a leisurely meal, that perfect date or just break bread with your loved ones without all the distraction of loud music, TV screens and sports highlights.
At the helm of operations is Chef Nagraj Bhat, who specialises in contemporary cuisine and has had his cooking chops honed in an award-wining restaurant in the US. Adept at all techniques of molecular gastronomy, including the hallowed spherifications. Although, Chef Nagraj’s menu puts paramount value on taste and his food is always pushing boundaries, as he creates masterpieces that please both the palate and the eye.
The menu is a medley of Fusion cuisine and classics from Pan Asian, Mediterranean and Continental that come with the chef’s special twist. Featuring an array of entrées, mains, desserts, an impressive collection of wines (mostly imported) and an assortment of drinks (there’s an in-house mixologist to ensure all your drinks are nothing less than stellar), Syrakko’s kitchen has the makings of a place that could soon become your favourite. If that wasn’t enough, Syrakko also has a special curated menu, featuring some of their best fare, offered exclusively for WowTables’ diners. The WowTables Modern 4 Course Experience at Syrakko features a mix of Pan Asian, Continental and Mediterranean delights, hand-picked by Chef Bhat to give diners a perfect taste of the eclectic offerings.
With plenty of options to choose from, suffice to say diners opting for the WowTables experience at Syrakko will be thoroughly spoilt for choice. Here are some dishes that come highly recommended from the WowTables curated menu at Syrakko.
Chicken and Almond Shorba
A perfect start to a meal, this chicken soup bursts with Indian flavours while the hint of almond pops in as a nice little surprise. The creamy rich texture comes from adding a glug of cream to the spiced chicken broth. “At the very end as we take it off the heat,we add almond milk and almond oil so that the soup does not split,” adds Chef Bhat about the technique of this flavoursome dish that comes served with a golden, crisp garlic melba.
Chicken Kiev with Blue Cheese
This popular Russan dish, stuffed with garlic butter, fresh herbs usually is a part of the main course at umpteen eateries. At Syrakko, convention is asked to take a hike and Chicken Kiev is served as an entrée. It doesn’t stop here – the Chef Bhat has done away with the garlic and herb butter that could be overpowering for some. Instead, the fowl is stuffed with chicken mousse with blue cheese and basil butter. Served on a bed caramelised onion and rich balsamic marmalade, the classic garlic punch comes from a topping of smooth garlic and cream emulsion.
Hailed as the chicken tikka of Mediterranean cuisine, this dish as decadent as it is creative. “Instead of cooking this on an open grill we cook it in tandoor, we marinate the chicken pieces in classic Mediterranean spices and herbs,” says Chef Bhat. Smoked, tender bites of chicken are served on aioli with a side of Harissa for added kick. A chiffonade of root vegetable salad tossed in chaat masala and a mustard vinaigrette gives this dish its quintessential freshness, albeit, with a Fusion twist.
Peanut Chutney Stuffed Portobello
While the style and presentation of the dish may be classically European, it is the Indian spices that make this dish even more remarkable. The peanut chutney stuffed Portobello mushrooms are served on a bed of chunda yogurt – a wonderful ode to the seamless blending of Gujarati cuisine with European influences.
Prawn and Goan Chorizo Risotto
Chef Bhat gives a Goan twist to an Italian delicacy. Minched chorizo is mixed in with creamy, parmesan-rich risotto which gives a delectable smoky aroma to the rice dish. The chef’s decision of using ground meat instead of whole chunks is simply to ensure a perfect balance between the pungent pork sausage and the delicately flavoured risotto. Crunchy, fresh prawns added to the mix blend perfectly well and only complement the overall mellowness of the dish.
Mix Italian food with an Indian dessert and you get a blissful foodgasm with every bite. The Espresso Phirni is a decadent dish to conclude the meal. The chocolate soil adds a richness that you need to taste to believe. Tiramisu ice cream that comes along with this dish – let’s just say it’s every dessert-lovers’ dream come true.
Syrakko surely seems to have its heart (and flavours) in the right place, and for a place that’s somewhat of a pioneer in the fine dining realm of Pune, you can surely expect to have your taste buds delighted.