With a huge menu spanning across several Asian countries, it’s going to take plenty of visits to sample most of what The Asian Box has to offer. A single visit is not really enough to judge this place. I’m going to have a go at it though.
The duo behind Asian Box – Dhiraj and Priya Mahtani hail from Singapore and found a huge gap for authentic Asian food in the city. That’s how Asian Box came into existence in Koregaon Park a few years ago. And now, there’s a new one on the other side of town, in Baner.
The Asian Box in Baner seems so much more fancier and classier than its simplistic Koregaon Park cousin. Fell in love with the ambience as soon as I entered. The major colors used are red and gold, keeping in line with the Asian theme.
The highlight of the décor is a lovely antique mother-of-pearl table – total grandeur. The vibe of the entire place is elegant and eclectic. And their chopsticks with a mother-of-pearl head are the best I’ve seen at any Asian restaurant.
What’s not to love about steaming, flavorful dumplings? The Asian Box does a variety of dimsums with the perfectly soft and translucent covering. The Spicy Spinach dumplings were delicious and definitely worth ordering again and again. The garlic and chili-oil were a superb combination infusing the spinach with a burst of flavor. The Vegetable dimsums were quite good too, but the Spicy Spinach ones slayed.
I was not a fan of their otherwise popular Spring onion pancakes, since I found them quite oily for me to enjoy. The flavor was pretty good though, so if you don’t mind fried starters, you’d definitely enjoy these, as did the other diners on the table.
The Live Sushi counter right in the mid-section is an interesting place to be. There’s something very fulfilling about seeing your sushi being made right in front of you. I tried the Rainbow Uramaki Rolls. The sushi was just about passable. It was too dry and lacked the flavors that we ‘Indianized Sushi eating population’ are used to having.
The Khowsuey though has beaten my top Khow suey place aka Malaka Spice. I’m very picky about my Khow suey packing just the right flavors and end up criticising most of them. This one though was fabulous. The portions were appropriate and curry packed a punch. Whenever Khow suey cravings arise next, I know exactly where to head. You can trust me on this one blindly.
The Pineapple Rice painted a pretty picture, being served in half a pineapple. The Black pepper pot rice topped with mushrooms was quite flavorful and I enjoyed it even without any curry on the side.
The Blueberry cheesecake jar made for a good dessert – creamy and flavorful. The Apple-cinnamon cheesecake jar was nice too, but may not find favour with everyone.
Frankly I’m not a fan of panna cottas served in jars. I would rather have them wobble on my plate, with a nice splattering of compote. Thus the Pandan panna cotta was rather lacklustre for me.
The Chocolate brownie with salted caramel sauce was just the way it should be – gooey and rich with a nice dash of salted caramel.
All in all, Asian box serves up some delectable appetisers and mains, with a decent dessert selection. The Khow Suey is their golden dish and is a must order for every visit here. The ambience is uplifting and is fit for a date night or a celebration. And they serve the bestest damn Khow-suey in all of Pune. And that is reason enough to visit The Asian Box.
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*Disclaimer – This meal was hosted by the restaurant.