With it’s beautiful white & blue interiors and a multitude of seating options (indoors, alfresco & mezzanine) – Pandora makes for a lovely place for lunch or dinner. The menu has been designed by celebrity chef Ajay Chopra and encompasses Indian as well as global selection of dishes. And of course – as the name suggests, you can expect a heady dose of molecular gastronomy.’
Just like a Pandora’s box, you’d find a surprising selection of dishes covering almost all ground. The most interesting bit was the section on ‘5 Minute Gastronomy’. It encompasses dishes that would be on your table in 5 minutes flat. Another amazing innovation is that most of their dishes come with 2 size options. So depending on your group size, you can actually decide between half and full portions.
If I were to list my top 5 vegetarian picks at Pandora, they’d be as follows:
- Tandoori Soya Chaap
- Burmese Khowsuey
- Roasted garlic, sun-dried tomato, feta & arugula Flatbread
- Hazelnut & Salted caramel Moelleux
- Gajar Halwa Boreks
Beginning with the soups, the Mushroom and Liquorice stout was pretty good, whereas the Burmese Khowsuey was excellent. I was just a little stumped to see Khowsuey in the ‘Soup’ section, since it’s conventionally a main.
Moving on to appetisers, the Broccoli Galouti (infused with saffron) as well as the Trio of Paneer seemed rather lacklustre.
But the Tandoori Soya Chaap was magical! Hands down, the best ever chaap I’d ever eaten – so meaty, so well marinated, finger-licking good.
The Thai chili corn cakes were interesting with their strong lemongrass flavour and so were the Corn, Peas & Cheese spring rolls with their charred chilli dip.
Pandora has put a very innovative spin on quesadilla crafting Murgh Khurchan & Pindi Chole quesadillas. I tried the Pindi Choley one which was quite flavourful, combined with sour cream and pineapple salsa.
The Mushroom & Truffle oil Naan, although quite interesting in theory; could have done with a more robust filling.
Surprisingly, Pandora serves a variety of dim-sums as well; and does quite a good job. The Broccoli, Corn & Cheddar dim-sums I tried were melt-in-the-mouth.
Contradictory to it’s name, the flat-breads aren’t really flat-breads, but toppings on a khari base. The one I tried was topped with feta, sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic & arugula and was tasty to boot! The quantity though is very meagre for the price.
The Kulcha box, on the other hand, is excellent value for money. A sexy tiffin arrives with a compartment full of dilliwale chole, another one full of dal makhni and another with a selection of kulchas (aloo/cheese/garlic/paneer). The taste though was just about average, with a marked bitterness in the chole and graininess in the dal.
The desserts at Pandora are a thing of beauty. They’ve gone fusion with a lot of traditional Indian mithais and transformed them into gorgeous modern avataars.
The Hazelnut & Salted Caramel Moelleux was one of my favourite desserts in recent times. Now this wasn’t a classic moelleux, just shaped like one. The flavours nonetheless, were spectacular. Soft chocolate hazelnut mousse lay atop a firmer hazelnut layer and was surrounded by a nutty chocolate soil, drizzled with salted caramel. Perfect in every sense!
Another favourite were the Gajar Halwa Boreks. Super creamy gajar halwa stuffed in deep-fried puff pastry; served with roundels of dark chocolate mousse. Mind-blowing stuff!
The Phirni parfait, replete with a liquid nitrogen frozen rose was a beautiful dessert, but needed a tad bit more sweetness to actually qualify for a dessert in my dictionary.
The Stuffed kala jamun, anjeer & doda barfi, dark chocolate mousse didn’t really ring a bell for me; nor did the Japanese cloud cake.
Pandora does a selection of ice-creams too, of which the Masal Chai and the Gulkand ones were really good.
All in all, Pandora is a beautiful place with a massive selection of dishes that will definitely find approval with all palates. The pricing is quite decent for the kind of place and food, and is definitely not over-the-top. They are still awaiting their bar license, and one that’s in; it’s going to be a joyride.
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*Disclaimer – This meal was hosted by the restaurant.