Pune’s La Terrazza, the Italian fine dine, metamorphosed into an eccentric bistro that dived into the realm of experiments and unparalleled refinement of flavours and taste. Thus Zeta was born with a diverse menu that brought a different story on the table
By: Nikita Vivek Pawar
Posted on: February 19, 2020
LF says: ★★★★★
A smoky flavour, a curing technique or an ingenious ingredient - a definite distinct element might become the identity of a cuisine. Enrapturing with unique flavours, Zeta, the European bistro at Hyatt Regency Pune, attempted to try its hand at something not so popular in the Indian market. The ever dynamic yet comfortable atmosphere of Pune only compliments it further. Zeta’s vibrant vibe is amplified by youthful interior accents and a fabulous outdoor space.
A Unique Concept
Have you ever tried French fries with cake frosting? If you even consider giving this combination a try, you would love what Zeta has to offer you. The restaurant amalgamates concepts from multiple countries, taking their essence, flavour or techniques, and forges them with local or easily available ingredients to create dishes that might sound like a dream. Zeta compliments aspects from different regions of the world to create a culinary festival every day. “We were clear that we wanted to be a European bistro but we were also clear that we did not want to be a single cuisine restaurant. We had been an Italian fine dine restaurant for over nine years but wanted to break away from that and reach a wider audience. So, it would be a global, ingredient-driven restaurant with elements from Maharashtra to Miami,” said Mr. Anirban Dasgupta, Head Chef at Zeta.
Compelling you to take a roller coaster ride of intrigue, comfort and astonishment, the restaurant successfully taps into various cultures by taking influences, methods and techniques or the entire dish and turns it into something different. Apart from being culture-influenced, the restaurant also references multiple lifestyles with hints of keto and vegan-ism instilled in the menu. Every bread served employs the Sourdough bread making technique, using minimum refined flour, and more of quinoa flour and other healthier flours.
As for the décor, the first thing you notice as you enter the restaurant is the elaborate wine cellar that hosts wines from different regions of Europe. Though the indoor space has muted-coloured interiors, the live-in-action kitchen adds vibrance to make it a fun experience altogether. The elegant outdoor seating was my first preference for the first meal at Zeta. The abundant natural light just adds more character to the setting.
The Menu Cut
Zeta is an unpretentious, multi-dimensional offerings inspired from regions of Europe, Mediterranean and India. The sprawling menu bursts with zesty ingredients. As we were seated and greeted by the head chef, he asked our preferences and other requirements. We were then presented Pune’s favourite ‘BCG’, a classic French dish but a Zeta-fied version (the way Chef Dasgupta likes to call it). The BCG (Brie Chilli Garlic) is a filo baked brie served with raw papaya puree. The dish, though familiar, has flavours excruciatingly vibrant and fresh. My favourite was the Rubiyan Meshwi, a prawn kabab, cured with dry lemon and Turkish chilly and charcoal peta bread. The classic Mediterranean kebab recipe coupled with Indian prawn and chilli brings in a unique effect altogether. The Not so Ceasar Salad had a beautifully cured chicken and a salmon baked French style. The lunch was concluded with the scrumptious caramel custard and Banoffe Pie.
For every chef his menu is his utmost priced creation. Ever evolving from life experiences and learnings, the menu is one of the deciding factors for a successful restaurant. And the final menu of Zeta took over two years to fall into place. While most chefs want to blow their own horns, Chef Dasgupta decided to approach it in a thrilling and unique manner: “I put together all my life experiences of eating not cooking.”
Creating a captivating menu takes a lot of permutation and combinations. “The first cut of the menu that I created was made out of a story that there is a beautiful young girl who is travelling through Europe. Talking about her conquests and experiences of food through the varied cultures,” Chef Dasgupta reminisces. To taste these out, the chef had people from non-culinary backgrounds taste and judge his dishes and every approved dish made its way to the final menu. Even though the restaurant is based on a concept that is dynamic and evolving, the dexterity and sheer innovation put into every dish takes you on an alimentary spin.
Through the Alps
‘Through the Alps’, a special style of menu offered at Zeta, inspired from the cult classics of the countries that the Alps goes through, i.e. France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, etc., has added a unique Indian element to it. I got to enjoy this menu for dinner, beginning with Not a Nicoise, a classic Swiss dish fused with watermelon instead of tuna which was strikingly similar owing to the colour and the texture of the watermelon. The Fondue from a Bun was some warm, gooey fondue served in sourdough and vegetables followed by the classic Austrian Prawn Schnitzel which took my breath away (yes I’m a prawn lover). Every bite of the multigrain schnitzel with the avocado and cheese dip was an epiphany of delectable flavours and crunch.
The main course suggested by Chef Rohit Chadha was of the very famous and potent kadaknath chicken infused with the some earthy wine in the Kadaknath au vin - a classic French technique of cooking chicken with wine to absorb the fruity yet rich and old taste. I couldn’t resist calling for Chorizo Mac and Cheese which has a spicy and pungent sauce to counter the cheesy richness of the Mac and Cheese.
The menu displays the efficiency of the chefs to create and innovate to bring us a dish that can surprise, enrapture and indulge us. The dinner definitely was a journey through the continent of Europe where I felt I was Zeta!
The head chef had noted my preferences for the breakfast as I requested to try something with hummus and pita. And my wish was granted, for my breakfast next day was a rather elaborate spread of croissants, donuts, puff pastries, frosting, strawberries, cheese, and a mouth-watering and visually pleasing Indian-ised Chaat version of hummus along with pita bread. The hummus had hints of chaat, coupled with some onions, tomatoes, lemon and a lot of sev. Another dish that caught my eye was beautifully cured eggs with mint chutney, adding some zesty Indian flavour to it.
The dining experience at Hyatt Regency had been a tasteful festival that acquainted me to different possibilities and combinations along with culinary innovations. If you ever want to give your taste buds an adventure ride, Zeta is the place to visit!
LF says: ★★★★★
Coordinates: Weikfield IT Park, Nagar Road, Pune, Maharashtra, India