I have a special soft corner for MoMo Café, the all-day dining outlet at the Courtyard by Marriott across the country. Free spirited, lively and cozy, it is a wonderful place to dine informally. And the fare is always exceptional, in terms of quality and variety.
My first ever visit to Courtyard by Marriott, Hinjewadi Pune, so I was excited. But was certain MoMo Café could never disappoint me. And I was in for a surprise. A pleasant one at that. Executive Chef Aniruddha Limaye is a world class chef in my opinion. Skills apart, that gentleman has oodles of energy and passion and interacts with each guest at every meal throughout the day.
We were treated to delicious local fare-tomato soup with coconut chicken sukha, prawns, varan-bhaat (dal and rice), usal et al. The flavours were incomparable. Each dish was painstakingly prepared with a home-style feel to it.
Dinner was again a culinary treat, this time outdoors at the Al Fresco, with grilled meats and sea food. Grilled to perfection and paired with interesting dips, these tantalized our palates. But the best was yet to come. Chef Ramesh, who specializes in Italian food, treated us to a basa fish wrapped in potato spaghetti. I have never tasted anything more delectable than that before in Italian cuisine. Simply outstanding.
The food at this Hotel is definitely among their highlights. The breakfast spread too is an exercise in choices. Something to wow every palate. The South Indian fare is worth a special mention. A variety of chutneys to go with the sprouts idli, burghul upma and of course the regular upma and medu vadas.
The service at MoMo Café bowls you over. Every need of yours is taken care of by the warm and amiable team, even before you ask for it. Sachin one of the old timers, was truly a star as were many others.
Kombadi cha rassa, this spicy Maharashtrian chicken curry made with dried coconut and onion is a must-have at MoMo Café. Curry-cut pieces of chicken are cooked in a thin brown, runny curry called rassa which is mouth-watering. This is best enjoyed with soft, warm chapattis, bhakri or steamed rice. I loved it with bhakris.
Another favourite of mine is the Bhuna Ghosh aka a traditional Indian recipe of a delicious classic lamb curry made with lamb, spices, fresh fenugreek leaves (methi leaves) and bell pepper. What sets this apart is the bhuna part as this consists of pan frying the meat with spices without adding water. The meat cooks in its own juices which give the deep flavors.
Bhuna in Hindi or Urdu means ‘brown’, is a cooking method by which a masala of spices are browned in a kadai or karahi pan before the dish’s other ingredients are added. Instead of a thin gravy, the cooking gravy is heavily reduced down to coat the meat, ultimately creating quite a dry dish. It pairs well with Indian flat breads like naan, chapati and roti
It was a wonderful stay at Courtyard by Marriott Hinjewadi and the food offerings made it even more special. I cannot wait to go back and savour the culinary wizardry of Chef Limaye again.