Sunday, July 7, 2013

Foodie Jaunts

Eating out at Lavasa
 Once again it has been a long break; well it definitely isn’t easy managing two blogs. Thankfully my brother Aroop Bose decided to step in and help me out again with a restaurant review. This time the restaurant under review is Oriental Octopus and is located in a place called Lavasa which is about an hour and a half drive from Pune.  
While travelling, there have been times when I have just not felt like doing the usual touristy things which is mainly sightseeing, I have, in the bargain, missed out on some well-known spots but I have no regrets for I preferred to just soak in the place and relax. 
 Lavasa is one such place, there is nothing much to see here  but it is an excellent place to chill, relax while you take in the scenic and unpolluted beauty of the Sahyadhri range and most important you can gorge on some delicious food. On our occasional trips to Lavasa we enjoyed the food at Oriental Octopus. It is over to my brother for the review.

Eating out at Lavasa – Oriental Octopus and Fortune Select
by Aroop Bose
 Although Lavasa is a very small place it has quite a good number of eating places, of them Oriental Octopus is our favourite. For those who have not heard about Lavasa – it is a new and developing hill city located in Pune District, Maharashtra, India;  Oriental Octopus, as the name suggests this restaurant serves oriental food – Japanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Chinese, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Malayasian – hence the name Oriental Octopus; Chinese cuisine dominates the menu, quite understandably.

In our last three visits to Lavasa Oriental Octopus has been our favourite eating place, the food here is really very good and prepared with a lot of care and of course the staff is very helpful, friendly and efficient. I would like to write about some of the dishes we ate there during our visits to Lavasa. In one of our lunches we decided to go vegetarian and ordered for Tempura Vegetables, Vegetables in Black Beans and Coriander Sauce and vegetable fried
Tempura Vegetables
rice. Tempura Vegetables is a dish made from crispy fried vegetables in Japanese batter served with tentsuyu sauce. Before frying pieces of vegetable such as zucchini, carrot, brinjal (aubergine or eggplant), baby corn and mushroom are dipped in a batter made with corn flour, refined flour and sugar. Vegetables in Black Beans and Coriander Sauce was exactly as the name suggests, in one of our later visits to this
Chicken with black and button mushrooms
restaurant we also tried the non-vegetarian version of this dish which was made with wok tossed chicken with black beans and button mushrooms. We also had Pan Fried Soft and Crispy Noodles topped with light soy sauce and Three Pearl Lemon Coriander Soup; this soup was nothing like we had ever eaten before, truly different and worth eating again.

What we like about Oriental Octopus is that the food here has a nice subtle blend of flavours, no individual flavour overpowers; the food itself is very light and ideal for travellers. Tempura Vegetables was really crispy and light as it should be and was served in a bamboo container.

The staff here is very co-operative and welcoming; on two occasions we requested the chef to prepare a dish which was not on the menu, once it was a very light chicken dish and the other was a noodle dish. We just described how we wanted the dishes and what
A noodle dish made as per our request
the chef prepared for us was delightful. The last time when we visited Lavasa the restaurant treated us with a complementary dessert – 5 Spice Chocolate Mousse; without doubt it was one of best desserts we ever tasted in recent times. The mousse was light
5 Spice Chocolate Mousse
the spices were in just the right proporportion, it was a superb blend of the mild spicy flavour of five spice, complementing this was the rich taste of chocolate and was served on a bed of a thin cake. Before setting shop in Lavasa Oriental Octopus has been functioning in Delhi and Noida and the chefs working in Lavasa are sent to Delhi for training.

Oriental Octopus is one of the restaurants of The Waterfront Shaw, an apartment hotel; the hotel has other restaurants and food outlets as well. I would like to also briefly talk about another restaurant of The Waterfront Shaw – The All American Diner. The menu here is very different from anything we have so far seen or eaten anywhere; the food is somewhat ‘snacky’ but high
 on taste and presented well, the décor consists of various kinds of memorabilia giving an American sort of an ambience of the past – the Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe times. If you happen to go to Lavasa remember Oriental Octopus and The All American Diner are worth a visit.

Fortune Select Dasve
Before I conclude I would like to describe the sumptuous breakfast we had at Fortune Select Dasve, the hotel we stayed in. The breakfast is served at their restaurant called Zodiac and the
Buffet breakfast at Fortune Select Dasve

items typically served are: corn and wheat flakes, Kellog’s Chocos, beet root juice, fresh lime juice, cold milk, milk shake, butter milk, chhole bhature, gobi paratha, upma, idli sambar, dosa on order, tossed vegetables, baked beans, parsley potatoes, chicken nuggets or chicken sausages, boiled eggs and also eggs to order, croissants, doughnuts, muffins, six varieties of fruits, two types of sprouts, salad, yoghurt (dahi), white and brown bread slices, butter, jam, honey, tea and coffee; the honey was truly delicious. I am not sure but I feel might have missed one or two items in this list. The tossed vegetables and parsley potato tasted good but one or two pieces of potato on my plate were
Buffet breakfast at Fortune Select Dasve
undercooked, the kitchen staff should pay attention to these details. The sambar that is served here does not taste like sambar at all; actually it was quite bad, the chefs need to be trained properly or the management should appoint south Indian chefs who know how to cook sambar. But for these glitches the four breakfasts we had here have been a good experience. 

 Lavasa offers plenty of eating options but the food can be a little expensive. The one thing Lavasa lacks is good quality simple and affordable food. We were told that a Gujarati thali restaurant has opened in Lavasa and that the food there is good, unfortunately we could not eat there since as of now it is open only on weekends,  when the tourist traffic is high and we visited Lavasa during the week days. We look forward to eating there some other time and also try the other eating places.        

Enjoy an evening in Lavasa with me by watching this video:


  1. I'm glad you liked both Oriental Octopus and The All American Diner! Both my husband and I began our careers working for Old World Hospitality, which owns the two brands. In fact, my husband used to work for the Projects Department, so he played a major part in setting up the restaurants in Delhi, in NOIDA and Gurgaon. He'd moved on to another company by the time the Lavasa project came up, but Oriental Octopus has remained a favourite of ours - the food is really good.

    1. Now that is what I call-- it is a small world. We have never met, we met on blogosphere and just imagine, the restaurant that appealed to us the most happened to be the one with which you and your husband were associated, what a happy coincidence!

  2. Yes, it's a really small world. Do you know, Pacifist (who had been already visiting my blog for a couple of years) turned out to be the cousin of someone my family knows very well; in fact, we had even attended her wedding. And my uncle, who was a guitarist, was Bawa's music teacher in school!

    1. Yes indeed Madhu, it is a small world, that reminds me after coming to Bombay when my father and comedian Asit Sen- who was also the director of his first film -- got to know each other better, they both realized that they were distantly related to each other. That's Life! Had my father not come into the film industry he would never have discovered this fact.

  3. And you and I share a connection, Shilpi - my uncle Vernon Liddle knew Talat Mahmood very well. They were neighbours. I remember you telling us once that Talat liked your mum's malpuas very much, I think.

    1. You are absolutely right Madhu. Talat Uncle just loved mum’s cooking. Once mum had invited their entire family for dinner and for days after that he kept saying, “Itna lazeez mughlai khaana maine bahut dinon ke baad khaaya”. Had he been alive today (he would have been 90+) I would have definitely mentioned your uncle to him and I know he would have enjoyed reminiscing about the good old days. He was such lovable person.

    2. How sweet! He sounds like such a wonderful person. I must review one of his films soon - I have one lying at home which I haven't seen yet.

    3. Great, I will be looking forward to the review.

  4. I visited Lavasa few months ago and I had food at Oriental Octupus a authentic far-eastern cuisine restaurants of Waterfront Shaw Hotel. I had a good and tasty Thai and Chinese food there. I enjoyed a lot at Lavasa and Waterfront Shaw Hotels.

    1. Welcome to my blog Arun, yes you are right the food at the Oriental Octopus is really nice.

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