Koregaon Park is well established as a foodie destination in Pune. Frisco is the new kid on the block in Lane 7, located diagonally opposite Post 91. I am still sorry that Yellow Chili closed down, and Post 91 is my favorite. So I was excited to check out this new bistro at a spot I already visit very often.
The word ‘bistro’ suggests something casual. Not that there aren’t elegant and pricey places calling themselves bistros. But to me, bistro always brings to mind some cobble stoned European street, with people relaxing over a glass of wine, noshing on a Nicoise Salad or a tartare. Well, you won’t get the wine at Frisco, but their drinks menu is as eclectic as it gets.
The place was well cooled with a fully functioning AC at the moment we entered, something for which they get full points from me. I have ranted about the lack of ventilation and sore condition of non functioning ACs in Pune many a time. No wonder then that Frisco is brought to us by the very people who own the famed New Yorker restaurant in Mumbai.
Being in the food business for generations, the management has a wealth of experience, and they know that you are only as good as the last dish served. But they also know how to get above the mistakes that are inevitable in a bustling kitchen. I was lucky enough to chat with the owner, a connoisseur and epicurean par excellence for sure.
The past couple of weeks have been pretty active on the menu tasting scene. One thing I lament about is how Pune food seems to be getting spicier by the day. Even the Chitale Bakarwadi that I have been gorging on all my life is so hot now that it burns my tongue. I was happy to see that the food at Frisco used spices and seasoning in line with its Continental theme.
The menu at Frisco is a huge laminated sheet – diner style. There is a breakfast section with nice omelets and pancakes and your Eggs Benedict and Florentine, always a good choice for those who like their eggs. There is a ‘Small Plates’ section tapas style and there is plenty of choice here for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. A section for salads, one for mains or ‘Large Plates’, one for pizzas, one for pastas, one for sandwiches, and you pretty much have a wide spectrum covered as far as choices go. The drinks menu has affordable choices with many interesting names like Hibiscus Iced Tea, Thai Iced Tea, smoothies, ginger fizz and so on. I will try to cover everything that I tasted one by one.
The Hibiscus Iced tea was sweet and different, a must try for those who like flavored iced teas, and certainly a more interesting choice than your regular lemon or peach variant. The Berry and Banana Smoothie is a must for getting your daily fruit intake in, and for those who like their frozen drinks. The Thai Iced tea was bursting with lemon grass flavors and was on the sweet side. I loved how they added a stick of lemon grass as a stirrer. The cold coffee was milk based and I liked that it could be ordered without sugar.
We tried an array of the Small Plates starting with the famous New Yorker nachos. I have a ‘nachos’ post pending for the blog, and it is funny how you keep seeing something that is on your mind wherever you go. The Fiesta at HRC, and now these nachos are a glaring reminder that I am falling behind on my own blogging theme for this month. The nachos had a cheese sauce, beans, salsa, jalapenos and sour cream and will start you off right. The Thai Sweet Chili Baby Potatoes were equally sweet and hot, sort of like a Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. I totally gorged over these.
Hummus with Toasted Pita is another of the Small Plates I tried. The hummus is a beetroot hummus which is pinkish in hue. The beetroot provides a slight sweetness and you can taste it in the background. But it does not overpower the hummus itself. Be sure to mix in the olive oil as you sample this.
The hummus provides a milder spiced complement to the spicy potatoes, but if you really want to taste the hummus, I suggest you eat it before the potatoes.
Salads are something I absolutely love. I can easily eat a big salad as a meal. The Santarolla salad used steamed carrot shavings and was dressed in Balsamic vinegar. I think this salad could be made more substantial by adding almond flakes through the salad as an ingredient and not just as a garnish. When it comes to salads, I prefer mine loaded with nuts :).
The Big Plates or Mains offer more interesting options for vegetarians. Who says carnivores have dibs on meat and potatoes, hunh? Well, maybe on the meat, but I do crave a mash once in a while. I tried two Mains featuring mashed potatoes and they will have you in comfort food heaven. The Potato Lentigiane had some finely chopped veggies and lentils served over mashed potatoes. It reminded me of my veggie Shepherd’s Pie, in a good way. The lentils had a slight bite as I expected. This dish could do with a sauce or gravy of some kind.
Cottage Cheese Steak had grilled paneer rounds served with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. This dish is very mildly seasoned and is good for a day when you feel like dousing yourself in creamy comfort.
The Thai Vegetable Curry is a green curry, and is another excellent choice for vegetarians. The basil, lime leaves and lemon grass came together really well without any one being predominant. And then there was a slow heat that warmed your throat after a couple of bites. I will go for this Thai curry any time. I think adding some tofu will make this dish more substantial, and add some protein to balance that rice.
Pizzas and sandwiches also sounded good and I sampled the Verdure. This one has green veggies like broccoli as toppings, as the name suggests. Adding gouda cheese makes it exotic, and certainly different from your usual mozzarella based pizzas. The thin crust also sets it apart from your pizza chain variety.
Desserts! I confess I have a sweet tooth and it is hard to skip dessert. I went with the specials, the Tiramisu and the Red Velvet Cake. The Tiramisu was a hit, with sponge layers doused in coffee and creamy cheesy mascarpone. At least, it seemed to have some kind of cream/ cheese and did not have the ‘gelatin jiggle’ I dread.
Red Velvet Cake has taken India by storm. Pretty soon, we will be consuming more Red Velvet Cake then ye olde Southerners! I don’t have many comparison points for the Red Velvet Cake, but it was moist and crumbly and tasted good. And that is enough for me :).
The ambience at Frisco is cheerful and the place could be called cozy at best, especially by a large person like me. As clumsy as I am, I could see myself bumping into tables or toppling things over. The menu offers a lot of variety in terms of international food for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Frisco is the kind of place you can eat at habitually without going on a salt overload.They also have many healthy options like wheat pasta, wheat bread for your sandwiches, and even a dish of Quinoa with Dill Infused Summer Vegetables. Muesli with fruit offers a healthy all day breakfast option for vegetarians.
Frisco Pune is not even two months old, and they seem conducive to finding out what makes Punekars tick.
Head over to Frisco for a casual meal and be ready to sample a wide variety of yumminess.
Check out Frisco on Zomato!