Dec 20, 2010

OvenFresh - A Vegetarian Delight

I am a vegetarian. That means, finding a good place to eat gets quite difficult. At best, you get the regular Udipi or some fancy looking restaurant that serves very ordinary Punjabi fare. Honestly, I stay away from such food as much as possible. Too rich food and too much oil leads to a sort of party-gone-wrong in my stomach. So, when I find a good place that offers good variety too, I am usually ecstatic. And this was the case when I landed at Ovenfresh.

Where: Shivaji Park, on the road that leads straight from the station to Dadar Chowpatty.

What: An all-veg bakery-cum-restaurant, serving Continental and a bit of Middle Eastern cuisine. Pizzas, Pastas, Sizzles and some Hummus and Falafels.

Ambience: The first thing you see when you enter is the bakery and the crowd at the counter. The croissants, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, tarts and more are all lined up beautifully. There is a glass box behind the counter, which has a part of the kitchen, and you can actually see the chefs in action. I find that bit quite interesting and love to watch them whip up stuff.

The seating area is divided into two sections - one at the front and one at the back. Seating is comfortable, but both areas can get quite noisy and chaotic during busy hours. And when I say busy, I mean really busy! If you are in a group, you may have to wait for a while to get seating. The back area has some fun graffiti, but as a friend pointed out, they could do with some soft music to drown the noise made by people and make the place more pleasant. Overall, it is not fine dining, or even decorated restaurant-like. But it gives a cosy feel and is the kind of place that is best enjoyed with a large group of family or friends.

Positives - Food:
The baked goods in the front area look very inviting. Glazed, golden and generous with fillings. The pastries and cakes look good too, are moist and fresh. Whole cakes are freshly made on order on the same day. The doughnuts are soft and tasty, and the tarts are crumbly and good too.

As for the restaurant, the menu itself is very interesting and varied. They have a variety of pastas from Raviolis to Lasagne to Cannelloni. You won't find the regular Arabiatta here, but you will surely discover many more tastes and flavours in vegetarian continental cuisine. They have pastas in Orange Butter Sauce and stuffed with vegetables too. The Ravioli with sun-dried tomato is delicious with a good dollop of yummy tomato sauce and just the right flavour. The Enchiladas are known to be a favourite. I definitely wish to try every single of their pasta items at least once for sure as I couldn't help but read that section of the menu over and over again, smiling to myself. I just loved the combinations that they have put together.

If pasta is not your thing, you can opt for the Sizzlers or the 'Make your own Pizza'. You can choose your base and toppings and it is served hot, and in a large portion. The thin crust is the winner, with a crispy base and enough toppings. The sizzlers too look decent, but I would prefer the pastas and pizzas any day. The sizzlers too look colourful, are delicious and have good portions.

Besides Italian fare, they also offer sandwiches, burgers and some Middle Eastern dishes. I haven't tried those, but I saw them on the next table and they looked inviting enough. There is not much variety in starters or beverages though and they could do with adding a few more attractions there. But whatever is on offer, is nothing less than delicious. They also offer some parathas and very very limited Indian fare, though I doubt it would be asked for often.

The desserts of course are a cracker. No matter what you choose, it will be difficult to not like it.  I loved their Plum cake and cheesecakes, and the tarts and doughnuts are good too. They have nailed the balance of taste in their food and that works to their advantage.

Negative - Service:
The place is very noisy and seems very small. The service is really slow and lazy, and it can take ages for someone to listen to you. I was crying out for some friendly gesture from my server. And it can take really long for your order to arrive sometimes. The portions are good enough for one main course dish to fill one person entirely, so if you go with people, you get to try more stuff. Another negative it a lot of the items on the menu are available only from 11am to 3pm and 7.30 pm onwards.

Overall, the place is definitely worth a few visits. In fact, it has been known to convert many non-vegetarians I know and get them to appreciate and speak positively of vegetarian food for the first time.
So, this may not a place for a late lunch or early dinner. But it sure is a place to enjoy some brilliant food and believe that even vegetarian fare can be really really good.

1 comment:

The Iron Butterfly said...

Ya babe. Had blueberry cheesecake from there. It was yummy. But, Nachos were very bad.