Restaurant Review: Akss
Updated: Jul 31
Modern Indian, Vegetarian
Food: 3.75 | Service: 3.5 | Décor: 3.5
Akss opened its doors a few months back at Bund Garden Road in Pune and serves vegetarian, modern Indian cuisine.
Akss is housed on the floor above Little Italy slightly off Bund Garden Road. The décor is vibrant and colourful. The seating is comfortable and the eclectic quirky chairs are inspired from the Mad-hatter’s tea party from Alice in Wonderland. The vibrant wall art depicts different cultural aspects of our country. The cozy space is filled with interesting embellishments reminiscent of curio shops.
Akss serves vegetarian food and some of our country’s most popular dishes have been given a contemporary, modern twist using the concept of molecular gastronomy. The menu has been put together with a lot of thought about food and flavor combinations that work together and of course the presentation too.
As we sat, we were served a basket-full of ‘bobby’, the all-time favorite crisps alongside different chutneys, sauces and pickles. Along with the food, the beverage menu has also been given a twist. We started with the delightfully smoky and spicy Smoked Tandoori Bloody Mary and the sweet and spicy Ananaaas (a concoction of pineapple, lychees and jalapenos).
The Pani Poori Bar is a special version of paani poori served with bar equipment. The cold, crunchy pooris chilled in liquid nitrogen were served in an ice box, the chana and ragda in drink measurers and the imli paani in a cocktail shaker. Extremely fun to eat, the paani poori hit the spot. The Palak Patta Chaat was prepared on the table. The fried palak was made crunchier with the addition of liquid nitrogen and topped with dahi mousse and different chutneys. This was a miss for us as the assembly took too long and the excessive use of liquid nitrogen felt too gimmicky. The crispy stuffed kachoris of the Kachori Chaat were delicious and filled with dahi and topped with chutney caviar. The bite-sized kachoris were the perfect appetizers.
From the appetizers, we tried the Broccoli Kalimiri, which is currently in trend. The broccoli was spiced with black pepper, grilled to perfection and served with a cheddar mousse. The Pav Bhaji Bombs came next. These were bite-sized soft brioche buns filled with delicious pav bhaji and topped with cheese. Definitely inspired by Durban’s bunny chow, these pav bhaji bombs were extremely messy to eat, but oddly satisfying and delicious. The Misal Pav was something I was keen to try. It is difficult to put a contemporary twist on Pune’s favorite dish. The twist here is only the presentation. The sample or katt was served in a fondue pot (sans cheese, thankfully) and the farsan and onion served separately along with chunky pieces of crusty paav. The misal impressed me and I was glad that the modern twist was only the presentation.
For the mains, the Dum Subz Biryani was the right dish after an array of chaats and appetizers. The smoky charcoal flavor was infused well in the biryani. We paired the biryani with the boondi raita.
The description of the Akss Chocolate Garden was too hard to resist. This was a sinful and indulgent dessert where the garden is created with different textures of chocolate – Oreo crumble, chocolate mousse, brownie and fondant. Nothing that can go wrong!
PLUS & MINUS
Akss manages to put a contemporary spin on classic Indian dishes like pani poori, misal and pav bhaji. But the modern twists works only when the flavor and taste combinations work. The presentation, though creative, can seem slightly gimmicky, particularly with the excessive use of liquid nitrogen.
Must Try Dishes: Ananaaas, Pani Poori Bar, Kachori Chaat, Broccoli Kalimiri, Misal Pav, Pav Bhaji Bomb, Akss Chocolate Garden
Food: 3.75 | Service: 3.5 | Décor: 3.5
Meal for Two: Rs. 1000
Address: Above Little Italy, Bund Garden Road, Sangamvadi, Pune - 411001
Contact: 020 41057120
Timings: 12:00 PM – 3:30 PM | 7:00 PM – 11:30 PM
Photo Courtesy: Akss
This review was first published in Pune Times on 10 February 2020.