Kothrud was once known as the fastest developing residential area in Asia. Unfortunately, this tag stuck with it for many years to come and even today, it continues to be a purely residential part of Pune. While it’s a great locality to live in, it cannot boast of many good restaurants. Many restaurateurs have tried but couldn’t convert great restaurants into successful ones in this area.
La Gustosa dares to go down this difficult path. An Italian restaurant in Kothrud? Will it work? Will it have enough footfalls to sustain? Will the food be able to compete with some of the best Italian restaurants in Pune? I was able to find answers to most of these questions that night.
The restaurant is located next to the post office near Karve Statue on a very busy and narrow road. It’s an odd location for an Italian restaurant, and one with no car parking (you can get a parking spot a few hundred meters away, if you’re lucky). I went there early (around 7.30 pm) so could find a 2 wheeler parking spot right outside.
The interiors are elegant and practical. It fits about 12-14 tables with a capacity of 50 pax, which is quite decent. The wall decor is aesthetically done as well that adds to the overall ambience of the place.
The kitchen is at the far end of the restaurant and fully visible with only a glass partition. The main counter is right between the seating area and the kitchen. I walked over to the counter to look through the menu written on the blackboard next to it. I really couldn’t decide so asked for recommendations.
They have an average sized menu which is apt for this restaurant. Limited offerings ensure the quality is maintained which ensures repeat business. I ordered an iced tea (Spiced Strawberry), a soup (Pollo Funghi) and a pizza (Chicken Ham & Mushroom). Mains was confusing however the staff recommended I order the Fish & Chips.
Spiced Strawberry was tall, chilled and came with a good mix of flavours. It’s mildly spiced so doesn’t spoil your palette or appetite by any means.
Pollo Funghi is perfect for a cool evening. Good texture and thickness of the soup enhances the experience. The garlic bread is crisp and makes a great side.
Proscuitto di Pollo or Chicken Ham & Mushroom pizza was slightly disappointing for me. Meat was sparse and the mushrooms were overcooked. The pizza base was really well made. Some good toppings would make this a really good pizza!
Pesce e Patatine or Fish & Chips was the highlight of the evening. When the staff mentioned they use Basa for this dish, I asked to cancel the order. However, they insisted that I try this one out and they would be more than happy to cancel the charges if I didn’t like it. That was quite bold of them and now I know why. It is by far the best Fish & Chips I’ve had in India. It is THAT GOOD!
3 large pieces of fish perfectly battered with the right level of crisp are served along with some yummy fries. The dip goes well and I had to order a second helping of the dip to finish the monstrous portions of fish.
Pricing is very decent with most mains priced between 250-300 and everything else even lower than that. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see most tables occupied by the time I left even though I was the first one to walk in. It definitely has the might to compete with the likes of Arthur’s Theme and Le Plaisir – which is a very high benchmark.
It’s a relief that a great restaurant like La Gustosa has opened up so close to my house. Kothrud has been left out of the Pune food scene for too long and hopefully, this brand new restaurant will change the face of fine dining in this area.