If you are looking for an unadulterated dose of Mediterranean refinement, Casero is the place to be. An oasis of calm in the heart of this bustling city, Casero offers a wide range of authentic Mediterranean cuisine (probably the only place in Pune that does) The serenity of the place while you dig into roast lamb and jacket potatoes is what will make you visit this place again. And again. And again :)
Which explains my third visit to Casero. There are a whole lot of brunch options in Pune, but after a tiring week all I wanted to do was sit back and relax. Sometimes a quiet, laid back weekend can be a good one too :)
Without wasting more time, let’s get down to the verdict-
Casero has an impressive ambiance with wooden fencing, lamp posts, stone walls and vibrantly colored doors. Tables are set amidst palm trees and potted plants. The place has quite an old world charm about it. It’s even prettier at night- with lamps lit at every table, a gentle breeze while you catch up with friends over a Melon Cocktail. There’s no way you’re finding a fault with the ambiance, no no.
The staff here makes you feel at home. This was my third visit to Casero, and it felt extremely good to hear “Welcome back Ma’am” Not many restaurants acknowledge the fact that they remember you, and even thought it doesn’t really matter, you know it can make a whole lot of difference.
The staff here is amicable, warm, HAPPY, and attentive. If you’re confused about what to order, they’re also extremely helpful with their inputs (brownie points because this IS a niche cuisine after all) Yes you can blindly trust them and order away! A little something that can be improved- it’d be great if the used plates were cleared from the table quickly. They seem to take forever to do this.
Since I do not drink, I won’t be much helpful with this one. But the mocktails we did try were BEYOND amazing. Refreshing, light and sweet- perfect fix for a lazy Sunday. I tried the Diamond Ring: a refreshing mix of orange juice, honey, apple juice and basil. The Ginger Ale I heard was pretty good too.
P.S. – They have something called the Liquid Cheesecake. GORGEOUS. I’m coming back here for this sometime soon.
Their latest addition to the Sunday Brunch spread is a live pasta counter. Yes, there’s PASTA! There were a lot of customers who wanted the tried and tested cuisines too, and Chef Mahesh Kini has been kind enough to keep the suggestions in mind. So now the lavish Sunday Brunch consists of salads, pita bread and hummus, roast, grills and steaks, pastas, rice and even quesadillas!
We were welcomed with a variety of breads, hummus, butter and mayo. Interesting variety, so you must try them! By the time you get done with the breads, the waiters get you the drinks and starters at your table. Bacon wrapped chicken liver, tomato, basil and mushrooms crostini, chicken with peppers (my personal favorite) and spinach-corn dumplings are the options available for starters. Since the food is light, you can have as much of it as you want to (trust me on that)
You could take a break from the herbs, spices and masalas and opt for the pita bread and salads before you hit the main course (at least that’s what I did- it changes the taste of your palette, makes the “culinary journey” more interesting) The hummus here is probably the best I’ve tasted in Pune. Freshly made and authentic. They also have a yogurt based dip which you must not miss out on.
Take a break, have a drink or two, and then you’re truly ready for the feast that lies ahead. Start with the grills, roasts and steaks. The roasted leg of lamb makes a wonderful combination with the sautéed vegetables and jacket potatoes (I had 2 helpings of this) The meat is tender, well cooked, NOT CHEWY! And the herbs add in a refreshing flavor. The jacket potatoes are well cooked too (soft in the middle too- full marks for this!)
Chef Mahesh is seen busy behind a live Quesadilla counter, turning out quesadillas oozing with mozzarella cheese and a thick paste of mashed beans, onions and peppers. Try one of these for the authentic taste of fresh quesadillas.
I am not a fan of Italian cuisine, but from the reactions of my friends I know the pastas and spaghetti are worth trying. The quantities are generous, and the pasta preparations are delicious- creamy, soft, flavorful. The spaghetti in red sauce has an authentic Mediterranean taste- do not miss out on the pasta counter if you love your pastas!
The clam and chicken paella is something that is a favorite with many who visit the restaurant. So incase it’s your first time here, do not miss out on this. And if this is not your second time, I’m sure this would already be on your plate :)
This deserves a special mention. It’s a little difficult to write this down without craving for the Chocolate Bavarian Cream- I had 2 chunks of this GORGEOUS, CREAMY, CHOCOLATY HEAVEN. Not enough. I doubt you can ever have enough of this. Try stopping at one. It’s a challenge.
The Lemon Meringue Tart is an interesting mix of flavors- a hint of buttery biscuit; a little bit of lemon, a sugar rush….it’s beautiful. Try it. It’s light on the stomach too.
The Pannacotta with honey granola and caramelized peach is a milk based dessert- an authentic dish from the Mediterranean coast. A must try- it’s light on the stomach too!
If you’re looking for authentic Mediterranean food with an interesting twist, do not miss out on the Sunday Brunch at Casero. Light, interesting and delicious food- the perfect place to end a hectic 6 day week.
The brunch timings are from 12:30 PM- 3:30 PM every Sunday.
Cost per head: Rs. 895, with alcohol.