With a horde of new restaurants cropping up on the ‘outskirts’ of the city like Baner, Aundh, Hinjewadi, etc. one advantage many of them sport is space.
The 121 Kitchen BarBQ in Wakad stands on a large spacious area, certainly putting an end to parking woes for customers.
The décor isn’t ‘themed’ as such, but raises eyebrows with some appealing posh lighting, cushioned seating, superior light fixtures, curtained cabanas in an outside section, a play area with loads of options for kids and a fully-equipped bar.
The establishment seems to have done a good job of carefully identifying and addressing prerequisites of décor and ambience for a family diner.
These worries taken care of to my satisfaction, I decided to focus on the food. Three sections on the menu, demarcated as Oriental, Indian and Tawa, offered a wide range of familiar preparations to customers.
The Oriental section started with the usual Manchow, Talumein and Tomyum soups, as well as Peppery Lemon Coriander, Laksa and Burnt Garlic soups with the option of crabmeat or the usual chicken, prawns and veggies.
This was followed by items like Saiwoo, Kung Pao, Shanghai, and Singaporean preparations. Although I saw a list of five dimsums and four satays mentioned, I decided to opt for their Kongee Crispy Lamb (Rs 275) as a starter, which came as thin shreds of lamb, fried and sautéed with multi-coloured bell peppers.
The good thing was that the chewiness of the lamb was cleverly camouflaged with a crispy corn flour covering. This dish comes dry, flavoured with a combination of soy, chilli, tomato, pepper, garlic and ginger. However, the meat was definitely chewy.
The Indian menu unfolded with Shorba suggestions including Tamatar Dhania, Dal, Gosht Dhania, and Murg Badami, followed by a series of Pahadi, Shabnami, Reshmi, and Multani kebabs in paneer, murgh and lamb versions.
I opted for their Subz-e-Gilawat (Rs 175), and expected a flavourful concoction of mace, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon combined with finely minced vegetables. The dish, when it came, was a softer version of a Hara Bhara Kebab.
Plentiful options like Makhani, Kadhai, Korma, Kolhapuri, Hyderabadi, Achari, Angara, and Saagwala follow suit in the main courses. The Tawa section looked interesting, with a Paneer, Fish Tikka or Gurda Kaleji Takatak choice.
I ordered the Paneer Takatak (Rs 169) and decided to sample some Murg Dum Biryani (Rs 225) with it. The Paneer Takatak, unlike its name, needed a little dressing up. It had some redeeming points however, and could be described as salty but soft, oily yet palatable.
When the Dum Biryani came, I expected the rice to be thin, well-separated, aromatic and most importantly accompanied with chicken on the bone. Unfortunately, the rice was fluffy, overcooked, lacking a strong flavour and came with boneless chicken cubes.
Desserts did not draw much comment, apart from some interesting looking Paan Shots. The Oriental sweets included the usual fare and some Sesame-coated Caramelised Walnuts.
With nothing too new from the gourmet point of view, the place managed to impress with its décor — every comfort is showered on customers. Families looking for a comfortable and value-for-money dinner, and youngsters — especially the IT crowd — can probably look to this place to satisfy their weekend needs.
121 Kitchen : BarBQ
Near the Wakad-Hinjewadi Flyover, Next to Pavana Bank, Thergaon Road, Wakad 020-46700121