Restaurant Review: Pali Village Cafe
You get what you pay for. That belief is sometimes proven wrong, most often by street food vendors, but once in a while also by gastronomically inept high-end restaurants such as Olive, about a ten-minute drive from Pali Village Cafe. Thankfully, the latter mostly justified the bill of around Rs2,200 a head (including wine), but we considered deducting the service charge included. The only major flaw at the charming cafe close to Pali naka is its service. Despite discounting the teething issues of an opening weekend, we couldn’t help but wonder if it would be worth coming back. We were served another table’s drinks—twice—and it would have been easier getting a supermodel’s attention than that of one of their waiters’ (despite the restaurant being only half full).
Ultimately though, Pali Village Cafe is worth coming back to. Repeatedly. The decor is enchanting: the cafe has a wrought-iron stair railing, a balcony with two tables for two, a cosy dining room with wooden garden chairs sporting flowery cushions, and quirky old photographs adorning its worn walls. The rusted chairs, the lazy fans, the soft Spanish instrumental music and the birdcage outside make one feel that time has slowed down, as if when entering an old, eccentric relative’s house.
Our food was, of course, a huge factor in justifying the price. The menu was thoughtful, with interesting combinations that mostly worked. The peanut butter and banana smoothie was thick and perfectly blended. The hazelnut and nutella smoothie, though, was watery with barely any trace of either. Our first starter, baked scallops served on a bed of asparagus with tomato and mascarpone foam, was flawless. Each component was delicious, and together, offered an array of textures, tastes and visual appeal.
We normally skip pizzas in favour of a burger or sandwich, but since the latter two are only available during the day, we opted for a slice of the fig and pepperoni. Modifying the pepperoni pizza is considered sacrilegious in some countries, but the figs provided subtle sweetness and the crunch of the seeds added value to our perfectly crisp square. The seafood risotto was a bit too soft to be al dente but was prepared with an intense broth that made it flavourful even when the pieces of squid, prawns and clams were gobbled up. The John Dory came with excellent caper cream sauce. Caper berries can be pungent but never spicy, and thus complemented the fresh fish well.
While the outstanding panna cotta had a hint of vanilla and was surrounded by an intense reduction of passionfruit, the coconut creme brulee had little taste of coconut. It was served devoid of a setting dish with a nearly non-existent top layer of caramalised sugar.
We hope the service at Pali Village Cafe improves, and it will be frustrating if it doesn’t. This is because, discounting the service, here, you get what you pay for.
A meal for two costs Rs3,400 excluding wine.
Devendra Das likes a bong, all Bongs and while not preoccupied by either, chronicles his gluttonous experiences.Tags: Cafe, Food, Pali Village Cafe, restaurant, restaurant reviews, Special Top Story
LocationPali Village Cafe
Next to Janata Lunch Home
HoursDaily, 12.30pm to midnight