Food Review: Cafe 24, Della Adventure, Lonavala

Around two weeks (or probably more) ago I got an invitation to review five eateries at Della Adventure in Lonavala. Five eateries in a day? I was baffled but a trip to Lonavala in the rains was an offer good enough to let me forget all the questions. The bonus was that I was to travel with my blogger friends Reema, Amrita, Adarsh, Krytie and Anisha.

Della Adventure is located at a picture perfect location, surrounded by lush green hills. The almost perfect weather got even better as it started raining as soon as we reached. After the initial meet and greet we were taken around to see the activities and other facilities Della Adventure offers.

The adventure park is supposedly India’s largest and is a hit among Corporates. They offer a number of activities including zorbing, flying fox, dirt biking etc. The few activities that got raised eyebrows from us were dog walking and cow milking which means you pay to walk the fancy breeds like St. Bernards and Great Danes and milk a Jersey cow. The caged animals did not look too happy or excited about these activities.

Since our adventure at Della was focused on food we checked out all the restaurants/cafes namely PNF; the bar and pub with very interesting looking saddle shaped bar stools, Carbon Cafe; the fast food and desserts joint, Creme Della; vegetarian restaurant with a very beautiful, hill-facing, open-air section, An unnamed bakery; supplies desserts to all the restaurants and cafes and Cafe 24; an all day diner on the pool side. On our host’s insistence we peeped into the washrooms (yes both Women’s and Men’s) to check out the quirky installations. They were funny but could be a little embarassing if you are with kids (or mom-dad).

Coming back to my earlier question, “How do we review five restaurants in a day?”, it was decided that we’ll settle in Cafe 24 which has a compiled menu of all the eateries. We took our seats and and the orders started pouring in. Right from Indian to Chinese and Mediterannean to Continental food was ordered. I started with a Lemon Coriander Vegetable Soup which was a perfect comfort food on the cold day. It had a perfect amount of sourness to it and the topping of the oil added a little thickness to the otherwise watery broth. Along came a bread basket which had a very soft and fresh bread unlike the hard and stale ones you get in most of the restaurants. Next came starters with three prawn dishes; Prawns and olive sticks, Lasooni Jhinga; juicy prawns with a beautiful and slightly burnt garlic flavour and Golden Fried Prawns; I did not miss pakoras on a rainy day while eating them, very crispy and absolutely hot.

Image courtsey @AmritaRana

Our starters fest didn’t end just here, we ordered Stir Fried Water Chestnuts, Diced Cottage Cheese Chilli Pepper and Aubergine Halloumi Parcels from the vegetarian section. The crunchy chestnuts were cooked in a spicy sauce and were wiped off the plate in no time. I don’t remember much about the cottage cheese except for the fact that they were quite soft. I am usually not to fond of the continental preparations of Aubergine but the Halloumi parcels changed my mind. They were crisp and were placed on a bed of tasty tomato salsa.

We ordered a couple of salads too but none impressed me much. The Caesar Salad had an overdose of dressing which took away the crunch from the lettuce. The Waldorf; blend of apple, pineapple, celery, walnuts tossed in mayo, Horiatiki Greek salad and Beetroot salad were quite average too. The biggest disappointment was Hummus and Babaghanoush. Both the dips had a little off and bitter taste and we couldn’t go beyond the first helping.

After almost stuffing ourselves with the starters we ordered for main course. The first dish that arrived was a bit of a disappointment. It tasted great but was more of a starter than a main course. I do not remember the name of the dish except that it was a lamb preparation. I tried a bit of Pan Fried Basa which was cooked brilliantly; crispy and soft at the same time. I decided to try a Salmon and ordered a Grilled Norwegian Salmon which was served with fried and grilled veggies on the side. The fish was a tad under-cooked and a little too salty for my taste. I also tried a little Paneer Makhani; made in true desi style with lots of butter and Onion Kulcha which was more like an onion naan.

We were all looking forward to the desserts since the time we visited the bakery. But they were a big let down. We called for a Bitter Chocolate Praline Mousee; it was neither bitter nor a mousse. It tasted more like an ordinary pastry. Chocolate Walnut Brownie also proved to be a wrong choice with a strong flavour of egg in it. The only saving grace was the Orange Souffle which despite being wrongly named (again) was good. 

From all the food we tried starters won hands down and I would recommend that you order more of them and give the main course a miss. Della Adventure is a must visit if you are into adventure sports but it’s not worth traveling so far just for its food.

On the burp scale: 2/5

One comment

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