Mercure, Lavasa – The perfect Stay-cation!

8th of July marked my 33rd birthday. As my lucky stars would have it, Mercure Hotel, Lavasa approached me to cover their prestigious establishment for baconbaba.com for the same weekend. I grabbed it with both hands, and landed up at the doorstep for lunch.

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At the hotel

An hour and a half drive from Pune, nestled away on the other side of the famous Lavasa lake, Mercure enjoys an amazing view of the valley. With a tiny bridge over the cutest brook possible, you CANNOT get a more picturesque spot for chai and bhajjis this side of the Mulshi valley

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The view from Celebrations

The check-in process was smooth, and we were shown to our rooms. The rooms are spacious and fully stocked – just what you would expect from a top notch hotel from the Accor Hotels family

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The Reception
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The Rooms

As we reached the hotel just after 3:00 PM, we were famished. After a quick freshen up in our rooms, we headed to Celebrations, the in house restaurant. As part of the monsoon special, we got to try out some of the chef’s specials on the menu.

Among the starters, we loved the Mongolian Fish. While there wasn’t too much ‘mongolian’ about the preparation, the batter fried basa was just perfect for the weather. This with a beer or a rum n coke is a match made in heaven!

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Mongolian Fish
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Mongolian Fish

Pihu, being a complete prawns fan, gobbled down the Golden Fried Prawns. Fresh prawns, crisp tempura batter, we asked for seconds of this dish.

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Golden Fried Prawns
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Golden Fried Prawns

My personal favorite was the Lamb Nihari – a chef’s version of this famous dish. Gloriously well cooked lamb, in a red gravy with a hint of cinnamon and saffron.

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Lamb Nihari
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Lamb Nihari

We also tried the samosa chaat and the chicken salad (as part of the monsoon tasting menu).

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The coup de grâce of the meal was the Chef’s special Sundae. Cubes of chocolate brownie over a bed of fresh fruits, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, encased on a golden sugar net. As the hot chocolate melted the sugar net and cascaded down the melting quenelle of vanilla ice cream, it slowly coated the brownie cubes, gradually hitting the fruit at the bottom. Indeed, special!

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Chef Special  Sundae

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We wrapped up the heavy meal and moved to the al-fresco area to chill. The spectacular view and the light drizzle made the perfect spot for chai.

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After a brief nap in our room, and a walk around the promenade, we headed back to the hotel for the buffet dinner. The buffet, while not as spectacular as the ala-carte menu, is pretty decent, with quite a few options for veg and non-veg. Priced at 899/- AI, its an excellent deal for visitors to Lavasa to enjoy a lavish meal.

Ordered drinks from their bar and had a nice long session in their al fresco area, enjoying the fresh air.

The restaurant has a cute little children’s play area, where you can leave your kid and enjoy your meal! That, pretty much made our day!

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The kids playpen

Woke up fresh on Sunday morning feeling a bit older (I was 33 years and 1 day old!) Breakfast is an elaborate affair at Mercure. Apart from the regular fare (Poha, idly, vada, usal, porridge, eggs, etc – all good btw!) their made to order waffles and pancakes are absolutely superb. Served with maple syrup or honey, you couldn’t ask for a better start to the day. I could possibly make an early morning trip to Lavasa just to get this breakfast!


Overall, it was a fantastic experience at Mercure. Great hospitality, comfy rooms, amazing views, and fantastic food. A perfect weekend getaway.


Disclaimer: I was invited to enjoy the complimentary stay-cation by the PR. The Usual Disclaimer applies. A special shout out to Pamela Paul Mitra and the management of Mercure, Lavasa for hosting me and my family, and making my birthday extra special.


Celebration - Mercure Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taste of South India – Courtyard by Marriott, Chakan

A South Indian Buffet spread with an array on Non-Veg dishes is something that appeals to the senses. The on-going “Taste of South India” festival at Courtyard by Marriott, Chakan is just what the doctor ordered to bring in the monsoons.

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The hotel itself is located at the Chakan MIDC (Click here for the Google Maps Location) – at least a 45 minute drive from Baner. However, the route is a scenic one, as it takes you through the Dehu cantonment area (or the old Mumbai Pune – Dehu – Talegaon – another unexplored route). Planning a long drive with your significant other? This is the place to go to 🙂

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Starters

The food makes the drive more than worth it. My personal favorite was the vegetable stew. Yes, I LOVED the Kerala vegetarian stew – arguably one of the best in Pune. It was a bit runnier than usual, but the abundance of carrots, beans, cauliflower, with the coconut milk and a hint of red chilli resulted in a broth that was both sweet and umami at the same time. Dip in some hot steaming appams and you are at God’s own dinner table.

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Vegetable Stew and Appam

The pepper chicken and the chicken curry is no slacker either. The masalas used seem to be freshly roasted and ground, giving the dish a rich flavor. The base flavor of coconut and tamarind cuts through the spice, leaving behind a lovely sweet n sour after taste. The whole bits of coconut and red chilli give it the much needed kick.

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Pepper Chicken

You can’t have a south indian meal and not have rasam. Here, the chef presented 2 varieties of rasam, including a chicken rasam. The Chicken version was basically a chicken broth with the Chef’s home-made rasam mix. Spicy, yet light, this was a revelation.

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Chicken Rasam

The fish lover in me went gaga over the ‘Meen’ dishes. The meen varuval – a batter fried fish starter, was gulped down by the dozen, with a variety of chutneys and gun powder to give company. Even the fried idlis were crisp and on-point.

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Podi Idli

Dessert was a slight disappointment, as I would have preferred seeing a few more south indian inspired sweet dishes here – maybe a Payassam or a Kesari. The Sevai on offer seemed out of place, and was diluted way too much, to the point if being watery and bland. They had a lovely coconut water, tea and filter coffee stand that made up for the lackluster end to the meal.

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The Chai and Filter Coffee Stall

The service was a bit of a miss, thanks to the long wait for the appams and porrottas. Also, the first few appams were charred from the bottom and raw on the top – possibly due to an over-hot pan or an over-eager sous-chef. Place your order in advance to avoid waiting for these. They did have bisibele bhaat, steamed rice and a passably fragrant chicken biryani to keep you going till the porrottas hit the plate.

Overall, an excellent meal – for 1000++ it definitely hits the spot.

The festival is on till the 16th of this month – you know where to go this weekend!

PS: I was invited as part of blogger table. The Usual Disclaimer applies.

 

MoMo Cafe - Courtyard By Marriott Pune Chakan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato