Sayaji – A Culinary Experience

Located bank on the Mumbai-Pune express highway, you cannot miss this iconic structure – a nine storied hotel. For the business community especially the ICT fraternity Sayaji is located right in the middle of the IT hub – Hinjewadi.

Arriving at Sayaji we had a contactless check in as we had already sent our details as well as scanned copies of Aadhar card. We were first allotted a suite on the first floor so that we could experience the old suite and then the next day shifted to the 7th floor suite which had been renovated. Truly there was a huge difference – the lighting, additional bathroom and a comfortable recliner as well as a foot massager.

When we checked in the lobby was well decorated for Christmas with a Christmas tree and a Santa moving around the lobby and restaurants.

Spread across the nine floors the hotel has 241 rooms divided into two categories: the Grande and Sayaji Grande suites (prior to COVID every floor had its own reception, staff, a separate small lobby with magazines and overlooking the main lobby and the express highway and other exclusive features).

I caught up with Ajay Kanojia, GM, Sayaji Hotels who is playing a pivotal role in the renovation and expansion of the property. “We were in the process of revamping all our rooms and finished top three floors when the COVID stopped all the work. But we will be restating soon. Also we had a vacant space adjacent to the hotel and we will be having a huge banqueting space – so when the government permits large MICE events we will be prepared,” said a smiling Ajay Kanojia.

On the F&B front Sayaji Pune has been a grand success. To protect both guests and their employees during COVID the hotel has placed transparent screens made from acrylic at the food counters. So the guest does not touch the food container and the chefs/stewards serve on the empty plate. “Coronavirus-safety barriers or protective barriers are bound to become the future of indoor dining. Where it’s difficult to maintain six feet of separation, these screens help enforce social distancing. We were quick to adopt it in our hotels and today guests appreciate it,” said Ajay Kanojia.

We enjoyed the numerous dishes and must admit the quality and the taste of food was superb. We relished breakfast and lunch at Portico, Sayaji Pune’s flagship restaurant that offers all day dining. On the Christmas eve there was a musical program at the hotels poolside restaurant – TurQue. The dinner was an experience.

Junior Sous Chef Sandeep Singh truly took us on a culinary journey on the second night when we decided to have room service. Staring with chaat – Palak patta chaat, Sevpuri, Dahipuri followed by starters, Bhune mirchka paneer tikka, Tandoori subz hariyali. The main dishes were Veg- dal makhani, Veg diwani handi, Steamed rice and assorted rotis. The desserts included the chefs specialty – blue berry cheese cake.

To gives us a taste of the bakery items Chef Sandeep Singh prepared a takeaway comprising of some yummy bakery items – pastries, muffins, croissants and choclates for us to carry back to Mumbai. It was packed expertly in small boxes so there was no spillover. On reaching home my daughter also relished the bakery items.

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