A decade ago ,Nashik was known as a pilgrim city, a place where Kumbh Mela happened, a place where Ram,Sita and Laxman stayed on exile,and a stopover ,when visiting Shirdi.
But in recent years,the infracture developments has put Nashik amongst the fastest developing cities in the country. And with the best grapes produced here and 35 wineries Nashik is the Wine capital of the country!
And for the best Wine and Dine experience, there is no better place than Sula Vineyards!!
Nashik was our home between 2010-2014 and a hometown that we frequent during these pleasant monsoon weather or winters. We have been fortunate to witness the growth of this humble pilgrim city , into a world class city- in the making!! But its only in those years we spent in Nasik as permanent residents that we did discover and explore Sula Vieyards.. and in last few years its a mandatory stopover whenever we visit our Hometown.
One of our visits happened on Monday , a public holiday.....a perfect gloomy day to visit the lush green vineyards, with the swift monsoon drizzle...and the gentle whispering winds, it couldn't have gotten any better!! With the festivities that the Shravaan month brought , and the overindulgence in rich festive traditional food, we needed a change from the regular lunch options. So we decided to go Italian...
Driving away from the city chaos , we were led into a quiet narrow road surrounded by lush green fields,that transformed into grape plantations,once we approached Sula. Though we had a little trouble managing parking,it being a public holiday,we managed it ,with little help from the security.
lush green grape plantations at the entrance ..Sula
Visiting Sula and not purchasing some of the exotic wines it has to offer ,dosent fit in my agenda.
So we headed upstairs ,watching the bottling plant while ascending the stairs, leading to a Gazebo ,overlooking the lush green vineyards ,and a panaromic view of the Gangapur Dam on the other end. After having enjoyed a glass of Chenin Blanc with a platter of assorted cheeses ,olives and crackers , we made our purchases and headed to Little Italy!
Little Italy , being a chain of vegeterian Italian ristorante..we had visited one at college road ,Nashik. However,guess the Sula Magic worked over this one!! Unlike the earlier experience of a plush ,ambient restaurant , this one had a very rustic finish. Wooden tables and benches over cemented floorings and the wine bottle lamps ,gave a very warm, and homely feel. And with the wooden fence over the landscaped garden....you get the feeling of having walked into an Italian village!(I might be exaggerating though,but just to convey ,how good it felt)
Sula Little Italy Back in 2010-2014
A lot of the layout is changed in last 4-5 years, but Little Italy still stays welcoming and warm!
Coming to the food...nothing's changed, and thank almighty for that.....the taste and the rusticness is just the same, though the menu is more systematic.We had ordered a garlic bread with cheese ,that came out to be a burger bun filled with morzeralla ,served warm. Though rustic, kids of todays times are more used to the fast food aspect of Italian food that the not so Italian food chains dish out. But you cant go wrong with the Pizzaah! we had seen a wood fired oven when entering Little Italy, so the Pizza had to be perfect.
Ordered a Sicilia, that was a nicely baked crisp crusted pizza ,with some beautiful toppings, I loved those picked onions!!There are various customised,Indianised options like Goan, Paneer tikka etc..but I recommend the authentic ones.
The menu also recommends various wines to be paired with specific dishes...but we decided to go with my favourite Chenin Blanc...(120 rupees per glass)
The Pasta was a Barberesca-made in creamy sauce with exotic veggies and a hint of garlic and Parmesan! We decided to go with penne,since we had been warned by the service boys , that the new chef was a bit slow. So we decided to keep it simple ,instead of a gnocchi ,or a ravioli(my earlier experience with ravioli was the best..yummy) This one was creamy , but not cheesy , average! Considering the cost 375 rupees..The Pizza , the same cost , was better when compared to cost and portions.
On our more recent visit , we tried Lasagne and Creamy Penne. Both were delicious. Special mention of Veg Lasagne. The sauce balanced,vegetables not over stuffing the pasta sheets and served piping hot.
We had to wait I bit longer for our dessert.The Chocolate Bomb.....Later we were informed ,that the delay happened,because the chocolate bomb bursted before it was served...Irony....Actually the lava from the cake oozed out before the dessert reached our table.And the restaurant wanted to serve the best and original dessert ,as it should be...So they remade the dessert and served us !The final dessert was worth the wait...A gooey chocolate lava cake ,with oodles with chocolate oozing out neatly served with Vanilla Ice cream ,drizzled with chocolate sauce...heaven!!
Creamy..sweet caramel...absolute delight...
Remarkably good was the creme'e caramel....firm,moderately sweet ,and a wonderful caramel...and eggless...too...I dont like the ones with eggs!!
Classic Tiramisu and Sizzling Brownie....
A visit to Sula is more than just the Wine experience. Its a complete package. Kids playing around in open spaces, beautiful clean air. Grown ups and elderly taking strolls watching the fields and soothing mountain views...a wonderful rejuventaing experience for everyone...
A thumbs up to Little Italy and To the Sula Experience!!
You can visit Sula homepage for further details,and upcoming events!