“K” – Korean Restaurant has recently opened up in Aundh, behind Medipoint restaurant. Serving authentic Korean cuisine, they sure bring some exciting flavors to our palate. #baconbaba was invited for a tasting to this tiny cosy little place.
Here’s a quick run down of my experience.
A dish with Korean-Chinese origins, the Tangsu consists of Batter fried mushrooms with Mixed vegetables and a sweet and sour sauce. The highlight was the thick sweet sticky golden sauce, characterized by the flavor of pineapple and vinegar. Fresh pineapple slivers added to the overall sweetness of the dish.
The Fried Chicken Tangsu had very similar flavours as the mushroom variant. The Red garlic chilly sauce and pickled radish served on the side add a much needed salty/spicy kick to this overall sweet dish.
Jamppong is a Korean-Chinese noodle soup with red, spicy broth flavored with gochutgaru (chili powder). The veg version is loaded with vegetables and mushrooms. While this had quite a hit of spice the strong flavor of mushrooms in the broth was noticable.
Nagasaki Jampong (Sea Food)
A form of Korean Ramen, the Nagasaki Jampong is a lovely sea food broth – prawns, mussel, squid with mixed veggies and pork. Super light, super delicious – a must have for all you sea food lovers!
Clear Noodles Chicken soup
Like the name suggests, this is a simple, clean broth with mixed vegetables and chicken. The strong flavor of the chicken stock shines through.
A thick Black bean paste based gravy with chopped Cabbage, Onion and minced Pork on a bed of noodles. My first taste felt rather bland – the flavors just didn’t work. But mix it all together, and it results in porky noodle awesomeness! The flavor is rich, lightly spiced, minced pork and onions. Most noteworthy was the flavor profile – its different from anything I have tried before.
Best experienced with chopsticks!
K is a great new addition to the ever growing food culture in Pune. A host of new flavors, this brings authentic Korean cuisine to our city. Looking forward to more trips here!
The menu is rather cryptic, so feel free to ask the waiters for advise. And, if you do land up here, be adventurous! Its a great experience.
Cafe Arabia is known for their multiple QSR counters in malls across Pune. They are known for dishing out some of the best Lebanese cuisine in the city. Souk is Cafe Arabia’s first standalone dine in restaurant, taking the Cafe Arabia legacy to the next level.
The Grilled Chicken Greek Salad
Grilled chicken, feta cheese, oregano and fresh veggies makes this a lovely summer salad. The freshness and crunch of the veggies, creamy feta cheese and the oregano based dressing go perfectly with the perfectly grilled chicken.
Crunchy french fries dusted with sumac powder – the sumac gives it a lovely Mediterranean touch adding a bit of spice to the golden fried fries. That being said, the garlic dip didn’t go too well with the fries though – I would love to have these with some ketchup instead!
Hummus Platter with Pita Bread
Cafe Arabia is known for their hummus. This platter adds a dimension, serving four avatars of the delicious creamy hummus – original, basil pesto, jalapeno & harissa and beetroot. The pita bread is coated with za’atar dressing, and that did over-power the delicate flavor of the hummus. Be sure to ask for only a light coating of za’atar next time around.
Falafels (chick pea balls, deep-fried) topped with a bit of garlic yogurt and olives, served with a garlic dip. Beautifully cooked, tasted delicious.
Harrissa Chicken Skewers
These looked delicious, but were a bit of a let down. The harissa gave it an overall spicy heat, but these were under-seasoned. A dash of salt helped make it more palatable.
The best part about this dish was the fact that it was very lightly spiced, allowing the natural flavor of mushrooms to shine through. The gentle char on the top really added a beautiful dimension to the flavor and mouthfeel of the dish
Chicken Black Pepper
A take on the more popular malai tikka, these were rich and creamy. Would have helped if the black pepper flakes were not as massive.
Peppy Paneer and Pesto Mushroom – Half ‘n Half
The paneer was delicious. Pepper, oregano, red bell pepper and grilled paneer – this had the makings of a delicious ‘desi’ pizza. The pesto mushroom didn’t work for me personally – the pesto didn’t work with the mushrooms, leading to a confused palate.
Spiced Minced Lamb
An absolutely gorgeous looking plate of food, this was the highlight of the meal. Lightly spiced minced lamb blended beautifully with the cheese and tomato sauce, leaving us going ‘yummm’ with every bite. The fried egg on top was like a ray of sunshine, taking this spectacular plate of food to another level.
Cafe Arabia is famous for its shawarma. This one, however, was not up to the mark. Over stuffed with the garlic sauce, and the lack of crunch lead it to be totally unbalanced. The pita bread too wasn’t toasted enough, leading to a very ‘meh’ mouth feel.
The Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake
If you like peanut butter, you will LOVE this!
Chocolate Mint Shake
I, personally, am not a fan of mint chocolate. That being said, this ticked all the boxes for a good chocolate mint shake.
Baklava with Ice Cream
I have been a fan of the baklava made by Cafe Arabia. The pastry is crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and is rich with the flavors of honey, cinnamon and nuts. This one is a slight variation of the one they serve at their outlets, shaped like a cup to hold the ice cream. Its good, but felt a bit dense at the inside base of the cup. I prefer the one they serve at the outlet.
Dark Chocolate Tart with Mediterranean Sea Salt
An absolute masterpiece of a dessert, this one is to DIE for! The tart is beautifully crumbly, and the dark chocolate filling is so gooey, it should be a crime! With just the right amount of bitterness creeping through, it makes this such an amazing dessert.
However, the coup de grâce was the sprinkling of the sea salt. That salt cuts through the chocolate like a hot knife through butter, leaving you salivating for more!
Sinful, decadent, major win!
Overall, a great place to chill if you are in the NIBM area. Great stuff!
Its no secret that I love pork (#baconbaba ftw!) So naturally, when I was invited for a pork special tasting, I was excited. I love pork as a meat for 2 reasons – 1. it is extremely versatile in the ways it can be cooked – bacon, ham, smoked, pulled pork, steamed, medium rare, crisp fried, etc. and 2. the inherent flavor of the meat is lovely – that slightly sweet fatty-ness makes it just beautiful. Also, Bubsterrs has a history of having some great pork (anyone remember the pork overload?)
Jumping straight to the new menu, Vidur Mehmi, the chef/owner at Bubsterrs, really knows his meat. Every burger has the meat cooked to perfection – unlike a lot of Indian chefs, he doesn’t believe in incinerating the meat – he has the courage of taking it to the edge, where the meat is pink inside, and just right on the outside. In fact, I would love to see how he treats a steak – i bet he could pull off a medium rare to perfection. But I digress.
The Classic Pork Burg
We started off with the Classic Pork Burg. The simplicity of this burger made me fall in love with it. Light dash of mayo, one slice of tomato, and a bit of lettuce is all that is there, apart from the gorgeous patty itself. The pork patty is lightly seasoned, allowing the natural flavor of the meat to be the star. Lightly grilled on the outside, and perfectly pink in the inside, this one is all about the meat. On a scale of 1 to 10, this one is a major go!
The Spicy Pork Burg
Next up was the Spicy Pork Burg. Don’t let the name fool you – the spice level is low enough for the meekest of intestines. A dash of their inhouse chipotle sauce and a few slices of jalapeno are all that give it the ‘spice’. The patty it self, in addition to the mild seasoning from the classic pork burg, also has a teensy weensy bit of chilli flakes, just to add a bit of oomph to the perfectly cooked burger. And did i say it has crisp fried bacon?
The BBQ’D Pork Burg
On the other end of the spectrum is the BBQ’D Pork Burg. The bacon is glazed in the same bbq sauce that lathers the pork patty itself, lending a lovely sweet n savory flavour to the hole bite. That being said, I could have done with something to cut through the overwhelming sweetness of the overall package (maybe a slice of jalapeno?) This one is perfect for the little ones.
The Massive Porky Lucy
The last one up to the table was the Massive Porky Lucy. A Take on the classic Juicy Lucy, this had a blob of molten cheese right in the middle of the monstrous patty. As you bite into it, the molten cheese oozes out, leaving behind this feeling of awesomeness that only molten cheese can bring to you. Cooked in the classic ‘steaming’ style, the patty is beautifully balanced with the cheese.
They have also introduced a bunch of salads. Now, this is one territory I strictly stay out of, coz of my general aversion towards raw food. But one particular concoction stood out for me, and that was the Chef’s Special Salad.
The Chef’s Special Salad
The Chef’s Special Salad consists of thinly sliced beetroot, glazed in balsamic vinegar reduction, with toasted walnuts, feta cheese and an olive oil/parsley infused dressing. There are few words in there that kind of put me off, including ‘beetroot’ and ‘salad’. But this was a revelation. The beetroot, due to the balsamic vinegar glaze, completely transformed the root vegetable. The sweetness of the beetroot and the balsamic vinegar, along with the seasoning, the crunch of the almonds, and the fresh veggies, resulted in a mouth feel like no other. For possibly the first time in my life, baconbaba is recommending a salad!
Guys, if you are looking for a pork burger, this is the place to head to. #baconbaba approved!
The Kolhapuri Lavangi – A tiny little chili bomb local to this area.This is the flavor that defines Kolhapuri cuisine. But is it really?
There is a saying in Marathi – ‘Tikkhat manjhe swadisht naahi‘ (spicy doesn’t mean tasty). So which is it? Tikkhat? Or Swadisht? That’s what I was craving to find out.
As I had an opportunity to spend a day in Kolhapur with a good friend (who, incidentally, is a local of this city), I had to eat my way through this city. Here are some of the best spots I hit:
Hotel Parakh: Special Mutton Fry Thali
We landed in Kolhapur just around lunch time. The drive form Pune had left us ravenous, and we totally looking forward to our first meal in Kolhapur.
Hotel Parakh is a simple, no frills place with a basic menu – they do what they do best.
One of the best mutton thalis I’ve had in a long long time. Hotel Parakh, Kolhapur puts out this gorgeous plate of meat with perfectly cooked mutton fry and a lovely mutton kheema. 250/- for this plate of awesomeness is a steal!
But the showstopper here are the twin rassa bowls – Tambda and Pandhra.
The Pandhra rassa is a lovely white mutton stock base, lightly spiced. Dunk your bhakri and mutton fry to oomph up the flavors, or drink it up as a soup.
The Tambda rassa is spicy, but not what you expect. Cooked in mutton stock, you can see bits of Mutton fat floating around, giving it a bit of richness that only fat can give. It has a spectacular back of the throat hit, without putting your palate on fire. You can happily chug a few bowls of this fiery looking gravy without feeling numb lips or burning your throat. If anything, it triggers the taste buds, taking this lovely thali to the next level.
A whole lane dedicated to Kolhapuri Chappal stores? This one I could not miss!
The best Vada Pav in Kolhapur?
Right at the bustling Rankala lake sits Mr Ramchandra Patil, owner of Priyadarshini Mobile Canteen. What really set this apart is the MASSIVE vada served with a slice of bread and coconut chutney. The jumbo vada pav is delicious, very different from what we get in Pune/Mumbai, and the chutney truly makes it a delicious experience
Will the real All India Bhel please stand up?
All India Bhel is one of the iconic spots of Kolhapur. Affectionately known as ‘Raja Bhau Bhel Center’, this was set up in 1965. Over 50 years, they have created their legacy, and defined the street food scene in Kolhapur. The entire street where this is located is lined with food stalls, with the maximum crowds gathering around Raja Bhau Bhel Center
They work at lightning speed, preparing your bhel, customized to your liking (dry/wet, spicy/medium) in less than 30 seconds. Take a look:
The bhel itself is delicious – sweet, spicy, sour, with hints of raw mango, garlic chutney and chillies.
The funny part is the number of ‘All India Bhel Center’s that have propped up. I counted about 15 of them in a line at Rankala lake. All of them serve great stuff, no doubt, but the original is undoubtedly the best 🙂
Dinner Scenes – Mutton at Opal
Another one of the iconic food spots in Kolhapur, Hotel Opal was set up in 1968. Today, about 50 years later, they continue to carry on the legacy. The food here is excellent. Must try the mutton thali (tambda-pandhra rassa, mutton fry, mutton curry and bhakri). Do not miss the solkadi to cool down the senses.
Dessert Feels – Imperial Cold Drink House
Imperial goes beyond being called a legacy. Set up in 1910, this centurion is Kolhapur at its finest. Do not miss the Imperial Special Cocktail (with cake). Ice cream, milkshake, tooti fruity, jelly, dry fruits, fresh fruits (if u r lucky, u’ll get mango bits too) – this has it all. This is an absolute must after the spicy tambda rassa!
We noticed this board on the way to Imeprial, and HAD to try it out. It is exactly as the name suggests – hot basundi, mixed with hot tea. The taste? Well, imagine drinking tea with condensed milk – super sweet, dessert-y, thick, creamy, with a flavour of tea. Definitely worth a try. You’ll find them lined up along Shivaji chowk after 5PM in the evening.
You can’t leave Kolhapur without eating Misal! Breakfast the next day is Misal at the oldest Misal joint in Kolhapur – Hotel Bawada Misal.
Established in 1923, they serve a form a misal very different from what we get in Pune. The tarri is a lot thinner, and contains a blend of matki, chana and potatoes, topped with shaved coconut and dahi. And contrary to popular belief, it isn’t burn your mouth spicy. It is a very balanced blend of spices, that will keep you craving for more.
One day is not enough to explore the true beauty of the food that this lovely city has to offer. But what I experienced in these 24 hours provided me enough fuel to go back on another gastronomical excursion to further explore this city. #baconbaba will be back!
Omlette! Perfect breakfast, ideal lunch or a light dinner – the one size fits all meal!
Cabaret, with its slick interiors and black n red furniture screams class. Its diverse menu with an emphasis on east asian food has been taking baner by storm over the past few months since its opening.
They have started an Omlette Festival this month to add a few interesting eggy delights to their menu. I was invited with my family to try out some of these preparations.
Baked Western Omlette:
In all honesty, this was a regular cheese Omlet, with all the bells and whistles. A generous amount of cheese, topped with veggies, the baked omlette is fluffy, and delicious. Served with garlic toast and baked beans, this is one Omlette that you can’t go wrong with.
A sunny side up, topped with cherry tomatoes, this does have a hit of spice to it. Chilly oil and chilli flakes made it spicy. Not one for the faint hearted, this one a definitely worth a try.
The Omurice at Cabaret consists of Chicken fried rice topped with an omlette and barbecue sauce. The bbq sauce was a bit too sweet for my palate, but the fried rice was yummy, leading to this being an excellent brunch item.
Opening hours for Cabaret Baner are 7am daily, making this the perfect breakfast place. Priced at 200/- a pop, the omlette Festival items are at par with all other similar joints in the area.
Definitely one to visit in the near future. The Omlette Festival is on till 28th of Feb. This menu is available at all the Peter Donuts outlets as well.
The word evokes feelings of a chilled out, lazy, long meal, filled with fun, laughter, booze, and copious amounts of food! How else can you define combining two meals into one – BReakfast+lUNCH! And Friends, Food, Fun – These three words define the experience I had at Hoppipola, Aundh a few weeks back, as I tried out there new brunch menu with #TheBTEAM fam.
Drinks for Brunch?
No brunch can be complete without the ‘happiness’ of alchohol. And Hoppipola pulls out all stops with their exhaustive cocktail menu. Some ingenious, yet potent cocktails later, you can’t help swaying to the awesome music playing in the background
The Bull Frog
My personal drink of choice, this Redbull-Vodka concoction definitely pulls no punches. If you are a Redbull fan, this should be your first choice!
The Long Island Iced Tea
The LIIT is the usual choice of beverage for those looking for a delicious, potent option. Spiked with a multitude of ‘white’ drinks, this is one is no slouch in the ‘kick; department!
The White Wine Sangria
The quintessential brunch drink, wine lovers will be happy drinking this by the gallon
The Mezze Platter
A beautiful combo of breads and dips, the Mezze platter provides multiple options to munch on while sipping.
Can’t really go wrong with Nachos – available in both Veg and Non-Veg versions, Nachos are the perfect snack. You can’t really stop at one. I do wish these were a bit more loaded with cheese and toppings, since the ones at the bottom were left dry.
Railway Canteen Chicken Cutlets
These are basically chicken nuggets with a fancy name. Crispy outer layer, minced chicken inside, these are little bundles of deep fried goodness. Still can’t figure out the name though. Is it a reference to the heart shaped cutlets you get on the Indian Railways trains? They may need to reshape the cutlets to evoke those memories 🙂
Cajun Rubbed Grilled Fish
Fish filet with a cajun spice rub, grilled to perfection. Whats not to love? Served with a spicy mayo, these are brilliant.
Paneer Pita Pockets
I didn’t quite get the concept of these. Dry pita bread, dry stuffing, with virtually no sauce to speak of. This one was a miss.
Barbecued Chicken Wings
Chicken wings in barbecue sauce are usually a delight to eat. However, the sauce did feel a bit too sweet for my liking.
Grilled Chicken Pizza
A delightful thin crust pizza, with chicken tikka, bell peppers, & jalapeno, the pizza was something we reordered. Thrice. Loved it.
The veg version wasn’t too bad either
They also have a live pasta station, where they can prepare your choice of pasta, in your choice of sauce. Good stuff overall
If you do have the space left for mains, they have a couple of options, including veg/non-veg biryani and Bhurji Pao. I was a bit surprised at seeing bhurji pao for brunch. I mean, seriously?
You can’t miss out desserts now can you? Sadly, the choice of desserts was very limited
Chocolate Mud Pie
The Chocolate Mud Pie felt more like a brownie than a mud pie. A delicious brownie, nonetheless.
Vanilla Pannacotta with Berry Coulis
This one missed the mark. It didn’t have the trademark jiggle – felt over set and too gelatinous.
Would I go there again?
Desserts apart, the brunch at Hoppipola is great. Priced at 555/- for food only, and 444/- for drinks (unlimited), you can’t really find a better deal. The food is good, the vibe is great, and the drinks are boozy. What more can you ask for?
Sarjaa – The name evokes memories of a hotel straight out of the 90’s – waiters in white uniforms, white and red checked table cloths, dim lighting, good Indian comfort food (read: butter chicken) and ghazals playing in the background. So you would pardon my surprise when I received an invite from Radio One to visit Sarjaa for a food tasting.
But much to my astonishment, Sarjaa is no longer the establishment it was. Flanking the entrance is a board that proudly says “Indian Fine Dine”. This definitely piqued my interest. As I walked in through the beautiful wooden doors, I immediately noticed the change to the overall decor – gone are the checkered mats and the liveried waiters. Instead, you see clean white lines, bold colors, and a sharp bar. the al-fresco dining area now is lined with a lot of greenery, while the all day cafe section has a chic vibe – definitely a place you would like to chill with friends over a coffee or a beer (they have Bira on tap!)
The food, on the other hand, remains the same. The classic dishes that Sarjaa is famous for, still feature in the new and improved menu card. They have added some dishes to the Chinese menu, however, I would stick to the classics.
We started off with the Mutton Boti kabab. A version of a mutton sheekh kabab – this was a great way of starting off the meal. Soft, tenderized mince meat, rolled into sheek kababs, these were as near perfect as you could get in this area.
We also tried the Kharda Kolcha Kombdi – a form of chicken tandoori coated with Thecha – a green chilli chutney popular in Maharashtra. The spice of the green chilli definitely hit the mark, and for lovers of spicy food, this is a go!
For the vegetarians, we ordered a Kothimbir aur Cheese ke Chapete. The name is self descriptive – the cheesy center was gooey as ever.
For mains, we could not possibly miss the Sarjaa’s Butter Chicken. A slightly spicier version of the classic, the version dished out at Sarjaa is absolutely mind-blowing. Super rich, creamy, yet not overwhelmingly sweet, the bite of green chilly makes its presence felt. Coupled with a soft butter naan, the SBC is a must have when visiting this place.
The mutton Rogan Josh and the Daal Makhani are two more dishes that we truly relished. Perfectly cooked, melt in the mouth mutton pieces, in a gorgeous brown gravy with hints of ginger-garlic and black pepper, the Rogan Josh was our next favorite after wiping off the Butter Chicken. The Daal Makhani was well cooked and creamy, with an undertone of a slow cooked smoky flavor that a great Daal Makhani must have.
They have limited options for desserts – we had to cheese between Gulab Jamun, Ice Cream and Malai Kulfi – we chose the Kulfi. This was a bit of a let down, as they outsource the desserts. Definitely room for improvement here. I would recommend finishing off mains here, and taking a walk down the road to check out the other dessert places in the vicinity.
Overall, the face-lift definitely makes this classic establishment feel fresh and clean. The Al-fresco area is a delight to dine in. The food maintains its classic feel. The only downside here is the plating. I would definitely like to see them work on the presentation, particularly since they are now re-branding themselves as “Indian Fine Dine”. You do eat with your eyes after all!
That being said, you can’t really go wrong here. Step in to the new and improved Hotel Sarjaa and relish the glory that it is.
The Usual Disclaimer
I was invited for the tasting event as part of the Radio One Pune Food Trails. The Usual Disclaimer applies.
I have waxed eloquent about how Murphies, KP, Pune is elevating the humble aloo-bataka in one of my previous blog posts. Recently, they did up their upstairs section, converting it into a swanky, yet chilled out bar section. #TheBTeam was invited to sample some of the offerings on the bar menu
With a new bar, comes new food! Well, to be honest, the Coconut Prawns is not a new item – they did have the Coconut prawns on their menu. And if I remember correctly, the original recipe tasted more like a coconut ‘peda‘ wrapped around a prawn.
Well, the chef at Murphies seems to have got it spot on this time. Coconut shavings, and a mustard sauce lend themselves beautifully to the dish – making the prawn shine through. Reminded me of the Sorse Bata Chingri – a Bengali preparation involving prawns and mustard sauce. Absolutely delectable!
Fried Chicken Murphs
Not to be left behind were the Fried Chicken Murphs. Bits of fried chicken (similar to popcorn chicken from a KFC, if that makes sense), drowning in melted cheese and the potato jacket – doesn’t get any better.
Barbeque Pork Crisps
And my favorite dish from this bataka menu – Barbeque Pork Crisps: A dish that had me drooling like the pig! Beautiful slivers of barbeque pork, with sweet sticky sauce, over crisp salty potato crisps, served with a tart yogurt dip. Sweet, sour, salty, crispy, gooey… Flavor and texture heaven. Perfect balance. Spectacular dish.
The vegetarian side of things isn’t too bad either. the Mushrooom Rissotto is arguably the best variant of this Italian dish (often described as the death dish in Masterchef Australia) Al-dente rice, loads of cheese and cream and butter, and that lovely delicate flavor of mushrooms with parsley – this dish was so good, we reordered it – correction – I reordered a veg dish! Its a buttery, cheesy, creamy, flavorful, mouthful of ecstasy!
Also, worth a mention were the Beef quesadillasand the Chicken Strips.
The Grilled Fishserved to us was pretty good – though I personally preferred the prawns. There was a disagreement at the table on which was better. Its up to you I guess – if you prefer mild lemon butter sauce flavors of the fish or the strong mustard-coconut flavor of the prawns.
As this is a bar, drinks are a given. Do no miss the Chocolatini! A chocolate based liqueur cocktail, this was so damn delicious! All you Baileys lovers out there will trip over this one for sure!
The new Murphies menu has a lot going for them. They add on to an already impressive line up, and continue taking the humble aloo to the higher echelons of gastronomy!
This Sunday evening saw #theBTeam heading to the newly inaugurated Bombay Diaries at CityPoint, DP Road. This is located right next to Mainland China, where Oh! Calcutta and Bombay Brasserie used to operate a few years back.
Bombay Diaries runs on a very Mumbai oriented theme. With waiters dressed as Mumbai taxi drivers and the captains managing them dressed as traffic police officers, it has a very fun vibe overall. Completely open air, they also have live music playing on a daily basis. Beautifully lit up, the decor feels pretty chilled out for a nice evening with drinks and dinner.
Bombay Diaries is the brain child of Chef Deepu Alamchandani of the Cafe Mestizo fame, so great tasting food is a given! The surprise here are the range of cocktails – super innovative, with an excellent price point (all between 150-300 for cocktails). The cocktails are served in quarter (180 ml) sized ‘desi daru’ / ‘tharra’ bottles, and salt rimmed chai glasses, leading to a very cool feel
Going with the Mumbai feel, the drinks are Bollywood themed. The collective favorite, Chulbul (150/-), a grenadine, lemonade flavored vodka based cocktail, with a strong flavor of jaljeera – felt like a kala khatta soda and was brilliant. Multiple rounds were ordered for this one.
Giving Salman company was Katrina, as Chikni Chameli (150/-), a strawberry, cucumber vodka based cocktail. This was lighter, but just as enjoyable.
Drink Master Gogo (150/-) came to the table with a ‘Dhakki Chiki Dhakki Chiki Dhakki Chiki Dha!” This took us back to the Andaz Apna Apna era with a Rasna flavored vodka mix! My personal favorite, this is a must have!
The Bombay Thumakda was a surprise for me. It is described as Strawberry, Roohafza, milk concentrate, vodka. I am not a fan of rooafza, but this was superb! Almost on the lines of an Irish Cream, this truly proves that – Doodh hai wonderful, pi sakte hai roz glassful! 😉
The other cocktails we tried were also pretty innovative and delicious. Each cocktail is also available in a mocktail version, so the sole teetotaler was happy too.
Giving excellent company to the drinks were a whole range of delicious starters
Mutton Seekh Lucknowi – This was my favorite! Boasting some beautiful smoky flavors, these tender skewers of mutton were a delight to eat.
TBD Special Murg Tikka – Succulent kababs of chicken, stuffed with chicken kheema and melted cheese. Absolute delight to eat! Break open one and you can see the cheese oozing out. Sigh….
The stuffed paneer tikkas are, in simple terms, a bread pattice with extremely soft paneer tikkas. An excellent option for the herbivores inclined
The Murgh Seekh Galafi is a chicken seekh kabab, served on a wooden truck! The kababs were succulent, though slightly overpowered with elaichi
After the heavy barrage of appetizers and cocktails, we finally mustered the courage to move on to the mains. We started of with the Dal Bukhara. Dal Bukhara, the grand-daddy of the Dal Makhani, is a creamy, slow cooked black dal with rajma / black bean. It is characterized by the smoky rich flavor it carries due to the traditional coal fires it is cooked on. The Chef at Bombay Diaries managed to incorporate the smokiness into the dal using a chulha, giving it a near-authentic flavor. This is a #MustTry at Bombay Diaries.
Paired with the Chilli Cheese Garlic Naan, the Dal Bukhara was at another level all together.
Another spectacular vegetarian item I tried here was the Kurkuri Bhindi Masala. Crisp fried Bhindi over a layer of delicious thick gravy – this is a must for every bhindi fan!
One dish I had my eye on was the Nalli Nihari. And I was not disappointed. Perfectly cooked mutton, rich, creamy, thick sauce, chock full of a pure mutton flavor. You could distinctly taste the flavor of marrow in the sauce.
To end this glorious evening, we were served some delectable soft sexy voluptuous Gulab Jamuns and some surprisingly not too sweet Gajar ka Halwa, putting a perfect end to a kickass dinner!
Barbeque Ville opened their doors at Kaspate Vasti, Wakad on Valentine’s Day. In just 1 week, they have managed to capture the imagination of food lovers in the area.
Location: Kaspate Vasti, Wakad, Near Hotel Ambiance Excellency (Google maps)
#baconbaba was invited for an exclusive tasting last night, and the sight of a jam-packed restaurant on a Wednesday evening was testament to the fact that BV has tasted early success.
Barbeque Ville, in their words, is a ‘Grille-on-table’ restaurant. We have a few other examples of these restaurants, where you have a coal-pit on your table, with meats brought on skewers and grilled right there. What sets them apart, is the competitive pricing – the Non-Veg buffet costs a very reasonable 550/- INR! This includes all taxes, service tax, VAT etc.
The decor follows more or less the same ‘template’ as other similar barbecue restaurants. Large open space, grills on the tables, bright lighting, and excellent service. At this price point, this place is perfect for corporate parties and team outings – it should fot most corporate team budgets.
The grilled section includes Chicken, Fish (basa), Prawns, Mushroom, Paneer and my ‘guilty pleasure’, skewered Pineapple 🙂 All the grilled items were delicious, my favorite being the basa fish. Crisp on the outside, soft inside – perfectly cooked.
On the downside, I found the prawns slightly overcooked. Also, apart from the green chutney, the dips served along with these didn’t really go with the Indian flavored barbecue meats. I wish they had included a couple of more Indian style chutneys to compliment the kababs.
The Maratha Tangdi is a rather innovative way to serve the Tangdi kababs. The chicken legs are served, skewered across a sword! Juicy, beautifully coated with mild spices, perfectly grilled.
They also have a chat ‘thela’ serving pani-puri, dahipuri, sev puri, bhel and spdp. Once specialty is the Pineapple puri – pani-puri with pineapple juice inside. I personally found it way too sweet.
The starters also included a Chicken or Veg sizzler. I didn’t really care too much for this as the chicken just missed the ‘sizzle’. It was more of a pan tossed chicken starter thrown onto a leaf of lettuce on a sizzler plate. The steamed veggies served along-side were delicious though!
By the time we were done with the starters, we were almost full! However, we moved on to the mains. And I was captivated.
The Mutton Paya Shorba was quite tasty – lightly flavored mutton stock, with a nice spice hit – exactly how a shorba should taste! The Malwani Fish curry and the Chicken Kadai – overflowing with pieces of fish and chicken respectively and the mutton Rogan Josh with bien cuit chunks of mutton went perfectly with the soft naans.
Mutton Rogan Josh
Malwani Fish Curry
But the magnum opus of this gastronomic symphony was the Mustard Crabs. Aaah, the mustard gravy – exactly like a bengali ‘shorshe-bata’ curry. The mild spice hit of the ground mustard sauce along with the generous amounts of crab was just sublime.
The mains also had Barista Pulao, Steamed Rice, Veg Mushroom Noodles, Salads, Dal Rajma, Dal Palak, Thai Yellow Curry, Aloo Lasooni, Paneer Badashahi, Veg Makhani and Veg Garlic Soup
Rice / Noodles
The Aloo Lasooni and the Dal Rajma were my personal picks among the veg items
By this time, we had almost no space for desserts! But I simply cannot pass up a gulab jamun or caramel custard. Ended having 2 of each, and bits of the other desserts.
Besan ke Laddoo
The Dessert Range
Overall, Barbeque Ville provides an excellent dining experience, at almost half the rate of other more ‘established’ chains. To serve such good quality sea food at these prices is what gives this restaurant a super-duper-double-decker high-five! Definitely a must visit if you are in this part of town!
I was invited to try the buffet. While the buffet I was treated was the same as that provided to the general public, The Usual Disclaimer applies.
Polka dots – bistro & bar, Westend mall, Aundh
A couple of days back Polka dots started their much awaited Bistro at Westend mall. Located next to Shoppers Stop in the GF section, this is a huge step up from their original site. Swanky, classy, high end are words that pop into your head as you walk into Polka Dots Bistro and Bar. Do not get mislead by the term ‘bar’ – they serve only mocktails for now.
While they have retained their ‘Polka Dots legends’ like the Gescnetzetes and Paprica Chicken, their expanded menu boasts some amazing sounding dishes.
We started off with a White Orchid, a guava and lime based mocktail and a lemon iced tea. Both were beautifully made, refreshing to the core.
Lemon Iced Tea
For starters, we ordered the Thai pork Balls – mince pork balls served with a light fish sauce. I wish the minced pork had been a tad more moist.
Thai Pork balls
Fish and chips were excellent as always, with the tarter sauce playing the perfect accompaniment. Pihu wiped it off.
Fish n Chips
Main course included the Bratwurst with Onion relish – delightful presentation, sticky sweet onion relish, classic as always
I ordered the Buffalo Tenderloin Steak. All i say is I am still looking for a chef in Pune who has the guts /talent to cook a medium rare steak. Here again the steak turned out slightly tough and medium well. I could possibly blame the quality of the meat though. Served with and onion jam, veggies and a cheese covered baked potato, the accompaniments were excellent.
We ended the meal with the absolutely phenomenal Philadelphia Blueberry Cheese cake and a rather runny Red Velvet Lava Cake.
While Polka dots has a new avatar, it retains its old charm,with familiar faces to take your order. Stick to the old favorites. The new items, while beautifully plated, are a hit n miss.