#KRRC RIDE – 234 GHAT TRAINING SESSION 29th Nov – a baconbaba blog

KRCC ki Paathshala! pc: Karan A.

29th November marked the start of a series of much awaited training sessions organized by the Knight Riderz Riding Club (KRRC). The first session was the Ghat Riding training session.

With the seniors in the club having clocked several thousands of kilometers riding in some of the most toughest terrains in India (and abroad too), this was one session not to be missed!

We met at 6AM at the kick off point, where the pre-ride briefing was given.

Pre-ride briefing, 6 AM, Khadi Machine Chowk, Kondhwa | pc: Sid Shirke

The groups were split up very logically into 7 groups, based on the type of bike and the power/weight dynamics of the bike. This categorization made a lot of sense since though the basic theory/techniques remain the same, the weight and power of the bike play a huge part in the way it would behave while riding.

Grouping of riders by bike category

Each group had a ride leader assigned who would be mentoring the members in that group. The riders left the morning assembly point under the same ride leaders that they were assigned to.

As we reached the spot where the training was planned to start, we were baffled by how beautiful the location was. A small plateau in the middle of the Bopdev ghats surrounded by clouds – this was the perfect setting to kick off the training session. School aisi jagah pe hota toh aur bohot sare bacche padne aate!

We started off with an interactive session by Shohrat Shankar and Surinder Singh – two founders of the group. This covered cornering, overtaking, tilts, and several other critical factors related to riding in the ghats. they also shared some interesting anecdotes from their own rides in various parts of the world.

Shohrat and Suri – our trainers for part 1 | PC: Sid Shirke

The theory session was followed by introduction of new riders as well as felicitations of riders who had completed some important milestones.

Congratulations to all the riders for achieving their riding milestones
Karan 🙌🏽🙌🏽 75 Rides
Puneet 👏🏽👏🏽 50 Rides
Arko 💪🏽💪🏽 10 rides
Pinakin, Vikas, Saurabh, Sandeep, Imran, Jayanth & Prashant 👍🏽👍🏽 5 rides

A quick snack break later, everyone geared up, waiting to put all the theory into practice. What followed was an intensive ride session. Each ride leader took each member on a ride on their own bike through a selected ghat section with some crazy twisties and mad angles so the rider could understand the gear shifts, breaking, and acceleration techniques. Immediately after, the rider took over with the leader sitting behind.

I personally felt an increase in confidence in both myself as well as my bike, and was able to maneuver the bike in a much safer, yet marginally faster way through the turns. We also took a few laps ourselves post our “guided” ride, to practice the techniques taught. It did take a bit of unlearning, to lose the habit of hitting the brakes in a curve, and let the gear shift/engine braking do its magic. But the feeling of accelerating perfectly out of a sharp turn is absolutely brilliant!

All in all, this was an absolutely brilliant session! I dont know how many ‘riding clubs’ out there take out time to teach their brothers, but the patience and dedication of the seniors and leaders of the club was par excellence.

A big thank you to all the ride leaders for taking out time today
Shohrat, Suri, Karan, Puneet, Mayur, Aniket, Amey, Sid, Prashant, Umesh & Abhinay. These guys are awesome! Cannot thank them enough for sharing their valuable experience and expertise by guiding the riders. 🙏🏽

Next session is the off roading session – that one is going to be something else!

Until next time, here’s the BaconBaba signing off!

Bubsterrs Porky Burgers!

The Love for Pork!

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?)

Porky Perfection

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!

baconbaba bubsterrs classic pork
The Classic Pork Burg

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?

baconbaba bubsterrs spicy pork
The Spicy Pork Burg

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.

baconbaba bubsterrs bbq pork burger
The BBQ’d Pork Burg

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.

baconbaba bubsterrs porky lucy
The Massive Porky Lucy

Salads? Really?

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!

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The Chef’s Special Salad

Guys, if you are looking for a pork burger, this is the place to head to. #baconbaba approved!


I was invited to be part of blogger’s table. The Usual Disclaimer applies.


Bubsterr's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch Feels – Many Funs, Much Chills at Hoppipola!

Brunch!
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.
hoppipola baconbaba thebteam grouphoppipola baconbaba thebteam clocks hoppipola baconbaba thebteam menu

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

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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

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LIIT!

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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam sangria
Sangria

The quintessential brunch drink, wine lovers will be happy drinking this by the gallon

Starters

The Mezze Platter

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam mezze
Mezze Platter

Mezze Platter

A beautiful combo of breads and dips, the Mezze platter provides multiple options to munch on while sipping.

Cheesy Nachos

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam nacho
Nacho!

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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam chicken cutlets
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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam fish
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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam paneer pita
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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam chicken wings
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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam chicken pizza
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

Mains

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?

Bhurji Pao

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Chicken Biryani

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Desserts

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.

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Vanilla Pannacotta with Berry Coulis

This one missed the mark. It didn’t have the trademark jiggle – felt over set and too gelatinous.

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam pannacota
Vanilla Pannacotta

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?

Definitely worth a revisit!


I was invited for the tasting event. The Usual Disclaimer applies.


Hoppipola Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sarjaa, Aundh – Face-lifted Classics

The Classics

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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba entrance

sarjaa aundh baconbaba lata mangeshkar

The Facelift

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!)

sarjaa aundh baconbaba cafe

sarjaa aundh baconbaba alfresco

The Food

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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba menu

Starters

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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba mutton boti
Mutton Boti

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!

sarjaa aundh baconbaba kharda kolcha kombdi
Kharda Kolcha Kombdi

For the vegetarians, we ordered a Kothimbir aur Cheese ke Chapete. The name is self descriptive – the cheesy center was gooey as ever.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba dhaniya cheese chapete
Kothimbir aur Cheese ke Chapete

Mains

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.

butter chicken
Sarjaa’s Butter Chicken

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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba butter chicken dal makhani
Mains

Desserts

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.

The Verdict

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.

Find them on Zomato

Sarjaa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Authentic Gharghuti style Maharashtrian food at Wakad, Pune!

I had been craving for some authentic Maharashtrian mutton since the day Shyam​ bhai posted about his weekend gorging session. So the moment Rajdeep Dalvi​ called me to invite me to his newly opened restaurant Dakkhan Spice at Wakad, I jumped at the opportunity.

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The restaurant itself is a humble little place. Clean and well lit, the seating is basically wooden benches. The overall ambiance is simple and very homely, much like the food.

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We started off with Surmai Fry (250/-). The fish was fresh as ever, and was lightly coated with a crisp layer of masala. Even my 3 yo daughter Pihu freaked out on this.

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Surmai Fry

The Prawns Masala (180/-) was a mind blowing dish. Our collective reaction was “WOW”. The onion-garlic based masala was perfectly balanced, felt like something we would happily cook and serve at home. This was deserved to be re-ordered.

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Prawns Masala

I ordered the Mutton Thali (325/-) – and the mutton masala was spectacular. Again, non-spicy, but beautifully balanced flavors. the mutton was cooked so tender, I ended up ordering another plate of the same. The rassa served with the thali had a good hit of spice for the burn-chasers out there.

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We ended with Milk Pudding, aka Kharvas. They lightly flavored the kharavasache milk with saffron and cinnamon, giving the delicious dessert a lovely twist.

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Kharvas

The food at Dakkhan Spice is cooked by Mrs Dalvi, and she brings her Kolhapuri roots to the plate. Overall, the food, unlike popular belief, is not burn-your-mouth spicy, but instead, extremely balanced, with freshly ground, slow roasted spices, balanced by hints of sweetness. Gharghuti style food does not get better!

Loved it!

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I was invited for a complimentary food tasting. The Usual Disclaimer applies.


Dakkhan Spice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1 BHK Superbar – Bar Haute’ Kitchen!

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1BHK is an uber-chic upscale restro-pub just off Balewadi High Street. Immaculate designs, ultra-modern interiors and funky decor is what really gives it the ooomph factor.

We started off with a round of cocktails. The Long Island Iced Tea uses premium spirits, making it very smooth. The Liquid Paan has all the flavors of a meetha paan, with a solid kick of vodka. 1BHK Bartender’s Special Vodka Cheesecake Fusion was a delicious liquid version of the cheese cake. Served with a Philly Cheese Cake, its a beautiful dessert cocktail.

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LIIT

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LIIT

1BHK Bartender's Special Vodka Cheesecake Fusion
1BHK Bartender’s Special Vodka Cheesecake Fusion

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Liquid Paan

Garlic Mushrooms with Pita Bread was a hit. The garlic mushrooms were in a cheesy sauce, with burnt garlic sprinkled over the top. The Pita Bread goes perfectly with this.

Garlic Mushrooms with Pita Bread
Garlic Mushrooms with Pita Bread

The Shepherds Pie was an absolute revelation. Baked dish with minced lamb, chock full of flavors – this is one of those dishes that you cannot stop eating.

Shephards Pie
Shepherds Pie

The Butter Chicken Nazza – the original version of Naanza, one bite of this feels like a naan and butter chicken in your mouth. Their butter chicken is delicious (more about that later) and the naan base is soft, overall, an excellent dish.

Butter Chicken Naaza 
Butter Chicken Nazza

Zaatar Marinated Roast Chicken is a lovely roasted chicken breast with Arabic flavors. Served over a bed of quinoa, this is a delicious, healthy dish.

Zaatar Marinated Roast Chicken
Zaatar Marinated Roast Chicken

While I am not a fan of Paneer Steaks, the 1BHK Cottage Cheese Steak in JD Sauce is a revelation. The JD Sauce is absolutely delicious. A sweet and spicy barbecue sauce infused with Jack Daniels takes a puny paneer steak to the upper echelons of gastronomy.

1BHK Cottage Cheese Steak in JD Sauce
1BHK Cottage Cheese Steak in JD Sauce

Grilled John Dory with Almond Rosemary Dressing is the perfect example of respecting the produce. The Grilled John Dory fish is beautifully cooked, and very lightly flavored. The almond and rosemary adds a delicate layer of flavor without overpowering the flavor of the fish itself.

Grilled John Dory with Almond Rosemary Dressing
Grilled John Dory with Almond Rosemary Dressing

The star of the meal is the 1BHK Butter Chicken Platter. Arguably one of the best butter chicken I have eaten in Pune, this is absolutely delicious. The pickled onions (sirke waale pyaaz) served along with it adds a lovely crunch to it. What really sets it apart is the curry is thick, not overly sweet, tastes a lot like the butter chicken in Chandigarh and with huge chunks of tandoori chicken, this is a win!

1BHK Butter Chicken Platter
1BHK Butter Chicken Platter

With a 2BHK, 3BHK and hopefully, a 4BHK coming in, this is one excellent spot to eat out or party.


I was invited to be part of blogger’s table. The Usual Disclaimer applies.


1BHK Superbar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Unwind, Pune – Chill scenes

The latest entrant to the KP night-life scene – Unwind, Pune, brings with it a superb experience for patrons. Located right next to Hard Rock Cafe, Unwind spreads over 3 different areas, an open-air AL fresco/live music area, a night-club and a bistro, with wooden tables, high chairs, sofas and an overall chill vibe.IMG_20170609_212249

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I was invited for a tasting at the Al fresco area with #TheBTeam.

We started off the evening with a few cocktails. Once that truly stood out was The Hugo. Traditionally made with Prosecco, Elderflower and Mint, this version at Unwind uses white wine. Truly a delicious concoction, this is one drink you must order when in this neck of the woods.

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The Hugo

They also make a pretty good Cosmo. And you really can’t go wrong with Mojito!

Brocoli isn’t something you would see very often on my plate. Surprisingly enough, the Malai Brocoli makes it to my must-order list at Unwind! Perfectly grilled broccoli, with the soft cream – super delicious!

Malai Broccoli
Malai Broccoli

We tried 2 different types of sheek kabas, Murg Anari Sheek and the Indo Thai Sheek. I personally couldn’t detect much difference in either – given a choice – I would take the Anari Sheek – purely for how pretty it looked.

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Murg Anari Sheekh

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Indo Thai sheekh

The Barbados ka Zhinga are grilled prawns with a dark rum flambÊ. While the theatrics were impressive, the result of the flambÊ was a dry and overcooked prawn in a pool of watery-rum.

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Zafrani Murg Tikka are a good option, a simple no-nonsense chicken tikka – well cooked, served with a cream sauce topped with zafrani spices.

Zafrani Murg Tikka
Zafrani Murg Tikka

We were also served Chilli Garlic Fish as a starter. The dish that appeared had a lovely sweet and sour sauce – I would love to dig into this dish as part of the mains, along with a serving of Butter Garlic Fried Rice

Chilli Garlic Fish
Chilli Garlic Fish

Among the mains, I particularly loved the Thai Red Curry. Perfectly balanced curry with a generous amount of prawns.

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We ended the meal with a Chocolate Mud Pie. Sadly, this was more of a cake than a mud pie – it was dense and was missing the crumbly chocolate crust you would associate with a mud pie.

chocolate Mud Pie
Chocolate Mud Pie

Overall, the place has good vibes, great cocktails, and a decent array of food to go along. Open air live music, partying in the club, or chilling with friends, Unwind has it all.


I was invited to be part of blogger’s table. The Usual Disclaimer applies.


UNWIND Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

212 All Day Cafe and Bar, Viman Nagar – New Menu

212 All Day Cafe and Bar has launched a number of new items on their exhaustive menu. #TheBTeam was invited last night to try out some of the brilliant stuff on offer.

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We started off with a round of mocktails. The Good Morning Bombay – a teetotaler’s  version of the Bloody Mary, packed a punch. This chilled tomato based drink was loaded with pepper and Tabasco – to the point of tasting more like a Gazpacho than a mocktail. Delicious and refreshing, nonetheless.

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Among the other mocktails on the menu, the R&R – a strawberry lemonade, was particularly good.


First up to our table were Mrs. Beaton’s Eggs – masala scrambled eggs on a buttered bun pao, with potato slivers and a tomato hollandaise. Scrambled eggs and buttered pao is a match made in heaven, and the cheesy hollandaise added a lovely creamy note to this pairing. A must have, if down here for a snack!

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Mrs Beaton’s Eggs

Curried porridge, (aka dalia khichdi) was well made. The garnish of peanuts and edible flowers did add some sophistication to this homely meal.

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Curried Porridge

The Egg Plant Bruschetta was definitely the highlight of the vegetarian fare at 212. Caramelized onions merged beautifully with the egg-plant mash, with the figs and brie adding some lovely overtones of sweet and sour flavor.

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Giving us company through this whole tirade of food were two innocuous looking dishes – the 3 Hummus Pita and the Trio of Chips and Salsa. The huge bowl of tricolored chips with the array of dips was munch heaven, and the three types hummus (Beet, edamame and burnt garlic) with the crisp pita was just perfect. Definitely order one of each for a nice long chat session here. You wont be disappointed.

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3 Hummus Pita

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Trio of Chips and Salsa


One dish that you MUST NOT MISS is the Poutine. 212 dishes out an absolutely fabulous version of this French Canadian street food. Cheesy french fries, topped with sour cream and a delicious lamb mince gravy, corn and peas (or caramelized onions, mushrooms and corn for the herbivores) was easily my favorite item on the menu. I could eat buckets of this. BUCKETS!

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Shephard’s Bowl Poutine


There were two versions of prawns served to us. The Grilled Tiger Prawns were highly Instagrammable, though the tangerine sauce could have used a bit of oomph. It was underwhelming, at best. The Chettinad Prawns, on the other hand, were a revelation. The crisp coating had hints of chettinad masala. Fried with red chilli, and served with a spiced mayo, this is another highly recommended dish at 212.

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Chettinad Prawns

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Grilled Tiger Prawns


They have also added to their range of burgers and pizzas. While the Monster Chicken Burger is a sight to behold, the Chettinad Cottage Cheese Pizza with its combination of basil, curry patta and chettinad masala was quite unpalatable. The Roast Chicken Sandwich (Panini) was rather lovely, with a generous amount of melted cheese and caramelized onions.


For dessert we thoroughly enjoyed the Tiramisu Eclairs. The choux pastry topped with the airy Mascarpone and coffee dust proved to be an absolute masterful dessert for coffee lovers. Its deceptive – this dessert is one of the lightest I have ever had.

Tiramisu Eclairs
Tiramisu Eclairs


Overall, the new menu items add some lovely Mediterranean and Latin influences to the already diverse menu at 212.


I was invited to be part of blogger’s table. The Usual Disclaimer applies.


Check out the lovely Bellydriven’s take on 212 here.

212 All Day Cafe & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Bingsu – Snow in Pune!

Patbingsu (팥빙수, sometimes anglicized as patbingsoo, literally “red beans shaved ice”) is a popular Korean shaved ice dessert with sweet toppings that may include chopped fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and red beans. Varieties with ingredients other than red beans are called bingsu (or bingsoo).
Source: Wikipedia
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Now that you know what it is, here’s a quick glimpse of what CAFE Peterdonuts – Aundh has done to this classic Korean dessert. Available at their Aundh and Viman Nagar outlets, these frozen bowls of awesomeness can very easily be mistaken for mutated X-Men versions of our local “baraf ka gola”!

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Fruit Bingsu

The shaved ice, condensed milk and coconut milk provides the perfect base for some crazy experimentation.
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My personal favorites? The Pat Bingsu – a version of the “original” bingsu, the soyabean powder, cornflakes, icecream and red beans provide an amazing, not so sweet, jaw-chilling experience. The coconut / milkmaid flavored snow, the red bean chocalatey mess, and the crisp honey cornflakes provide an amazing range of textures in each bite.

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Pat Bingsu

 
Another one I particularly loved was the muskmelon Bingsu. Completely constructed in a muskmelon shell, the flavored snow is topped with muskmelon balls – super fresh, and surprisingly healthy (apart from the ice cream of course 😀 )

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MuskMelon Bingsu

They have a few other variants as well, including an ultra-desi Paan Bingsu with gulkand toppings, and a super sinful Oreo-Choco Bingsu.

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Oreo-Choco Bingsu

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Paan Bingsu

Each bingsu is filling enough to be shared between two. All the variants are priced at 180/- , except for the Premium Cake-Fruit Bingsu, which is served up with a delicious cheese cake resting on top of the snow.

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Premium Cake-Fruit Bingsu

Be-warned : You will be left with a frozen jaw!
PS: I was invited for a blogger’s table, where I tried all the 8 variants. I went back the next day with my family, where I paid for the PatBingsu, since I liked it that much. The above write up is a collective experience of both the visits. However, for all intents and purposes, The Usual Disclaimer applies.

CAFÉ PETERDONUTS Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Japanese Festival at Baan Tao: Sushi Supremacy

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Baan Tao, Hyatt Pune is hosting a Japanese food festival all this week, till the 26th of March, featuring celebrity Chef Shohei from Japan. They organized a Masterclass with the Japanese culinary expert last weekend, where he demonstrated some amazing techniques.

The array of sushi presented is never seen before in Pune. Fresh beautiful cuts of meat in exquisite little rolls resulting in explosions of flavor in your mouth.

Here is a little glimpse of what’s on offer


We started off with a couple of asian inspired mocktails, including a Dragonfuit flavored ice tea

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Nigiri Classic: Perfect cuts of salmon, tuna, yellow tail with cooked vinegared white rice

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Nigiri Classic


Sashimi :  A beautifully curated seafood platter

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Smoked Salmon roll: Smoked Scottish salmon, cream cheese, cucumber

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California maki: Crab stick, cucumber, avocado, tobiko

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Crab Cake Sushi: Arguably, my personal favorite of the evening!

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Apart from the Sushi, we were also presented with a couple of his signature dishes.


Teriyaki chicken: Chicken breast, teriyaki sauce, grilled eggplant and leeks : a sweet sticky sauce, succulent pieces of chicken and the seared eggplant gave this dish a unique umami flavor – nothing like I have ever had before.

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Teriyaki Chicken


Cotton tofu in mushroom sauce: Something for the vegetarians. I am personally not a fan of Tofu, but the sauce it was served in was mild, yet well seasoned.

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Matcha Tea Cheese Cake: Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea, characteristic of Far East Asian celebrations. This cheese cake not only looked breathtaking, but tasted absolutely heavenly.The Matcha Cheese cake paired perfectly with the coconut icecream and the sugar mesh.

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The Japanese food festival is on till the 26th March at Baan Tao, Hyatt Pune. The sushi dishes are available as AlaCarte, as well as part of the Sunday buffet.


I was invited for a blogger’s table tasting. For all intents and purposes, The Usual Disclaimer applies. 


A few more pics to leave you drooling!

Baan Tao - Hyatt Pune Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato