Aur Irani Chai – West Pune meets Iran!

Aur Irani Chai, Aundh

Irani chai is ubiquitous with old pune. Vohuman, Good Luck, Kohinoor, Diamond are some of the classic age-old Irani chai joints. This was something the residents of Baner, Balewadi, Aundh, Wakad, PS etc. were sorely missing. Aur Irani Chai does well to fill up that gaping hole.

Nestled away in a corner across Nagras Road, near Rahul Restaurant, Aundh (click here for G-Maps), Aur Irani Chai is a cozy little joint with brick walls and stone tables. Shaded by trees around the perimeter, they do a surprisingly good job at isolating the noise from the very busy junction just outside. Apart from the huge menu board, its a very chilled out atmosphere.

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Irani Chai and Bun-Maska: An obvious start to any meal at an Irani Cafe. A typical Irani chai – light, sweet and milky. Super soft bun. Gloriously lathered with butter. I was dipping the bun-maska into the chai, and had the time of my life. My chai-loving wife ended up drinking 3 cups!

PS: The bun-maska found on the streets of Vadodara or Ahmedabad are far more generous in terms of the maska. But then that’s Gujarat!

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Bun Maska

Bread Butter: 2 slices of bread, generously buttered. What more can you expect?

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Bread Butter

Bun Cheese Omlette: You can’t go to an Irani Cafe and not have the Omlette! Oodles of cheese trickling out! Super soft bun, lots of butter, loads of melted cheese.

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Bun Cheese Omlette

Kheema Pav: The pièce de résistance. Light, flavorful, perfectly cooked mutton kheema. Not overloaded with spice or oil. Absolutely perfect for breakfast (or any meal!)

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Overall, I love this place! Nice ambiance, good service, and excellent food. The trifecta of a great restaurant. Oh, and to top it off, entirely budget friendly. The entire meal cost us less than 300/- bucks!

Definitely a place I am going to be visiting again and again.

#baconbaba khush hua!!!

Aur Irani Chai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grillicious, Baner

Grillicious, Baner
Last Thursday we decided to use the 50%-off offer going on through the Dineout app to try the new restaurant near our home that’s been creating quite a buzz in the recent times. Rave reviews across the board drew us to the rather cool looking Grillicious, Baner. Man, were we in for a shock.

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Right off the bat we ordered the masala papad platter. At least 3 other tables around us that day had this, as well as every review I have read of this place features a mention of this unique dish. And it was impressive.

A cornucopia of papad, with glasses of chopped onions, jhini (fine) sev, boondi, dry chilli powder masala, green pudina Chutney and a garlic yogurt. DIY masala papad – An over all tasty and surprisingly fun experience.

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The Masala Papad Platter

This was accompanied by a variety of sauces – barbeque sauce, mango-chilli mayo, mint chutney, garlic yogurt

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From top right, Barbeque sauce, Mango-Chilli Mayo, Mint Chutney, Garlic Yogurt

I got the Watermelon and Hazelnut Caprioska. Watermelon and mint are usually a match made in heaven. Or so i thought. Bitter, weird masalas (i think) overdose of mint… This drink was a disaster. Someone recently posted on peo saying that just serving drinks in mason jars and fancy bottles does not make them tasty. I’m sure he was referring to the Watermelon and Hazelnut Caprioska of the Grillicious fame.

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Watermelon and Hazelnut Caprioska

Next up was the Paaya Dhania Shorba (menu description – “lamb trotters simmered overnight for a signature broth”). The moment the server passed the bowl of soup to Sangeeta, I knew there was something very very wrong. The soup had a layer of fat on top. It was emanating a putrid stink – similar to what you would get in the back of a butcher’s shop – rotting meat. One spoon of this concoction confirmed my initial impression. It tasted rotten. Sent it back immediately. The owner was gracious enough to strike it off our bill.

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Paaya Dhania Shorba

The Murg Adraki Rogan Soup, despite being oily to the point of looking like a gravy, was decently seasoned and had a generous portion of boiled chicken.

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Murg Adraki Rogan Soup

They served both the soups with papad (see pic). I guess its their version of croutons. Didn’t work for me.

The Afghan Drumsticks : Similar to a Makrana kabab, this was really well marinated, and perfectly cooked. Soft, juicy, delicious chicken leg with bits of malai, and a slightly charred end (much like a traditional tandoori) this was my favorite dish of the evening.

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Afghani Drumsticks

Murg Kalimiri Kabab Pie: served in a thick brown gravy, the pie had like a coarse chicken kheema stuffing inside, topped with papad (yes… Papad…) . The stuffing was delicious and the sauce was superb. The pie crust, unfortunately, was rather thick and dry. I would have much preferred to have the same meat and gravy with a naan instead of the ‘pie’.

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Murg Kalimiri Kabab Pie

Butter chicken lasagna : this dish conformed that they were having trouble in the kitchen. While the butter chicken it self was pretty ordinary, the lasagna was an absolutely fail. A lasagna should have layers of pasta, sauce, meat and cheese. This was more like a sandwich of butter chicken between to very thick sheets of ‘lasagna’. Any thicker and i could have mistaken it for 2 sheets of naan! Disappointing is an understatement for this particular dish. (Ps: the lasagna too was topped with, you guessed it… Papad!)

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Butter Chicken Lasagna

Seemed like their ‘continental’ chef was doing everything Indian style, making the pie like a bhakri and the lasagna like a naan. Well… The silver lining was that the meal was almost over.

We ended the meal with the Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie. A beautifully prepared dessert with layers of chocolate, caramel and Oreo. The caramel was spectacular. I wish the chocolate used were a bit bitter to better balance the bitterness. The overall flavor was super sweet. That being said,it was a surprisingly satisfactory end to a rather substandard meal.

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Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie

It might have been an off day considering the kind of glaring issies in the food,but with the kind of competition cropping up in and around baner, they cannot afford off days. Hoping that they pull up their socks soon…

#baconbaba is sad.

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

Maadjaapaahit, The Pride Hotel, Pune – Relive Indonesian Royalty

Maadjaapaahit is a brand new establishment nestled inside the Pride Hotel on University Road, Pune. The name is derived from the Madjapahit Empire, which was one of the last major empires of the region, ruling from the late 13th century till the end of the 15th century  AD, and is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

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Decked up in red and gold, the decor and ambiance of the restaurant transports one to the world of rich, cultural & exotic lands of Indonesia.

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Indonesian cuisine is one of the most vibrant, diverse and colorful cuisines in the world comprising of intense flavor. Maadjaapahit boasts of a diverse menu, showcasing delicacies from the regions of  Indonesia, Brunei,  Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei  Singapore, Philippines and East Timor. #baconbaba was fortunate enough to be invited to an exclusive tasting.

We started off with a Singapore Laksa and a Tom Yum (spicy) soup. The Tom Yum gave me quite a spice hit, filled with bird chillies, but was jam packed with the flavor of lemongrass and a generous amount of chicken pieces. The Singapore Laksa was a rich, delicious coconut milk based sea-food soup, brimming with prawns, fish cakes, egg and chicken.

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Tom Yum
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Singapore Laksa

For the next course, we got a couple of vegetarian appetizers. Lumpia – a Filipino style fried spring roll – excellent, crisp outer crust, served with a sesame tomato sauce.  Tahu Sumbat – Malaysian grilled tofu stuffed with vegetables with a chilli sauce – tofu lovers will really dig this dish. But then, tofu… meh. We also tried the Potstickers – East Timor style pan seared dumplings (vegetarian). While I couldn’t really figure out the “seared” part, the coating of the dumpling was one of the thinnest I’ve seen in Pune, leading to the veggies really shining.

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Tahu Sumbat
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Lumpia
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Potstickers
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The dips – Peanut, Sweet Chilly, Tomato Basil

Among the non-veg starters, the Fried Carrot Cake really stands out. The name is misleading – its actually a Singaporean recipe made with a fresh and preserved radish based flour cake with eggs – excellent texture, surprising to the palate.

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Fried Carrot Cake

The Murtabak – a Malaysian chicken stuffed pancake has been a favorite of mine. This version was no less than any other served in the city. Delicious to the core!

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Murtabak

We were also served the Sate Kambing, an Indonesian lamb satay with a peanut sauce. While the sauce was yummy, the lamb was tough.

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Sate Kambing

We were getting pretty full already, and so moved on to the mains. And man, we were in for a pleasurable surprise! Here came the Chilli Crab – a hard shell crab cooked in a semi thick Singaporean style. It was a tomato-basil based sauce, but had a definite spice hit to it. This will be a hit with the spice-loving Puneris!

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Chilli Crab

We also tried the Malay Chicken Curry – a coconut based chicken curry. Rich, delicious with chopped red chillies and fresh bay leaves, this was served with steamed rice.

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Malay Chicken Curry

By now we were full to our gills, but this one vegetarian dish caught out eye. So we asked for a small portion of the Pumpkin RiceThis is a recipe from Papua New Guinea (an island off the coast of New Zealand). Rice tossed with pumpkin, green peas, coconut milk and spring onion, this was one of the best ‘fried rice’ dishes I have ever had! The sweetness of the pumpkin and coconut milk blended so beautifully with the rice, it took my chilli crab sauce to the next level! Absolute delicious, #MustTry !

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Pumpkin Rice

 As we were ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘aaah-ing’ from the spice hit of the chili crab on our lips, the chef sent out a sampling of his 3 best desserts.

Getuk Lindri – Sweet potato and coconut rolls drizzled with honey – this is what sugar free dreams are made of! Tasting surprisingly similar to our local ‘copra paak’, this sugar free dessert is a must try here! Dadar Gulung is another Indonesian dessert we tried – beautiful green colored rice pancake rolls stuffed with coconut and sugar – yummy to the core! Apam Balik is a Malaysian rice flour pancake with creamed corn stuffing. I am not such a fan of corn, so I would give this one a pass.

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From L to R – Getuk Lendri, Dadar Gulung, Apam Balik

Overall, the entire experience was absolutely phenomenal. I can only think of a couple of other restaurants in Pune serving such an exotic variety of South East Asian cuisine. With a surprisingly competitively priced menu, Maadjaapaahit is a fantastic entrant into the Pune food scene!

#baconbaba khush hua!

Ps: #baconbaba would like to thank the management of Maadjaapaahit for inviting my family and me for this food tasting. The Usual Disclaimer applies.

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

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Panchvati Gaurav, Baner

Panchvati Gaurav, Baner
In a complex filled with pubs (5 is the current count) PG is the lone shuddha shakahari thali restaurant. The decor is predominantly done up in a typical Jodhpuri theme with a blue color palate.

The food is a Rajasthani / Gujarati fare with Bataka nu rasa valu shak, Gatte ki sabji, Paneer, Bhopla dry, Dal baati, Choorma, Chapatis, Dal, Kadi, plain Rice (with an option for Khichdi in the evenings), dhokla, Thepla, Salad, Chutney and Butter milk.

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The food is very homely – tummy filled without feeling too heavy – none of the items were swimming in oil. Sabjis aren’t over the top spicy. The kadi tastes authentic, with a hint of sweetness. Chapatis were served quickly, hot and coated with ghee.

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Potatoes, Gatte ki sabji, Paneer, Kadi, Dal; Papad, Choorma
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Potatoes, Paneer
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Gatte ki sabji, Kadi, Dal
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Dhokla, Chutney, Salad, Chapati
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Bhopla dry, Coconut Barfi

On the downside, the dal was a bit bland – a tad watery, and the choorma seemed dry ; i guess that was due to the cold weather and the ghee dried up.

Overall its a wholesome meal, and for 330/- bucks, its total VFM.

Welcome to baner, PG!20161126_123716

Panchavati Gaurav Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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View my food journey on Zomato!