Saturday, March 7, 2009

Back Again !!!

Its been really so long since I updated the blog. Matter of fact, the complete 2008 went away without any updates. Blame it on work, or laziness or plain losing of novelty value of blogging. Perhaps, I am not one of those creatures who like to share so much.

Now, its not like I have stopped venturing outside to eat, it's that I simply lost interest. But, yeah, reduced going outside as know, recession fears, etc.!! Also, I joined an orkut forum " Pune Eats Out" or PEO as its is fondly called. It provides restaurant reviews from all parts of Pune. Very informative, and it subdued my urge to write as well. But, now that urge is back again, so lets see how long it continues.

So, back to business..let me see how many restaurants I can count and remember as well from last one odd year. I am not going to put in reviews of franchisees or chain of restaurants simply because, I believe, the taste is uniform and same and they don't offer any thing unique. So, in spite of having visited McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos a number of times and Papa John's, Subway more than once, I am not putting them here.

100 Biryanis (Katraj)

With about 15 biryanis on menu, they should seriously consider renaming their place. And with Chinese Biryani (??!!) on the card, who thinks it may have been anything different than a Fried Rice. So, we dared not try it and stuck to standard stuff. Though Luckhnavi Chicken Biryani (Rs 160) and Hyderbadi veg Biryani, (Rs 140), which we tried were good but I guess, standard. Overall, the menu is pretty limited but food is ok. Seating is spacious. In the same vicinity, there is a bar, so drinks menu is pretty varied with lots of choices.

Supreme Corner Paav Bhaji (JM Road)

50 minutes of waiting starting at 8.30 on a mid-week Tuesday, 5 minutes after placing order and 20 minutes for the dinner to finish. I can safely say I have never bothered to wait 50 minutes at any restaurant. For Supreme, I had made an exception..and Belive me, it was worth it. During all my stay in Mumbai/Pune, I have not tasted a better paav-bhaji. Probably, the right combination of spices and vegetables, probably a huge dollops of butter in the bhaji to give is a smooth consistency, or may be , it was slightly spicier than the ones I have tasted..but it was simply superb. Prrof : I had 7 paavs that evening..just could stop pushing it down..!!! At Rs 60 for a plate and Rs 15 for additional paav, it looks slightly expensive but scores much ahead than the regular joints. There are pulavs and pizzas as well..which looked pretty much in demand, though did not have an opportunity to taste them.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dorabjee's and more

There are few included in this review but the highlight has to be Dorabjee's.

visited Wazwaan, Baner Road, mentioned in my Baner Restaurant reviews.
I will keep this one short. This place is situated at Prime Rose Mall.
The place is elegant enough with table-chair seating as well as the Ground seating. Dast-a-khaan, is what I belive it is called. Decor is ok. The menu has options of kashmiri, chinese and some punjabi and south indian cuisines, both veg and non-veg.
Ordered Paneer Chaman and Dal Fry along with Rotis. Dont know what was wrong with Paneer Chaman. It was too salty and too much methi (Fenugreek). Finally had to give up the gravy and eat only paneer. Dal was ok, as it is at usual places. haven't tried Non-veg over here. And have not mustered up courage to visit again. Although, would like to try, but only Kashmiri delicacies since rest of the cuisines may be the usual available elsewhere.

Meal for 2 : Rs. 250

Skips, Aundh
A smallish shack joint in Aundh, next to Natekar Sports, Opp Symphony. Went on a Saturday afternoon and was deserted. Has options of Sandwiches and burgers which are different than usual stuff. Ordered Garden Chicken Burger(Rs. 60) and Ginger Lemonade (Rs. 20). Burger consisted of Grilled vegetables (onion, capsicum,tomatos, potatos) along with mayonnaise and cheese slice and a grilled chicken patty. All this made the burger about 4 inches high !
As mentioned, the burger was different than the usual Mcdonald's. The grilled vegetables were a nice touch and the chicken patty was soft and smoked. The ginger lemonade refreshing in a hot afternoon. Would like to visit again, but it is not for a typical family outing kind of place. More of a student/bachelor kindda place for a lazy afternoon brunch.

Punjabi Tadka, Chandani Chowk
This is a recently opened joint at the Chandani Chowk, next to Banjara Hills. The entrance to the place is rather small, with looks of a dhaba inside. The seating is mostly ground with mattresses and pillows and masnads. But, not rural. Contemporary. The waiters dressed in a typical yellow punjabi suit. Saw some hookahs as well. We had gone in the afternoon it was completely empty. We had doubts if they are opne but the maitre promised us fast service and authentic food. So, we sat down. We ordered Half Butter Chicken (Rs 145) and on server's recommendation, Punjabi Paneer (Rs. 80) and some Naans, Rotis, Missi and Makki Rotis.
Meanwhile, relaxed on the mattresses, stretched out with a lazy manner, listening to the music of Punjabi dhols. Order came in about 15 mins. The Butter Chicken was NoT boneless as suggested by the maitrte and it was great. Not too much sweet and not too oily. the masalas just in right combination, subtle and not overpowering. the Punjabi Paneer was also similar, subtle and not overpowering spicy. And have to admit, the Missi Roti and makki Roti were exceptional. The Maite mentioned the cooks and chefs were from punjab only, the recipes authentically rustic and they serve only punjabi food, no chinese/south indian stuff, to maintain exclusivity. The food was defintely much better than the typical Punjabi food you get in restaurants in Pune. Would definetly like to try other dishes as well. in all, a rather unique experience for a lazy lunch.

Meal for 4 came to Rs. 350.

Dorabjee's, Camp
I usually try to sample different places and not repeat. With Dorabjee, I had to make an exception. Wisited twice, in a span of 8 days. This place, located in Camp, is one of the ancient Parsee eating joints and people of Pune would swear by its food. Now, i know why. It a rather colonial looking place, ceramic tiles till the ceiling, tilted tin sheets for roof, mosaic flooring and a simple table-chair combination. And yes, i think there is this separate dining areas as Family room and Others. Quaint and adoring.
The menu is rather simple with limited dishes. I would strictly advise for vegetarians not to visit this place. But, the place is heaven for mutton lovers, which unfortunately , I am not. There are limited chicken dishes, lot of mutton dishes, Biryani and Parsi special- Dhansak, which is served only on Sunday afternoon- and the reason for my second outing. Anyway, on the first time, since Dhansak was available only on Sunday, ordered Chicken Salli and 3 chapatis. The food was served in less than 2 minutes- super efficient service I must say. A big bowl, with 2 gigantic pieces of chicken with chapatis and a small bowl of friend potatoes - match sticks which is Salli. Looking at the quantity of chicken, I wondered whether i would be able to finish it. It was definetly twice the amount you would get in a typical restaurant. And the food it itself, simple and delicious. The great thing about the chicken was, even with huge pieces, the chicken was tender and well cooked, the gravy, subtle and tasty, though I would be careful with the fat. Again, I think, it is the balance of various masalas and its authenticity that gives Dorabjee's, it reputation. Even after consuming 3 chapatis, there is still some chicken left on the plate.

Chicken Dhansak - served alongwith brown rice- on the other hand is in a different class of cuisine in itself. Dhansak, if you google it, is mainly made from Toor Dal, and there is a lot of prepration that goes into making the Dhansak masala. Add a tang of lemon joice and voila- an surpassable taste. Although, i must admit the quantity of rice is rather less, so order a couple of chapatis before, but be careful, the quantity of chicken makes up for smaller portion of rice. The Dhansak, I guess, is one of the unique dishes of India.

As I mentioned earlier, after the Dhansak, the Biryanis are the most favoured dishes at Dorabjee's. Also, you have cutlets, egg curry, chicken with eggs and many more mutton dishes.

And if you would have noticed on my blog, I usually dont favour sweet dishes after the meal. Here, I made an exception- Custard, both the times (Rs.20). Now, its not the usual semi-liquid, along with fruits at Dorabjee's. Here its a chunk of yellow solid custard, much like a sponge cake, with sugar syrup and caramalised top. Unbelievable. You have to taste it. Google for laganu-nu-custard to check out the recipe.

So, dont forget to visit Dorabjee's for a unique experience right in the heart of the city. I'll advice a lunch rather than a dinner, especially if you plan on a weekend and not sharing your meal.

Cost of single meal be apx Rs. 100.

Update : 30-Mar-09 : There have been many queries on location of Dorabjee's and Sons. I cant point out exact location since I am not well versed with the by-lanes. But, its not the Dorabjee's Super Market opp the Kakade Mall.
Its on back side, Nr Sharbatwala Chowk. You can ask for directions when you reach there. Search on Wikimapia for Sharbatwala Chowk.

Dorabjee & Sons Restaurant
845, Dastur Meher Road,
Sharbatwala Chowk,
Pune, 411001

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Restaurant Scams- Interesting Article

This is one article I found on the net. We all like go out, dine at nice places and in all, have a good time. But, what can really ruin it is to know if you have been cheated. So, beware..and read through the list. Some of the tactics you have already come across and if some of them not. So, try to remember these. It may come handy.

Scam 1: For banquet parties, the guest is billed as per empty bottles of wine, beer and alcohol; as it is presumed that they were emptied / consumed during the party. But unknown to the guests, empties are sneaked in during the party and full ones are smuggled away.

Scam 2: In pubs and bars for beer on tap, the pitcher / mug is topped with soda, low priced spirits replace high priced sisters, and pegs are diluted with water. Being smart, the staff wait until the second/ third round or till the guest is high. Later, they adjust the bill (ref Scam 5) assisted by the dim lighting, ambience and the guest’s liquid state.

Scam 3: The organisation’s storekeeper is a key point in a larger scam. He signs as having received a larger order of bottles than is actually delivered by suppliers. The shortfall already exists in the bar as explained above. The supplier pays cash to staff as per the value of the short supply.

Scam 4: Smaller portions… Waiters regularly keep a bowl and plate at the sideboard (their work station). This bowl and plate is topped up with small helpings from your order. End of the day, the waiter gets a good helping to eat.

Scam 5: Overcharging — Groups of guests or inebriated guests are charged more than due. The excess is not entered in the duplicate bill. So the guests pay, but the owner does not receive it.

Icing on the cake...

If it is any consolation to the guests, the owners / shareholders are taken for bigger rides. Check this out…

Scam 6: No bill — QFS staffers pocket your bill amount by not printing a bill. Some outlets have woken up to this and have notices requesting you to inform them on ‘X’ telephone number if you don’t get a bill. As motivation, they promise to clear your bill.

Scam 7: Repeat bills — If you leave your bill behind, it may be presented to another customer. Naturally the bill may not be exactly the same — so if you’re billed for an additional item and notice it, they apologise and waive the excess charge. If you’re billed for less, you will happily pay. Normally this happens in QFS outlets as there is no KOT (Kitchen Order Tickets) system and a limited inventory (items being sold). So quite commonly, your bill of items is repeated.

Scam 8: Delayed service — QFS outlets conscious about service delays take up challenges to deliver in 30 minutes. If not, the tab is on them, or you get a free pack of fries. Despite the delivery being on time and the customer paying up, staff claims the customer did not pay as service was delayed.

Scam 9: Delete bills — Computerized billing is faster and reliable, but has drawbacks. Supervisors or managers are authorised (based on passwords) to delete or discount bills. So a bill is printed, paid and deleted. The next bill generated has the same number.

Scam 10: Change of containers —To tally billing and consumption of liquids or products served from dispensers like softies is virtually impossible. So containers (read cups / cones) are counted. Smart cookies that staffers are, they will serve you a higher priced product in a lower priced container — a milkshake served in a cola container. Here, the customer does not suffer as the volume is the same.

Scam 11: Propriety products replaced — In printed bills, you may find a last minute addition of soft drinks in pen. You presume the cashier forgot to punch it in. But the fact is, it has not been logged on the systems. The shortfall will be replaced from the market. You have paid for what you got, the owner does not lose inventory, but he loses profits. In handwritten bills, they remove the carbon before adding the cold drink price. The difference is pocketed. The owner has no idea.

Scam 12: For banquets, plates placed at the counter are the yardstick for billing. As per the number of guests guaranteed by the host, plates are counted and placed on the counter. Let’s presume the party is for 500 persons at Rs 600 per head. So, 500 plates are placed on the counter. During the party, staff surreptitiously removes about a hundred unused plates. The host is informed that the number of guests exceeds guaranteed numbers and a (supposed) fresh stack of plates (same 100) are placed on the counter. Now, the host owes the organisation for 600 plates and pays Rs 60,000 excess. Hosts don’t require / want a bill to avoid taxes (unless the company is picking up the bill) and pay in cash. This excess money is pocketed by the staff.

Friday, August 24, 2007

OFFBEAT- Fine Dining Lounge - Opp Karishma Hsg. Soc., Kothrud

Ph : 25454772/66201022
Work Pressure. Thats one reason I can point out for the delay again. Instead of weekly updates, my blog is becoming a monthly update. Also, have not been able to venture out much during this season. But, enough talk. Back to business.

If you pick-up Pune Westside Plus on Friday, you will usually see the advt of this place. Google it and you will find an article mentioning that the owner of this place is a Sandeep Lele, an ex- Infy employee.

So, this really had me ticking to visit the place since I kindda share the same background.
It is located at Kothrud, Opp Karsishma Housing Soc., on 1st Floor, above a shoe store. You cannot miss the decoration lights.

As usual, on a weekend, I decided to move in early than the ususal dinner time to avoid the rush. The place is smallish, with Japanese sitting blocks and the usual Table chairs as well. Different and definetly pleasant. Now, this is not usual Punjabi/Chinese/Italian joint. The menu card holds a variety of options including Lebanese, Italian, Thai, French and Malayasian in addition to Indian and Chinese. But remember, firstly, the options are limited from each cuisine and secondly, they are unique. I mean, even from Indian and Chinese cuisine, some dishes I had never heard off, let alone tasted.

So, for starters, I ordered Falafel in Pita Bread (Rs. 140) and went ahead with studying the menu and ambience of the restaurant.The menu has been selected carefully and the restaurant interiors tastefully done. There is also a projector for viewing cricket matches if any going on. By now, the place was getting almost full and I could see people who were there before us fretting that their order has not arrived. So, taking precautions, I decided to go ahead with ordering the main course. So. ordered Veg Lasagne Verdure (Rs.170), came along with Garlic Bread and Chicken Calabrese (Rs. 190), chicken breast stuffed with spinach in white sauce, along with rice and Garlic bread.

By now, the restaurant was packed and the usual weekend waiting queue begining to form.Thankfully, the starters arrived. Round tikkis of Falafels resting in a white casing of Pita bread. Now, I know Falafel is made of channa, but since I had never tasted it and hence ordered it, I did not know what to expect. But, the first bite itself took by surprise. It was as if I was munching overnight soaked chana. It was served with curd, but it made no difference. The taste remained rather bland. Added some salt and pepper to get some taste. No spice at all. (Later, i googled for the recipe, and as it turns out from the ingredients, it needs to be bland). Not sure if i will like to try again. Somehow, finished the Falafels and then waited patiently for the main course.

The Lasagne arrived first. A quarter of a circle with many layers of lasagne sheets, vegetables, cheese and tomato sauce along with 3 pieces of garlic bread. It was beautifully presented and the very soft and chunky in texture. Colorful, subtle in taste and it literally melted in mouth.The vegetables were relatively well done and the flavour not overpowered by herbs, sauce or cheese.

Soon after, the Chicken Calabrese arrived as well. As mentioned, chicken breast stuffed with spinach and herbs in white sauce. Again, presented in a charming manner. The chicken was well done, soft and tender, white sauce providing contrasting flavour to the chicken filling. Went well with the garlic bread although I found the rice unneccesary. The chicken in itself was satisfying and the sauce not sufficient for the rice.

So, overall, the only disappointing factor I found was the service. The attendants and servers were well dressed and courteous, decor and sitting arrangement elegant, food is fine and presentation is top class. I mean, when the lasagne arrived, we discussed whether to eat and spoil its presentation or just admire. !! The only problem was the delay in service. It is a smallish place and perhaps the kitchen is spread too thin with the variety of cuisine offered. So, time your visit carefully, especially on a weekend.

Dent to the wallet : Most of the dishes are in range Rs. 150-250. So a decent meal for 2 should be in achievable in Rs. 500-600.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Northern Frontier (Opp. Dass, Nagar Road)

Ph : 65619300, 65619301
A large number of hits on this blog have been by the people looking for information on some restaurants mentioned in Times Foodie articles below, namely Sigree, Toscana, Saat Handi, etc and ..The Northern Frontier.So, decided to use the opportunity of a celebration to checkout this restaurant.

Situated on Nagar Rd, apx 2 Kms from Yerwada Bridge, keep looking on the left lest you miss it. On the other side of the road, there is DASS Store.The seating is inside as well outside, but since it was raining heavily, so decided to use the indoors. Since it was a weekend, so had called up and booked in advance. Good decision, since it was packed by 9 PM. The decor is simple, ambience peaceful and the interiors spacious. The woodwork looked authentic and the lighting was adequate, though I hope, they should have instantaneous power backup, going by the power failure routine in Pune. !

Since, our party was a mix of veg and non-veg, hence decided to try both. So for starters, ordered Paneer Achari Tikka and Chicken Kori Kabab along with sweet lime soda, since soups were rather limited in the menu. Both dishes arrived in some time and both were great. The Achari Tikka, tangy and delectable with soft cubes of paneer, and slices of capsicum,onions and tomato. The Chicken Kabab, on the other hand, nicely marinated, soft and juicy chunks of chicken, with a smokey aroma were nicely done. Great way to start the evening. !

For the main course, decided to go along with Paneer Birbali and the typical Dal Fry. For the Non-Veg , we were vacillating between Chicken Yakhani and Chicken-Wazwan Style, but finally went ahead with Chicken Wazwan.Also, ordered some Naans, Kulchas and Ajwain Rotis.
The main course arrived in due time. We were curious what would paneer birbali and chicken wazwan be like since we had never tried before. Paneer Birbali, although I never got around taste much, was something like spinanch and some other leafy vegetables stuffed between slabs of paneer in a yellow (probably, besan) and red gravy. Personally, I did not enjoy it, but probably thats because I was gorging myself on Chicken Wazwan. But, other in my party were satisfied, if not entirely swept off.

Coming to Chicken Wazwan, big chunks of juicy chicken in a saffron based thin and rich gravy. The taste was rather subtle, I tried separating the different tastes of masalas but was unable to. The taste and aroma of Saffron was too overpowering. Also, we felt the salt was a bit less, but that was ok. We did not want to destroy the authentic taste. And it was nothing like I have ever tasted before. The gravy was thin but great to taste. The chicken pieces, succulent and soft and sufficient in numbers. The Dal Fry was the usual, but thick and well tempered and had an authentic taste.The Kulchas, Naans and Ajwain Roti went well along with them.

By the time we were finished with the Rotis, we were nearly full. But, I had to give a try to the Chicken Biryani. With much pursuasion to my partner for non-veg, we ordered it. Again, big chunks of chicken, juicy, soft and well done arrived shortly. But, in reality, we did not have any space left. But, it was too tempting to let go. So, by the end of it, we were just having chicken, leaving the rice almost untouched. But, it again went well with the Wazwan gravy. Finally, we rested our forks and spoons and said, "Enough". And of course, we did not have any corners left to try the desserts.

To sum up then, a truly enjoyable evening. The service was prompt and couteous. If The Norther Frontier is on a list of recommended restaurants, its not with out a reason. I would love to visit them again, but I would prefer to keep its taste exclusive for certain occasions, rather than get used to it.Costwise, the main course dishes are about Rs. 130-150, starters about 80-100. in all, a decent meal for 2 would be well covered in Rs. 500-600.

Dont forget to book a table in advance.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Ram Krishna & Aloha Pure Veg Restaurants

It has been a busy month for me, so have not updated the blog. But, did manage to visit a few places in the past month. But since, I am not good at remembering what I ate 2 weeks to 1 month back back, I will keep the reviews short,crisp and simple.

Ram Krishna Restaurant (Opp Westend Theatre)
ph: 26363938, 26330724
This is one of the landmark places in the city for veg food lovers. Situated opposite Westend Theatre, next to Magnum Mall, the place is huge. I mean, the seating capacity would be close to 200 persons. And as usual, a huge waiting queue, especially on the weekends. The food is great, ambience lovely, service is typically Punjabi, Chinese mix. What stands out is the quality and taste. Never too oily, and not too spicy. We ordered Paneer Pasanda, Dal Fry and some kind of mix vegetable, along with Tandoori Rotis and Naans. All of it was great. Must visit again.
And to top it all, very reasonable. A meal for 6 came to about 600, including a plate of hot Gulab Jamuns per head.!!

Aloha ( Senapati Bapat Road)
ph: 25663244, 65230784
This is one joint I have visited many times but failed to mention it in my review. Waiting for an oppurtune moment. But now, that moment has come and gone, since i dont remember much details of the last visit !.
This is a multi-cuisine, pure veg restaurant, located opposite and close to Chaturshringi Temple on SB Road. (I am told, Aloha means Hello in Hawai !). A much favoured joint, by mostly the IT junta located in the vicinity. But, beware of the limited parking in front of the place and tow-away areas near-by.

Personally, I visit the place mainly for their Mexican Food and Italian Pasta. The Mexican Enchiladas, Nachos with cheese sauce and Quesadilla are simply superb. I think, there is a Burritto Supreme also, but my memory fails me. In Pasta, though the option are limited, but Pasta in Bolognese sauce is always tempting. Though, I would avoid the option with Pesto Sauce. The option with Alfredo sauce is so-so, you can try it only if you have tasted it before somewhere and liked it.
One thing that I always recommend is the Tomamto Soup with Cilantro. I know its just a tomato soup, but it is refreshing here and different. Also try the Mexican Bean Soup, which is a bit spicy tomato soup with beans floating.

They also have menu choices of Sizzlers, Chinese, Salads, Pizza and of course, Indian. I did try some of it, something called Sham-Savera, a mix of two gravies, spinach and tomato, but seperate. So, even their Indian choices are decent.

Over all, I have always found the food great. Ambience is ok, nothing great. Service is a bit slow, though. But, all of it makes up for the food.

Costwise, The Pastas are in range of Rs. 130-150. Mexican dishes between 70-90. Indian between 60-90. So, a decent meal for 2 should be in a range of Rs. 300-400.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Shabree - FC Road

ph: 25531511

I dont exactly remember when was the last time I had a Thali. Long time I guess..perhaps eight years back, when I was in college. Then, it was the need of a hungry stomach. Today it is the craving of a ravenous tongue. Shabree, located on FC Road, next to Manmeet, aims to satisfy both of these needs.
There is no menu card, just the brightly shining thalis with vaatis lined up. And they start as soon as you are seated, clock work precision. Each server knows its turn, twirling the 4-in-1 serving container, knowing what to serve. And before you know it, the thali is packed with goodies.
Here is what we got in our thalis, not in any particular they were served :

Sweet Gujrati Kadhi,
Typical Toor dal
Dahi Aloo
Chawli (Rajma/Lobia - similar to kidney beans)
Koshimbir(sweet mixed raita - tomatoes, onions, beetroot etc)
Pitle Bhaji - a spicy dish made of gram flour ,
Baigan Bharta
Chilli Pakora and some Dal vadis
2 types of chapatties - wheat and bhakri
2 types of rice - plain and pulao
2 pickles and 2 chutnies

Whew...Have I forgotton anything ? I hope not.. although I am sure the main dishes will vary with the day, but more or less, basic items would remain the same.

So, where do i begin ? Decided to bite into chilli pakora and dal vadis first. soft and spicy pakora and crunchy vadis. ok, time to take the plunge. Bhakri with chawli and kadhi. delecious combination of sweet and spicy. Tried Pitale Bhaji next, i have never tasted this before. Spicy. Baigan bharta, spicy. Ok, time out. give it a rest. Try toor dal, pretty ok, Dahi Aloo, ok. chutnies, tangy and spicy. koshimbir- sweet.Alright, time to restart..yes..spicy..but the amazing thing is, I cannot stop myself. It doesn't seem if we are eating at a restaurant. No added colour, no artificial presentation. Just plain simple delecious food.I almost half filled up just while sampling the different combination of served dishes. The kadhi gets over faster than anyother item, since i have to take a spoonful after every bite.

The servers materialize again, for the next round. Take some, leave some, no way I can repeat all. Take some more bhakris and kadhi, which are way too good to describe. Finally, have to force myself to stop feeding. Then, the rice and pulao appear. What ? Can I eat any more ?? But, hey , a few spponfuls will not do any harm right. Pualo and rice, served with spoonful of ghee ( Of course, you can refuse the ghee..!!), are good to taste, but thats about all I can do. Taste, not eat. Stuffed till the throat. Rising up and leaving the table would require help. Lossen the belt a notch or two.

I have already admitted, I belong to Northern part of India. So, I do not have a typical experience of home cooked maharashtrian food. But, I am sure, it would not be any different than this one. For a simple reason - the simplicity of the food itself which lends it the authenticity. My maharashtrians friends vouch for the same. I would go by their words as well.

The service is fast, ambience well lit, neat, clean and hygeinic. Although, the waiters were not dressed as peshwas, as I have read at some other places/blogs!
So, for a typical home cooked maharashtrian experience, different than the regular punjabi paneer/mix veg/kofta/kabab/tandoori roti routine, try Shabree. You won't come back disappointed, and definetly not hungry. Better still, skip the breakfast/lunch, if you planning to go for lunch/dinner. You will do more justice to the Thali !!.

Wallet dent : Costs you Rs 100 per Thali. I do not think you can share. And this one is for the Air-conditioned dining area. May be less for the non-A/c dining.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Konark Restaurant- Nr. Chandni Chowk

Am going to keep this one short and simple. Konark Resorts, situated about 2 kms from Chandni Chowk towards Mulshi, opposite Ambrosia enterance, is one hot and spicy place. Although, did not get the oppurtunity to roam freely, since it was raining buckets, but still got a decent oppurtunity.It has a small display or private collection, as they call it, of a variety of parrots and parakeets. Really amazing place for kids to see these beautiful and colorful creatures. Also, there looked like an open space for kids to play, also a covered courtyard to hold games or meeting but was deserted and I could not explore much.Amusingly, they have a few private huts with a table and seating capacity of 6-8 for families wanting to have their own private party. Though, a bad idea in monsoons, as it will certainly get you drenched with showers.

The food, again, a typical combination of Chinese and Punjabi, Veg, Non-Veg and Alcohol. Sufficient seating arrangement for couples and families. Have had some chinese before and it was decent enough.This time, decided to to with regular desi food. For starters, ordered Tomato Soup ( Rs. 30) was typically sweet, looked like a lot of tomato ketchup had been used. Veg Seekh Kabab (Rs. 70) was served with shredded onions-radish-cabbage salad. Frankly, not appealing at all, too much spicy and well, could not make out what exactly it was tasting like.
For the main course, went ahead with a simple Dal Fry and Veg Lajawab( which the server had recommended as "medium-spicy"), Nans and Roomali Roti.Dal Fry was typical but I think, a bit more chillies been used than usual. Veg Lajawab, on the other had was one fiery red spicy dish. I am inclined to believe that it was by mistake than by intention. Nothing unusual about the dish but frankly it was spicy AND tasteless, both at the same time.
Nans were ok, but one of the Roomali was having black soot one one of the sides. looks like it was tossed too much high up in the air..! Anyway, returned it and the waiter asked if we wanted a replacement. but, till then, we were already done by now and filled up, so we declined. No rice and no desserts.

So, to sum up : A nice, decent place with quiet ambience. Courteous staff and decent service. A 5% discount was offered in lieu of the Roomali incident. As I mentioned, the Non- Veg chinese I had tried some time back was ok, so was disappointed by this experience. But, go in a leisurely afternoon to enjoy the place and the greenery, but mind you, the courtyard is not air-conditioned. So, try a typically mild Pune afternoon, rather than blazing sun of April-May. They offer corporate discount to some organizations.

A Veg meal for 4 should be about Rs. 300.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pune Times - Foodie Article - TFG Awards

Here is a list of restaurants in Pune who have been awareded at TFG launch.
Article in 22-may-07 PT , page 3.
Hopefully, some of them are worth visiting while not making serious dent to the wallet....just kidding.. !!! all of them are capable of making a BIG hole in the pocket.. except Vaishali and Chitale Bandhu..
and BTW, I just noticed, this list should not have come as a surprise.. these places are the same as mentioned in " BEST OF" in Pune TFG 2007..

The Times Food Awards and the Times Nightlife Awards ceremony honoured the best of the best in the hospitality industry in Pune.
Presenting the winners of the coveted awards ...

1. Sigree
2. Chingaari (Le Meridien)

Vaishali Restaurant

Coconut Grove

Mainland China

Whispering Bamboos (Taj Blue Diamond)

La Pizzeria

The Galaxy Grill — Greek Tavern (Season’s Apartment Hotel)

La Brasserie (Le Meridien)


Chitale Bandhu Mithaiwala

Baker’s Basket

Shisha Cafe

Spice Island (Le Meridien)


Entresol Bar (Le Meridien)


Club Scream (Le Meridien)


La Brasserie (Le Meridien)

Shisha Cafe

Monday, May 21, 2007

Berries Restaurant- Wonder Funkey - Mumbai–Bangalore Highway

So, why exactly I am reviewing an Entertainment Centre ? If you dont know, Wonder Funkey is a entertainment joint, with lots of Arcade games, Bowling Alley, a smallish discotheque, and the reason for including this review here.. a decent Veg Restaurant - Berries.
This is located about 1.5 kms from Chandni Chowk, towards Warje, on Mumbai-Banglore Highway.Here is there website, giving more details about the place. :-

It would be odd if I dont spare a few lines about the place itself. It has a cover charge of Rs 100 per head, non refundable. So, 5 people going in, have to spend Rs. 500 inside. You get a card, which you can use to make payment, and also get it recharged with additional amount. Arcade games are decent, charging from 20 for kiddies to 30-50 for adults games. A chowpatty lane serves you with street snacks, samosas, dahi puris, kachoris to pastries and all.
Try Calcutta Bhel- it is different from your regular bhel in Mumbai-Pune zone. They also have Puppet and Magic Shows there as well. Downstairs, there is a Bowling Alley, a discotheque and snacks joint, shaped like a ship.It has pizzas, hot dogs, burgers and so on. Tried something ShangHai, which turned out as veg schezwan balls coated with lots of sesame seeds, pretty ok and filling. Be careful not to try them if planning to have dinner soon.

So, now to the main course of the review- Berries Restaurant, located on top floor.Now, ambience wise, its designed as a forest, dark and takes time to get used to it. Artificial leaves, animals, pond but thankfully, air-conditioned. Would have added fun, if they had some live fishes in the pond and a waterfall of some sorts. Hard green plastic leaves and animals look tacky. Kids would love this place. Lots of space, so much that they have shut off half of it. But, overall a soft and quiet feel to it.

Menuwise, it covers almost all major cuisines - Indian, of course (South, Punjabi, Jain Specials, Thalis) plus Mexican, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Thai, and Sizzlers. You can take a look from their website as well.

I have been there before and had ordered Mushroom Cheese Enchilada and Veg & Beans Tacos (about Rs. 80-90, each) which turned out to be quite decent. This time, decided to go with Burrito Supreme ( Rs. 65)and Veg Cheese Lasagna (Rs.110). Now, while going through the menu card, take a look a Indian menu and forget about ordering them. They are atrociously priced, somewhere in range of a Koregaon Park upmarket restaurant!! Now, why would I go to Funkey to have that ? Wouldn't I go to Kothrud, or better still, Chandni Chowk for the same ?
One reason, I understood is, this being a family entertainment centre, many grandparents turn up along with kids, and they would prefer eating Indian only rather than anything else.Anyway, rest of the cuisine is moderatly priced and variety wise, its huge. But, you have to know what you are ordering.

Service wise, they are quick, but then, the restaurant is mostly empty. Although, this particular day, our order was inordinatly late, for which they apologized.

But, finally,our order arrived. The Lasagna, I would have prefered in the flat tray, rather than a big bowl it arrived in. The thick red tomato sauce/gravy was chunky, layered with spinach, cheese, vegetables and lasagna sheets, and pretty much tempting. Piping hot sauce, with baked vegetables, lots of cheese. Good choice.
Burrito Supreme, on the other hand, in one word- a Disaster. Period. I know, after those Shanghai balls and Lasagna, the tummy was full and could not have eaten any more. But, at least, it should have been appealing to taste at the first bite ? It wasn't. It came along with a small serving of Onion rings,(too oily), cheese balls (which I did not like) and pickle. I hate to throw away food, home or restaurant, but in this case, had to make and exception and left most of it. Sheer Waste ! Seriously, I could not figure out, what exactly was wrong with the stuffing.

But, leaving aside the Burrito part, the Lasagna and previous experience of Enchilada and Beans Tacos were delecious and so, I wouldn't mind going there and trying out more stuff.
And, you have to pay through the charge card provided at the entrance. Pay additional amount by cash to charge the card.

To conclude, this is a lesser known place and so, the restaurant is not crowded even on weekends, although the arcade games and bowling alleys are packed. A decent place if you want to try something new, even if you are not in mood for games and bowling. Though, since it is located pretty much out of the city, so it makes sense to have fun and dinner together. Overall, a nice place to hang out for kids, teenagers and young adults and the Berries restuarant, to have a nice, quiet dinner to end a fun-filled evening. Reasonably priced, though I would prefer not to have Indian food over here, just for the price itself. Do try other cuisines.

Make sure you collect the remaining amout on your card before you exit, else they have some issues while refunding after you have exited.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pune Times - Foodie Article- Karen Anand

Here is another article by Karen Anand, in Pune Times dated 11th May

I have now been living in the city for 20 years. Most people still think I live in Mumbai and wonder why I keep dashing here. Living in Pune, with work just about everywhere, means that "dashing about" has become an inevitable part of my life. When I am at home, I often don't step out of my environment for days at a stretch, except to buy food. When I first came to this city, I was captivated by the "real" food scene; I went regularly to Kayani Bakery myself and took great pleasure in doing a Marcel Marceau mime act with Kersi behind the counter, who would pass me what I wanted on the side so that I didn't have to wait in the long queue. Now, we are all on nonsensical diets all the time and the children seem to have grown out of Kayani, so I've stopped going. This also means that I have stopped interacting with all those delightful characters in the bakery. My loss. The same with Rusi at Royal Bakery who still produces the best bun pav in the world. The sight of him standing there welcoming customers in his old white sadra, head stooped, moaning and groaning about something or the other, is something I miss. The trek to Laxmi Road to Chitale for bakharwadi cannot be replaced by a trip to the supermarket to buy a mechanised packet version. Desi Bundu for mangoes, Tulsi Baug for fabulous traditional utensils and last but not least, Shivaji Market. Shashikant and Anil, my fishmongers who, because of my pronging and insistence, started introducing new marine life to us like Red snapper, Karimeen, Squid, Ladyfish, Yellow tail and so on. Until then it was Pomfret, Prawns, Bombay Duck and Mackrel and river fish for those who couldn't afford the rest. I must admit that I don't miss the grumpy old Zaiker bai but at one time she was my life force as far as "exotic" vegetables went. Today red peppers, iceberg lettuce and zucchini are no longer that exotic and available in supermarkets. When Dorabjee's changed from a quaint, old grocery store to the modern supermarket it is today, I nearly had a relapse. I missed the smell of coffee being ground and the sight of the chap wrapping ham in grease-proof paper with masses of string. Dorabjee's has now grown into a supermarket catering to the needs of our every increasing global palate. Would you have ever thought that they would be selling green lipped mussels from New Zealand and salamis from Spain? Then we have Koregaon Park which has become another sub-culture. German Bakery, started by Woody and Gopal, who first introduced me to the amazing Yak cheese from Nepal which they used to bring here in great big wheels, Prem's, Green Grocer, all have a life of their own. All this has been part of the last 20 years of my culinary life in Pune. The city is bursting with great products and wild and wonderful people. Unfortunately, the restaurants don't share my enthusiasm. At the traditional end of the scale, you still have the die-hards like Blue Nile, Shreyas, Shabri, Poona Coffee House, Vaishali, Mayur and so on. The new addition to that spectrum is Rajdhani, clearly the best Gujju thali in town, in the Gold Adlabs complex in Kalayani Nagar. Previously, we had only Mayur on East Street and Chetana in Budhwar Peth. For South Indian, Ram Krishna on Moledina Road, joins the brigade of ever popular 'idli-dosa' eateries, only this one is much smarter and larger.
The Maharashtrian eateries of Shreyas, Shabri, Bedekar Missal, Janseva Dugdale, Joshi vada pav, Shree for sabudana kichdi and wadi, Durvankur and Poonam, are still going strong and still serve up consistently good family style Maharastrian fare. I find it heartbreaking that nothing smarter nor more stylish has come along in the last 20 years.
On the seafood front, Trishna from Mumbai has packed up. Mahesh and Coconut Grove serve Mangalorean food, Riverview serves exceedingly good Kerala dishes and Shristi off Tilak Road does Maharastrian coastal. They are all competent and serve fresh seafood but the décor of all is rather lacklustre and uninspiring. Some Indian restaurants, like Sigree, Northern Frontier (actually a very good Kashmiri restaurant), Saat Handi in Kalyani Nagar, Mystic Masala and Chingari, the rooftop restaurant at Le Meridien, are showing a smarter side to Indian food, combining well-prepared dishes with some thought behind the décor and an ambience worth talking about. In the global food market, we have Oriental shining, mostly in the Koregaon Park area with the exception of All Stir Fry at E-Square. Chinese has also spread but it hasn't got any better, there are just more of them, with the exception of Mainland China, which has raised the bar for Chinese in this city. Considering that Pune has such a "cosmopolitan" crowd, there are very few options for European food and very few places which you can really call "elegant". None of the hotels serve European food except the Coffee Shops. Thank Goodness for that breath of fresh Greek air at the roof top Galaxy Grill at Seasons. Sizzlers used to be a Pune special. Unfortunately, some of them have not even maintained their standards. In the last 20 years, I have also seen a mushrooming of horrible places serving "multicuisine" with interior design like a doctor's surgery, insensitive service and food smothered in mass made masala. It's very sad. Pune has, by and large, a good weather. Where are the cafés? Where are the interesting outdoor picnic areas serving local food? Other cities have managed it. Well, we have several new, fancy hotels opening up in the next few years which should shake us out of our complacency and into work mode. Let's hope so.

Pune Times - Foodie Article- The world’s on your plate

here is 1 article in Pune Times dated 11th may, I found interesting from foodie perspective.

A journey through Pune manifests a range of culinary delights. And, yes, we are not talking about obvious fare here. One does come across Indian cuisine, and Chinese or Thai have a serious presence as well. But, if one were to look beyond such cuisines, one can see that Indonesian, Malaysian, Japanese, Greek, and Italian delicacies are clicking in a big way as well. Today, popular food festivals have all kinds of thematic delights, and look way beyond Lucknowi or Kashmiri food. A Sushi festival also does equally well. The taste of foodies in the city is fast developing, and they know what they want. "It's not like before. When customers come to the restaurant, they know exactly what they want to order," says Cookie Singh of Toscana, an Italian restaurant. Various restaurants that specialise in different types of international cuisine have made their way into the city. Le Pizzeria continues to be a favourite for Italian cuisine. Then there is La Dolce Vita, where celebrities both from Pune and Mumbai dine regularly. Asia specialises in South-East Asian food and is another popular hang-out. Then, there is Mad House Grill, which specialises in Irani food (Irani Food???- what was the writer thinking ?). Greek magic is served at Galaxy Grill in Aundh. There is The Ship at Kalyani Nagar. And, then there are the regular Chinese restaurants, with Mainland China continuing to be the biggest hit. Even Mainland China is coming up with a number of branches all over Pune. There are the smaller joints like Thai House in Camp. US chains like McDonald's, Domino's and Pizza Hut have their usual clientele. R Chauhan, manager of Mainland China, explains, "Today, the city is expanding and the average income of people is also increasing. They want variety which is what we are endeavouring to provide," he says. Chinese food has always been popular in the city, but new methods are being adopted to woo customers. "It can't just be the usual. For instance, we did a special festival in this Year of Pig in the Chinese calendar," says Chauhan. Today, more and more Puneites are going abroad, which explains why the culinary habits are undergoing a transformation. "I was away in Italy on a company project for three years. Some colleagues from there came to meet me last week. They loved the Italian food in Pune," says Jitesh Agrawal, an executive working for a top MNC. Following the corporate boom, there has been a considerable rise in the number of foreigners, leading to an increase in demand for world cuisine. "It's good to get some nice Continental food near my office," says Ronald Cruz, a French national. Restaurants specialising in world cuisine are taking off in localities like Kalyani Nagar, which houses some of the leading international companies like HSBC and Ventura. Even the average Puneite likes to savour unique cuisine. "Preparations have different flavours, and the sauces used are different as well. It's light on the stomach," says Kamini Jaiswal, who loves Greek food. Her personal favourite is Taramosalata, a dish made out of fish roe mixed with boiled potatoes and moistened breadcrumbs. Some restaurants attempt to give a complete feel of the country whose cuisine they specialise in. Gauri Naikanavre of Galaxy Grill explains why. "It is a conscious effort from our side to do that. People love it that much more." These restaurants also import spices and other ingredients. "It is important so that the flavour is intact and authenticity is there. Today, the people are very aware about what they are ordering," says Gauri. Be it the caffe macchiato or the traditional pasta, Italian food with its select toppings has always been popular. That includes Nasi Pecel Rice served with cooked vegetables and peanut sauce, and Opor Ayam Chicken cooked in coconut milk. To cater to the varied tastes, fivestar hotels have been organising European buffets regularly. "It's very popular in the hotel, and not just with the foreigners who are there but with Indians as well," says Jaswinder Narang of Le Meridien. Indeed, there is a huge demand for organising international food festivals. The five-stars spice it up by having European bands like Le Meridien does, or Filippino singers who are brought to the city by Hotel Pride. As international cuisine is catching on, so is European wine that goes down very well with such delicacies. Niche wine, like sparkling wine, is gaining popularity, so much so that Venky's Rock is now thinking of importing it. Various wine testing festivals are regularly organised, and they have fabulous turnouts. Wine experts from all over the globe come over, and interact with people. Wine lunches and dinners comprising international cuisines and quality wines are organised regularly. Now that the food scene is so bright, where are you going today?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Student Foodie -IMDR Days- Part 2

So, from where do I actually begin? The first meal I had when i joined IMDR? Or when I started staying in FC Hostel? or with the most frequented one ? Ahhh..its all so confusing.. so let me start geographically. I can literally find myself mentally walking down the lane, the proverbial memory lane.
Starting from Paduka Chowk, now there was no traffic restriction at that point of time. Life was simpler, but you had to be careful while crossing the road since, most joints were on the other side of road (and no dividers, remember!) and no traffic signal from Good Luck Chowk till Paduka Chock. and pune bikers..well, we all know. Now, as a student and a guy recently freed to eat at Hotels as many times as he wanted, I had to watch my pocket as well.
So, just near the Chowk, there is a joint called Salokha where I had my first dinner after moving into the hostel.Always teeming with college students, they had monthly coupons system, with 4 Sunday specials lunches, and 1 egg dinner, 1 chicken dinner per week..all for a princely sum of Rs. 400. It was SPICY..period, so when initial eupheria died of "eating at hotel", the tummy started revolting. Maida rotis and oily and spicy food started taking its toll and finally, had to give up. I don't remember if I ever went back again.
Umed Sweet Mart, next to Salokha, was a snacks joint for kachoris, samosas, patties and dhokhlas. i remember to be careful while eating the kachoris becoz it was stuffed with imli chutney and sev, and it will drip and spoil your clothes. But, very enjoyable and packed during evening.
Niranjan : how can I ever forget my breakfast provider? Now, if I do an off hand calculations, I would have had Kanda Poha breakfast for apx 400 times at Niranjan's in 2 years, standing in their courtyard. That's more than what I would have had during my earlier 22 years..!!! I remeber starting with Rs. 5 for Poha and 2 Rs for tea. By the end of it, it was 7 and 3 repectively. But, Niranjan was a much visited joint not only for their breakfast, but also their Thalis for lunch. Rs. 35, if I remember correctly.
Moving more towards FC, I remember Manmeet opening during my last days as student, but never had an opportunity to visit them at that time. I do not remember if Chaitnya was open at that time, as well.
Next in line was Savera, opp FC main Gate. Now, this is a very interesting veg restuarant. Those who knew, they ordered "Fish Pickle", which is not there on their Menu. Fish pickle, in a veg restaurant ? But, it actually turns out to be paneer strips, in tangy and achari sauce. Absolutely fabulous. Over all, a very satisfying and comfortable place, though be prepared to find someone standing next to you to take your place as you finish..!!
Somewhere between JM Road and FC Road is Kamath. A pretty nice place, used to have Thalis on weekends, though not very regularly. so, even today, I wont be able to find the place on my own. But, it’s not the one bang on JM road but a bit on inside lanes.
I am intentionally leaving out Vaishali and Roopali. There is so much said about them all over the net, I cannot add anything to that. if you need to find out more, go and visit the place. The place cannot be explained in words, it has to be experienced.
There was a chinese joint between Vaishali and Roopali. China Dragon, if remember correctly. I think it has closed down now. Smallish place, But, it served amazing crispy fried noodles. it was served with red sauce, somewhat like your american choupsey, but it tasted way different since the noodles were spicy and with dtir fried vegetables. One of the places, to have dinner with your male hostelites friends.
Now, there were no Wadeshwar, Horn OK please or any of these joints at that time. There is Good Luck restaurant, which, you may believe it or not, I had meal only once during my entire 2 years as student. Why ? because, on my first day as student, when i went there for lunch, I could find only, bun and tea. So, never thought, they had a full indian eating joint by their side. So never went there again. but, lately I visited them and found the non-veg economical as well as filling.
The saddest part of this foodie memory is when i found out that Lucky Restaurant has been shut down. The place was an institute in itself. Probably been there for so long, probably since 1930s. The chicken was worth every penny and the custard and jelly was amazing. and of course, student friendly, price wise. The best part, after a late night beer party, or a late night movie show from Alaka/Vijay, you could always go there, even at 2 AM to grab a meal. They used to shut down the front shutters, but back door was always open. You just had to know the way. So many times, along with friends, so much fun.. Really felt a part of my memory has been torn apart ruthlessly.
Another joint near deccan corner was Purab. a decent veg restuarant. On the inside, so you have to know where to find it. I don’t know why, but I seem remember Green Peas Masala from this place !!. Probably coz this was the first place i had seen anything like this. Only peas, peas and more peas.
There were many more joints, some which i never visited, some once, and some, never at all, on FC road. There was one in Hong Kong lane, another one opposite Roopali, another street side joint near current Millenia plaza( I think, it has converted into a decent sitting place, initially it was just a stall !!) Rainbow, Apache, Shabari, places I never got opportunity to visist. I have just tried mentioning my experiences. You are most welcome to add to this list, but remember, it needs to be 10 years old !!!
The list seems soo small for a foodie, right ? But, hold on, there is more to come. With this, I have tried covering the area which we hostelites, could cover on foot, on or near FC Road. More still to come, some of which was partially covered on foot, and sometimes on bikes. Having a vehicle, increases you chances manifolds of savoring new places, right ? Keep watching this place for more...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Pune Times - Restaurant Waiting Queues

he ! he!! its kindda spooky .. the very thing i mentioned in a few of my posts actually made it to Newspapers. !

here's a clip from TOI today.

The Waiting Game

Serpentine queues outside restaurants in the city have become very common on weekends and even on weekdays. How do Puneites deal with the situation? PT finds out.
It's a really tricky situation. You go to your favourite restaurant with your family or girlfriend, only to find that there is no place to sit. You have to wait for your turn to come. And in some cases, the wait can be really long. Yes, this is a new trend in Pune's culinary culture. Most of the top restaurants in the city are absolutely full on weekends and even some part of the weekdays, compelling you to wait! Because of parking woes in the city on the rise, the problem is greater.

Rajan Ghai can't remember one instance in the last six months when he could find a place in a restaurant on weekends. "Invariably, I have to wait for about half an hour. There is no point in going to some other place because the traffic and the corresponding waiting there will just add up to the same," says Ghai. For some people, clubbing is passe and they would rather go for a quiet dinner with their better half. "But you never seem to get a place instantly. Mostly, we roam around the malls adjacent to the restaurant to kill time. Sometimes the clock just doesn't move. At other times, we completely lose track of time...only to wait again!" says Ketan Agrawal. Restaurants agree that tables are almost full on weekends.
"Pune has always had a great eating out culture. It is only increasing," says Sunil Chandani of Nawab. Cookie Singh of Toscana feels that the solution to this problem is to make prior reservations and come. "That is a better way and saves time," he says.

But it is not something everyone agrees with. Ankita Mehta says, "One mostly makes plans at the eleventh hour, so it becomes difficult to make reservations then. And, when you want to do booking just before coming, mostly it is very late," she says. Her friend Sandip Agrawal seems to have found a way out. "I just pick up some pizzas and diet coke, sit in the car and enjoy. Who is going to take so much effort in waiting? Even my friends enjoy," he says.
Well, not a bad idea!

Well, am happy to note that I am not the only one that feels that eating out on a weekend, in Pune, is fast becoming a torture rather than an adventure.

Mad House Grill - Koregaon Park

ph: 26124779
Now, if you google for this joint, mostly positive reviews have come up. Am sure, a regular pune foodie would have heard about this place. TFG (Times Food Guide) also mentions positive things about it.Now, as I mentioned below about coupons below in TFG, decided to put it to better use and find out more about this place. It is situated close to Silk Route in Koregaon Park.

Now, this is one place with limited seating arrangement. Not more than 15 tables. 2 on the outside, about 6-7 inside and probably 4-5 on 1st floor. Since I went there on a Monday, so it was not crowded at all. But, if the place is as famous it claims to be, am sure the weekends would be a nightmare.

A typical European set-up, sparsely decorated but inviting, nevertheless. The menu simple itself, with varities of steaks, lamb, chicken and vegetable options. The TFG suggested Mutton Raan (Rs. 500 apx), a whole mutton leg, grilled, with a variety of Indian/American etc. But we could not dare it. Probably next time. Am not exactly a mutton person.

So, for starters, decided to go with Chicken Wings (Rs. 110) and soft drinks. Now, I have tasted chicken wings in USA, also here in India at Pizza Hut.( Now, they stopped serving that). I loved the spicy and sweet taste there but in comparision, these were disappointing. Too much sweet, probably to serve the taste buds of Americans/Europeans. There were quite a few there. Looked like served in a sauce of jaggery and imli. Tasteful of course, but could have been better.

For the main course, ordered 3 dishes, Special of the day -Grilled Chicken Supreme (Rs. 250), Pepper Chicken (Rs. 180), Mad House Grill Vegetable Special( Rs. 165). On server's suggestion, Garlic Bread( Rs. 30).And then, we waited..for a long time. I hope this is not their usual waiting period. Anyway, food arrived and I must say, it was worth the wait.

Grilled Chicken Supreme- served with rice on the side.. A bit spicy red gravy, but juicy and adequate chicken pieces. Not much gravy, but delicious.
Pepper Chicken- a large chicken steak in spicy brown sauce. served with grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side. scrumptious indeed, but would have liked a better quantity. I envied my companion having Chicken Supreme, but then Pepper Chicken costs less as well.
MHG Vegetable Special- various vegetable, brocolli, panner, mushrooms, in white sauce. Baked potatoes and grilled vegetables on the side. good quantity, lovely to taste. Although, some of the grilled peas were raw.

Now, the hilarious part, the Garlic Bread. tiny little round pavs or buns !. neither smelt like Garlic Bread, nor tasted like one. We almost laughed out aloud. went along with dishes, anyway.

In all, an interesting experience indeed. Food quality was excellent. Probably, would taste even better with some chilled beer.! Service could have been faster. Decor strictly functional. But then, coming back to main course- food was one pleasing highlight of the evening.

Blow to the wallet :A meal for 3 can be done for below Rs. 800. In my case, with mentioned the coupons in TFG, a 15% discount brought it down finally to Rs. 700.

So, Rs. 100 spent on TFG not futile, but recovered. And there are more of them left !!.