#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!

KRRC Ride 227: Exploring Kumbhe Falls and Varanda Ghat

baconbaba; bike; ride

My maiden ride with the legendary Knight Riders Riding Club had me super excited (and tadbit nervous too, considering the offroading aspect and the potential difficulty level of the ride). But the first briefing at Chandni Chowk at 6:15 AM (the start point for what was going to be an absolutely beautiful ride) put my mind at ease.

Pre-ride briefing by RP: Sid and Ride Leader Shohrat
Pit-stop

We started off at 6:20 and hit Tamhini ghats quickly. After quite an exhilarating ride in the twisties (interspersed by a few quick pit-stops to ensure the new riders were comfortable and to pass on some riding tips and corrections), we reached Kumbhe tunnel around 1:00 PM. After multiple photo ops near the tunnel with some Gangnam style performances by the gang members, we trooped off to part 2 of the journey – crossing over Raigarh.

The Kumbhe Tunnel
The Kumbhe Falls PC: Shrikant

Part 2 was where the adventure really took off. One the routes that was pre-decided didn’t seem to have a motorable road, thus we went off exploring. Speaking to a couple of locals, Shohrat bhai decided to take us on a ride through corn fields right up to a brilliant river crossing. All 18 riders made it across with some tips and tricks from the seniors. The next 1 hour or so was a pretty intense off-road experience, as we trudged up the hill on what seemed like no more than trekking paths.

River Crossing PC: Shrikant

This part of the journey took a toll on some of the riders, as dehydration and exhaustion hit hard. A couple of villagers helped with matkas of water. We got respite after hitting tarmac near Vagheri, as we saw the first shop in hours. Several liters of water, jaljeera and aerated drinks were consumed as the group gave a much-needed break to their bums.

But there was more to come. As we were about to hit the Varandha Ghats, one of the bikes caught fire! Fortunately, we had just stopped for a break and Sid Sharma’s sharp eye caught the mishap before things went bad. A ruptured fuel line dripped petrol on the hot engine, causing flares to start. A bit of M-Seal, electrical tape and a whole bunch of jugaad technology was all it took to get the bike back in running condition.

the bike! the bike! the bike is on fire!

What followed was an exhilarating night ride across the Varandh Ghat. It was pretty much non-stop on the heavily potholed roads. Once again, the discipline of the KRRC riders, under the leadership of Shohrat bhai and Sid dada got us through in one piece at a pretty decent pace. Finally, after 15+ hours of riding, we hit the Katraj highway, bringing this most epic ride to a fitting end.

PS: This was my first (long) ride on my Thunderbird 350x. It got me closer to the machine, giving me an understanding of her limitations (or lack thereof) and made me push both the bike as well as my body. Made me hungry for more of these in times to come. Hoping to have the patience and perseverance to keep logging each ride as it happens.

I present to you – “StormTrooper”

Presenting: “StormTrooper”

Parsi bhonu hits Balewadi at Rustom Batliwala!

Rustom Batlivala, Balewadi high street

Rustom Batlivala is a cosy little joint – opened right where Cafe Mestizo used to exist. A brainchild of Chef Deepu. G. Alamchandani (of the mestizo and Bombay Diaries fame), they attempt to dish out some authentic Parsi cuisine.

On Monday, I landed up here with my team for office. We were 3 non vegetarians and 2 vegetarians. And we pretty much ploughed through the entire menu! Here’s what we enjoyed

Mutton Berry Pulao

Mutton Berry Pulao 2 rustom batlivala baconbaba
Mutton Berry Pulao

Glistening red berries sparkling in mounds of fluffy basmati rice, their brilliant color offset with the hue of saffron rice flakes and the white cashew slivers. Layered rice and mutton topped with Iranian Zereshk Berries and cashew slivers – this is a dish fit for the persian kings. Do NOT miss this when at Rustom Batlivala.

Dhansak with Brown Rice – Mutton

mutton dhansaak rustom batlivala baconbaba
Mutton Dhansaak

RB does justice to this Parsi delicacy. The masala is thick and creamy and ruch and has that slight sweet after taste that you associate with dhansak. The mutton pieces are perfectly cooked. My only request was to serve mutton balls alongside, to make it more authentic. The veg variant of the classic was just as delicious as the Mutton one. Well, almost 😋

Mutton Biryani

Mutton Biryani rustom batlivala baconbaba
Mutton Biryani

The Chef seems to have carried over this classic from the Mestizo menu. Delicious, rich, well cooked mutton – soul food.

Bhutta Karari Tikka

Bhutta Karari Tikka rustom batlivala baconbaba
Bhutta Karari Tikka

Made from a mix of fresh American sweet corn and crushed up corn flakes, topped with pink salt, the combination of sweet n salty, crunchy and gooey makes it a fab starter.

Naram Dil Kabab

Naram Dil Kabab rustom batlivala baconbaba
Naram Dil Kabab

Heart shaped deep fried crusted kababs wifh a soft paneer filling. These were more on the sweet side with a strong flavor of elaichi. Unique flavor, but may not go down well with everyone due to the sweetness.

Kheema Pav

kheema pao rustom batlivala baconbaba
Kheema Pao

The veg version was pav bhaji that tasted like mutton kheema. Super delicious, the vegetarian folks ordered this twice! The Mutton kheema pav was yummy, medium spicy, just perfect.


Total bill for the above food came to ~2500 (for 5 people). They have an upto 100% cashback offer going on. You enter your number and you get an sms telling you how much cashback you win. I, luckily, got a 100% cashback. So I ended up visiting again, last night, where Sangeeta and I gorged on some delicious dhansak and berry pulao.

Yep. 2 visits in 5 days. Thats how great it is. Loved it!

Ps: the quantities are small-ish. Each dish is about a single person serving. Prices are decent, so you can happily order 2 mains 🙂


Rustom Battliwala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nina Pinta Santamaria – What CREPE!

Nina Pinta Santamaria

So, for the past couple of months, we had been noticing this cool, retro looking food truck on the baner-aundh link road. Always seemed busy, which is usually a good thing in terms of food joints. Last night Sangeeta Majumdar and I headed over to try it out. And man, we loved it!

nina pinta santamaria food truck crepe baconbaba
The Food Truck

The Food Truck

The food truck is beautifully done up, with pretty lanterns hanging down, and a few stools strewn around for patrons to sit and gorge through the crepes. The menu is split into dessert, non-veg and veg crepes (yes they serve savory crepes, not something that’s very common in Pune.)

nina pinta santamaria food truck crepe baconbaba lanterns
Trippy Pretty Lanterns

Mutton-ki-baat

nina pinta santamaria food truck crepe baconbaba mutton ki baat
The Mutton Ki Baat

Mutton keema stuffed crepe with onions – ultimate street food! Our first bite into this, and I knew I was going to order a second one! Sangeeta’s first reaction to this was “This tastes almost like Kosha Mangsho!” The blend of spices resulted in a not-too-hot, delicious stuffing. Slices of onions inside added some much needed crunch. The crepe itself was bland, which is exactly how it should be, while cooked to be just a tiny bit crisp at the edges, and soft at the center. The best part is that the crepe actually held up till the last bite, without breaking down or going soggy, making this perfect to be eating standing up, in one hand, without going messy.

Chicken Puneri

nina pinta santamaria food truck crepe baconbaba chicken puneri crepe
The Chicken Puneri Crepe

Another savory non-veg crepe with bits of chicken, this one paled in comparison to the muton ki baat. While being delicious in its own right, the mutton keema variant is far better. It could also be due to my personal preference – I mean, you can’t really beat mutton keema, can you 🙂 ? Again, not too high on spices, with a similar flavor profile as the mutton one, this, too, is a delight to eat.

Death by chocolate

nina pinta santamaria food truck crepe baconbaba death by chocolate
Death by Chocolate – Image courtesy Nina Pinta Maria, Zomato

Crumbled chocolate brownie, chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, almonds, gems – this was a flavor explosion! The brownie, almonds and gems gave some amazing texture to each bite, while the chocolate mousse, whipped cream and ganache came together in a mind blowing blend of chocolatey goodness, without being overly sweet. The best here was again the filling to crepe ratio, resulting in the crepe to be structurally sound right till the last bite! This one had Pihu, Sangeeta and me fighting over each bite!

Mango Cream

nina pinta santamaria food truck crepe baconbaba mango cream
The Mango Cream Crepe

To be perfectly honest, they didn’t have the Mango Ricotta crepe. Instead, they are currently selling a Mango and cream variant. This one is simple and delicious – a crepe, folded with fresh mangoes, mango pulp, and whipped cream. The magoes tasted fresh and juicy, while the cream added a bit of tartness to cut through the sweet pulp. I do wish they added some more cream (or another non-sweet element – caramel maybe?) to balance the mouth feel of each bite.

The Menu

They also have a couple of veg crepes (mushroom, paneer – didn’t try any, coz, well, mera Mangalwaar tha – Mangalwaar ko veg nai khaate) but then crepes themselves have egg in the batter, so pure-vegetarians, stay away.

nina pinta santamaria food truck crepe baconbaba menu
The Menu

The other dessert crepes on offer also seem pretty interesting, particularly the Banoffe one, which is served with dulce de leche and bananas – a match made in heaven – definitely something I want to try next time around. I was surprised to not see a Nutella crepe – coz, come on – you got to have a nutella crepe!

The Story

Overall, NPS is a fantastic addition to the Pune food scene – what I love is the fact that they have a limited menu, and they serve limited items, and they do it perfectly! The crepes are all priced between 100-150 INR, making it affordable, and total VFM. Service is quick, and the chefs work like a well oiled machine, quickly dishing out crepes within a few minutes.

Love it! Love it! Love it!

PS: Thank you Soham Bhatawadekar for the complimentary Mango Crepe 


Nina Pinta Santamaria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc – A boozy brunch at Euriska

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc

The Beer

They say that beauty lies in the eyes of the beer-holder! Packaged in a lovely 330 ml blue glass bottle, this is one beer that truly catches your eye.

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc baconbaba

Kronenburg 1664 Blanc is a light (4.5% ABV) and smooth Belgian witbier style, brewed in Alsace, France.

As you pop open the cap, a lovely herbal and spicy aroma of coriander, clove, rosemary, lemongrass, and orange peel greets you. It pours a fine yellow liquid with a little foamy head. Strong citrus flavor – Lime / Lemon rind taste is fragrant and obvious, with some subtle spicy notes.

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc baconbaba
Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc

The light head and carbonation makes it very easy to sip. Its very light on the palate, with a lovely citrus after taste. The result – a very  enjoyable, very summery drink.

Chatpata Corn Aranchini

Chatpata Corn Aranchini euriska baconbaba
Chatpata Corn Aranchini

Giving this beautiful beer company, are the Chatpata Corn Aranchini. This desi take on the Italian dish results in total spicy-gooey-awesomeness!

Achari Marinated Chicken Skewers

Achari Marinated Chicken Skewers euriska baconbaba
Achari Marinated Chicken Skewers

Spicy, well cooked, chicken tikkas. Yum.

Smoky Chicken Pizza

IMG_20180324_143521_Fotor

Another desi twist – super yum, thin crust desi pizza.

Overall, all the dishes paired well with the beer, making it a very enjoyable brunch session for us.


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


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

“K” – Authentic Korean in Pune!

Korean Food in Pune!

“K” – Korean Restaurant has recently opened up in Aundh, behind Medipoint restaurant. Serving authentic Korean cuisine, they sure bring some exciting flavors to our palate. #baconbaba was invited for a tasting to this tiny cosy little place.

Here’s a quick run down of my experience.

Tangsu

korean baconbaba Tangsu with Fried Mushroom
Tangsu with Fried Mushroom

A dish with Korean-Chinese origins, the Tangsu consists of Batter fried mushrooms with Mixed vegetables and a sweet and sour sauce. The highlight was the thick sweet sticky golden sauce, characterized by the flavor of pineapple and vinegar. Fresh pineapple slivers added to the overall sweetness of the dish.

korean baconbaba Tangsu with Fried Chicken
Tangsu with Fried Chicken

The Fried Chicken Tangsu had very similar flavours as the mushroom variant. The Red garlic chilly sauce and pickled radish served on the side add a much needed salty/spicy kick to this overall sweet dish.

Jampong (Veg)

korean baconbaba Jampong (Veg)
Jampong (Veg)

Jamppong is a Korean-Chinese noodle soup with red, spicy broth flavored with gochutgaru (chili powder). The veg version is loaded with vegetables and mushrooms. While this had quite a hit of spice the strong flavor of mushrooms in the broth was noticable.

Nagasaki Jampong (Sea Food)

korean baconbaba Nagasaki Jampong
Nagasaki Jampong

A form of Korean Ramen, the Nagasaki Jampong is a lovely sea food broth – prawns, mussel, squid with mixed veggies and pork. Super light, super delicious – a must have for all you sea food lovers!

Clear Noodles Chicken soup

korean baconbaba Clear Noodles Chicken soup
Clear Noodles Chicken soup

Like the name suggests, this is a simple, clean broth with mixed vegetables and chicken. The strong flavor of the chicken stock shines through.

Jajang (pork)

korean baconbaba Jajang (pork)
Jajang (pork)

A thick Black bean paste based gravy with chopped Cabbage, Onion and minced Pork on a bed of noodles. My first taste felt rather bland – the flavors just didn’t work. But mix it all together, and it results in porky noodle awesomeness! The flavor is rich, lightly spiced, minced pork and onions. Most noteworthy was the flavor profile – its different from anything I have tried before.

IMG_20180317_154459_820

Best experienced with chopsticks!


K is a great new addition to the ever growing food culture in Pune. A host of new flavors, this brings authentic Korean cuisine to our city. Looking forward to more trips here!

The menu is rather cryptic, so feel free to ask the waiters for advise. And, if you do land up here, be adventurous! Its a great experience.


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


Souk by Cafe Arabia – Mediterranean Flavours

Souk by Cafe Arabia

Cafe Arabia is known for their multiple QSR counters in malls across Pune. They are known for dishing out some of the best Lebanese cuisine in the city. Souk is Cafe Arabia’s first standalone dine in restaurant, taking the Cafe Arabia legacy to the next level.

Salad Bowls

The Grilled Chicken Greek Salad

IMG_20180303_142532

Grilled chicken, feta cheese, oregano and fresh veggies makes this a lovely summer salad. The freshness and crunch of the veggies, creamy feta cheese and the oregano based dressing go perfectly with the perfectly grilled chicken.

Souk Fries

souk baconbaba souk fries
Souk Fries

Crunchy french fries dusted with sumac powder – the sumac gives it a lovely Mediterranean touch adding a bit of spice to the golden fried fries. That being said, the garlic dip didn’t go too well with the fries though – I would love to have these with some ketchup instead!

Lebanese Platters

Hummus Platter with Pita Bread

Hummus Platter with Pita Bread souk baconbaba
Hummus Platter with Pita Bread

Cafe Arabia is known for their hummus. This platter adds a dimension, serving four avatars of the delicious creamy hummus –  original, basil pesto, jalapeno & harissa and beetroot. The pita bread is coated with za’atar dressing, and that did over-power the delicate flavor of the hummus. Be sure to ask for only a light coating of za’atar next time around.

Falafel Platter

souk baconbaba falafel platter
Falafel Platter

Falafels (chick pea balls, deep-fried) topped with a bit of garlic yogurt and olives, served with a garlic dip. Beautifully cooked, tasted delicious.

Kababs

Harrissa Chicken Skewers

souk baconbaba harissa chicken skewers
Harissa Chicken Skewers

These looked delicious, but were a bit of a let down. The harissa gave it an overall spicy heat, but these were under-seasoned. A dash of salt helped make it more palatable.

Skewered Mushrooms

souk baconbaba skewered mushrooms
Skewered Mushrooms

The best part about this dish was the fact that it was very lightly spiced, allowing the natural flavor of mushrooms to shine through. The gentle char on the top really added a beautiful dimension to the flavor and mouthfeel of the dish

Chicken Black Pepper

souk baconbaba black pepper chicken
Chicken Black Pepper

A take on the more popular malai tikka, these were rich and creamy. Would have helped if the black pepper flakes were not as massive.

Flatbreads

Peppy Paneer and Pesto Mushroom – Half ‘n Half

souk baconbaba peppy paneer pesto mushroom flatbread
Peppy Paneer and Pesto Mushroom Flatbread

The paneer was delicious. Pepper, oregano, red bell pepper and grilled paneer – this had the makings of a delicious ‘desi’ pizza. The pesto mushroom didn’t work for me personally – the pesto didn’t work with the mushrooms, leading to a confused palate.

Spiced Minced Lamb

souk baconbaba spiced minced lamb flatbread
Spiced Minced Lamb Flatbread

An absolutely gorgeous looking plate of food, this was the highlight of the meal. Lightly spiced minced lamb blended beautifully with the cheese and tomato sauce, leaving us going ‘yummm’ with every bite. The fried egg on top was like a ray of sunshine, taking this spectacular plate of food to another level.

Chicken Shawarma

souk baconbaba chicken shawarma
Chicken Shawarma

Cafe Arabia is famous for its shawarma. This one, however, was not up to the mark. Over stuffed with the garlic sauce, and the lack of crunch lead it to be totally unbalanced. The pita bread too wasn’t toasted enough, leading to a very ‘meh’ mouth feel.

Shakes

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake

souk baconbaba peanut butter and jelly shake
Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake

If you like peanut butter, you will LOVE this!

Chocolate Mint Shake

souk baconbaba after 8 shake mint chocolate
After 8 – Mint Chocolate Shake

I, personally, am not a fan of mint chocolate. That being said, this ticked all the boxes for a  good chocolate mint shake.

Desserts

Baklava with Ice Cream

souk baconbaba baklava ice cream
Baklava with Ice Cream

I have been a fan of the baklava made by Cafe Arabia. The pastry is crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and is rich with the flavors of honey, cinnamon and nuts. This one is a slight variation of the one they serve at their outlets, shaped like a cup to hold the ice cream. Its good, but felt a bit dense at the inside base of the cup. I prefer the one they serve at the outlet.

souk baconbaba baklava ice cream
Baklava with Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Tart with Mediterranean Sea Salt

souk baconbaba Dark Chocolate Tart with Mediterranean Sea Salt
Dark Chocolate Tart with Mediterranean Sea Salt

An absolute masterpiece of a dessert, this one is to DIE for! The tart is beautifully crumbly, and the dark chocolate filling is so gooey, it should be a crime! With just the right amount of bitterness creeping through, it makes this such an amazing dessert.

However, the coup de grâce was the sprinkling of the sea salt. That salt cuts through the chocolate like a hot knife through butter, leaving you salivating for more!

Sinful, decadent, major win!

souk baconbaba Dark Chocolate Tart with Mediterranean Sea Salt
Dark Chocolate Tart with Mediterranean Sea Salt


Overall, a great place to chill if you are in the NIBM area. Great stuff!


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


SOUK by Cafe Arabia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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!

baconbaba bubsterrs chef special salad beetroot walnut
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

Roghandaaz – Kababs with a legacy

Roghandaaz

Friday night, “bachelored” friend (bhabhiji ghar pe nahi hai) and 6 friends craving = house party!

The Menu

Started thinking of food options, and since the house was located at NIBM, the first name I thought of was Roghandaaz by Aliya Nada Saifi aka LobsterPastaLady. I hadn’t tried her food yet, and I was looking forward to it. Gave her my requirements – 6 “good eaters” kababs, biryani and, maybe, a bit of dessert. She immediately suggested Kebabs. Nihari. Biryani. Sheer Sewai. Dude…..

Guler Kababs

baconbaba roghandaaz guler kabab
Guler Kababs – PC: Roghandaaz

The Guler kababs were medium sized deep fried balls of minced meat,stuffed with mint and raisins. Crunchy on the outside,and buttery soft inside, these were absolutely phenomenal! Never have I tasted anything like this – mildly spiced, with hints of sweetness from the raisins and the freshness of the mint – perfectly balanced, absolutely delicious.

Shami Kababs

baconbaba roghandaaz shammi kabab
Shami Kababs – PC: Roghandaaz/CityShor

Shami kababs were as shami kababs are supposed to be. Light flavor of cinnamon, melt in the mouth mince meat. We should have heated it though as it had dried up after going cold. Completely our fault.

The Chicken Koftas did not match up to their mutton cousins – ended being a bit dry and dense.

Biryani ❤

The biryani was spectacular. Generous amount of soft mutton, layered saffron and white rice and a lovely sprinkling of fried onions. Rich, smoky, addictive – exactly what the doctor ordered 🙂

Dessert – Sheer Sevai

baconbaba roghandaaz sheer sevai
Sheer Sevai – PC: Roghandaaz

For dessert she sent a dish called Sheer Sevai. I can’t even begin to describe the dish. Thick, creamy, loaded with dry fruits and roasted sevai, with hints of saffron without being overly sweet – the Sheer Sevai was a revelation. Reminiscent of the Sheer Khurma associated with Eid, every single one of us went ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ with pleasure upon eating this. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Nalli Nihari – Love at first bite!

baconbaba roghandaaz nalli nihari
Nalli Nihari – PC: Rohandaaz

As a surprise ‘tasting’ Aliya was kind enough to also send a bowl of Nihari. As I opened the box, I saw a layer of oil. But as i dipped my ladle in, the oil parted to reveal a lovely thick velvety stew, loaded with gorgeous mutton shank pieces. My first spoon and i got a fantastic smoky flavour with the slightest bit of throat hit – the sign of a perfect slow cooked broth. Rich with ghee, and the mutton bone marrow, this was a perfect accompaniment to the biryani.

Total cost for 2kgs Biryani, 60 kababs, and dessert ~5k. An absolutely spectacular meal.

Roghandaaz – #baconbaba is now a #jabrafan!


Roghandaaz is a delivery only restaurant operating out of Kondhwa, Pune. They deliver all over Pune. Order online from their Zomato page or call them at 098346 38402


Disclaimer: All the pics used here are from the Roghandaaz Facebook Page. The images are owned by Roghandaaz and/or by the respective photographers. Due credit provided. I was way too hungry to click!


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

Baconbaba in Kolhapur!

Tikkhat Manjhe Swadisht Naahi!

The Kolhapuri Lavangi – A tiny little chili bomb local to this area.This is the flavor that defines Kolhapuri cuisine. But is it really?

There is a saying in Marathi – ‘Tikkhat manjhe swadisht naahi‘ (spicy doesn’t mean tasty). So which is it? Tikkhat? Or Swadisht? That’s what I was craving to find out.

As I had an opportunity to spend a day in Kolhapur with a good friend (who, incidentally, is a local of this city), I had to eat my way through this city. Here are some of the best spots I hit:

Hotel Parakh: Special Mutton Fry Thali

We landed in Kolhapur just around lunch time. The drive form Pune had left us ravenous, and we totally looking forward to our first meal in Kolhapur.

Hotel Parakh is a simple, no frills place with a basic menu – they do what they do best.

One of the best mutton thalis I’ve had in a long long time. Hotel Parakh, Kolhapur puts out this gorgeous plate of meat with perfectly cooked mutton fry and a lovely mutton kheema. 250/- for this plate of awesomeness is a steal!

But the showstopper here are the twin rassa bowls – Tambda and Pandhra.

The Pandhra rassa is a lovely white mutton stock base, lightly spiced. Dunk your bhakri and mutton fry to oomph up the flavors, or drink it up as a soup.

The Tambda rassa is spicy, but not what you expect. Cooked in mutton stock, you can see bits of Mutton fat floating around, giving it a bit of richness that only fat can give. It has a spectacular back of the throat hit, without putting your palate on fire. You can happily chug a few bowls of this fiery looking gravy without feeling numb lips or burning your throat. If anything, it triggers the taste buds, taking this lovely thali to the next level.

Chappal Alley

A whole lane dedicated to Kolhapuri Chappal stores? This one I could not miss!

The best Vada Pav in Kolhapur?

Right at the bustling Rankala lake sits Mr Ramchandra Patil, owner of Priyadarshini Mobile Canteen. What really set this apart is the MASSIVE vada served with a slice of bread and coconut chutney. The jumbo vada pav is delicious, very different from what we get in Pune/Mumbai, and the chutney truly makes it a delicious experience

Will the real All India Bhel please stand up?

All India Bhel is one of the iconic spots of Kolhapur. Affectionately known as ‘Raja Bhau Bhel Center’, this was set up in 1965. Over 50 years, they have created their legacy, and defined the street food scene in Kolhapur. The entire street where this is located is lined with food stalls, with the maximum crowds gathering around Raja Bhau Bhel Center

They work at lightning speed, preparing your bhel, customized to your liking (dry/wet, spicy/medium) in less than 30 seconds. Take a look:

The bhel itself is delicious – sweet, spicy, sour, with hints of raw mango, garlic chutney and chillies.

The funny part is the number of ‘All India Bhel Center’s that have propped up. I counted about 15 of them in a line at Rankala lake. All of them serve great stuff, no doubt, but the original is undoubtedly the best 🙂

Dinner Scenes – Mutton at Opal

Another one of the iconic food spots in Kolhapur, Hotel Opal was set up in 1968. Today, about 50 years later, they continue to carry on the legacy. The food here is excellent. Must try the mutton thali (tambda-pandhra rassa, mutton fry, mutton curry and bhakri). Do not miss the solkadi to cool down the senses.

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Dessert Feels – Imperial Cold Drink House

Imperial goes beyond being called a legacy. Set up in 1910, this centurion is Kolhapur at its finest. Do not miss the Imperial Special Cocktail (with cake). Ice cream, milkshake, tooti fruity, jelly, dry fruits, fresh fruits (if u r lucky, u’ll get mango bits too) – this has it all. This is an absolute must after the spicy tambda rassa!

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Basundi Chah

We noticed this board on the way to Imeprial, and HAD to try it out. It is exactly as the name suggests – hot basundi, mixed with hot tea. The taste? Well, imagine drinking tea with condensed milk – super sweet, dessert-y, thick, creamy, with a flavour of tea. Definitely worth a try. You’ll find them lined up along Shivaji chowk after 5PM in the evening.

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Misal Scenes!

You can’t leave Kolhapur without eating Misal! Breakfast the next day is Misal at the oldest Misal joint in Kolhapur – Hotel Bawada Misal.

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Established in 1923, they serve a form a misal very different from what we get in Pune. The tarri is a lot thinner, and contains a blend of matki, chana and potatoes, topped with shaved coconut and dahi. And contrary to popular belief, it isn’t burn your mouth spicy. It is a very balanced blend of spices, that will keep you craving for more.

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One day is not enough to explore the true beauty of the food that this lovely city has to offer. But what I experienced in these 24 hours provided me enough fuel to go back on another gastronomical excursion to further explore this city. #baconbaba will be back!

Shalom – Baconbaba eats his way through Israel!

Shalom!

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Israel, thanks to a business trip, and pleasurable it was! Israeli cuisine is all about freshness – Fresh fish, fresh salads and fresh bread. #Baconbaba takes you on a culinary journey across this land of beautiful food.

Breakfast in Israel

The day starts with a lavish breakfast. The typical Israeli breakfast is a grand affair with eggs, dairy, fresh fruits, salads, and of course, hummus

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Breakfast in Israel – Shakshouka, Quiche, Pita, Hummus, Cheese, Scrambled eggs, Fresh fruit juice

Hummus

Hummus is pretty much synonymous with Israeli cuisine. It’s versatile, delicious, filling yet super healthy. Made from a chickpea flour, there are several versions served across Israel, and no meal is complete without hummus. As an accompaniment with the famous Pita bread or the larger soft pillowy Lafa bread, a side dish with meat of fish, or simply as a meal in its own right (topped with salads, olive oil, a boiled egg, boiled chickpeas and spices), hummus makes an appearance at every meal!

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Hummus with Lafa bread

Falafel

For the vegetarians

The other contender for the ‘national dish’ is the very popular Falafel. This fried delicacy has made its way across the world and can be seen in almost every middle-eastern specialty restaurant. It’s now elevated from its street food origins and is seen in various avatars in restaurants and malls. Nothing beats a falafel when eaten hot and crisp, wrapped in a bun or pita bread, with – you guessed it – hummus!

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Falafel

Shakshuka

Eggy delights!

One specialty egg preparation that I particularly loved is called Shakshouka – a dish of eggs poached over a bed of tomatoes, onions, capsicums, eggplant, spinach and spices. Typically cooked and served in a cast iron pan, this breakfast dish of Moroccan origin proves to be an Israeli favorite.

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Shakshouka

Fish frenzy

Israel being majorly a coastal country, there’s no dearth of fresh fish. Fresh fish is served whole (Mediterranean style!) grilled or fried, dressed only with freshly squeezed lemon juice. My experience was so amazing – felt like the fish had just walked out the ocean behind my table and jumped onto the grill to land on my plate!

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Grilled ‘David’ fish

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A gorgeous grilled fish meal with salads at ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, Jaffa, Israel

Salads

Freshness galore

A major part of Israel is the sea cost or desert leading to water and land shortage for agriculture. To counter this, Israel is now a world leader in cutting-edge agricultural technology. And as a result, the array of fresh fruits and vegetables is beyond compare.

Israeli salads are fresh, delicious, and are served with an array of dips and dressings. No worry for vegetarians here – a lot of healthy options are on offer!

Here’s how a typical Israeli salad buffet looks. (Notice the hummus? 😉 )

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Salad ‘platter’ at ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, Jaffa, Israel

Kosher foods

There’s an entirely different ‘kosher‘ (abiding to Jewish laws) and ‘Shabbat‘ (the holy day – Saturday) cuisine, which, unfortunately, I couldn’t experience. However, it is something on my wishlist on my next trip there!

I must also mention the amazing meat dishes like Chicken with couscous, Mousakka (Potato, eggplant, meat) and of course kababs. There’s no pork since it isn’t ‘kosher’ (i.e., not abiding to Jewish laws) but the beef and chicken dishes are right up there with the best – all with Turkish / Mediterranean / middle-eastern flavors.

Baked Goods

There is also a strong tradition of baked goods here. Streets are lined with bakeries serving cakes, pastries, breads and cookies with some very interesting flavors, owing to the middle-eastern influences. My personal favorite was the Sambusak – a soft bread stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, onions, meat etc – served hot out of the oven!

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Sambusak – stuffed with cheese, onions, mushrooms

My trip was rather short – 5 days isn’t nearly enough to truly experience a new cuisine, but the glimpse that I got was nothing short of wonderful.

Shalom!

Orion Baner – A galaxy of awesomeness!

Orion, Baner

One of the swankiest pubs to hit baner in recent times, Orion certainly has what it takes to make it big in the competitive food circuit. With a formidable cocktail menu, Orion brings a whole lot of gorgeously plated food to the table. #thebaconbaba was invited for a bloggers’ tasting table, and man, did I have an amazing time! Here’s a quick run down:

Three Mushroom Liquid with Melba Crisp

orion baner baconbaba mushroom

This was a fabulous start to the meal. This is a lovely thick, creamy mushroom soup, lightly seasoned, allowing the flavors of the mushrooms to shine through.

Indian Spiced Pumpkin veloute

orion baner baconbaba pumpkin soup

Probably one of the prettiest looking pumpkin soups I have had in a long time, this one tasted absolutely delicious. Roasted pumpkin seeds added a bright little bite to the overall mouth feel.

Chicken Shorba

orion baner baconbaba shorba

This tasted more like a butter chicken gravy, than a soup. I would have happily lapped it up with a butter naan. However, I believe this is the type of shorbas served in the Kolhapur / Vidharbha area. It was delicious, so no complaints!

Garlic Bread with Red Onion Jam

orion baner baconbaba garlic bread

This has the potential to be a kickass dish. However, it was let down by the lackluster jam, and the soft bread. The toast needed to be toastier, and the jam needed so more ooomph. A bit of salt and 30 seconds more on the grill maybe?

Orion Special Kabab

orion baner baconbaba kabab

This was a good indian chicken kabab. Order this if you are looking for a “chicken tikka” or a chicken reshmi kabab”. Good flavors all round.

Country Style Maple Wings

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While these look absolutely gorgeous – that perfect sticky shiny coating, it ended up being way too sweet for my palate. It definitely needed more zing. The gentle coating of chilly flakes didn’t help.

Makhmali Roll

orion baner baconbaba Sikpuri

These caught our eye the moment it landed on our table. The pink foam on top is truly a wow factor in the dish. It turned out to be a perfectly rolled chicken roulade in a beetroot foam. Beautiful textures, lovely presentation, an all round great dish.

Bangkok Chicken

orion baner baconbaba bangkok

This one is for all the ‘tapri’-Chinese lovers out there (your’s truly included!) A crisp fried chicken in a crispy noodles “nest” – a wacky take on the ever-popular Chopsuey. Super yum – perfect for munching with drinks!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

orion baner baconbaba bbq

A standard chicken pizza on a hand rolled base. Nothing to write home about.

Black Lasagne

orion baner baconbaba black lasagna

This was another dish that really got our imagination running. The lasagna is black in color. While it looks super theatrical, and funky, it does not add much to the flavor. A normal tasting, cheesy, gooey lasagna. Not that it’s bad by any means!

Mezze Platter with Baba Ganoush , garlic Hummus & beetroot Hummus

orion baner baconbaba mezze

A gorgeous looking dish, mezze platters are the current craze of the city. Every chef worth his salt is serving up some form of hummus/pita dip combo contraption. Does Orion do enough to stand out from the competition? Maybe the addition of the chicken and paneer fingers does add some level of difference to the over all presentation, as does the baba ganoush. Honestly, the Baba Ganoush tasted a lot more like baingan ka bharta. They do need to tone down their spices, if they plan to make it more authentic.

Chocolate Cigars

orion baner baconbaba chocolate cigar

Do NOT leave this place without ordering up a plate of Chocolate Cigars (or 3, like we did). The cigars are freshly fried, and dipped in vanilla ice cream, coated with a lovely hot chocolate sauce. We asked for ours to be customized with chocoloate shavings, instead of the colorful stuff you see in the pic above, resulting in an absolute chocolate mouthgasm! The crispy outer layer, the hot molten chocolate inside, the cold ice cream and the bits of chocolate shavings on top – absolute pleasure. You HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO order this!

Cocktails

orion baner baconbaba liit

They have a formidable list of cocktails. Each one we tried stood out from the previous one. their freak-shakes are worth a try as well. you can’t really go wrong there – go, get sloshed, have fun!

Overall, Orion is a great place, with super chill vibes. Great food, killer cocktails, and ample parking (yes that’s important!) Totally worth the trip!

#baconbaba khush hua!


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