The Happiest Burp : Pune’s Top Food Bloggers Recommend The Dishes That You Absolutely Must Try

A collection of recommendations from some of the finest food bloggers in the city…!

The Pune I Love

If you’ve always thought food bloggers are a spoilt lot, you’re right. Perhaps the most rewarding kind of writing (gastronomical pleasure trumps all, doesn’t it?), food blogging is also the most sought after content these days. But it isn’t all pancakes and parathas. Food bloggers have to be brutally honest and go down to the minutest detail when judging their plate. And in this profession of making everyone hungry, having a perpetually full belly is the only way to be relevant!

We got in touch with Pune’s top food bloggers and asked them the dish that has been the most memorable in their culinary journey. A dish that according to them, is an absolute must try for every foodie. The results were amazing and have left us wagging our tongues!

Here are the top picks from Pune’s most celebrated food bloggers:

1. Monalisa Mehrotra, @bellydriven. This self…

View original post 1,142 more words

Sunday Brunch at the Burrow – Playboy Beer Garden

When you hear ‘BRUNCH’ you visualize eggs and toast, biryani and pizza, fruits and salads, grilled meat and veggies and paneer, beer and wine, and a forest of desserts. Everything one can imagine from breakfast to lunch.

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Well, take all that, add a magic show, a foot massage, sprinkle some amazing music coupled with a super chill ambiance, and you get the Sunday Brunch by Playboy Beer Garden.

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As I entered, the seductive fragrance of sweet sticky barbeque sauce on thick sexy pork ribs pulled me right in.

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Pork ribs on the grill
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Pork ribs, loaded with bbq sauce!

Flanked by chicken sausages and basil chicken thighs, the grill section is certainly the highlight of the brunch.

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Grilled meats

Right next to the grill section is the Mimosa bar. A Mimosa is a cocktail composed of champagne (or other sparkling wine) and chilled fruit juice, and these are absolutely delectable! With orange, apple, and cranberry options, I just couldn’t stop at one!

For the uninitiated, here’s the 1-2-3 of the Mimosa bar:
  • Pour the bubbly (champagne ftw!)
  • Add some juice (Fresh fruit juices – Apple, Orange or Cranberry – take your pick!)
  • Top with fruit (Cranberries, kiwis, Orange, etc) #DoNotMiss

As you walk into the plush indoor section, you are greeted by a vast selection of salads, cheese, fresh fruits, cereal (yes there’s breakfast too, remember?) and breads. I particularly relished the Tenderloin Roulade – A beautiful roll of meat with sultana and rosemary inside.

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The Tenderloin Roulade with Sultana and Rosemary

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An array of salads

They also had some delectable kebabs, springrolls, pizzas and starters served at the table.

The main course included a veg khow suey (they made a chicken one for me on request) which was surprisingly good, though a tad spicy due to the green chilli – that being said – this is entirely customizable; just ask for the condiments to be served on the side!

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Khow Suey, made to order

Chicken biryani, thai red curry, and chicken macaroni were nothing to write home about, but the Chicken Fricassee with mashed potatoes was nothing short of excellent.

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Chicken Fricasse with mashed potatoes

When I was taking break from the hogfest, i sat at the foot massage chair, and got a complimentary foot massage – much needed for my sore feet due all the walking around the buffet counter  An illusionist impressed us with some surprising card tricks as we were chilling with the mimosas

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The Magician – AP (Image courtesy Facebook – Playboy Beer Garden)

I could go on and on, but this just turns out to be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Chill, drink, listen to some good music, eat some great food, relax and just have a good time over all with friends and family.

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Amazing live music by Jameer from #theStage2
Packages (All prices are inclusive of taxes) –
  1. Only Food = Rs.1073
  2. Food +Beer+ Sangria = Rs.1480
  3. Food + IMFL + Mimosa Bar is Rs.1829 – Highly recommended: the Mimosas are worth the extra $$

A big shout out to Ashutosh from TLND for inviting us and Team PBBG for hosting us. #TheBTeam loved the entire experience!! #TheBTeamRecommends


Note: This review is a combined experience of three visits to the PBBG Sunday Brunch, which include two blogger invites and one self sponsored family visit, over a period of four months. Surprisingly, all the experiences were equally good, however, for all intents and purposes, The Usual Disclaimer applies. 


A few more drool-worthy pics here:

Playboy Beer Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

View my food journey on Zomato!

Continue reading “Sunday Brunch at the Burrow – Playboy Beer Garden”

Dinshaw’s Xpress Cafe, KP

Dinshaw’s as a brand of ice-cream has a history that dates back to 1932! Dinshaw’s Xpress cafe at Koregaon Park, Pune steps up the game, offering sandwiches, burgers, and fast-food.  IMG_20170318_173530.jpg

With the Zoroastrian festival of Navroze coming up, #baconbaba was invited along with #TheBTeam to try out their lip-smacking Parsi cuisine.

The long walk in the sweltering heat from my car to the restaurant had me sweating like a pig (yes yes… baconbaba sees the irony in that statement…) Luckily, the first thing on the tasting menu was iced-tea, and nothing feels better than a cold lemon iced tea on a hot summer afternoon. To be honest, it was your basic Lipton iced tea, but no complaints.

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Iced Tea

As the food started hitting the table, we started of with the Cheesy Garlic Bread. While this isn’t exactly a ‘parsi’ delicacy per se, it does give an insight into the quality of fast food they dish out. Generously slathered with garlic butter and melted cheese, the gently toasted slice tasted excellent with the mayo dip.

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Cheesy Garlic Bread

Next up was the Chicken Farcha. I have had my fair share of Parsi cuisine, thanks to my Dad’s exhaustive network, and no, Chicken Farcha neither looks nor tastes like this. I believe it was missing the typical Dhana-Jeera masala flavor that you get from a Farcha.

That being said, this was more along the lines of a very well made KFC fried chicken. Excellent crumbed outer layer, perfectly cooked chicken, highly recommended as a fried chicken starter.

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Chicken Farcha
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Chicken Farcha

Next on the menu was my most awaited dish – the Chicken Dhansak. This was an excellent chicken gravy dish served with rice and fried onions. Nice balance of sweet and spicy with perfect seasoning made the flavors pop. Again, didn’t taste like an authentic dhansak – lacked the typical sweetness and was on the spicier side.

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Chicken Dhansak
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Chicken Dhansak
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Rice

The Mutton Kheema Ghotala was a layer of fried eggs, baked over a bed of mutton kheema. A delicious dish, served with pav, we wiped it off to the last speck. The khada garam masala gave a nice spice hit to it.

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Mutton Kheema Ghotala

Moving on to their specialty desserts, we were craving for the Boston Brownie Freakshake. Bedazzled with Gems, with a huge brownie on top, we had to struggle to finish this chocolate milkshake. But what a sweet struggle! Yes, it tasted better than it looks.

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Boston Brownie Freakshake

The Jenga Churros were up next. The crisp hot churros on the chilled ice-cream were wiped off before you could say cheers!

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Jenga Churros

I had a lot of fun there, and will definitely be going back to try out their range of sandwiches and burgers. The Freakshake takes its place in one of the desserts to beat in Pune as well.

#baconbaba will be back!


Note: I was invited as part of #TheBTeam for a tasting event. For all intents and purposes, The Usual Disclaimer applies.


Dinshaw's Xpress Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Coconut Tree, Magarpatta – Sensational Seafood!

#Baconbaba tries out the newly opened The Coconut Tree Bar and Kitchen at Magarpatta. Some authentic south Indian seafood delicacies on offer here! Read on…

The Coconut Tree Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The B Team

Last week #TheBTeam visited The Coconut Tree Bar and Kitchen, a newly opened sea-food specialty restaurant at Konark Icon, near Season’s mall, Magarpatta.

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The place is done up in a hip, cool, lounge fashion, with good music and provision for live bands. They also have a lower level, with softer music, and a more fine dine feel.

The Coconut Tree, as the name suggests, specializes in South Indian cuisine, with a wide variety of sea-food options, including some amazing crabs (more on that later!)

We started of with a range of ‘coconut-inspired’ mocktails. My personal favorite was the Coastal Affair, a coconut-apple flavored drink with hints of hazelnut. Just add a dash of Bacardi, and you have something very close to the very popular ‘Malibu’!

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Another favorite at the table was the Coastal Curry which was primarily Coconut cream with a strong hit of basil and ginger. Yes…

View original post 439 more words

Japanese Festival at Baan Tao: Sushi Supremacy

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

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

Here is a little glimpse of what’s on offer


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

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

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Nigiri Classic

Sashimi :  A beautifully curated seafood platter

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

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California maki: Crab stick, cucumber, avocado, tobiko

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

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


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

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Teriyaki Chicken

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

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

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


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


A few more pics to leave you drooling!

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

Arthur’s Theme, BHS – European Fine Dining

Arthur’s theme is a very well-known brand in Pune, with their KP branch setting the bar for European food in Pune. The relatively new branch at Balewadi High Street has maintained the same standards as its elder sibling, dishing out delicious food with their rather peculiar “European themed” names.

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The new branch at BHS is beautifully done up with huge mirrors and high ceilings, giving a grand feeling to the interiors. A wood fired oven graces one of the corners, and Arthur’s Theme will soon be serving some wood fired pizzas from this outlet.

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Wood Fired Oven

Arthur’s Theme BHS has recently launched a 4 – course meal. The 4 courses include Soup or Salad, a Starter, a Mains and of course, Dessert.

Priced at 799/- (+ taxes) its an excellent value proposition, considering the same dishes at Al-a-carte cost around 300+ each.

Here’s a sampling of what went around our table


Salad / Soup (course 1)

My pick of this course was the Hawaiian Salad.

Yep. You heard that right. #baconbaba liked a salad. A rare moment in the history of mankind.

A bright, refreshing chicken, bell peppers and pineapple salad with a mayo dressing. Julienne of  bell peppers added a beautiful crunch with the smoked chicken strips. The juicy strips of pineapple played pied piper leading us on a merry ride down this summery path. Sweet, salty, crunchy, delicious – everything a salad should be. #baconbaba’s favorite salad till date!

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Hawaiian Salad

The Marquis de Sade – a traditional french onion soup was warm, light and flavorful. The cheese croquettes were a nice touch, though they did turn soggy once the soup cooled.

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Marquis De Sade

Starters (course 2)

I opted for Alexia – marinated prawns wrapped in chicken in a spicy sauce. I personally believe that prawns are the 2nd best meat available out there (right after bacon / pork, duh!) so prawns wrapped in anything is usually an automatic win (case to point: the baconbaba recommended Bacon Wrapped Prawns at Effingut Baner). This one, however, was a slight miss for me. A good dish overall, but the prawns were completely overshadowed by the thick chicken layer and the spicy sauce.

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Alexia – Prawns wrapped in chicken with a spicy sauce

The other starters that graced our table were:

Alfredo – a tempura batter coated Kalamari – perfectly crisp coating, a tad oily.

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Alfredo – Fried Kalamari

Duncan – caramel coated chicken wings – delish!!!

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Duncan – Chicken wings in caramel sauce

Luda – Cilantro infused fillets of basa – a tasty dish, but I wish they hadn’t used basa 😦

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Luda – Cilantro infused fish fillets

Mains (course 3)

Here’s where the magic really started. The quantity of each dish was substantial – enough for a single person.

Charles The Bold: A paprika sauce concoction with grilled chicken and bell peppers, served with potato croquettes. Nicely balanced red sauce, perfectly cooked grilled chicken, tad low on seasoning. A really good chicken dish overall

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Charles The Bold – Grilled chicken with Paprika Sauce
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Charles The Bold – Grilled Chicken with Paprika Sauce

My friend ordered the Artois – Chicken Roulette with mushroom sauce. I found the sauce rather bland, though the chicken was well cooked.

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Artois – Chicken Roulette with mushroom sauce
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Artois – Chicken Roulette with mushroom sauce

The coup de grâce of the evening was struck by Lady Jennifer – Char grilled prawns in a lemon butter sauce with mashed potatoes. Words cannot describe how delicate and transcendent this dish was. Flawlessly cooked prawns in an exquisite silky lemon butter sauce. The mashed potato was creamy as ever, elevating the humble aloo to breathtaking levels.

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Lady Jennifer – Prawns in a Lemon Butter Sauce with Mashed potato
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Lady Jennifer – Prawns in lemon butter sauce with mashed potato

As we moved to the dessert, we were encountered the usual suspects. A blueberry cheese cake, a tiramisu and a chocolate mousse. All three were well constructed, nothing to write home about. In fact, the choco-lava cake was served with a mint Ice Cream, which, in my  humble opinion, did nothing to the dish. The mint was more like a coolada or a spearmint, than an actual flavor, just making the ice cream feel cooler.

We did experience some theatrics with the flambee chocolate raisin pancakes. The surprisingly thin crepe-like pancakes were coated with rum and flambeed, leading to some nice ‘oooh!‘ and ‘aaah!’ at the table.

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Pancake – raisins, rum flambeed – notice the fire? Ooooh!

Overall, the 4 – course meal for 799/- is completely worth it. Compared to the price tag of the ala-carte dishes, it’s a steal. The 4 course meal is available Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner and weekends for lunch only.

#baconbaba, as always, khush hua! Oink Oink!!


I was invited for a bloggers table. The Usual Disclaimer applies. 

 

Arthur's Theme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hyderabad Food Festival at Marriott Hinjewadi – A Heritage of Flavors

Momo Cafe at Courtyard Marriott, Hijewadi, Pune is hosting a Hyderabadi Food Festival. They are dishing out some super authentic delicacies from the land of the Nizams including favorites like Haleem, Biryani, Nalli Nihari and Double ka meetha. #baconbaba was invited with #TheBTeam to take a look at this delectable spread.

We started off with Sharbat-E-AnaarDaana, a beautiful rose infused pomegranate juice. Perfect to cool us down from the sweltering heat outside and to set us up for the feast heading our way.

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Sharbat-e-AnaarDaana

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Juicy Reshmi Chicken Kababs were served to us at the table – well marinated chunks of chicken, lightly flavored, pleasure to eat

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Reshmi Chicken Kabab

Warqui Lamb Samosas – lamb stuffed pattices were really airy. However, I would have preferred a bit more filling and a bit less pastry. The puff pastry itself was light and flaky

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Warqui Lamb Samosa
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Warqui Lamb Samosa

Shikampuri Kababs – a take on the more popular galouti kababs, these soft tender little melt in the mouth delicacies that left us wanting for more!

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Shikampuri Kababs

The vegetarian part of the starters were pretty interesting too. Veg Sheekh Kabas were rather tasty, though slightly on the drier side. Nothing that a spot of the bright green mint chutney couldn’t fix.

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Veg Sheekh Kababs
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Veg Sheekh Kababs

Haleem

Haleem is an integral part of Hyderabadi cuisine and we were glad to see this included in the buffet. It is traditionally a stew made of rice/wheat and mutton, dal and spices slow cooked over 8-10 hours to a paste like consistency. The haleem served here was a bit coarse textured, and lacked the silky consistency seen in more traditional preparations. That being said, it was delicious, and was garnished with fried onions and garlic, giving it an interesting twist.

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Haleem
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The Mains

The main course had a couple of very interesting non-veg items. The nihari gosht was a light mutton preparation with generous portions of well cooked meat.

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Nihari Gosht

However, my favorite was the Chicken Khurma – a creamy curry of chicken with beautifully marinated pieces of chicken. It actually felt like someone had dunked a huge helping of malai kababs into the curry!

No Hyderabadi food festival can be complete without biryani, and we weren’t disappointed. Mutton and veg biryani donned the mighty buffet table and the glorious fragrance of the spiced rice wafted through the entire hall.

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The vegetarian guests had enough to hog into with beautifully prepared mixed veg curry, khatti dal, bhindi sherva and of course, paneer. The khatti dal was the highlight of the vegetarian smorgasbord.

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Khatti Dal
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Paneer Korma

If you are planning on visiting with foreign dignitaries or those with less courageous intestines, the buffet also includes a couple continental and asian dishes, including the very delicious cheesy creamy Spinach Au Gratin. The chefs at Momo cafe excel at continental dishes,  and today was no exception. An extensive salad bar welcomes those with a healthy palate.

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The continental selection
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The Salad Bar
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Salads

You cannot leave a buffet at Momo cafe without attacking the dessert section. A rather sinful selection of desserts tempted us. The usual suspects were the dark chocolate cake, red velvet pastry and a delightful summery orange cheese cake. But the Hyderabadi specialty Double ka meetha and Gile e Firdous were pretty amazing. What I absolutely loved was the Anjeer ki Kheer. The rich flavor of anjeer hits you smack in the face, leaving you a little more lethargic, a little more happy.

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Desserts

Overall, it was a fantastic meal. At 750/- + taxes, it is quite an excellent deal. Brilliant food, exceptional service, and an excellent experience.


The Hyderabadi Food Festival is currently on from 6th March till 15th March 2017 and is priced at Rs. 750++ for lunch and Rs. 1000++ for dinner.

 


I was invited as part of #TheBTeam for a blogger’s table. The Usual Disclaimer applies.


 

MoMo Cafe - Courtyard By Marriott Pune Hinjawadi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bombay Diaries – Mumbai Swag in Pune!

This Sunday evening saw #theBTeam heading to the newly inaugurated Bombay Diaries at CityPoint, DP Road. This is located right next to Mainland China, where Oh! Calcutta and Bombay Brasserie used to operate a few years back.

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Bombay Diaries runs on a very Mumbai oriented theme. With waiters dressed as Mumbai taxi drivers and the captains managing them dressed as traffic police officers, it has a very fun vibe overall. Completely open air, they also have live music playing on a daily basis. Beautifully lit up, the decor feels pretty chilled out for a nice evening with drinks and dinner.

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Waiters dressed as Taxi Drivers and the Captain is the Traffic Cop!

Bombay Diaries is the brain child of Chef Deepu Alamchandani of the Cafe Mestizo fame, so great tasting food is a given! The surprise here are the range of cocktails – super innovative, with an excellent price point (all between 150-300 for cocktails). The cocktails are served in quarter (180 ml) sized ‘desi daru’ / ‘tharra’ bottles, and salt rimmed chai glasses, leading to a very cool feel

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Cocktails : Chulbul and Chikni Chameli

Going with the Mumbai feel, the drinks are Bollywood themed. The collective favorite, Chulbul (150/-), a grenadine, lemonade flavored vodka based cocktail, with a strong flavor of jaljeera – felt like a kala khatta soda and was brilliant. Multiple rounds were ordered for this one.

Giving Salman company was Katrina, as Chikni Chameli (150/-), a strawberry, cucumber vodka based cocktail. This was lighter, but just as enjoyable.

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Cocktails: Drink Master Gogo

Drink Master Gogo (150/-) came to the table with a ‘Dhakki Chiki Dhakki Chiki Dhakki Chiki Dha!” This took us back to the Andaz Apna Apna era with a Rasna flavored vodka mix! My personal favorite, this is a must have!

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Cocktails: Bombay Thumakda

The Bombay Thumakda was a surprise for me. It is described as Strawberry, Roohafza, milk concentrate, vodka. I am not a fan of rooafza, but this was superb! Almost on the lines of an Irish Cream, this truly proves that – Doodh hai wonderful, pi sakte hai roz glassful! 😉

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Cocktails : Paaji ka Panja, Bol Bacchan
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Cocktails: Desiwala Mojito
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Cocktails: Rangeela Driver

The other cocktails we tried were also pretty innovative and delicious. Each cocktail is also available in a mocktail version, so the sole teetotaler was happy too.

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Mocktails

Giving excellent company to the drinks were a whole range of delicious starters

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Mutton Seekh Lucknowi

Mutton Seekh Lucknowi – This was my favorite! Boasting some beautiful smoky flavors, these tender skewers of mutton were a delight to eat.

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Smoking the Seekh Kababs
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TBD Special Murg Tikka – From the Diaries

TBD Special Murg Tikka – Succulent kababs of chicken, stuffed with chicken kheema and melted cheese. Absolute delight to eat! Break open one and you can see the cheese oozing out. Sigh….

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Stuffed Paneer Tikka (From the Diaries)

The stuffed paneer tikkas are, in simple terms, a bread pattice with extremely soft paneer tikkas. An excellent option for the herbivores inclined

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Murgh Seekh Galafi

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The Murgh Seekh Galafi is a chicken seekh kabab, served on a wooden truck! The kababs were succulent, though slightly overpowered with elaichi

After the heavy barrage of appetizers and cocktails, we finally mustered the courage to move on to the mains. We started of with the Dal Bukhara. Dal Bukhara, the grand-daddy of the Dal Makhani, is a creamy, slow cooked black dal with rajma / black bean. It is characterized by the smoky rich flavor it carries due to the traditional coal fires it is cooked on. The Chef at Bombay Diaries managed to incorporate the smokiness into the dal using a chulha, giving it a near-authentic flavor. This is a #MustTry at Bombay Diaries.

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Dal Bukhara

Paired with the Chilli Cheese Garlic Naan, the Dal Bukhara was at another level all together.

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Chilli Cheese Garlic Naan

Another spectacular vegetarian item I tried here was the Kurkuri Bhindi Masala. Crisp fried Bhindi over a layer of delicious thick gravy – this is a must for every bhindi fan!

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Kurkuri Bhindi Masala

One dish I had my eye on was the Nalli Nihari. And I was not disappointed. Perfectly cooked mutton, rich, creamy, thick sauce, chock full of a pure mutton flavor. You could distinctly taste the flavor of marrow in the sauce.

To end this glorious evening, we were served some delectable soft sexy voluptuous Gulab Jamuns and some surprisingly not too sweet Gajar ka Halwa, putting a perfect end to a kickass dinner!


This write up is based on my experience at a Blogger’s  table invite. The Usual Disclaimer applies. 


*Bombay Diaries is operational from 5 pm onwards, with live music on a daily basis.

Address: City Point, Boat Club Road, Pune

Phone Numbers: 020 60304777 / 020 60503777

Table booking recommended


The Bombay Diaries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

“Upwaas” – The religious absense of food

Upwaas or Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Fasting is synonymous with most religious festivals in India.

Today marks the holy day of Maha Shivratri – an annual festival celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A lot of people around me (including my wife) are fasting today, mostly from sunrise to sunset. Some are fasting completely – ie, only water. Some are on a ‘fruits-fast’ i.e., once fruits and water to be consumed. Others have different modes – only vegetarian food or “Upwaas special” food like sabudana khichadi and suran chips.

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Sabudana Vada – Image courtesy google images
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Sabudana Khichadi – Image courtesy google images

We see a similar divergence in customs during Navaratri / Durga Pujo. While both the festivals are synonyms of each other in all intents and purposes – both being celebrated in honor of Maa Shakti (called Maa Ambe in Gujarat and Maa Durga in Bangal), the food habits are poles apart. Navaratri sees nine days of complete abstinence from non-vegetarian food, Durga Pujo sees people hogging down some of the best chicken moglai, kosha mangsho, and other bengali non-vegetarian dishes at the stalls lining the puja pandal itself.

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Kosha Mangsho

This lead me to question – who decides this? Who decides the time of the day to start and end the fast? Who decides what can or cannot be eaten? What defines “upwaas ka khana”?

Usually, its your parents. Who were instructed by their parents. And so on. Rituals, while being religion specific, are also mended by each family.

Unlike other religions, Hinduism doesn’t really have strict rules per se, its pretty open to interpretation. Traditions vary from region to region, family to family. They usually trickle down the generations, morphing their way through time. I’m sure our grandparents couldn’t even dream about pre-packaged upwaas khakhras and farsaan!

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Image courtesy Google Images

However, there is a scientific basis to fasting as well. This was explained to me by the priest who officiated my wedding.

So, when we eat, our natural digestion process takes over. Obviously, gases are passed, from both the orifices. Some may be loud, some silent, some are odorless, while others may have the power of a tear gas shell. But I digress.

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The idea is to maintain an aura of cleanliness. Passing gas halfway through a prayer ritual or a satyanarayan katha, or on the wedding alter isn’t the best idea. That is one of the primary reasons to fast on the day of an important ritual.

Another thought suggested by a wise man (my father-in-law, hello!) is health. Upwas is a necessity for the body for detoxification.Giving it the name of a ritual, faith, Dharma and service to God helps in ingraining this very valuable bit of advise into people’s minds. It has also been observed that maintaining a fast does result in higher concentration and health.

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Seeing the number of fad-diets around detox and liquid diets these days, I think our ancestors had it down!

That being said, it isn’t always an ‘abstinence’. For many, a fast does turn into a FeAST! See below an example of an “upwaas special thali”, image courtesy desijam.in

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Navratri Vrat Thali

Like everything else in faith, there really is no right or wrong. This holds a lot of meaning for a lot of us. Ladies fasting during Karva Chauth for the health of their husbands do so with a lot of happiness. Those preparing for the Sabarimala pilgrimage are expected to follow a Vratham (41-day austerity period) prior to the pilgrimage, which includes a lacto-vegetarianism diet and teetotalism. And those who return from the successful pilgrimage believe it helps in personality development which will synchronize and control the body, soul, mind and diet.

At the end of the day, do what your heart tells you to. Eat to your hearts content, and fast as per your personal values and beliefs. Or when you feel like. Or when mom tells you to. Coz, you know…….

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PS: I do not mean to hurt or insult any religious or personal sentiments here. These are my personal thoughts, and I hope to hear from you about what you feel. If, by chance, I did end up hurting your feelings, I apologize. I assure you I did not mean to.

PPS: Apologies for the overuse of memes! It’s too much fun!

Happy F(e)ASTING!

Barbeque Ville – Barbecue on a Budget!

Barbeque Ville opened their doors at Kaspate Vasti, Wakad on Valentine’s Day. In just 1 week, they have managed to capture the imagination of food lovers in the area.

Location: Kaspate Vasti, Wakad, Near Hotel Ambiance Excellency (Google maps)

#baconbaba was invited for an exclusive tasting last night, and the sight of a jam-packed restaurant on a Wednesday evening was testament to the fact that BV has tasted early success.

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Barbeque Ville, in their words, is a ‘Grille-on-table’ restaurant. We have a few other examples of these restaurants, where you have a coal-pit on your table, with meats brought on skewers and grilled right there. What sets them apart, is the competitive pricing – the Non-Veg buffet costs a very reasonable 550/- INR! This includes all taxes, service tax, VAT etc.

The decor follows more or less the same ‘template’ as other similar barbecue restaurants. Large open space, grills on the tables, bright lighting, and excellent service. At this price point, this place is perfect for corporate parties and team outings – it should fot most corporate team budgets.

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The grilled section includes Chicken, Fish (basa), Prawns, Mushroom, Paneer and my ‘guilty pleasure’, skewered Pineapple 🙂 All the grilled items were delicious, my favorite being the basa fish. Crisp on the outside, soft inside – perfectly cooked.

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On the downside, I found the prawns slightly overcooked. Also, apart from the green chutney, the dips served along with these didn’t really go with the Indian flavored barbecue meats. I wish they had included a couple of more Indian style chutneys to compliment the kababs.

The Maratha Tangdi is a rather innovative way to serve the Tangdi kababs. The chicken legs are served, skewered across a sword! Juicy, beautifully coated with mild spices, perfectly grilled.

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Maratha Tangdi
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Maratha Tangdi

They also have a chat ‘thela’ serving pani-puri, dahipuri, sev puri, bhel and spdp. Once specialty is the Pineapple puri – pani-puri with pineapple juice inside. I personally found it way too sweet.

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Pani-Puri
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Pineapple Pani-Puri

The starters also included a Chicken or Veg sizzler. I didn’t really care too much for this as the chicken just missed the ‘sizzle’. It was more of a pan tossed chicken starter thrown onto a leaf of lettuce on a sizzler plate. The steamed veggies served along-side were delicious though!

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Chicken Sizzler

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By the time we were done with the starters, we were almost full! However, we moved on to the mains. And I was captivated.

The Mutton Paya Shorba was quite tasty – lightly flavored mutton stock, with a nice spice hit – exactly how a shorba should taste! The Malwani Fish curry and the Chicken Kadai – overflowing with pieces of fish and chicken respectively and the mutton Rogan Josh with bien cuit chunks of mutton went perfectly with the soft naans.

But the magnum opus of this gastronomic symphony was the Mustard Crabs. Aaah, the mustard gravy – exactly like a bengali ‘shorshe-bata’ curry. The mild spice hit of the ground mustard sauce along with the generous amounts of crab was just sublime.

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Mustard Crab

The mains also had Barista Pulao, Steamed Rice, Veg Mushroom Noodles, Salads, Dal Rajma, Dal Palak, Thai Yellow Curry, Aloo Lasooni, Paneer Badashahi, Veg Makhani and Veg Garlic Soup

The Aloo Lasooni and the Dal Rajma were my personal picks among the veg items

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Aloo Lasooni

By this time, we had almost no space for desserts! But I simply cannot pass up a gulab jamun or caramel custard. Ended having 2 of each, and bits of the other desserts.

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Overall, Barbeque Ville provides an excellent dining experience, at almost half the rate of other more ‘established’ chains. To serve such good quality sea food at these prices is what gives this restaurant a super-duper-double-decker high-five! Definitely a must visit if you are in this part of town!


I was invited to try the buffet. While the buffet I was treated was the same as that provided to the general public, The Usual Disclaimer applies. 


#baconbaba super khush hua!!!

Barbeque Ville Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Aur Irani Chai – West Pune meets Iran!

Aur Irani Chai, Aundh

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

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

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

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

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Bun Maska

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

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Bread Butter

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

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Bun Cheese Omlette

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

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

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

#baconbaba khush hua!!!

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

The Urban Foundry – Industrial Awesomeness!

The Urban Foundry, Balewadi High Street

We girls were to catch up over a nice long chilled out Saturday lunch. All of us were badly fixated upon trying out a place we hadn’t visited before. Narrowed it down to The Urban Foundry, Balewadi High Street. And I must say, we were not disappointed at all.

Beautiful,rustic,edgy setup. Bar & food menu, both super interesting!

Ordered the Long Island ice tea for myself, my personal favorite. Boy, it was served up in a really tall glass. Looked super-cool. Tasted delicious. And was potent!

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LIIT, Knuckle-Up, Hoegaarden

We also ordered a knuckle up (vodka based) and a Hoegaarden. Good start I must say. Then the order for an array of starters started, we being the bhukkads that we are 😀

1.Soya chaap – Fantastic. Loved the flavours. And the soya tasted more like a non veg than a veg 🙂 #HighlyRecommended

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Soya Chaap

2.Chicken Vadapao – Interesting concept, chicken sliders, but I found it pretty average taste wise.

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Chicken VadaPao

3.Patrani machchi- Insanely fresh fish, cooked perfectly, this was yummy. Wish the portion was a little more. #Recommended
4.Cheese Mutton Boti kebab- Succulent, flavourful, Boti kebabs with cheese tucked in here and there. #Recommended
5.Oink Oink Naan – Oh so good this was! Pork keema/bacon stuffed naan=heavenly. #HighlyRecommended

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Oink Oink Naan

6.Bacon Thecha – I was a bit worried that this would be too spicy, but thankfully it wasn’t. Mushrooms wrapped up in bacon, in a thecha based sauce, yummy again. I guess you can never really go wrong with bacon! #Recommended

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Bacon Thecha

7. Prawn Cocktail – Grilled Prawns served with lettuce salad and a decent southwest kinda sauce. Good, but nothing great about it.

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Prawn Cocktail

Enough starters hogged. Drinks done. Moved to the desserts straight.

1. Lababdar red velvet duet kulfi- Shaonli had her eyes on this one since she saw the menu. Glad we ordered. 2 yummy kulfis served in a plate. The red velvet one was really different. Actually, it was kulfi coated with a red velvet cake!

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Lababdaar Red Velvet Kulfi

2.Caramel Brulee- Classic Creme Brulee. Liked it.

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3.Cookie dough with Bailey’s shot- This was out of the world. Payal picked this one, and how we enjoyed it with oohs and aahs 😀 Warm gooey cookie dough,ice cream,bailey’s..what’s not to love! So much so,that we ordered another one of this. No regrets. 😉

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Cookie Dough with Bailey’s shot

Super fun afternoon, spent with girlfriends and some real good food and drinks. Would want to visit soon to try their other stuff on the menu for sure!

The Urban Foundry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato