Brunch Feels – Many Funs, Much Chills at Hoppipola!

Brunch!
The word evokes feelings of a chilled out, lazy, long meal, filled with fun, laughter, booze, and copious amounts of food! How else can you define combining two meals into one – BReakfast+lUNCH! And Friends, Food, Fun – These three words define the experience I had at Hoppipola, Aundh a few weeks back, as I tried out there new brunch menu with #TheBTEAM fam.
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Drinks for Brunch?

No brunch can be complete without the ‘happiness’ of alchohol. And Hoppipola pulls out all stops with their exhaustive cocktail menu. Some ingenious, yet potent cocktails later, you can’t help swaying to the awesome music playing in the background

The Bull Frog

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My personal drink of choice, this Redbull-Vodka concoction definitely pulls no punches. If you are a Redbull fan, this should be your first choice!

The Long Island Iced Tea

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LIIT!

The LIIT is the usual choice of beverage for those looking for a delicious, potent option. Spiked with a multitude of ‘white’ drinks, this is one is no slouch in the ‘kick; department!

The White Wine Sangria

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Sangria

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

Starters

The Mezze Platter

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Mezze Platter

Mezze Platter

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

Cheesy Nachos

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Nacho!

Can’t really go wrong with Nachos – available in both Veg and Non-Veg versions, Nachos are the perfect snack. You can’t really stop at one. I do wish these were a bit more loaded with cheese and toppings, since the ones at the bottom were left dry.

Railway Canteen Chicken Cutlets

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Railway Canteen Chicken Cutlets

These are basically chicken nuggets with a fancy name. Crispy outer layer, minced chicken inside, these are little bundles of deep fried goodness. Still can’t figure out the name though. Is it a reference to the heart shaped cutlets you get on the Indian Railways trains? They may need to reshape the cutlets to evoke those memories ūüôā

Cajun Rubbed Grilled Fish

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Cajun Rubbed Grilled Fish

Fish filet with a cajun spice rub, grilled to perfection. Whats not to love? Served with a spicy mayo, these are brilliant.

Paneer Pita Pockets

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Paneer Pita Pockets

I didn’t quite get the concept of these. Dry pita bread, dry stuffing, with virtually no sauce to speak of. This one was a miss.

Barbecued Chicken Wings

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Barbecued Chicken Wings

Chicken wings in barbecue sauce are usually a delight to eat. However, the sauce did feel a bit too sweet for my liking.

Grilled Chicken Pizza

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Grilled Chicken Pizza

A delightful thin crust pizza, with chicken tikka, bell peppers, & jalapeno, the pizza was something we reordered. Thrice. Loved it.

The veg version wasn’t too bad either

They also have a live pasta station, where they can prepare your choice of pasta, in your choice of sauce. Good stuff overall

Mains

If you do have the space left for mains, they have a couple of options, including veg/non-veg biryani and Bhurji Pao. I was a bit surprised at seeing bhurji pao for brunch. I mean, seriously?

Bhurji Pao

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Chicken Biryani

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Desserts

You can’t miss out desserts now can you? Sadly, the choice of desserts was very limited

Chocolate Mud Pie

The Chocolate Mud Pie felt more like a brownie than a mud pie. A delicious brownie, nonetheless.

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Vanilla Pannacotta with Berry Coulis

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

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Vanilla Pannacotta

Would I go there again?

Desserts apart, the brunch at Hoppipola is great. Priced at 555/-¬†for food only, and 444/- for drinks (unlimited), you can’t really find a better deal. The food is good, the vibe is great, and the drinks are boozy. What more can you ask for?

Definitely worth a revisit!


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


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

Sarjaa, Aundh – Face-lifted Classics

The Classics

Sarjaa – The name evokes memories of a hotel straight out of the 90’s – waiters in white uniforms, white and red checked table cloths, dim lighting, good Indian comfort food (read: butter chicken) and ghazals playing in the background. So you would pardon my surprise when I received an invite from Radio One to visit Sarjaa for a food tasting.

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The Facelift

But much to my astonishment, Sarjaa is no longer the establishment it was. Flanking the entrance is a board that proudly says “Indian Fine Dine”. This definitely piqued my interest. As I walked in through the beautiful wooden doors, I immediately noticed the change to the overall decor – gone are the checkered mats and the liveried waiters. Instead, you see clean white lines, bold colors, and a sharp bar. the al-fresco dining area now is lined with a lot of greenery, while the all day cafe section has a chic vibe – definitely a place you would like to chill with friends over a coffee or a beer (they have Bira on tap!)

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sarjaa aundh baconbaba alfresco

The Food

The food, on the other hand, remains the same. The classic dishes that Sarjaa is famous for, still feature in the new and improved menu card. They have added some dishes to the Chinese menu, however, I would stick to the classics.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba menu

Starters

We started off with the Mutton Boti kabab. A version of a mutton sheekh kabab – this was a great way of starting off the meal. Soft, tenderized mince meat, rolled into sheek kababs, these were as near perfect as you could get in this area.

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Mutton Boti

We also tried the Kharda Kolcha Kombdi Рa form of chicken tandoori coated with Thecha Рa green chilli chutney popular in Maharashtra. The spice of the green chilli definitely hit the mark, and for lovers of spicy food, this is a go!

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Kharda Kolcha Kombdi

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

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Kothimbir aur Cheese ke Chapete

Mains

For mains, we could not possibly miss the Sarjaa’s Butter Chicken. A slightly spicier version of the classic, the version dished out at Sarjaa is absolutely mind-blowing. Super rich, creamy, yet not overwhelmingly sweet, the bite of green chilly makes its presence felt. Coupled with a soft butter naan, the SBC is a must have when visiting this place.

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Sarjaa’s Butter Chicken

The mutton Rogan Josh and the Daal Makhani are two more dishes that we truly relished. Perfectly cooked, melt in the mouth mutton pieces, in a gorgeous brown gravy with hints of ginger-garlic and black pepper, the Rogan Josh was our next favorite after wiping off the Butter Chicken. The Daal Makhani was well cooked and creamy, with an undertone of a slow cooked smoky flavor that a great Daal Makhani must have.

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Mains

Desserts

They have limited options for desserts – we had to cheese between Gulab Jamun, Ice Cream and Malai Kulfi – we chose the Kulfi. This was a bit of a let down, as they outsource the desserts. Definitely room for improvement here. I would recommend finishing off mains here, and taking a walk down the road to check out the other dessert places in the vicinity.

The Verdict

Overall, the face-lift definitely makes this classic establishment feel fresh and clean. The Al-fresco area is a delight to dine in. The food maintains its classic feel. The only downside here is the plating. I would definitely like to see them work on the presentation, particularly since they are now re-branding themselves as “Indian Fine Dine”. You do eat with your eyes after all!

That being said, you can’t really go wrong here. Step in to the new and improved Hotel Sarjaa and relish the glory that it is.

The Usual Disclaimer

I was invited for the tasting event as part of the Radio One Pune Food Trails. The Usual Disclaimer applies.

Find them on Zomato

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

Cafe Mestizo – The Brew Bar

So, last week a close friend from Singapore pops in and says ‘I want to try something “different”‘. She is a “part-time vegetarian” (someone who eats chicken “sometimes” – meh!)¬†so something like Flying Duck was out of question. That also threw mutton specialty or seafood delicacies out the window.

Had been eyeing Cafe Mestizo for a while now, and this evening seemed to be a good one to head there.

Cafe Mestizo has this urban chic decor, with white metal chairs and bright psychedelic walls. Loved the coffee clock on the wall!

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1. Butter Chicken Pizza: Yes! Butter chicken on a Pizza! Dreams becoming reality? Husband being a number one fan of butter chicken , trying the pizza version was a must!¬†I, personally, loved this butter chicken pizza. Thin crisp base, yummy butter chicken and topped with generous amount of melted cheese. I can go back just for this dish if not anything else. Husband wasn’t a fan of the thin crust. Butter chicken needs something soft and absorbent, so a normal / deep dish base might have been better. But overall, this is a super hit. For 300/- its worth it.

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2. Mestizo Gave you Wings: I LOVE Chicken Wings (who doesn’t?) so thought of trying out their version. The menu says “Chicken wings dipped in Teriyaki Sauce”. The description was¬†deceiving.¬†It turned out to be chicken wings coated with a mix of some Indian masalas with a strong hint of basil. Desi masalas and Basil do NOT go well, as was evident with this dish. The teriyaki sauce as a dip was a bit of a savior. However, give this a miss.

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3. Create your own pasta: So they give you this list of options, and you can merrily select what you want in there. Our friend was on the cautious side, and went with a safe cream (white) sauce (though I really wanted to see what a pink pasta would taste like!), with Penne, chicken, olives, seasonal vegetables and mushrooms. The sauce was nice, and creamy with loads of cheese. Generous portion of chicken, well balanced, served with a rather tasty warm garlic bread, this was a lovely all-round well prepared dish.

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4.¬†Mocktails: Here’s where they really earn the “BrewPub” title. Cafe Mestizo boasts of an impressive variety of beverages, ranging from tea and coffee to shakes and smoothies.

-Green Apple Cucumber Cooler : The salad-hating Husband ordered a cucumber drink! And was surprised! Give me all salads in this form, I’ll be happily “healthy”!

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Green Apple Cucumber Cooler

-Watermelon & Mint iced tea : Mint and Watermelon is a match made in heaven.¬†’nuff said.

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Watermelon and Mint Iced Tea

-Hot chocolate : I’ve¬†had better. Pass.

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Overall, they do have some very interesting offerings on their menu. Next time round, I intend to try their egg dishes as well as the Kheema Baguette. Definitely worth a visit!

PS: Dessert craving took us to Oh So Stoned just across the road. And this was wow!!
Ordered the ‘Charlie’s chocolate factory’s & ‘American pie topped with caramel sauce’. Both the ice creams were Oh-So-Good!! Going back again to try other stuff here for sure. Drool on!

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Charlie’s chocolate factory
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American pie topped with caramel sauce

Cafe Mestizo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato