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 ūüôā ? 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

“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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake

If you like peanut butter, you will LOVE this!

Chocolate Mint Shake

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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 gr√Ęce 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

Baconbaba in Kolhapur!

Tikkhat Manjhe Swadisht Naahi!

The Kolhapuri Lavangi РA 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 ūüôā

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!

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Black Lasagne

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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

Omlette Festival – Egg-stacy at Cabaret, Baner

Cabaret, Baner, Omlette Festival

Omlette! Perfect breakfast, ideal lunch or a light dinner – the one size fits all meal!

Cabaret, with its slick interiors and black n red furniture screams class. Its diverse menu with an emphasis on east asian food has been taking baner by storm over the past few months since its opening.

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They have started an Omlette Festival this month to add a few interesting eggy delights to their menu. I was invited with my family to try out some of these preparations.

Baked Western Omlette:

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Baked Western

In all honesty, this was a regular cheese Omlet, with all the bells and whistles. A generous amount of cheese, topped with veggies, the baked omlette is fluffy, and delicious. Served with garlic toast and baked beans, this is one Omlette that you can’t go wrong with.

Morroccon Omlette:

cabaret baner omlette fest moroccon
Moroccon Omlette

A sunny side up, topped with cherry tomatoes, this does have a hit of spice to it. Chilly oil and chilli flakes made it spicy. Not one for the faint hearted, this one a definitely worth a try.

Japanese Omurice:

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Japanese Omurice

The Omurice at Cabaret consists of Chicken fried rice topped with an omlette and barbecue sauce. The bbq sauce was a bit too sweet for my palate, but the fried rice was yummy, leading to this being an excellent brunch item.

Opening hours for Cabaret Baner are 7am daily, making this the perfect breakfast place. Priced at 200/- a pop, the omlette Festival items are at par with all other similar joints in the area.

Definitely one to visit in the near future. The Omlette Festival is on till 28th of Feb. This menu is available at all the Peter Donuts outlets as well.


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


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

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.
hoppipola baconbaba thebteam grouphoppipola baconbaba thebteam clocks hoppipola baconbaba thebteam menu

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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam chicken cutlets
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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam paneer pita
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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam chicken wings
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

hoppipola baconbaba thebteam chicken pizza
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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba entrance

sarjaa aundh baconbaba lata mangeshkar

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!)

sarjaa aundh baconbaba cafe

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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba mutton boti
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!

sarjaa aundh baconbaba kharda kolcha kombdi
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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba dhaniya cheese chapete
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.

sarjaa aundh baconbaba butter chicken dal makhani
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

1 BHK Superbar – Bar Haute’ Kitchen!

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1BHK is an uber-chic upscale restro-pub just off Balewadi High Street. Immaculate designs, ultra-modern interiors and funky decor is what really gives it the ooomph factor.

We started off with a round of cocktails. The Long Island Iced Tea uses premium spirits, making it very smooth. The Liquid Paan¬†has all the flavors of a meetha paan, with a solid kick of vodka.¬†1BHK Bartender’s Special Vodka Cheesecake Fusion was a delicious liquid version of the cheese cake. Served with a Philly Cheese Cake, its a beautiful dessert cocktail.

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LIIT
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1BHK Bartender's Special Vodka Cheesecake Fusion
1BHK Bartender’s Special Vodka Cheesecake Fusion
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Liquid Paan

Garlic Mushrooms with Pita Bread was a hit. The garlic mushrooms were in a cheesy sauce, with burnt garlic sprinkled over the top. The Pita Bread goes perfectly with this.

Garlic Mushrooms with Pita Bread
Garlic Mushrooms with Pita Bread

The Shepherds Pie was an absolute revelation. Baked dish with minced lamb, chock full of flavors Рthis is one of those dishes that you cannot stop eating.

Shephards Pie
Shepherds Pie

The Butter Chicken Nazza Рthe original version of Naanza, one bite of this feels like a naan and butter chicken in your mouth. Their butter chicken is delicious (more about that later) and the naan base is soft, overall, an excellent dish.

Butter Chicken Naaza 
Butter Chicken Nazza

Zaatar Marinated Roast Chicken is a lovely roasted chicken breast with Arabic flavors. Served over a bed of quinoa, this is a delicious, healthy dish.

Zaatar Marinated Roast Chicken
Zaatar Marinated Roast Chicken

While I am not a fan of Paneer Steaks, the 1BHK Cottage Cheese Steak in JD Sauce is a revelation. The JD Sauce is absolutely delicious. A sweet and spicy barbecue sauce infused with Jack Daniels takes a puny paneer steak to the upper echelons of gastronomy.

1BHK Cottage Cheese Steak in JD Sauce
1BHK Cottage Cheese Steak in JD Sauce

Grilled John Dory with Almond Rosemary Dressing is the perfect example of respecting the produce. The Grilled John Dory fish is beautifully cooked, and very lightly flavored. The almond and rosemary adds a delicate layer of flavor without overpowering the flavor of the fish itself.

Grilled John Dory with Almond Rosemary Dressing
Grilled John Dory with Almond Rosemary Dressing

The star of the meal is the 1BHK Butter Chicken Platter. Arguably one of the best butter chicken I have eaten in Pune, this is absolutely delicious. The pickled onions (sirke waale pyaaz) served along with it adds a lovely crunch to it. What really sets it apart is the curry is thick, not overly sweet, tastes a lot like the butter chicken in Chandigarh and with huge chunks of tandoori chicken, this is a win!

1BHK Butter Chicken Platter
1BHK Butter Chicken Platter

With a 2BHK, 3BHK and hopefully, a 4BHK coming in, this is one excellent spot to eat out or party.


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


1BHK Superbar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

212 All Day Cafe and Bar, Viman Nagar – New Menu

212 All Day Cafe and Bar has launched a number of new items on their exhaustive menu. #TheBTeam was invited last night to try out some of the brilliant stuff on offer.

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We started off with a round of mocktails. The¬†Good Morning Bombay¬†– a teetotaler’s ¬†version of the Bloody Mary, packed a punch. This chilled tomato based drink was loaded with pepper and Tabasco – to the point of tasting more like a Gazpacho¬†than a mocktail. Delicious and refreshing, nonetheless.

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Among the other mocktails on the menu, the R&R – a strawberry lemonade, was particularly good.


First up to our table were¬†Mrs. Beaton’s Eggs – masala scrambled eggs on a buttered bun pao, with potato slivers and a tomato hollandaise. Scrambled eggs and buttered pao is a match made in heaven, and the cheesy hollandaise added a lovely creamy note to this pairing. A must have, if down here for a snack!

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Mrs Beaton’s Eggs

Curried porridge, (aka dalia khichdi) was well made. The garnish of peanuts and edible flowers did add some sophistication to this homely meal.

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Curried Porridge

The Egg Plant Bruschetta was definitely the highlight of the vegetarian fare at 212. Caramelized onions merged beautifully with the egg-plant mash, with the figs and brie adding some lovely overtones of sweet and sour flavor.

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Giving us company through this whole tirade of food were two innocuous looking dishes Рthe 3 Hummus Pita and the Trio of Chips and Salsa. The huge bowl of tricolored chips with the array of dips was munch heaven, and the three types hummus (Beet, edamame and burnt garlic) with the crisp pita was just perfect. Definitely order one of each for a nice long chat session here. You wont be disappointed.

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3 Hummus Pita
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Trio of Chips and Salsa

One dish that you MUST NOT MISS is the Poutine. 212 dishes out an absolutely fabulous version of this French Canadian street food. Cheesy french fries, topped with sour cream and a delicious lamb mince gravy, corn and peas (or caramelized onions, mushrooms and corn for the herbivores) was easily my favorite item on the menu. I could eat buckets of this. BUCKETS!

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Shephard’s Bowl Poutine

There were two versions of prawns served to us. The Grilled Tiger Prawns were highly Instagrammable, though the tangerine sauce could have used a bit of oomph. It was underwhelming, at best. The Chettinad Prawns, on the other hand, were a revelation. The crisp coating had hints of chettinad masala. Fried with red chilli, and served with a spiced mayo, this is another highly recommended dish at 212.

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Chettinad Prawns
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Grilled Tiger Prawns

They have also added to their range of burgers and pizzas. While the Monster Chicken Burger is a sight to behold, the Chettinad Cottage Cheese Pizza with its combination of basil, curry patta and chettinad masala was quite unpalatable. The Roast Chicken Sandwich (Panini) was rather lovely, with a generous amount of melted cheese and caramelized onions.


For dessert we thoroughly enjoyed the Tiramisu Eclairs. The choux pastry topped with the airy Mascarpone and coffee dust proved to be an absolute masterful dessert for coffee lovers. Its deceptive – this dessert is one of the lightest I have ever had.

Tiramisu Eclairs
Tiramisu Eclairs

Overall, the new menu items add some lovely Mediterranean and Latin influences to the already diverse menu at 212.


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


Check out the lovely Bellydriven’s take on 212 here.

212 All Day Cafe & Bar 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! ūüėČ

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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 РFrom 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

Grillicious, Baner

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

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

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

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The Masala Papad Platter

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

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

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

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Watermelon and Hazelnut Caprioska

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

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Paaya Dhania Shorba

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

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Murg Adraki Rogan Soup

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

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

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Afghani Drumsticks

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

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Murg Kalimiri Kabab Pie

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

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Butter Chicken Lasagna

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

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

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Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie

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

#baconbaba is sad.

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