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.
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!
Bread Butter: 2 slices of bread, generously buttered. What more can you expect?
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
This was accompanied by a variety of sauces – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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!)
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.
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…