Eat Well. Feel Good.

Want to Spend An Evening in Paris? ‘No Air Tickets needed’, Says Embassy

In France, cooking is an art form,

and a national sport ~ Julia Child

An evening in Paris

An evening in Paris

An Evening in Paris

“France, is a woman”, he said as he lightly sipped his Bordeaux wine, “she is beautiful, unpredictable, nurturing and a passionate cook”. I was exchanging notes about the French culture with a gentleman from the Consulate of France in Mumbai. The setting didn’t feel like I was in Mumbai at all! There was a nip in the air in the month of March; we were seated in an elegant little garden overlooking the Arabian Sea and Marine Drive sparkled in the water like golden diamonds on the other side.

Paris, was looking beautiful, as beautiful as I had seen her last. The gorgeously flavourful, light yet rich brioche in my mouth was a testament of the elegance of French culture and cuisine. The deep meatiness of the duck topping rounded off the cloudlike richness of the brioche in a perfect marriage. This tiny appetizer turned out to be my favourite on the menu that evening.

Misunderstanding French Food

When I think about French food, I think butter! Butter and lemon, butter and herbs, buttery soft desserts and butter in layers and layers of flour in a French pastry. French breads and pastry are perhaps the core symbol of French cuisine. Well, breads, and cheese and French wine of course. Yet, why is it that in India, French food is so misunderstood?

Some assume that French and Italian food is the same food! What? Only because they are neighboring nations? You couldn’t be more wrong. French and Italian food is vastly different, so is German food, but German food does bear similarities to the food of Alsace in France, which shares a border with the country.

Anyway, Italian food is more garlicky, deeper flavours, even meatier, in comparison with French food, which is subtler, often lighter and subtly flavoured with herbs and BUTTER! The Provencal region of France is known for using tomatoes and garlic in cooking, other than that French and Italian are vastly different cuisines.

What is Real French Food?

Italian food is identified with fresh and dried pastas, pizzas, use of garlic, tomatoes and cheese. French food is French breads like the French Baguette, pastry like croissants, brioche, profiteroles, eclairs or choux pastry, tarts, custard, soufflé and pralines. French Classic cooking includes some wonderful desserts like the Crème Brulee, Opera Cake, Croquebouche, floating Islands and Gateaus. Gateau, which is, what was known as cake-pastry when we were kids. It also includes small bites or petit fours such as eclairs, macarons andpuff pastry. It is interesting to know that many of the classic French pastry can be made with sweet or savoury filling. Meaning, a quiche could have custard and fruit, it could also have spinach and cheese as the filling.

French entrees or main course in today’s four course meals may include eggs with vegetables, or chicken joints with sauce and frequently, fish or any other form of seafood. The French cuisine preview dinner I attended for instance, offered a selection of entrees such butter poached asparagus with poached egg of toaste topped with Hollandaise sauce, Chicken Fricasse, classic steak and fish with mushrooms.

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Want to Experience and Celebrate French Cooking?

When you sample real French Food it is delightful! If you want to spend an Evening enjoying French Food and wine in an elegant setting, here’s your chance. The French consulate has organized a special gastronomic event “Goût de France / Good France” in India (and the whole world) on Tuesday, 21st March 2017.

Don’t miss this unique chance to savour and share the taste of France in India over the space of a dinner! You can reserve a table at any of the following restaurants in Mumbai, Pune and Goa.

– Artisan, Sofitel

–        Botticino, Trident

–        Fenix, Oberoi

–        Glass Window, Pune

–        Olio, Novotel

–        Olive Bar and Kitchen

–        Olive Bistro


–        RIVEA, Taj (Santa Cruz)

–        The Chambers, Taj Mahal Palace (Colaba)

–        The Sassy Spoon, Nariman Point

–        The Square, Novotel (Ahmedabad)

–        Upper Crust Lounge, ITC Maratha

–        Square, Novotel, Candolim

–        The Clearing House, Ballard Estate

–        Indigo Restaurant, Colaba

If you do get a chance to spend An Evening in Paris like I did, do share your experience with me in the comments section below and we can share notes about the French culture and cuisine. They also have some fabulous wines, so don’t forget to try some of those as well.

Chatting with Saransh Goila

Chatting with Saransh Goila



Kriti Saxena
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Kriti Saxena

Author at FoodmantraTV
A food journalist and researcher. Food, for me, is therapy, emotional and physical. Like you, I was born to eat, I ended up learning how to cook because I love to eat. I use natural foods to make easy, tasty food. Together, let's try to balance what we WANT to eat versus what is good for our body and mind.
Kriti Saxena
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15 Holi Recipes | Thandai, Holi Snacks, Holi Trifle

Eggless Thandai Mousse

Eggless Thandai Mousse

Mathri Canapes with tasty toppings

15 Holi Recipes, from Thandai to Thandai Trifle and lots of vegetarian Holi snacks!..

Here are some Holi Recipes you will love..

10 Coolest Hangouts You Don’t Want to miss in Baner | Where to Eat in Pune? | #FoodmantraPune

Baner was never this cool, right? I’ve lived here all my school life. Thanks to the “Smart City” syndrome and IT blessings we now have the coolest hangouts and unique restaurants in Baner. In the past year Balewadi High Street and Baner has seen multiple fun hangouts and unique restaurants mushroom around every corner. I thought it is great time to list down the ones that are really unique in some way and worth your while.

These 10 Coolest Hangouts you don’t want to miss in Baner each have something unique and interesting about them. Ones that haven’t made it to the list, with our continuous search for something new and shutting down of boring places, I’m sure new, good ones will make it to this list soon enough.


  • Urban Foundry – Quirkiness Quotient

The young and the restless, as well as the young at heart have a killer time in this place. I have to admit I found it a bit “over-quirky” when I first visited with my family. It’s really not a place to visit with family and more of a drinking place. It does have a cool, quirky vibe about it with the dingy, warehouse look, heavy tools for cutlery and a fusion menu, it is a very “cool” picture friendly place for young people. You can’t miss this drink in a skull or not find people share, post and like it on social media. I know I always post a picture of this drink! And I know you would too.

  • Nawab Asia – Delectable North Indian Food

This place just works because of its delicious food and delectable Mughlai, Awadhi menu. It is a cuisine that is most loved and the menu is moderately priced, and so you will find long queues of families chatting outside. In my experience, the food is good in quality, taste and the menu offers some rare new options. Nawab Asia is a must-try for families that love to eat Indian.


  • TeddyBoy – Rooftop Fun & Seafood options

What I love about this place is its perfect rooftop party location. The breezy Pune weather and comfortable seating makes for a great after-work hangout. Doyel Sarangi, a Masterchef India finalist, has put a quirky fusion menu together. The fun drinks compliment the menu very nicely. This place also has some Instagram-friendly options on the menu that you might like to try. While the Kulcha and Butter chicken taco is an amusing treat served in a rickshaw, the dish works because the taste of the butter chicken is really spot on. You can add gimmicks, but eventually what matters is the food, right? I enjoyed the use of Bengali achaar in their sula paneer starter. Since the Chef is a Bengali, it is no doubt that the seafood dishes are fresh, good quality and available in a variety of avatars on this menu. It’s a great place to catch up with friends over a few drinks and snacks.


  • Tertullia – Desserts & Italian

I visited this place on a dry-day, and I’m glad about it. I was not buzzed, so I fully enjoyed their delicious watermelon mojito, handmade ravioli and gooey chocolate cake. Tertullia, like it’s competitors studded along the same line has an original, mix-of-cuisine-we-like stylish menu. It stands out in its desserts and Italian fare more than say, the mezze platter! Good music and definitely worth a chilled out weekend.

  • Maratha Samrat – Maharashtrian & Non Vegetarian fare

I came across this place just yesterday. This one in Baner is a branch of the popular Maharashtrian eatery of the same name in Kothrud. It’s namesake is known for its non vegetarian fare, big thalis and local delicacies from across Maharashtra. It is hard to come by regional specialties on “multi-cuisine” restaurant menus; the menu at Maratha Samrat is like a breath of fresh air in this area. The outlet looks promising with the known success of its counterpart in the other half of the city.

  • Funky Kona – Drinking Hangout

I’ll be honest. I’ve only heard about this place. But I’ve heard a lot. Plenty of good word from friends in Baner, friends in Aundh and even from across the university border. Not only does this angular building catch the attention from far across, it has also kept the interest of many young people as an easy-going hangout for drinks and snacks. I have to pay a visit one of these days, and I’ll be more qualified to comment on the menu then. Meanwhile, since it is quite popular and a favorite, I couldn’t miss mentioning it.

  • K-factory – Fusion food & Experimental Menu

Almost everyday of the week, you will find a long que outside this place. That fast moving que says a lot about this place. First is that the food is worth waiting for, and second is the service is as quick as lightening. The latter of course has been tricky for me in the past, we were rushed through our meal in an hour when we wanted to take our time to enjoy the food and our family time together. The menu, like many other menus has a fusion, global-desi take on common favorites. It also allows you to experiment with familiar flavours but new dishes from across the globe. Each of the dishes are more Glocal than desi, but the menu is one to appeal because it is nothing like anything else in the area. You won’t find this menu or these exact dishes, in other restaurants in the area.

  • Bubsterr’s – Pizza by the Slice

If you like to Pizza by the slice, there’s finally a decent option in Baner. I’m not a fan of Dominos, so finding good Pizza in this area has been a personal struggle. They have Tex-Mex Crunch, Citron and a lot of variety. It’s a cut above the cheese, onion and capsicum boredom. They have four or five pork pizza varieties to choose from if you’re a meat lover, you’re not just stuck with Pepperoni. It is very videsi and also serves hot dogs and burgers, but pizza is their main game. I’d order this but they also have WiFi, so it’s not a bad hangout either.

  • Gustozo – Breakfast & Brunch

This is among the rare places for a decent weekend breakfast or brunch in this area. It is cool and comfortable for eggs, waffles and pancakes. If you wanna grab a coffee and sandwich, or just some dessert, this place is a decent option for a morning meeting.

  • Playboy Beer Garden – Cocktails & Nightlife

A full bar, live entertainment, Karaoke and live sports screening makes the perfect recipe for an exciting weekend! Just don’t turn up here on a dry day and that signature playboy bunny won’t miss showing you a good time. Obviously, I’d not recommend going to this place with family. I prefer their cocktails, jugs and shots to just beer. I have a separate list of favourites for beer lovers in Pune, but that’s a different list altogether.

I hope you’re well mapped in Baner now, of course you can comment here or just ping me on zomato if you come across an exciting new place, or if you wish to add to the list! Do let me know if any of these places lose their zing, or if you find more zing elsewhere. Keep me posted folks! Happy eating..


Kriti Saxena
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Kriti Saxena

Author at FoodmantraTV
A food journalist and researcher. Food, for me, is therapy, emotional and physical. Like you, I was born to eat, I ended up learning how to cook because I love to eat. I use natural foods to make easy, tasty food. Together, let's try to balance what we WANT to eat versus what is good for our body and mind.
Kriti Saxena
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Eggless Thandai Mousse Trifle | Holi Recipes | Sweets

Eggless Thandai mousse trifle is a colourful Holi dessert. It can be made with Thandai Sryrup or Homemade Thandai Powder.

Know More about the 12 Amazing Health Benefits of Homemade Thandai here

12 Amazing Health Benefits of Homemade Thandai – Why you MUST drink Homemade Thandai on Holi?

Get the Full Recipe of Indian Superfood – Homemade Thandai Powder here and use it in Desserts, Milkshakes and on top of Ice Cream!


Print Recipe
Eggless Thandai Mousse Trifle
Eggless Thandai mousse trifle is a colourful Holi dessert. It can be made with Thandai Sryrup or Homemade Thandai Powder. Homemade Thandai powder has tons of Health Benefits. Read more here
Eggless Thandai Mousse
Course Sweets
Cuisine Contemporary, Indian
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Passive Time 30 mins
Course Sweets
Cuisine Contemporary, Indian
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Passive Time 30 mins
Eggless Thandai Mousse
  1. Mix cold milk with Thandai powder in a pan.
  2. Heat up the mix and allow it to thicken till it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Soak 1 tsp of gelatin powder in 1 tbs of water for 5 minutes.
  4. Add gelatin to the warm Thandai mixture and mix well. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  5. Grind biscuits with butter to a fine powder. Add a spoon full of mixture on the bottom of a cookie cutter or the to the bottom of the glass in which you wish to set the mousse. Flatten the base to about 1 cm in thickness and even it out well. Refrigerate.
  6. In a bowl, whisk whipping cream until it is light and fluffy. It should form soft peaks when the whisk is lifted.
  7. Fold the whipped cream into the mousse. Layer the mousse on top of the biscuit base layer. Set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  8. In a pan, add 1/2 cup water to 1 tbs watermelon jelly and heat. Cool it for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the jelly on top of the mousse layer. Set for 10 minutes.
  10. Garnish with chopped cucumber and watermelon.
  11. Serve Chilled.
Share this Recipe

12 Amazing Health Benefits of Homemade Thandai – Why you MUST drink Homemade Thandai on Holi?

Thandai Recipe

Health Benefits of Thandai


Indian Superfood – Thandai

Fight Indigestion, Loss of Energy & Common Cold with Thandai

We drink Thandai for its amazing health benefits on Holi because it marks the beginning of summer in India. Thandai has every spice and ingredient that is required by our body to maintain good health during the season change. Our body is prone to loss of energy, indigestion and catching a cold around Holi.

Nuts and dry fruits in Thandai give us energy, spices like blackpepper and clove increase immunity and help us fight infections while rose petals, fennel and saffron prevent indigestion. A combination of richness, the heat from spices and the cooling effect of rose and fennel make up the perfect balance of flavours in this perfect cold beverage for the hot summer.

Richness to the Thandai – Energy to you

A mixture of ground almonds, pistachios and melon or pumpkin seeds are added to give body and richness to the drink. These mixed nuts and seeds also give you instant energy when your body feels drained by the summer heat.

#1 Almonds

Almonds are full of good fats and protein. It is also rich in vitamin E making it great for your skin and hair. Almonds are good for the heart. Being rich in fiber they also help in weight loss.

#2 Pistachios

Pistachios help in haemoglobin production because they are rich in vitamin B6. This vitamin also boosts the immunity, so you are less likely to catch a cold when the season changes. Like almonds, they are rich in fiber and Vitamin E, so they make you look good!

#3 Watermelon Seeds (Magaz) or Pumpkin Seeds

While watermelon and pumpkin seeds, both, are a great source of energy and a good source of protein and fiber, these seeds are very rich in vitamins and minerals. Watermelon seeds for instance, are rich in iron while pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc.

Cooling Effect and Better Digestion in the Summer

The beginning of summer along with all those fried snacks during Holi can often lead to indigestion and over heating of the body. Apart from playing with water and colours to cool the body, we must drink thandai to cool our body temperature from the inside. Special cooling ingredients are therefore added to thandai to regulate and balance the body heat.

#4 Poppy Seeds (khus-khus)

Poppy seeds are frequently used in Indian cooking as well as medicine for their cooling effect on the body. They are rich in minerals like iron, phosphorus and zinc. In the summer, they are very helpful in quenching thirst and also help during constipation and irritation of the abdomen.

#5 Fennel (Saunf)

Fennel seeds helps in cooling the body from the inside. Even fennel soaked in water can be sipped in the summer to keep the body cool. Fennel keeps the body internally cool and also is anti-flatulence. Fennel is also good for digestion.

#6 Rose Petals/ Rose Water

Not only are rose petals extremely fragrant and add to the flavor of the thandai, they are also good during indigestion. Rose petals too have a cooling effect on the body and prevent the body temperature from rising during the summer.

#7 Mishri (unprocessed rock sugar)

Mishri not only sweetens the drink but also prevents and cures cough, cold and throat infection. During the beginning of summer, you and I are most likely to catch a cold. Mishri in thandai will prevent and cure this.

#8 Cow’s Milk

Milk from Desi cows, grass fed and hormone free organic milk is actually good for us. It is rich in calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K. It has good quality protein and is also rich in vitamin B12. If you are unable to get pure, desi cow’s milk then you can use almond milk or coconut milk to make your thandai.

Substitute Coconut Milk or Almond Milk for Vegans.

Spicy flavor Boosts Immunity During Season Change

#9 Peppercorns

Pepper boosts our immunity and help us fight cold. It has antibacterial properties and helps fight infections. It is also good for digestion. When pepper is added along with other herbs and spices such as turmeric, it also helps increase the absorption and benefits from the other spices. Along with medicinal properties, it is rich in zinc, iron, calcium and vitamin A.

#10 Cloves

Cloves like peppercorns have medicinal properties that make them a great addition to thandai. Cloves also boost immunity and aid in better digestion during the summer. Apart from this, they are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Cloves are specially good for bones and teeth.

#11 Green Cardamom (Choti Elaichi)

Cardamom helps fight infection, detoxifies the body and is specially good for nausea and vomiting. It is also useful as a mouth freshener.

#12 Saffron (Kesar)

Saffron is also considered to be a powerful anti-septic and therapeutic spice. Not only does it give a rich flavor to the thandai but also helps in better digestion during the summertime.

You can also add turmeric along with saffron to your thandai to boost its health benefits even more.

Power Up your Summer with Thandai

Homemade thandai is a golden drink for your health. You can use almond milk or coconut milk in place of cow’s milk to make it more therapeutic. It is full of nuts, seeds and medicinal spices balanced together in the form of a tasty summertime beverage. Drink it like a milkshake, shake it like frappe or add it to flavor your lassi!

Do try out this recipe below and let me know how it turns out!




Print Recipe
Homemade Thandai from Scratch
This Thandai recipe is good for energy, digestion and prevention of cold & cough in summer. This recipe makes 1 1/2 litre or 6 to 8 glasses thandai with 250g thandai powder.
Thandai Recipe
Course Beverages
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0
Passive Time 0
Course Beverages
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0
Passive Time 0
Thandai Recipe
  1. In a grinder, add almonds, pistachio, melon & pumpkin seeds and poppy seeds. Grind into a fine powder.
  2. Add all the spices to the nuts and seeds powder and grind into a fine powder.
  3. Sieve the powder to a thin powdery texture. Save the leftover pieces for garnish.
  4. Mix 3 tablespoons of thandai powder in 1 1/2 cup milk. Pour from height from one glass to the other, until it is properly mixed.
  5. Garnish with rose petals, crushed almonds and saffron.
  6. Serve chilled or with ice cubes.
Recipe Notes




Kriti Saxena
Follow me

Kriti Saxena

Author at FoodmantraTV
A food journalist and researcher. Food, for me, is therapy, emotional and physical. Like you, I was born to eat, I ended up learning how to cook because I love to eat. I use natural foods to make easy, tasty food. Together, let's try to balance what we WANT to eat versus what is good for our body and mind.
Kriti Saxena
Follow me

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Best Restaurants in Pune – Savya Rasa


Savya Rasa Pune

Savya Rasa Pune

Such is the Food here 

Food that gives you strength, nourishment and happiness,

A meal cooked painstakingly, with patience and love,

Just like a mother would feed her child.

Such was my experience at Savya Rasa, the South Indian Fine Dining restaurant. I can confidently say that this is among the Best Restaurants in Pune and in India. The meal was a story in itself. A meal, that tells tales of village homes and loving grandmothers. The food here brings back the fragrance of love from a mother’s kitchen. I’ve been writing about food, restaurants in and around Pune and Mumbai for over six years, but never have I come across a menu that was prepared so painstakingly as this one.

The Menu 

The moment you see the menu at Savya Rasa, you realize that this will not be another quick superficial meal where food loses focus between laughter and conversation. The focus here is their food, every aspect of it. Most dishes in your meal won’t allow your focus to shift from the food. I rarely experience that.

The recipes and ingredients were researched over three years to develop the repertoire that is on offer at Savya Rasa now. It is surreal to see the sheer effort of the person who has put this menu together. The delicacies are carefully picked up from different parts of South India. The food cultures on the menu include Nellore, Mangalore, Chettinad, Mysuru, Malabar and Nasrani among others.

Every food culture is well represented in each course, with starters, main course, breads and desserts from all regions mentioned separately. This is no ordinary menu. It is certainly not one where you can make a decision in one glance. This menu respects the authenticity of every cuisine and expects you to dedicate your time and patience to it.

I took close to 15 minutes just to read the menu. It was hard to make a decision because the selection was vast. My mom and sister put the menu down after a quick glance, reading it was too much work for them! It is a menu that can be overwhelming for some. I suggest you describe your preferences to the server and ask him to recommend popular favourites from the selection.

What to Order?

I will have to visit this restaurant five more times to answer that question. I’ll admit that it wasn’t easy. I forgot my preferences from the first page of the starters by the time I got to the third page of the starters. (Yes, the size of this menu is just out of this world!)

Here’s what I did. My mom likes paniyaram and potato so I ordered Chutney stuffed Paniyarams and potato varuval. My dad loves egg, so I ordered their chutney-stuffed, batter fried egg kebabs – Mutta Chutney Kebab. My sister loves seafood so I ordered a Reddy delicacy called Royala Iguru, which is, stir-fried prawns in red masala.

For Mains we went for Kori kundapura – a Mangalorean wedding feast delicacy, chicken in a red masala cooked with coconut milk and curry leaves. It tasted brilliant when we dipped our fresh, soft neer dosas and appams into the spicy yet creamy curry. The vegetarian main course was unique and delicious, a brown mushroom gravy that was meaty and flavourful, it went perfectly well with Bun Parota – crispy, flaky and layered.

The Foodmantra

I would like to go to their kitchen one day, just to see how they prepare so many delicacies in one meal. In a regular Indian restaurant kitchen, we use three or four base gravies and simply flash cook the dish so that it is out in 10 minutes. Savya Rasa offers nearly fifty or more dishes with very distinct bases and each flavor is from a different region so the spice mixes must be different too! It is hard to imagine what goes on in the kitchen or how they manage to churn out so many different dishes, especially on a crowded day like this!

The day we visited this place, we had to wait for a table for fifteen minutes even after booking beforehand. There were at least 10 or 15 people waiting for nearly forty minutes outside as we finished our lunch. Clearly, the food here is much loved and appreciated; else I don’t see why people would dedicate so much of their time to get a table here. Bottom line is, you will have to wait patiently to savour food like this. Food like this, takes time to prepare. But once you eat it, you’ll realize that it was all worth the wait.

Needless to say, every dish here was fabulous. It was nourishing with high quality ingredients and flavourful with turmeric, coconut, tamarind, curry leaf and everything that is good for health. I just wish they come out with a fixed tasting menu where we can get to sample more dishes in small quantities in a single meal.

Ambience & Service

The staff here is gracious, hard working and they serve with a big smile. Even when people are rude or throw a tantrum, even when they’ve been working, and literally running from table to table all afternoon, they serve with a big smile. That is a rare sight for me, in any restaurant, even in luxury hotels. That’s what I call good service.

The ambience is simplistic and very understated but the food is the star here, and nothing will steal the show from it. Honestly speaking, a year ago when the restaurant launched, I was invited here for a review; I regret not being able to make it then. Yet, I’m thankful on the other hand because I got to sample the real thing on a real day, and got to see how consistent and good the experience was even when I wasn’t a special guest. This place is worth it in every way. If you do visit Pune, this restaurant must be on your wish list.

Where to Eat in Pune? World’s Hottest Chilli in Flying Duck Pune..!!

Flying Duck, Pune

Ever thought of holding a food challenge or trying out a dish made with the world’s hottest chilli? If you feel like experimenting with food and exploring intense flavours try Flying Duck on Baner-Pashan link road, Pune. A tiny, fun Asian eatery with a crazy unique menu and great food.  They serve a variety of dishes including Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Thai, Chinese and Burmese items. The food is very different and the menu is great if you want to try something new. The waiter with a jolly smile, seems to be very proud of their Burmese Khau Suey, Thai Prawn soup and Chilli Chicken made with the world’s hottest chilli, BhootJholakia or Ghost Chilli from Nagaland.

This places is specially good for meat lovers or experimental diners. Their specialities include pork, duck and seafood items, along with regular meats like chicken. They do have some great vegetarian dishes as well. They also serve your regular favourites like Manchow soup and Hakka Noodles.

Those of you who follow me on instagram might have seen these pictures on my account a few days ago. Do Follow our Instagram Account for more on this place – @foodmantra

Spicy Vegetarian Kimchi Noodles

If like me you love that pickled cabbage salad, pickled cucumber and carrots munchies just before a chinese meal, then you will love this dish. I tend to eat an entire bowl full of kimchi before my food arrives. This noodle dish is a great way to include this side as the main hit. Spicy vegetarian Kimchi Noodles .. Among the many unique offerings of this tiny Vietnamese, Taiwanese and North Eastern speciality eatery. Very spicy, very different food #PuneEats #PuneFood Here’s a glimpse.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.55.26 pm

Spicy Vegetarian Kimchi Noodles

Most Spicy Dish Ever ..!!

Ghost Chilli Chicken

Ghost Chilli Chicken at the Flying Duck, Pune is made with the hottest chilli in the world BhootJholakia. This Ghost chilli is from North East India. This dish made my eyes, nose and mouth water. My ears were red and warm with heat. I managed to eat a little with combination of honey, cold milk and water.
The most intense food experience of my life so far. Do you want a challenge? #SpicyFood #ChilliChicken #PuneFood#Chinesefood #chilli #foodmantraPune

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.55.10 pm

Ghost Chilli Chicken – Most Spicy Dish Ever

Speciality Duck Soup at the Flying Duck

Special Duck soup with mature, well-developed flavours of duck stock. Real Carnivores put your hands together. The duck soup had intense duck flavour like that of a well-made and naturally thickened stock base. The duck meat with the bone in this hot soup intensified the flavours even more. It was cooked with zucchini and yellow squash slices, finished with some fresh herbs and served with a wedge of lemon. 

Apart from duck, other uncommon meats such as pork are also served in Flying duck.This sets their Vietnamese, Taiwanese fare apart from the regular chinese shop around the corner. The flavours are authentic and they fail to impress the real meat lover.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.55.38 pm

Speciality Duck Soup

This place is usually crowded, even on weekdays. They have a handful of tables that get full in no time. If you wish to visit the Flying Duck . Here are the details of this place.


Shop 6, The Capital Building, Baner-Pashan Link Road, Baner, Pune

+91 7875590666
+91 8551848481

Cuisine – Asian

Cost AVERAGE₹800 for two people. Cash only

Opening hours  12 Noon to 3 PM, 7 PM to 10:30 PM

This Tiny shop Boasts Best Delhi-style Butter Chicken in Pune

THE CLAIM – Delhi-Style Best Butter Chicken 

You will never forget the taste of the Best Delhi-style Butter Chicken you ever tasted. Every time someone talks about a place that serves the best butter chicken, your memory teases you. That creamy, melt in the mouth red gravy, that stick of butter slowly melting, sinking into the chicken as you serve a piece, that juicy chicken and that perfect marriage of tangy tomatoes and sweetness of cashews. It all comes like a head rush and Yummmm.. my mouth begins to water even thinking about it!

A friend told me about Tawa Street, a tiny shop on the other side of town that claims to serve Delhi-style, best butter chicken in Pune. “That is a risky claim”, I thought, Delhi people are very sentimental about their butter chicken. If you don’t get it right, they will rip you apart on social media, and every other media available to them.


Court is in Session

I made quite a journey to test the claim, 20 kilometers to be exact, and on a weekend evening Pune traffic is rude, rough and unforgiving. I felt like I deserved an award for driving across town at that hour. It better be worth the trip or I will be the first one to rip that claim!

True to the name, Tawa Street, in fact, was almost on the street. People eat on the pavement right next to a busy road. But it’s a risk you got to take for a promise of good food, because many times such small shops surprise you with the yummiest food. This minuscule restaurant was brightly lit, as bright as Delhi people can be. The owners were very warm and welcoming, like most Delhi people are. But the big question was, is their Butter Chicken like Delhi Butter Chicken as well?

The Menu 

The menu is fairly tiny and includes simple Punjabi food from rajma rice, chhole to Shahi paneer and keema pav. Although, keema is not really Punjabi food, they served chicken keema which was surprisingly juicy and succulent to be chicken! I loved the keema masala and really enjoyed the taste, until I found it was chicken keema, and then I was really blown away! I’ve worked in Luxury hotel kitchens, Chicken keema easily dries out while cooking and it is really tough to keep it juicy. The guys in the kitchen must have some skill to do that.

I had already gorged on the chicken keema pav and tandoori chicken, which was not on the menu, before the butter chicken was even served. TheTandoori Chicken was delicious and the masala had reached to the bone, the quality of chicken was outstanding, very gawran (aka desi) chicken flavor. If you want to try this, you need to request them on the side. If they aren’t too busy, they might oblige.

The Delhi-Style Butter Chicken 

In the end came Tawa Street butter chicken. I wasn’t that hungry to bother about it. Butter chicken is available everywhere, I know what it is supposed to taste like. I can have it anytime, anywhere. Or can I?

*Takes a bite, pauses a second, widens eyes and wildly digs in for the next bite*.

Not this butter chicken. Not this gravy. No one can create this awesome Delhi-style, amazeballs Butter Chicken. No one I know in Pune at least.

I’ve eaten butter chicken everywhere from Shadi Buffets to UK Curry Houses, from Luxury five star hotels to Dhabas in Amritsar and Ludhiana. Believe me when I say very few people get that Delhi Butter Chicken right. My all time favourite go-to shop used to be in Mahim, Mumbai, right next to a mosque. He adds color in his gravy, but when you taste that butter chicken it is worth it!

Tawa Street butter chicken was etched in my memory just like that. I had thought that I’ll eat just one bite to taste and be done. But no true blood, Butter Chicken lover can ever do that to really good butter chicken. I ate one bite and I couldn’t stop after that until I wiped the bowl clean. It was so yummy and not at all sweet. Just like Delhi-style butter chicken should be. Not too hot, not sweet, distinct, perfectly balanced cream and spices, lots of chicken tikka pieces, just right!

Tawa Street is so far away from me, but when I feel like Butter Chicken, no other butter chicken in Pune will do. Go try it out today, they put a good quantity of chicken pieces in it and at Rs280, they serve good quality food and it is worth it. They also serve Shahi Paneer for vegetarians, which is made in a similar gravy base.

I tried this in Jan 2017, if you try it after me, let me know if they are maintaining the quality and what you thought of that butter chicken.

5 Tips to Make Extra Crispy Pakoras, Manchurian Balls

Love Pakoras? Here are top 5 tips to make your pakoras and manchurian extra crispy. Try these tips and tell us what worked best for you.

#1 Mixing Rice Flour

When making the batter for pakoras or coating fried items, mix 1 part rice flour with 1 part besan. Mixing rice flour half and half in the batter gives it a more crispy texture because of the starch in the rice flour.

#2 Adding Hot Oil

Once the frying oil is hot, add a spoonful of the hot oil in the batter. Adding hot oil in the batter makes the fried pakoras extra crispy. Make sure to place them on a paper napkin and do not cover to keep them crispy.


#3 Mixing Ice Cold Water or Chilled Soda

Instead of tap water, add chilled soda or ice water to make the batter. Adding cold aerated water makes the pakoras extra crispy.


#4 Double Coating in Cornflakes

Once the food is coated in the batter then chill in the refrigerator and roll it in cornflakes before frying. The extra crispy layer of cornflakes will make the pakoras even yummier!


#5 Whisk to Aerate the Batter

Whisk the batter in one direction, either clockwise or anti-clockwise to aerate the batter. Aerating the batter will makes the pakoras fluffy as well as extra crispy.


Here’s how to make Veg Manchurian on Crispy Noodles?

Make Double Cheese Chilli Pakoras 

Good News! Cafe Goodluck’s New Venture; Where to Eat in Pune?


It is hard to express how happy and proud I felt  when I saw Cafe Goodluck’s new venture, Chota Bites in a Food Court in Aundh today! Beaming humbly amidst the swanky boards of  Subway, KFCs and McDonald’s, there it was, our very own, local pride – Chota Bites, the latest venture by Cafe Goodluck.

Move over American Burger giants, Bun Maska, Irani Chai and Keema-Pav are here to stay. Over the past few years, I was really disappointed to see the diminishing presence of local Irani Cafes, Udupi joints and Pav-Bhaji & Juice centres.

As per an article in May 2015 in DNA newspaper, “Despite many Irani cafes in Pune closing down due to lack of business, Ali Mashti decided to revive his family tradition of serving Irani chaiand bun maska. In a city where the culture of Parsi chai shops is dying, majorly due to migration, a few outlets have survived. Bun maska, chai and broon are the most popular dishes that Irani cafes are famous for. With just 2-3 Irani cafes remaining in the city, Mashti feels the prick of low business”.

Cafe Goodluck is a symbol of Pune history and our proud food culture. A culture that welcomed delicious Irani delicacies from immigrants who won our hearts with their food and became a part of our social fabric.  Among the few local, stand alone Irani-owned restaurants in the city, Cafe Goodluck is one that every true-blood Puneri swear by. While the culture is dwindling, the flourishing business and the latest expansion of Cafe Goodluck has given us new hope.

The QSR chain version of Cafe Goodluck – Chota Bites in the WestEnd Mall, Aundh has managed to retain its homely, old-world charm while competing with the new. The servers are those courteous and kind old men handling the cash counters, who give us a big smile and a kind word as we order. The kitchen at the same time, is quick as ever, and there’s no question that the quality of the food is maintained to a high standard.

The menu comprises of the high-demand, quick selling items from the original Cafe Goodluck menu, in keeping with the general tone and requirements of a food court. You will find your favourite Bun-Maska, Irani Chai, Bun Omelette and Tava Keema offered in the selection.

The fresh, clean food is a refreshing change from the processed, frozen reheated food that is otherwise available in movie theatre food courts and QSR food chains. If you’re new to Pune, or have been enjoying the charming Bun-Maska for five decades, you must rush to this newest local pride to show them some love and support.

Check out 20 Best Places to Eat in Pune and More about Cafe Goodluck here..


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