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Category: Where To Eat Pune Mumbai

Pune & Mumbai Local Food, Restaurant Reviews and events.

Chaayos v Coffee Shops – Restaurant Wars

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We recently visited Chaayos in Versova Mumbai. Then we visited it again, and again, and again. We began wondering why we were visiting this little meeting point more frequently than say, a Bru World Cafe, Cafe Coffee Day or our next door Snacks Centre.

Here’s why

  1. The Location – like many of its wisely located competitors, Chaayos too, is located in areas with a high footfall. It is located in a place which is perfect for an semi formal meeting or catching up  with a friend for a quick chai.
  2. Novelty – While Bru World Cafe offers a wonderful variety and blends of locally sourced coffee, and a few chais too, and Cafe Coffee Day keeps reinventing their menu, there’s novelty in an All Chai place. India is still essentially a chai drinking country, and after the initial infatuation of teenagers sipping frappes at CCD in the 90s, we are all getting back to the good old chai. Inevitably so! So it is a bit of novelty and a bit of nostalgia.
  3. Price Wise – They are all roughly the same price wise. It costs around Rs 400 to 500 for two people. I was under the impression that Chaayos is cheaper, cause you know, its chai, but no, it isn’t cheaper. It seems cheaper somehow.
  4. Menu Wise – They have everything very desi, very healthy and very relatable on their menu. From Kulhad wali chai to Kaadha style to Chamomile tea. From bhajiyas to chana chaat to muffins. Something about the menu makes you feel at home. It is fresh, it is healthy, it is local. I think it is the reliability of the menu that makes you believe that this place is cheaper than other coffee shops even when its not.
  5. Crowd wise – While CCD reminds me of teenage couples and loud streaky girls around tables sharing a single pastry or coffee, the crowd in the Brus and Chaayos of the world is very different. In the Chaayos I visited I found the crowd to be more mature. In fact, Bru World and Chaayos have WiFi, and a very semi formal meeting kind of culture going. It is a quick chai, no involvement or whiling away time whatsoever.
  6. Comfort wise – The seating of Chaayos is not comfortable. I understand that they don’t want you to get too comfy because these places run on shorter turn around times, but their seating and crowded layout in the Versova outlet wants me to carry my own cushion for the narrow wooden classroom benches that barely accommodate an adults buttocks..!! Pardon my language, but the seating will not allow you to enjoy your chai comfortably for an hour.

What We Didn’t Like

The fact that you MUST enter your phone number each time you place an order, so they can send you promotional random messages every now and then.

I also did not like their seating arrangement and uncomfortable wooden benches.

 

I would love to go to Chaayos again. You should try it if you are more a Chai guy, or Chai gal. They do offer coffee, but the options are limited. Their menu is very fresh and desi, so perhaps the healthier pick when compared with the many a, often stale smelling bakery items from some of the coffee shops we have mentioned above. They make you chana chaat and fry your bhajiyas in front of you, which makes me find it safer to eat than the stuff in which I have no idea what ingredients might have gone.

Anyway, do try it out and tell us if you agree or disagree with out opinion about Chaayos.

7 Senses to Tease with Salmon this Weekend – Take Your Date to this place

7 senses to tease you say? Well, you know about the first five, but if you follow my lead, you might just discover a couple of new ones this weekend. I’m not just tricking you, I promise. Last weekend, my senses were brought to the brim with gentle, unique flavours that stirred my spirit to happiness, and I discovered that there was more to a culinary experience than indulging our eyes, nose, ears, fingers and tongue.

If you ask me, I’m the kind of girl that loves her rasta chinese with the loud chatter of garlic and chilli, I also find comfort in a warm and creamy butter chicken, yet the soothing cheesy spaghetti carbonara is on top of my list. But sometimes, when the Chef is a genius, you need none of that. None of the chilli and garlic, no cream and no cheese, you can go into an mmmmm.. and aaahhh just with a simple, fresh and delicate ingredient.

I call Chef Asep a culinary genius because without manipulating the integrity of fresh salmon he managed to pair it with the most unlikely ingredients so effortlessly. You might have seen some of his creations on my instagram account. It was truly a meal that makes you want to shut your eyes and let the flavours do the talking.

Chef Asep

Head Sushi Chef at Trident BKC

A delight for the eyes

It’s true what they say, there’s beauty in simplicity. The minimalistic, practical style of plating food and simply pairing a soft pink of the salmon with a hint of pastel green coming from avocado or wasabi (yes, I said those two in one breath) made the dinner plate nothing short of a canvas. The artist was the Chef, who carefully constructed the thinly sliced pink salmon carpaccio flower with a pastel green center of avocado tartare, delicately sprinkled with the crunch of fried onion. The golden, glistening skin of pan-seared marinated salmon for main course was adorned with vibrant colours and clean cuts of bright green broccoli flowers, crunchy orange carrot and refreshing yellow squash. Eat with your eyes first, they say, and so I did.

Salmon Carpaccio

Salmon Carpaccio

Pleasure for the nose

You may have got the stench sometime but you must never have gotten the sweet scent of fresh fish. Have you? It is hard to understand when you think about the sweet aroma of fresh, raw fish but it is so easy to love it when you experience it. I’ve only dealt with raw fish on my kitchen table or at the fishmongers’. At my kitchen table, the fresh fish smells sweet and clean. Sweeter than that flavor was the aroma of the fresh, raw salmon that I ate at Trident BKC. Three in five courses in that meal were raw fish. And yet, the aroma of the salmon carpaccio, sushi, sashimi and salmon and fresh wakame salad was sweet and soothing.

Chef Ashish Bhasin

Norwegian Salmon

A song for the ears

You know what is a Chef’s favorite song? The mmmms and aaahhs the diners make when they eat his food. If you ask me, it is music to my ears too, because it tells me just how delicious the food that I am about to taste must be. From the first course I put in my mouth, which was a salmon with caramelized onion and wasabi salsa to the, salad, sushi, sashimi and the pan seared salmon for main course, every step of the meal had the mmmmms attached to every bite. The buttery creaminess of rich avaocados were coupled so beautfully with the sweetness of the raw salmon and the kick from the wasabi, ponzu and soy.

Salmon Salad

Salmon Avocado Salad

The harmony of textures

It seemed like such an unlikely combination of flavours and textures had come together like a party in my mouth! There was the silky, smooth raw salmon with creamy, buttery avocados, the jelly-like light sweetness of caramelized onions and velvety mayo, which contrasted with a punch from the wasabi, a hit of the ponzu and soy sauce, and crunchiness from fried onion flakes, nutty sesame sprinkles and flying fish roe. The sushi and sashimi was the best that I have tasted in Mumbai city so far. Their quality of sushi doesn’t even give the others a chance.

Salmon Tataki

Salmon Tataki

 

Praise on your lips

It was the unique combinations that made us all, the Consul General of Norway and his wife, an importer from the food industry, a school principal, a world traveller and me, break into a wow song once we had unfolded the mystery of this meal. That, for me, is awakening the sixth sense. When a meal is so distinctive that it opens the door for new possibilities. A meal, that inspires a dialogue about food, its beauty and its simplicity.

 

Craving on your tongue

Did you know, that salmon is among the least addictive foods? Yet, the Chef managed to conjure up my craving for salmon. The 7th sense, after a divine culinary experience is that each time you think about that meal, it stirs your spirit to crave it again. It’s been four days since I enjoyed the culinary creations at Trident, BKC, and yet each time I think about it, I want to enjoy that meal four more times, before their Salmon festival comes to an end. Power of cooking, I’d say it is.

 

Sushi Sashimi Platter

Sushi Sashimi Platter

Are you planning to go on a date this weekend? Or planning to take your girlfriend or wife to some place nice? Then you wouldn’t want to miss the salmon experience at O22 and Botticino at Trident BKC till the 15th of Arpil, 2017. All the opinions in this article are my own. I was invited by Trident BKC to try this meal and give them my feedback. I honestly enjoyed the menu that they have created for the Salmon festival. I believe that culinary excellence should always be appreciated and Chef Asep’s food pairings were exquisite. But don’t just take my word for it, try the food pairings for yourself and let me know what you thought about his work. I’d love to hear from you and know your opinion about this festival too. I would not recommend this festival to vegetarians, though I’m sure they have other wonderful options for the vegetarian connoisseurs.

 

Norwegian Salmon Festival at Trident BKC

Norwegian Salmon Festival at Trident BKC

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

–        RATATOUILLE DIARIES, Indore

–        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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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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
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
 

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

Address

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.

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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.

Pocket Friendly Eatery in Pune for College Students | Where to Eat in Pune?

Pocket Friendly Meals

Remember the Oh-So-Broke days of college? Those days we were perpetually hungry and in search for cheap places to eat and hangout. I recall them as my maggi and anda days. Well, Food Palette in Kothrud is exactly like that, it is a pocket-friendly little place that offers everything from pav bhaji & sandwiches to the yummiest Dal khichdi on their menu. It is a steal for students and a budget family meal, with food that is easy on the stomach.

The easy-going cafeteria vibe, quick service and affordable prices will all remind you of your all-you-can-eat days. If that wasn’t enough, the young crowd sharing a pav bhaji or gorging on a quick sandwich will surely take you back.

The place is very approachable and offers the perfect selection of items for its location close to the colleges in Kothrud area. Food palette is a place, which will make you feel comfortable enough to have loud laugh or catch up on some office gossip. The menu has everything familiar and well loved, from pav bhaji to butter chicken, sandwich & chai to classic main course dishes.

What I liked most is that many of these quick service restaurants in Pune are “PURE” vegetarian. It is hard to come by an economical cafe that will serve anda bhurji – pav or a simple chicken sandwich. In my opinion, Food palette is everything that you and I will readily buy. It is a place that will make people from all walks of life drop by for a simple meal with family or friends. The food quality is good and hygienically prepared (you can peep in the kitchen at the back). The freshness and ingredients haven’t been compromised in trying to make the food inexpensive. This is something that I’m most mindful about when grabbing a quick bite in old city area.

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Pav Bhaji, Tandoori Chicken, Dal Khichdi

I’d drop by again for their pav bhaji and the dal khichadi, I really enjoyed both of these dishes. Also, given that its not on the menu yet, don’t forget to specially request for their “Tandoori Chicken”, it is part of their secret menu, strictly for loyalists and it is really delicious. I do have a list of many good pocket friendly places in 20 Places to Eat in Pune but I’m sure there are some new ones that you’ve come across. Let me know what other newly introduced, pocket friendly eateries serve good quality and fresh food in Pune, I would love to include it in my Pocket friendly Pune List!

Where To Eat in Pune? 20 Must-Try Local Food Places in Pune

Pune’s Foodmantra : Eat Local in Pune 

Don’t forget to carry your rubber slip-ons if you’re leaving for Pune. Drive through the luscious green mountains, feel the cool breeze blow through your hair and smile pointlessly. Lounge with a beer in a city where retired uncles and aunties get-together for karaoke nights, and the college ‘katta’ is colonized by Bengalis, Punjabis and Gujaratis, as they all bite into a vada-pav.

People from around the world come here to spend months in the Osho Ashram, a world-renowned meditation center, and some just drive down for the wildest parties ever. Whatever be your reason, this historical city and now an IT hub makes you feel its spirit. Casual conversations, comfortable climate and its laid-back, what’s-the-big-rush attitude are addictive. If you’ve been here once you will want to keep coming back again. So while you are in Pune, lounge, eat and be merry like the locals. Here is a list of 20 of the local favourites, each has its own vibe and specialty that prints in your head. Remember the time we went to.. kind of places.

#1 Goodluck Café

Opens at 7.30 am, Goodluck Café, located at its namesake Goodluck chowk in the middle of all the hustle bustle in the Deccan area of Pune is not a restaurant but a history. A history of generations that have been coming to this eatery day after day, just for the Keema Pav and Bun-Maska, Chai.  Being close to the Film Institute, this affordable eatery has seen celebrities like Dev Anand, David Dhavan walk through its doors since they were students and through decades for the delicious food. Goodluck used to be among the few places in Pune that offered non-vegetarian food at affordable prices at the time. If you’re in Pune, you can’t give this place a miss, you must try out the Keema-Pav here, it is legend (Wait-for-it)dary! It is still affordable with good quality food, what we call practical pricing, for hygienic food. Try the Chicken ra-ra with rumali rotis during the lunch hour, but before that, you must wait in a long que, only to be seated within minutes, just as your food appears on the table like magic!

What’s Latest on Goodluck Cafe?

#2 Burger King

Not to be confused with The Burger King Chain, this is a local stand-alone. There are two Burger Kings, one around MG Road and the other near Koregaon Park (Let’s call it KP like the locals). The one in KP has great ambience, and by ambience I mean it is full of trees and has three separate seating areas, each isolated from the other. The plastic chairs and tables are worn out but there is one high table with bar stools of-sorts that is right in front of the creeper adorned entrance, that is the most fun place to sit and is usually occupied. It is a cheap, self-service place that almost always has a long line to place the order and their sandwiches get over fast. I usually tell them to skip the ketchup in my sandwich, but I absolutely love their simple salami sandwich and the sausage surprise with lots of egg bhurji. The veg burger is also really big and the massive beef burger takes it away. What I like the most about this place is that it is simple, straightforward and casual, just like the people of Pune.

#3 Marz O Rin 

Like every other Puneri, I have grown up on the homely macaroni and cheese, chicken sandwich and coffee of Marz-O-Rin. Why it is named so, remains a mystery to the world even today. Right on the main street, MG Road the big red and white board of Marz-O-Rin cannot be missed. Marz-O-Rin has fed the city since the time the roads used to be empty, and bike races were organized on the main street. The mac n cheese is still the same, so is the make-at-home chicken sandwich and coffee. The people that run this place are still surprisingly quick though they seem easy-going. The sturdy, neat furniture humbly fulfills the purpose of seating you as you grab a quick, cheap bite. Lot of people come here just to sit and take a breather between shopping, but there is a rule, ‘No food on the table, no seat’.

#4 Vaishali

There is always a large crowd outside Vaishali on FC road waiting for a table, and for good reason. Have you tried out the ‘world-famous’ Sev Puri Dahi Puri (SPDP) and sabudana wadas here? No one can make sabudana wadas with coconut chutney like that, and that white butter, or loni they add on their special dosas makes them so butterly drool-worthy, it’s a sin to go on eating like that. If that wasn’t enough reason for you, hop in here for breakfast or for a pav bhaji and you will enjoy this hustle bustle just like the locals do.

 

#5 Amriteshwar Pohe

Hungry at 4am after a great party last night? Join the students after their ‘study-sessions’ and in the middle of a sleepover night, as Amriteshwar at Nal stop signal serves freshly made kaande Pohe, sabudana khichadi, idlis and chai. He is too busy serving to even lift his head, he opens the shop at 4am, and even earlier sometimes, as newspapers are sorted, and street lamps light up the empty road, you will find dozens of bikes parked outside amriteshwar. The mild and humble kaande pohe have a taste that lingers in your memory. Try it out once, and it will urge you to stay up every night.

 

#6 Tiranga Non Veg

Looking for delicious gawti chicken curry and jowar bhakris in the city? Tiranga non-veg is the place to be. With nearly half dozen branches in different parts of the city, Tiranga is where you will find home-style Maharashtrian curry with the perfect blend of hot spices and soft, hot millet (jowar) bhakris straight from the tava. This too, like many other favourite eateries in Pune, prepares fresh food everyday, which is likely to get over if you reach late. Vegetarians don’t step back, I had the freshest, softest, bestest ever palak paneer here, which was equally good, if not better than the non-vegetarian food. They use desi chicken in their curry, which means less meat but more flavour in every bite. I’m not a mutton lover, but even so, the mutton sukha and the mutton biryani here is a out of this world, finger lickingly yummy. It is the best, softest and the tastiest mutton there can be, simply because their maharashtrian spice blend makes it so good. This place is by food lovers, of food lovers and from food lovers. I’m still day dreaming about the food as I speak.

#7 Sinhagad Trek

If you’re in Pune for a weekend and in the mood for a meal on the mountains in a local’s hut, then go for an early morning trek to Sinhagad Fort and work up an appetite. You will be rewarded with a rustic meal of Zunka-Bhakar and Gawti Kombdi (Rustic, desi Chicken curry), and the adventurous picnic will be worth every ounce of effort you put in to climb up that mountain. This place becomes lush green, and 3 times more beautiful during the monsoon, and the roasted bhutta (corn) and chai make it all the more romantic. You will find a lot of couples coming up to the historical site for lovely view and a different, yet wonderfully economical desi meal. The trek may tire you, but the experience is priceless.

Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad Fort

#8 Shabree 

Thalipeeth, is a local delicacy made with a variety of grains and eaten with chutney, this and many other authentic Maharashtrian delicacies like sabudana khichadi, bhareleli vangi (stuffed brinjal), batatchi bhaji (potato preparation), amti (Maharashtrian pulses), varan-bhaat (Dal-Rice) can be tried and enjoyed at Shabree. Shabree also serves a Maharashtrian thali. Pohe and sabudana wadas are also served, it is very crowded during meal times, but of you’re a vegetarian and want to try the local food, then this is the place to be.

#9 Bedekar Missal 

Missal, is a spicy preparation made with sprouted lentils, topped with farsan (fried munchies) and served with pav. Puneri Missal is considered to be the best missal in Maharashtra, and the most famous missal-pav in Pune is served in Bedekar Missal. This humble shop with steel plates and crowded benches has no branches, and known for selling lip-smacking Puneri missal.

 

#10 Sujata Mastani

Ever tried a mastani loaded with dried fruits, flavoured with kesar or in your favourite fruit flavour? Skip a meal if you want to try this creamy, desi handmade ice-cream, it is no regular ice-cream, you will not be able to finish your glass full right after a meal. Yes, I said glass full, this hybrid ice-cream milkshake is served in a glass and topped with nuts and dried fruits, kesar and in some cases cherry. It is unimaginably creamy, and was whipped by hand over an ice block when it first started almost 50 years ago. Sujata Mastani is very famous and has several branches, you must find the nearest one and try it out.

 

# 11 Kalyan Bhel

They have a number of branches in the city only because no one else makes bhel like they do. I can try to explain what is so great about it, but you will only be able to appreciate the awesomeness of this bhel once you have it yourself. The mélange of sweet, spicy and sour flavours is oh-so-perfect and the flavour of the chutneys they add is a signature that can’t be replaced.

 

# 12 Vohuman’s Omlette

Near Ruby Hall Clinic, go to Vohuman’s when you’re in the mood for breakfast all day, he serves the best bun-omlette, and his cheese omlette gives you both, satiation and hunger-for-more at the same time, what a feeling that is! Just sit back and relax, and enjoy your omlette. And yes, of course it is a cheap and fulfilling meal at any time of the day.

 

#13 JJ Garden Vada Pav

Want to try the best vada-pav in town? Go for JJ Garden vada-pav in Camp area, near MG road.

#14 Arthur’s Theme

Arthur’s Theme has served continental food from the time when people didn’t really know what continental food was, it catered to the world citizens that lived in this area, yet the locals have always loved this place. If you love classic French sauces, gorgeous vegetables with potatoes on the side then Arthur’s Theme with that ‘cosy Pune-feel’ will win you over. It is casual fine-dining, cosy with food that makes you feel cosy. Solomon prawns are yummiliciously popular, and the creamy sauces and fresh herbs with names like Diane and Ferdinand give this place a very English or French restaurant character. They have no branches in Pune, other than the one in Koregaon Park, but they do have a branch in Mumbai.

# 15 Coffee House 

Located in the heart of the city, very close to Moledina road Coffee House for years has been the one place every Punekar would to go to. Why? When concept of fast food restaurant was in its infancy, Coffee House was one of its kind in the city. I don’t even have to look at the menu, I can tell you they serve everything! Everything? Yes, everything meaning, Pav Bhajis, Dosas, Idlis, Uttapams, Indian food, Chinese food, Mexican food and lovely, thick milkshakes. They serve everything that a typical Indian fast food eatery serves and what’s more, they are quick, the food is familiarly good (I don’t know if that’s a word, familiarly) and it is like the go-to place for all the locals when we are in that area. The waiters always smile, no matter how busy it is, and it is very busy all the time, they even know your name, and who doesn’t love to go to place like that?

 

For the Late Night Food Hunt

 

Amriteshwar Pohe

Be there at Nal stop signal at 4am for kaande pohe and chai, now don’t keep your hopes up if you reach an hour late, because I told you, there is a big crowd there and kaande pohe get over in no time.

 

Shivajinagar Station Stalls

For pav-bhaji and bhurji-pav, late in the night, drive down to the Shivajinagar station, usually there is mad traffic and hustle bustle here, but later in the night it is quiet and lit up by these little stalls that sell bhurji pav and pav-bhaji outside the station

 

Where to Drink

1st Brewhouse in Corinthian on NIBM Road, try out there Bob Barley and other freshly brewed beer in the open air seating area as you enjoy the music.

High Spirits in Koregaon Park is a very popular place if you wish to go drinking.

The Irish House in Phoenix Mills, Vimannagar is great for International beer brands, don’t miss the happy hours here.

 

For The Road – What to Take Back from Pune?

 

# 17 Kayani Bakery

 

There are literally hundreds of people that crowd inside the shop, the moment Kayani opens in the second half around 3.30pm. Nobody wants to miss out on those Shrewberry biscuits and Mawa cake, and both run out in no time. Why you ask? Visitors and even locals love them so much that people buy 20, 30 and even 50 fresh cakes at one time. The baked goods are freshly made everyday but you never know in how many minutes it will vanish today. So if you want to try these signature of Pune cakes and biscuits, then be there in time, jump in and leap before you get mobbed.

# 18 Budhani Wafers

If you love wafers, and who doesn’t? Do pick up your big bag from Budhani Waferwala for your journey back. Their plain salted wafers are great, but the chili potato wafers are even better. Some soft drinks with these chips, and you’ve got yourself an all nighter to pull. Budhani wafers are available all around Pune, in the local shops.

# 19 Laxminarayan Chiwda

Loaded with nuts and dried fruits, Mr. Laxminarayan, the man behind this chiwda, travelled for 15 years across India, even from Peshawar to Maynmar, and then came up with the perfect recipe for Laxminarayan chiwda. This is probably why people from around the world, love and buy this Puneri Chiwda. Many have tried to ape the flavour, but no one succeeded in replicating it. The credit of this unique flavour is still given to its founder, and the flavour has remained the same over the years. They have a shop and a manufacturing unit in Camp area, but Laxminarayan Chiwda too, is available in local shops across Pune.

 

#20 Chitale 

 

Chitale is famous not only in India, but around the world for its pedas and bhakarwadi. The owners have got new machines to double, and triple the production, people love it so much, no matter how large the quantity they make, it always gets over. The kesar pedas, saakhar pedas and now, the sandwich pedas are very popular, there are a number of varieties, and you can pick one that you like best. Don’t forget to get your supply of bhakarwadis though, cause Chitale bhakarwadis are crunchy and tasty as heaven.

Rethinking Old Favorites 

German Bakery

When everywhere you look there’s a firang (Hindi for foreigner) in a maroon Osho gown know that you’ve hit the vicinity of German Bakery. In the Koregaon Park area of Pune, amidst trees and lavish bungalows, German Bakery on the main road is pretty easy to spot. They have redecorated the German Bakery now, even the added in a few new specials on the menu. We would go here with a book or a friend and lounge for hours with a cup of mint tea and a muffin. In the past it hasn’t really lived up to the expectations of German Bakery patrons, the place is considered over-priced and the old awesomeness is sadly missing as on date (October, 2013). 

 

 

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