Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pune Dining Updates

Phirni at WazwanWith increasing competition from new restaurants some of the older ones are beginning to feel the heat. After Bombay Brasserie, Flags seems to be the latest casualty; this restaurant appears to have closed. And as I looked on incredulously, workers at La Dolce Vita put up a new banner over the restaurant announcing Indian, Chinese, Italian and Thai - all in the same place. Like the neighbourhood dhabas did a long time back. Sigh!

Until recent times, Wazwan was the only place in Pune for authentic Kashmiri cusine (now there are two more). I was here recently for a business lunch, and found the place empty of patrons even during peak lunch hour. However, the food continues to be quite good. The best from today's lunch was the Rogan Josh, Dum Aloo and Yakhni Pulao.

Wazwan in Pune
Tabak Maaz at WazwanKashmiris, unlike most North Indians, do not use tomato or onion-based sauces to cook their meat. The Rogan Josh has a thin sauce, whose rich red color comes from red chillies and saffron, both common ingredients of Kashmiri cooking. The yogurt sauce of the Gustaba was a tad too sour today; I usually love this dish made of mutton mince that is beaten into tight balls before being cooked in a fragrant yogurt sauce. The phirni - a dessert of of powdered rice and condensed milk that is sweetened, chilled before serving - was pretty good too.

Rogan Josh at Wazwan
Gustaba at Wazwan
Dum Aloo at WazwanIncidentally, Casanova Gold has been getting poor reviews for service, in spite of its upscale positioning and prices. If true, Wazwan will continue to be the best bet for Kashmiri cuisine in Pune for some more time.

'One', a relatively new resto-lounge with music and a dance floor, has morphed into a family dining place. The bar area continues to be popular with the youngsters, but clearly the increasing number of lounges and bars in Pune are beginning to have it's effect. On a Friday evening, at ten in the night, there were more 'aunties', 'uncles' and their kids in this place than young adults having fun. The dance floor was empty! However, if all you care is the food and the open-air ambiance, you may enjoy an evening here. Potted palm trees, multi-level seating aread, and interesting lights work in it's favour. The starters are pretty good too; we didn't order entrees tonight. The cocktails here are no good at all: the Apple and Date Martini as well as the Tequila Sunrise were almost virgin (or like we say in India, more mocktail than cocktail). However, the Spicy Mexicana tequila shots were innovative and very spicy!

A new discovery is Terttulia, a small bistro/cafe right next to Indyaki, at the junction of South Main Road and Lane 5 in Koregaon Park. This place, frequented by foreigners and youngsters alike, serves great western desserts (apple pies, mousse, chocolate cakes, and such), sandwiches and coffee. They have a pretty good coffee menu for those who are looking for better quality coffee than the local variety. Great place to hang out with friends.

17 comments:

Ashish said...

Hi Shantanu,

I have been following your blog for almost a year now.. my apologies for not having commented anytime sooner. I have possibly tried out most of your Pune recommendations and nearly always agree with your take on the food. This is a great blog and you have a talent for not just hunting out great places to eat, but describing them as well.

Cheers,
Ashish

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

This morning when I read ad by La Dolce Vita in TOI, I thought about you, and then cam across this post ? How is the place ?

La Dolce Vita , I understand serving bufet a a reasonable price

Shantanu said...

@Ashish: Thank you very much! Good to know you have found my recommendations useful.

@Harekrishnaji: Yes, they are now advertising World Cuisine buffet lunches too. This seems to be new-fangled name for serving a 'regular' buffet which has mostly Indian, some Chinese and a few Italian items. Most hotels and Post 91 already use this concept in Pune.

kyh said...

Oh gosh those look yummy. I always love Indian cuisine. Those rich curries, amazing aromas of the spices, the bright red colours... It's amazing there are so many regional varieties. We normally have Southern Indian cuisine in Malaysia (since most of the M'sian Indians are Tamils), but there are also Northern Indian establishments, which I have yet to try.

Shantanu said...

@kyh: Apparently most of the Indian influence in the Far East was due to the migrating Indians from our Southern states, primarily Tamil Nadu. Most of those I meet in Europe are usually from the Northern States.

Lakshmi said...

Just a suggestion..was wondering if you could highlight whats there for veggies..I always feel I cant appreciate some of the food you describe with so much passion ..

Vikash said...

Its really sad to hear that Flags is closed, I just loved that place.
I couldn't figure out which "new resto-lounge with music and a dance floor" you were talking about, I found no mention of the name of the place... but looks I got two new places to try out Wazwan (pity I haven't tried it yet) & Terttulia.

Shantanu said...

@Lakshmi: I plead guilty. I am a hardcore carnivore, but I will try. :)

@Vikash: Heh! Actually the place is called ONE (or rather the numeral '1').

indicaspecies said...

Gustaba...yummy!

Kate said...

Those chops in the 3rd pic look pretty darn good . * drooling* and ofcourse the firni too :p

Anu said...

hi shantanu is wazwan in baner -i havent been there so far but will try out next time-Has machhaan opened in Pune they were planning to open this restaurant by the year end anyways wish you and yr family a Merry Christmas -I miss the festive fever of cal esp Flurys n Nahoums(new market)if u r from Cal:)))

Shantanu said...

@indicaspecies: Exactly! But this time it didn't turn out as good.

@Kate: Good to see you back. The chops, or rather the Tabak Maas, is not for everyone since it is quite fatty.

@Anu: Wazwan is on Baner Road, after the Symantec building/Dominos. Machan hasn't opened yet. Re: Cal, I know what you mean. :)

anu said...

ok amader baari khub kaacheyee porer baar nischoy try korbo amader building e ekjon aapna ke chene she aapnar subordinate aarki anyways i hope next time u post something on cal as well i have a looong list of restaurants :)))

Shantanu said...

@anu: Well, I guess it's a small world, after all. :)

anu said...

ya true... Am so happy to find new food joints opening in Pune n I hope Breadtalk also opens soon (this is a bakery shop if am not wrong its singapore based n they hv outlets in Mumbai,Bangalore n hyderabad)and their bakery products are amazing simply out of the world-do try out if u go to mumbai they hv outlets in powai Hiranandani, Inorbit mall malad n in Vashi

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

Anu,

I agree with you on Breadtalk. I have tried their products in Dubai and in Malad. Simply great

Manoj chanchawat said...

Wazwan!!! Both I and my wife will vote for it for its authentic & delicious food!!! Liked your detail review.
Hey… I am surprised about “Flags” but one can easily figure out the reason for the same. To run a multi-cuisine restaurant, you not only need good food with lots of variety (which apparently they have), but also some new business tactics now and then to woo old and new customers (which I never found there…). They had a great advantage of the location. But alas!!!
BTW, did you try “Kasba” and “Royal Orchid” in Kalyani nagar? The location along with its food will surely catch the attention of ppl over there. We will love to hear your reviews also for the same.