Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pune Dining Scene: Updates

Chocolate Teardrop with Pear MousseThe economic slowdown is beginning to have an effect on the dining scene in town. Machan, a jungle-themed restaurant, was expected to open in the mall next to ESquare; this has now been put on hold.

However, the spate of new openings last year has forced older restaurants to improve and rejig their offerings. Coconut Grove, an already excellent restaurant for Konkan coastal cuisine, now has a new menu of seafood delicacies for its patrons.

Laguna PuneOh Calcutta! too is introducing a lunch buffet in a week's time. Those who had difficulty ordering from the menu, replete with exotic Bengali items, can now sample a larger variety of items during lunch. Oh Calcutta! is also launching the Ganges Grill this weekend in their lawns. Every evening, you can enjoy lobsters, hilsa, carp, king fish and other seafood grilled in a style that brings together traditional Bengali with the British Raj. All of this in an outdoor ambiance that transports you to the banks of the Hooghly.

After Karim's, another legendary kabab place opened recently in Pune. Tunday Kebabee, a branch of its famous namesake, has opened in Wanawadi. I have yet to see if the Galouti Kababs and Dum Biryanis are as good as their Lucknawi versions. The original, located in the alleys of the old city of Lucknow, is a legend with it's 100-year old history and stories of its one-armed chef.

Bounty's Pune
Sizzler at Bounty's PuneSizzlers continue to be popular with the young in this town. You eat directly out of hot iron griddles filled with veggies and meat cooked in your choice of sauce. The sizzle and smoke as you are served gives these places a completely different ambiance. Bounty's in Kalyani Nagar continues to dish out the best sizzlers in town. Zamu's and Yoko aren't as popular any longer and the quality of their sizzlers have suffered in recent months. Yana, in the Kalyani Nagar multiplex is popular with the movie-goers while Kobe in Aundh seems to have fans too. Here are some pictures from my recent trip to Bounty's. The Sizzling Chicken with Pepper was perfect as was the excellent Caramel Custard!

Like I had promised during my first review, I made another trip to Laguna during the holidays, this time with the family. The cocktails we ordered were just ok (I had ordered a Sangria and the wife a Cosmo); the non-alcoholic cucumber 'mocktail' my daughter ordered turned out more interesting!

Non-veg Mezze at Laguna Pune
Dining at Laguna PuneThe Mezze contained Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Tabouleh, Kibbeh, Sambousek, etc., with pita bread. This non-veg platter of starters was a mixed bag; while I liked most, the Sambousek, little keema samosas, were too oily.

Pita Bread at Laguna PuneThe Spaghetti con Tomato Meatballs was very good but had a high level of spice. The spinach soup turned out to be creative and very exciting on the palate!

Spaghetti at Laguna Pune
Laguna Pune
Display kitchen of Laguna PuneThe dessert menu looked mouth-watering, but we were quite full at this point. We decided to share the Chocolate Teardrops with Pear Mousse, which was a good-sized portion of pear-stuffed mousse with a rim of dark chocolate and a little Irish Creme. Thankfully, the mousse turned out every bit as good as it sounded!

Finally, there is a new Konkan fine-dining restaurant in town now: Kokum in Viman Nagar. Any one try it yet?

Bon Appetit! May the New Year have many fun-filled moments and mouth-watering treats for everyone. :)


indicaspecies said...

The Mezze you mentioned containing Hummus, Baba Ghanoush (another variety of Muttabel), Tabbouleh, Kibbeh, Sambousek with pita bread are common items of food in this part of the world.

May the new year have many gastronomical delights in store for you too.:D

Wendy said...

The presentation of the cake in the top photo is stunning.


Machan. Is it the from the same group who have restaurant at Malad, Mumbai. I had been there. I found nothing great about food.

Anonymous said...

Tundey Kebabi at Pune !!

Being a true blue Lucknowite, I could not have asked for anything better for the New Year !

Shantanu any idea of where exactly has it opened shop at Wanawadi?

As always, a great post !

Aathira Nair said...

I heard Oh Calcutta has opened up in Bangalore too at St.Marks Road. I should give it a try after your review here, as I am quite keen on trying some authentic Bengali seafood preparations.

Anonymous said...

@indicaspecies: Sambousek was the only one I hadn't tried so far. While Azulia in Chennai was in a different league, Laguna is a good beginning for Pune, which lacked this cuisine before now.

@Wendy: Yes. Pune is beginning to get there. :)

@Harekrishnaji: Yes, same group. The food is Northwest frontier - kabab based.

@Ashish: Heh! Tunday is located near the Kedari Petrol Pump, in Green Valley Complex. Ph: 9923754366,9823714366.

Anonymous said...

@Athira: Let me know how you like it. They were planning to open in two other cities but have put those plans on hold now.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the first photo is just so stunning. How people take so much pain to decorate like that.

Never been to Pune, so no comments. :-)

Shalini Gowrisankar said...

The first pic looks yummilicious.. Probably I should try out these places when I visit Pune :)

Anonymous said...

@Cuckoo, Shalini: One of the things missing from the dining scene here was aesthetic appeal. However, that seems to be changing fast.

Lakshmi said...

Of late people seem to be taking care to ensure food looks good too .Ive been eating since new years too and its time to watch my diet

Anonymous said...

I just like the photo of the cake... your posts make me want to eat now.:) hahaha
nice blog. Good luck and keep it coimg:)

Anonymous said...

Delightful and delicious as always - thanks for sharing!

Btw: Sorry I haven't been around that much, but my back still hurt and its hard to type.

Anonymous said...

@Lakshmi, @iloilo: Keep eating! :)

@RennyBA: Good to see you here again. Sorry to hear about your back! Hope you get well soon.

dreamer said...

Shantanu this is Partha Sarathi Biswas, Bureau Chief of Intelligent Pune. Stumbled on your blog and found it really good. Can we talk some time? My ph number is 9923226096

Animesh said...

Went through so many posts of your blog. A very high quality read indeed.

BTW, I would like to suggest you to stay away from Tundey Kababi in Wanowarie. The last time a friend and I tried their kebabs and biryani, we fell sick for next couple of days and had an extremely annoyed stomach. We wasted their food another time as well, so inconsistency is very consistent in wanowarie outlet.