Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pune Dining: Kangan & More

Kangan at The Westin PuneIts been a while since I reviewed a new restaurant in Pune. For one, there hasn't been significant openings in the last few months, but also, I have been travelling too much to sample the Pune stuff! Finally, last weekend I got to try Kangan, the Indian speciality restaurant in The Westin Pune.

Kangan specializes in North West Frontier and Hyderabadi cuisine. Kababs, biryanis, salans and qormas form the core of their menu. The restaurant is minimalist and while they tried to use traditional bangles as a motif, I wasn't too impressed by the decor. The large pillars within the restaurant seemed to get in the way, rather than adding impact to the surroundings.

Kangan at The Westin PuneWe began with a kebab platter for two, a kaali daal, a selection of naan and kulchas, and a Hyderabadi favorite: mirch baigan ka salan. A few of the kababs were quite delectible; I loved the kaichi kabab - very succulent and well marinated strips of chicken breasts, and the seekh lazeez. The mahi tikka afgani and the tandoori prawns were a little disappointing because the seafood didn't seem fresh. The murgh chandi tikka, cream marinated chicken pieces wrapped in silver warq, was not bad but not memorable either.

Kababs at Kangan in The Westin PuneThe kaali daal and the freshly made Indian breads were very good, as was the salan. The salan is a Hyderabadi speciality with fried green chillies, baby eggplant simmered in a mildly spiced curry made from peanuts, white sesame, tamarind and coconut milk. The almond, coconut and raisin naan was creative and excellent. We also liked the spiced onion kulcha and the pudina paratha. This was probably the only part of the meal we really enjoyed.

Naan and Kulcha at Kangan in The Westin PuneDisaster strikes! I ordered the shahi tukra for dessert. The dish came decorated with an apricot on the top. One scoop and I knew the dessert was bad - the cream had gone sour; clearly they had served me something that had been prepared days in advance. They brought us a chocolate mousse and apologized, but even that one wasn't particularly appealing to the palate - even though the presentation was quite nice.

Shahi Tukra at Kangan in The Westin Pune
Chocolate Mousse at Kangan in The Westin PuneService throughout was spotty. The waitstaff were friendly enough, but not sufficiently trained. There would be long intervals when it was difficult to get the attention of a waitress - they were too busy chatting each other up!

Overall, a disappointing experience, especially because you expect a much higher standard in a five-star restaurant. For now, it is Sigree is a safer bet than Kangan.

Great Punjab on Baner Road
Great Punjab on Baner RoadIn the value category, there is a new kid in town. Bigdey Nawaab has opened its doors in Viman Nagar and Dhole Patil Road. The name made me smile! They specialize in Lakhnawi cuisine and serve a mean black daal along with their naan. However, the kababs I ordered were not worth writing about. Taareef in Aundh still is the best among the smaller kabab-biryani restaurants. Their murgh kaali mirch and gosht biryani ranks among the best I have had in Pune.

Tandoori Tarkari at Great Punjab
Hara Bhara Kababs at Great PunjabNatural Ice-creams introduced a new flavor, Jackfruit. I love all their ice-creams made of fresh fruits and only available in Pune and Mumbai. They have outlets on Moledina Road, next to the synagogue, on lane #7, North Main Road in Koregaon Park and on Ghole Road, just off J M Road near the Pizza Hut.

Great Punjab on Baner RoadFinally, Great Punjab of Koregaon Park opened their second restaurant of the same name on Baner Road, next to ICICI Bank. Since I was in a lunch meeting with a friend who is vegetarian, I didn't get to try the 'real' stuff. :) The veggie kababs and tarkari weren't too bad but unremarkable. But then, I have never been a big fan of their Koregaon Park outlet too.


Soma Pradhan said...

1st time to ur blog...Indeed a great space to find out the latest eating joints in Pune. Have book marked your blog. Will keep revisiting for more info..Thanks again for sharing ur great inputs to all

Shantanu said...

@Soma: Welcome to my blog and thank you very much for the comments. From your blog, it seems you are quite the cook too. Will come back to visit your blog.

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Uttiya Das said...

Pardon me Shantanu-da, i went to Taareef twice, on both occasion i was given really really bad biryani, something i shouldn't speak in length (though Sheek Kebab, Galouti Kebab, Sikanderi Raan was pretty good enough). On worse side, the bald-headed owner calls it the best biryani in Poona!!!
Because i follow you, i visited Taareef on second ocassion to give them chance to feed me a good biryani.
Among Pune biryani joints, i prefer Blue Nile(opp. Poona Club) & George(East Street, Camp) where i get decent biryanis. Though i don't regard cities like Pune, Bangalore, Bombay high when it comes to biryani. Biryani for me is still the thing i get in numerous places in Calcutta(Kolkata) & Lucknow (and few good places in Hyderabad like Paradise, Bawarchi & Azizia).
Again, pardon me Shantanu-da (actually my friends were more dissapointed as they went with me on my recommendation)

Shantanu said...

@Jim: Thanks. Haven't found the time to check this out. Will do soon.

@Uttiya: Good to have you back here after a while! For some reason, I still like Tareef's biryani. Of course, Blue Nile is an old favorite too, but mostly for sentimental reasons. :)

Zubaidatariq said...


Nice post...great job! good one. Thanks for sharing Ur great inputs to all.

John Williams
Zubaida Tariq Z T

Uttiya Das said...

Maybe i was unlucky to not have their good biryani..
actually, cities like Poona, Bombay, Bangalore cnt be compared to Calcutta, Lucknow & Hyderabad when it comes to Biryani. But still you can have some places where you get moderately decent Biryani.
So in Poona/Pune, Sigree, George & a non-descript joint in Kondhwa served me decent Biryanis. Blue Nile standard has fallen drastically (even George's) but these Biryanis dnt evn come close to the ones of Calcutta & Lucknow.

Don't know the reasons, but why it is so difficult to produce good Kebabs & Biryanis elsewhere. Nearly every restaurant in Lucknow & Calcutta does decently good Biryanis (and its also true for Kebabs in Lucknow & Rolls in Calcutta).

Anonymous said...

So is it an opportunity to start an authentic Lucknowi Biryni House in Pune ?

Shantanu said...

@Anon: The more the merrier! :)

Cybergirl said...

Another great post. Keep up the good work :)
Was just wondering if you have any recommendations for someone looking out for a romantic place to have a quiet birthday dinner. Also if you could suggest some good breakfast places in Pune.

Shantanu said...

@Cybergirl: So sorry for the tardy response; I hadn’t been tracking comments in the past few weeks due to some crazy stuff going on! For a quiet birthday dinner, Baan Tao at Ista, if you fancy Thai food. Or Paasha at the ICC Marriott, outdoors with Pune at your feet!

Re: breakfast places, Terttulia in Koregaon Park and Flour Works in Kalyani Nagar (near Joggers’ Park).