Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pune Dining: New Updates...Finally!

Paprika Hot Rock in PuneI am finally back with some restaurant updates from Pune. With all my travelling, I have been eating out in every place but Pune lately! And then, there wasn't much happening on the culinary front in this city. But I am glad to announce that things are a-changing: several promising new choices have sprung up recently for the foodie in Pune.

First, Paprika Hot Rocks. Now this new restaurant & lounge bar has a good chance to be both hot and rocking if they stay on course. My first experience was quite delightful!

I am always a little sceptical when it comes to concept cooking. You know, those places that allow you to grill your food at your table, create your own stir-fry or make your own fondue meal? Unless you know what you are doing, you end up having fun but rarely excite your tastebuds. Like its name suggest, Paprika Hot Rocks' raison d'etre is cooking on hot volcanic stone - at the table. In this case, I am happy to say I enjoyed every morsel of the expertly marinated chicken that sizzled in its juices on my table.

Paprika Hot Rocks in PunePaprika Hot Rocks replaces Moti Mahal Tandoori Trail which had a rather short run in Pune. This was also the location where Lush once brought the bold and the beautiful together for late night craziness - a time when Pune could (legally!) dance and drink late into the weekend nights.

Paprika Hot RocksThere are two distinct seating areas: the indoor sports-bar & lounge and the outdoor restaurant-style seating. The outdoor area has been transformed in interesting ways: white curtained areas, woven bamboo furniture and a show-kitchen. The lounge area is low lit, mostly wood, and sofas with a large TV showing sports at the far end.

It was a warm evening and we decided on beer over cocktails. We ordered a non-vegetarian Mezze Platter followed by Stoned Lemon Chicken - don't you like the name? :)

Mezze Platter at Paprika Hot RocksThey put some bread, butter and complimentary antipasti of fresh fruit with whipped cream in front of us as we waited for our food. BTW, the menu is Mediterranean with Italian and Lebanese dishes taking prime spots. You can choose from pizzas, pastas and Lebanese staples. A special section lists out the Hot Rock specials.

The Mezze Platter came with hummus, baba ghanouj, tabouleh, cecik, kibbeh mishwey, meat sambousek and dajaj bit zatar. The mezze was accompanied by fluffy, fresh pita bread. I have to say this was probably the best Mezze I have had in Pune. Everything was absolutely fresh and perfectly turned out.

Stoned Lemon Chicken at Paprika Hot RocksThen came the pièce de résistance: Stoned Lemon Chicken. The Hot Rock dishes are served on a square slab of volcanic stone placed on a special ceramic serving dish. These stones are heated upto 400 degrees celcius on special ovens and can cook food for 30 minutes.

Cooking on Hot Rock at Paprika Hot RocksThe dish consisted of two large pieces of chicken breasts marinated most perfectly with herbs, lemon-butter and served with grilled veggies and mashed potatoes. The server helped cut up the meat so it would cook well. The meat was wonderful on the palate! The sizzle from the plate, the aroma and the taste blended perfectly for a great meal.

We didn't have space for desserts tonight, but they put some home-made chocolates in front of us as we took care of the cheque. The waitstaff was friendly and provided good service throughout. This is a place I will certainly recommend!

Paprika Hot Rocks is located in City Towers, Boat Club Road, Pune. Ph: 6640 0797.

IndiJoe Pune
IndiJoe PuneNext, IndiJoe. This is a new eat-out that has opened on Jewel Square the small shopping mall that has opened near Taj Blue Diamond at the North Main Road crossing. What really interested me was this restaurant's pedigree. This is Bangalore-based BJN Group's first foray into Pune and they are opening two more of their other popular restaurants in the same complex which I will talk about later. My first experience of BJN was at Samarkand, their excellent Frontier cuisine restaurant in Bangalore. I have been waiting to try Sahib Sindh Sultan (also in Bangalore) which is designed to re-create a railway station from the 1850s serving food from the rich past of India.

Lunch buffet at IndiJoe
Lunch buffet at IndiJoe
Lunch buffet at IndiJoeIndiJoe tries to fashion itself as an American-style Diner for a fast meal and succeeds to an extent. The lunch buffets are popular and mostly consist of soup, pizzas and pastas with some other Oriental dishes thrown in. We enjoyed the hot-and-sour soup, thin-crust pizza slices and pasta made a la minute at the live pasta counter.

Lunch buffet at IndiJoe
Lunch buffet at IndiJoeOther highlights were the lamb-based Shepherd's Pie and Lemon Marinated Grilled Fish. My daughter was delighted with chocolate fountain and we had to drag her away from more marshmallows dipped in chocolate sauce. There were other western desserts and ice-cream to round off the buffet.

Lunch buffet at IndiJoeOverall, this is a good place for a quick lunch. The ambiance is not very upscale but the food is good and the prices even better!

IndiJoe is located at Level 3, Jewel Square Mall, Koregaon Park Road. Ph: 4122 4888.

BJN Group has now opened Firangi Paani their popular bar at the same location. Firangi Paani is designed like an English pub and very popular in Mumbai. Let's see if it can weave the same magic in Pune's fickle bar scene. The group also plans to shortly open Khansama, an Indian food restaurant that specializes in kababs and curries from the royal kitchens of India.

On other news, there is another restaurant promising global cuisine in town. Mozarella is mostly Italian but with other items on the menu and located on the 7th floor of Panchshil Tech Park, Near Pune Golf Course, Yerawada.

Lamb Chops at Sen5es Pune
Sen5es PuneAnd finally, here are new pictures from another of my favorites, Sen5es in Koregaon Park. I had reviewed this excellent restaurant earlier. These pictures are from late evening when the flaming firepits in the surrounding waterbodies makes for a very interesting atmosphere.

PS: For my previous posts on Pune's dining options, select Pune Dining under Categories on the left sidebar of this blog. Bon Appétit!


vipul kalia said...

Great post

Pronamika said...

Paprika Hot Rocks sounds really interesting. I have visited Indijoe quite a few times, but will have to try Firangi Pani on one of the weekends.

Very nice post, SG!

Unknown said...

Gr8 mouthwatering post ;)

Last week I was with Jim Robinson and Anees @ Tangierino(one of the best place for Morroccan food and night life in Boston) and we were talking about your blog. Jim was quite excited to know about your blog.

Sassy Fork said...

what is your opinion on the restaurants at the O Hotel?

callezee said...

I like Breaded Chicken in Paprika restaurant,Thank you for sharing these information and kindle my memories...

neha sharma said...

How about mentioning some chat corners of Pune. I terribly missing them. Tried few in Aundh, Baner,MG Road or Model Colony. But still looking for better

Shantanu said...

@vipul: Thanks!

@pronamika: Welcome here.

@jayanta: Long time since I have visited Boston.

@sassy fork: Sorry about the late response. Harajuku, the Japanese restaurant is pretty good. Also, their Indian food (rooftop) has been steadily improving.

callezee: Thanks.

neha: I have to do one on Pune street food. However, if you are from Delhi, I am not sure the best here will impress you. Local snacks, eg.,SPDP at Vaishali are better options. That said, there are some chat corners the locals swear on: the one at the crossing of Kalyani Nagar and Nagar Road being one.

Phoenix said...


I moved recently to Pune and just discovered your awesome blog. You have done wonders with it :)

Would really love it, if you could name a few options for people who are non-meat eaters. I mean places which serve enough vegetarian options to have a a fulsome meal.
Although i can make out some of them from your posts, it would be totally neat if you could list them in one post.


Shantanu said...

@Nick: The fun thing about India is that every place has options for vegetarians! But if you are looking for 'only vegetarian' restaurants, you only have South Indian or West Indian food places: Rajdhani for Rajasthani, Shreya's for Maharashtrian, Madhuban for South Indian and local comfort food, etc. BTW, La Pizzeria has great Italian options in a purely vegetarian setting too.

Unknown said...

Hi Shantanu,

And here comes your another blog...I'm a regular follower of your blog and I also make sure that I visit every place you mentioned in the blog..went to Paprika hot rocks few weeks back and found their menu v interesting...but could not have anything....Now planned it for coming weekend...hungry already seeing the snaps here....

Shantanu said...

@Vrush: Thanks and glad you like it.