Saturday, January 07, 2012

Shisha & Addah

Shisha Cafe PuneShisha is Persian for hookah. Which gives you some idea of what to expect: a Persian themed cafe run by an Iranian where a flavored hookah can be ordered at the table-side. However, what makes Shisha truely popular with the locals and foreigners alike is the refreshingly different interiors, the greenery all around, and the live jazz on select weekend.

Shisha is a great place for a casual date or even a late-evening rendezvous with friends and colleagues. But it isn't a place you visit with kids in tow! The large restaurant has two levels and on most days is packed during the late evenings. The restaurant opens for a late breakfast and lunch, if you are nostalgic for some Iranian staples in the city.

Shisha Cafe PuneThis is one of my favorite places for a meetup with friends over drinks, but it has been a while since I had come here. I was glad to see that the food seems to have improved over the years.

Shisha Cafe PuneWe choose Jujeh Kababs followed by Keema Mutter with Garlic Naan. The Iranian kababs were perfectly cooked over charcoal. The Keema Mutter was an instant hit with our American colleagues and we were left with no space for desserts.

Chello Kababs in Shisha
Kheema Mutter in ShishaShisha has an extensive menu with Persian staples, North Indian kababs, Mughlai curries, as well as some Italian options. However, it is the overall atmosphere of the place that makes the experience outstanding.

Now for another Koregaon Park dining spot, Addah.

The word addah reminds me of spirited conversations with steaming cups of coffee at Calcutta's iconic Coffee House. However, Addah, in a more generic sense means a gathering place for friends - a place to spend time chatting over food and drinks. And for this the rooftop restaurant of the O Hotel in Pune is quite perfect. Addah can be a brilliant spot to wash away the day's stress with a glass of your favorite tipple and platters of succulent kababs.

Addah is co-located on the rooftop with a open-air bar and the swimming pool. We were here early and the place was still empty. The evening was very pleasant with only a slight nip in the air. The skies were clear but the lights all around the Koregaon Park area made it difficult to see any stars in the night sky. Still, the Pune skyline all around made for a wonderful backdrop.

They brought us some papads and green salad as we perused the menu which consists for a good selection of kababs, curries and desserts. We weren't hungry enough to order the kabab platter, and so settled for the gosht sheek kababs and murgh malai tikkas.

The kababs were quite delicious - succulent, smoky from the charcoal fire and a little on the spicier side, the way I like them!

The Rogan Josh, with chunks of mutton in a red gravy made with fried onion and red chillies was excellent as were the Lasooni Naan that we had ordered with the dish. Rogan Josh is not on their menu, but the chef was willing to make it for us.

We ended with a rich, warm dessert of Badaam Halwa which was perfect for the winter evening. By now the restaurant was quite full and the noise level had begun to go up. However, the service was pretty good all through the evening.

Overall, I would say Addah is a good choice is you are looking for an interesting rooftop dining experience. As for the food itself, it was all good, but I did not find anything that was particularly memorable.

Overall, both Shisha and Addah are both interesting options but I would pick Shisha over Addah on most days.

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