China Grill, Viman Nagar, Pune

China Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

An outstanding experience !

Rating – 5/5

So here I am, an avid food lover first and can write a thing or two about food too but at best I try to keep my reviews simple and I am not too good at decorating my reviews either. I have been eating out food for ages and writing about it for the last 3+ years but never ever I have had a Royal experience (not even on food tastings) like this both in terms of hospitality (very few places know what that means) and some really outstanding food.

When one is looking to dine at a place called China Grill, what would you expect? Good Chinese food, right? Wrong ! Ok partially correct, they do have some good Chinese food for sure, there’s no denying the fact but they have an equally good North Indian Menu that matches its Indo-Chinese counterpart blow for blow.

In Prerna Mam they have one of the most friendly and polite Business owners I ever met. Since the PEO set menu was quite a big one and we went on a weeknight, my only request to Prerna Mam was to ensure that we be served promptly and we don’t want to stay till 11 as my Daughter had her School to attend the next day. Prerna Mam then personally supervised the Kitchen for at-least 30 minutes or so and not for a moment from that point onwards we felt any lag in the plethora of dishes that were to be served.

Ambience1What sets this place apart from a lot of other ones is the fact that this is a complete package of sorts, friendly owner, friendly staff, great food, great ambience and absolute value for money.

The Food – The amount of food we had, it will take double the number of words I have penned so far to cover everything but I’ll just cover the best of the best dishes and leave the rest for you to explore.

Corn Curd Mongolian (too good for a picture to be clicked) – This came like a usual vegetarian starter which we looked down at (initially) despite this being listed as a PEO exclusive but first bite and we understood why it was listed so. This is prepared by crushing corn, to make a batter and then is cooked to perfection where the texture is soft and fluffy from inside but a touch crispy from outside and its just yummy, period ! #beststarter

TandooriGobhiTandoori Gobhi – This had the best marinade among all starters (non veg included), this was spicy and a little fiery but I loved it so much that with its marinade I ended up combining chicken morsels from another starter. This was finger licking good in its true sense and mind you this is coming from a hardcore non vegetarian who goes by the handle of #biryanimaster.

BasilChickenBasil Chicken – Another outstanding starter in the Indo Chinese cuisine that expectedly had the taste of basil but it unexpectedly mixed so well with the overall preparation that we wondered why we don’t find this combination often. #uniquetaste

NizamiNizami Murgh Tikka – Tender chicken chunks in a medium spicy marinade was quite good and for folks who can’t stand a lot of spicy food it is the ideal starter.

Fish Shanghai – This was the second most starter we consumed in terms of quantity after Corn Curd Mongolian and the fish seemed so fresh and tender that we just kept eating it #bestofthelot

DrinkThe Mocktails were pretty good with Lychee Punch & Strawberry based ones being the best among equals.

FlatLayFor Mains we didn’t quite have the appetite but the best ones were still the Chicken Kolhapuri, Paneer Tikka Masala, Green Thai Curry & Roast Lamb chilly with fried rice.

SpecialNaanThe Verdict – Woah that was some dinner we had and it was the best time we had in ages, trust me we have had some really good times with food but this was the most enjoyable and satisfying meal we had in the last year or so ! Please check the Set yet unlimited menu for 900 bucks per person (for Pune eat outs card holders only), go for it and just fall in love with it !

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Iron Bar n Grill, Ishanya – Yerwada, Pune

Ironbar 'n' Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A decent experience !

Rating – 4 / 5

Ishanya is on its way becoming an Adda for all kind of Restaurants and is definitely an alternative if you don’t want to get stuck in traffic travelling to Koregaon Park though the ever so notorious Shastri Nagar Chowk doesn’t spare you either most of the times when you’re travelling in the evening. However the overall look and most importantly the open spaces in Ishanya does add a different kind of charm when you’re in a mood to chill out after a hard day’s work.

The Ambience – Offering both kind of Indoor & Outdoor seating options, I found the outdoor seating more suitable for a laid back evening while the indoors are more happening sort. The Ambience is a bit rustic owing to their name and there are different kind of seating options available so there’s something for everyone.

The Drinks – One definite observation which I would like to mention is their Mixologist was more than happy to customize or create new mocktails on the fly when I want to try something different from what was given in the Menu. The Kala Khatta Mocktail was outstanding and if you’re a Mocktails person you have to order this the next time you’re here.

The Food – Food by and large was decent, while some of the dishes were a miss as well. I am mentioning the ones I liked so while you’re there you have general idea on what to order. From the above three, the Cheese & Jalepano Nuggets were outstanding, it finished in a whisker as it came to our Table. The Pizza was pretty competent as well and on a table full of Carnivores, this Veg Pizza didn’t last long at all, the Olives & Rosemary did their magic. The Fish preparation was pretty good as well and it tasted like a shami kebab to me which is a compliment though !

The Fried Prawns were crispy to the core and were spicy enough to set the tongues wagging, a good combination to go with drinks. The Tandoori Chicken Butter Roast was the best dish of the evening wherein a Tandoori Chicken is pulled off the bone and tossed around with butter and other spices giving it a unique taste and it went really well with the bread, loved it !

OreoSaltedCaramelThe Desserts – This was a delicious dark chocolate preparation and it was pretty good wherein I must have had an entire portion on my own. The Salted caramel just added another dimension to the dessert with its sweet, a little bit of bitter and salty flavors coming in one bite made it a preparation to remember.

The Verdict – I wasn’t blown away by all of the food they served, for instance their Mutton Biryani was a total let-down, Rosemary Chicken just had too much of rosemary flavor to name a few however their drinks won me over and some of the dishes were good enough while others were good hence I am giving them an extra .5 which gives them an overall score of 4/5. Go for it folks !

Khiva, Level 3 – Phoenix Market City – Pune

Khiva Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

Khiva – A place that promised so much !

Rating – 3.5/5

Khiva is unlike your most dine-in places in terms of Ambience, food and prices, let’s talk about each one of them in the following sections.

Ambience – The Ambience is pretty good to say the least, the overall feel is pretty cosy and different. The different artefacts on the walls, Menu in the shape of newspaper, some copper utensils and a different kind of interior art all around does take you in a different environment of sorts.

The Service – This was one aspect which was downright disappointing especially for a tasting invite. The food either came after a long time and when it indeed came too many things came at the same time making it difficult to taste so much at the same time and food also went cold because of too many things to counter all at the same time.

The Veg Starters – Almost none of the veg starters could impress me as almost all of them were oily with the Sabz Lacheela kebab being the most offending in this aspect. I haven’t quite included the Paneer Tikka’s snap here as it couldn’t come good but such large sized Paneer chunks which were almost bland couldn’t do any justice to the preparation. Atish e Aloo was a bit sweet in taste and oil again being a problem, all these veggies were certainly disappointing for me.

The Non Veg Starters – Moving on to the Non Veg side of things, these were much better than their vegetarian counterparts though the Barra Kebab Lazeez (read grilled Mutton chops) was the only real preparation that made me savor the taste and was something I wanted more than what was served (always a good sign !). Sabuta Chooza was a bit dry for my liking though the marinade was good but the dryness broke the deal for me, Murgh Chandi kebab on the other hand was tender but could have done with bit more spices to be really honest.

The Mains – To begin with, Dal Khiva didn’t work for me at all as I couldn’t feel much going for it as it again felt a little dry and I just couldn’t understand the taste. Though the Paneer Khurchan in veg was a pretty good preparation in semi-dry gravy, it had a tender paneer infused in ample spices that went well with the Khameeri roti (the roti felt a little high on khameer though) !

Lahori Gosht & Murgh Peshawari – Both were pretty decent gravies, nothing quite wrong with them but I couldn’t find anything unique about them considering I was dining at a place that prides itself for its different Central Asian Food.

The Chicken Biryani – Pretty different from the typical dumb biryani served in Pune this wasn’t the perfect biryani one would ever have but considering its Central Asian roots this was a nice preparation to be had and was the only dish I enjoyed to a certain extent after Paneer Khurchan in Mains.

The Desserts – Both the desserts were good in their own rights and finally something distinct that came to our Table. I can honestly say I haven’t had these kind of desserts anywhere before than Khiva. The Litchi ki teheri was like a Kheer with a subtle influence of the Litchi fruit that was served in chunks within the preparation. The Anjeer ka Halwa was right on the mark, with the Halwa being topped up by a layer of Rabdi (not the sweet one) that gave it another dimension and I am happy to say both the desserts were an apt way to finish what I would call a rather underwhelming affair of sorts !

Mineority by Saby, Kalyani Nagar – Pune

Mineority By Saby Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

An outstanding Sunday Brunch !

Rating – 4.5/5

Had an awesome time Today at Sunday Brunch at Mineority by Saby. Our departure from the usual Mughlai and North Indian food, almost each dish lived up to expectations and we had a wonderful time. The concept is unlike other Brunch places wherein the food is not assembled as a Buffet but you’re free to order anything from the Menu, any number of times. We opted for the unlimited food & mocktails package @Rs 990 plus taxes and Daughter wasn’t charged which seemed like a good deal.

Some of the best items I would recommend when next time you’re here are as below:

HarissaPrawnsHarissa Prawns – An absolute wonderful dish, chargrilled Prawns that were so tender , delicious and were as fresh as a daisy with no smell at all, we repeated this twice. #highlyrecommended

BlackChickenChunksBlack Chicken chunks – A chicken tikka with a different taste from the usual tikkas, this dish wasn’t too spicy yet not too mild, just perfect, we repeated this twice. #highlyrecommended

LatinQuesoFundidoLatin Queso Fundido – This was a combination of Chips and croutons that were to be dipped and had in a melted cheese sauce. Though doesn’t quite sound like a great dish however trust me the sauce was delicious and we ended up ordering more Nachos to go with the sauce. We were just eating this in a hurry much to our embarrassment and I am sure some folks from the other tables must be wondering as to what is happening on our table 😉 #recommended

Pollo Romano Pizza – Devoid of any Indianization, this feta cheese pizza was an extremely mild variant but tasty nevertheless. The only slight issue were the jalapeños being a little more tangy than I would have liked. #recommended

CheeseGarlicBreadCheese Garlic bread – Garlic bread with ample quantity of cheese was as per our expectations and is a good option to try if in a mood.

LoadedFriesLoaded fries – These were crunchy fries, loaded with a lot of cheese, spring greens and tomato salsa. When you’re in a mood for something more than plain or Masala Fries, this is your perfect companion to go with Mocktails.

MocktailsMocktails – We ordered three Mocktails – watermelon, Apple and pomegranate based and it is still tough for me to decide which one was the best as they all were so good. We asked for a refill for all of them once. #highlyrecommended

ShillongMylliuemChickenShillong Mylliem Chicken – This was the only item in Mains we ordered after a plethora of starters and this was a simple chicken curry that had some tender chicken chunks served with garlic seasoned paav. I liked this dish and is again something you might like due to its simplicity and uniqueness because of its North eastern origins !

The Desserts – Tres leches cake seemed pretty authentic and delicious though my all time favourite Choco Devil’s cake that comes with a sinful combination of dark chocolate topped with choco frosting is a delightful a dessert one could ever get.

Some observations & areas of improvements :

1. The staff seemed courteous except a lady that is supposed to welcome you right at the reception being Guest relations Officer. As we walked in after making a reservation with their owner and then Manager, I didn’t quite understand her surprise on our arrival and I am not sure if we looked like Aliens or what but we surely were there to eat so we couldn’t quite understand what was that all about. The troubling part is she didn’t quite make any effort to make up for her rather indifferent behavior the entire time we were there. #StrangeVibesAlert

2. It was a packed house as we walked in but that shouldn’t be a reason for no one serving us water for close to 15-20 minutes despite reminding them twice. The start to the meal was disappointing indeed, I am sure they can do better than this.

3. The service was slow at times and the gap between some of the dishes was close to 30 minutes despite being ordered well in advance .

4. The servers and Manager Mr.Nalin however were courteous though I am not quite sure if they were understaffed for a packed brunch setting but I could see they were well intended to serve their customers well but they should definitely think about this aspect.

5. They have a 10% Service charge applicable on top of the Brunch prices which seemed optional on being asked but I did pay the charges despite the overall slow scheme of things.

ChillyChickenThe Verdict – Despite these shortcomings since the food was outstanding, we will definitely be back for more. We started our brunch late at 2.45 pm and came out super bloated at around 5.15 pm

Delhi Food Trail, Jama Masjid – Delhi 6

An absolute heaven for Foodies !

Rating – Outstanding.

Well I was in the City (in vicinity of the famous bylanes of Jama Masjid) for 36 hours and what better way than to go for a food walk in the food heavenly area.

It was also time to move on from the Karims & Al-Jawahars and we wanted to go beyond the tried and tasted so we thought we will stick to finding out the hidden gems and boy we did end up finding more than one for sure !

1. Quereshi Kebab Corner – We started off with Quereshi ke Kebabs and these were not the melt in the mouth variants but despite the average texture the taste was fantabulous. The kebabs were further enhanced by their unique mint/coriander/curd chutney and after having 3 mutton Seekh Kebabs at 40 Rs/each I was an extremely satisfied foodie indeed !

2. Mawa Jalebi & Dahi Wada at Sultan Ji Sweets – This brown colored thick jalebi tasted more like a Gulaab jamun and was a very different one than I ever tasted. The Dahi Wada was so soft and fluffy with sweetened curd and this was pretty good as well 🙂

HajiFriedChicken3. Fried Chicken at Haji Mohd.Hussain – For all the fitness freaks, this is something which is double fried but surprisingly while tasting I didn’t get any taste of oil and I can vouch if you like your Fried chicken you may end up liking it more than the biggest brands of the world. Their USP seemed like a saalan like gravy/chutney that enhanced the taste of chicken by many folds.

4. Detour at Aslam’s Chicken – This wasn’t a planned stop but while crossing past this three storey establishment that serves largely tandoori Chicken morsals flooded in loads of butter and curd is something you wouldn’t have tasted anywhere. This can be a bizarre preparation for some but I loved it to a fair extent and it went absolutely fab with Roomali Roti. The butter flooded chicken was tender and it’s needless to say that it’s a must try while you’re in the vicinity.

5. Dil Pasand Biryani / Taufiq ki Biryani – On the face of it this seemed like a dry chicken biryani with a strange serving of a pickle and chutney-cum-raita that seemed innocuous but the first bite and I realised that I am indeed at the right at the right time. The biryani here is served without any gravy but boy isn’t it good, aptly spiced and doused with enough moisture I had the 80 rs half plate/half kg (as they call it) and I almost struggled to finish it off. A lovely preparation it was indeed. They serve only two dishes – Chicken & Buff Biryani and that’s about it.

6. Shahi Tukda & Mango ice-cream at Cool Point – The perfect way to end a hefty meal was topped off with a crushed and piping hot serving of Shahi Tukda which was good and had all the goodness of ghee. The last item of our meal in this area was a Mango ice-cream that the server claimed was made from Alphanso Mangoes. Since the Alphanso season is long gone we took it lightly but again the first bite took us to that juicy and sweet Alphanso and we just loved it.

My favourite picks from the food trail were -Seekh Kebabs at Quereshi, Dil Pasand Chicken Biryani and the Mango Ice-cream. We would forever be indebted to our partner in crime Rohit for taking us to this gastronomical journey and I wish I could eat even more than what we had.

As we returned towards our destination on a traditional rickshaw the much famed “Daulat ki Chaat” thelas were all around us and thankfully so because High Command was almost pissed with me as we didn’t stop to have it earlier as I was more excited at that point about the meat ! This expectedly was a fluffy, light, creamy preparation and you wouldn’t even feel if you’re having anything. Prepared with dew and buttered cream this is something we get only in these parts of North India and is definitely something you wouldn’t to miss at any cost !

Do give this food trail a try and thank me later in cash or kind as you would want to the next time you’re in the Jama Masjid area, happy eating

Irish House, Nitesh Hub, KP – Pune

The Irish House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Has a lot going for it !

Rating – 4/5

Nitesh Hub – the Mall situated right after Westin has been seeing some recent big ticket openings as Irish House has now opened their second outlet in Pune. It is a rather spacious place with a lot of things going for them namely good food, decently priced drinks, a young and vibrant ambience further accentuated by live performances. When you mix them all together what you get to see is a success story in the making !

Ambience – As aforementioned the ambience is quite kickass and happening with live music / performances usually scheduled on weekends. Otherwise the usual DJ is pretty decent and plays some foot tapping numbers most of the times. Seating is available in a number of options with the best one near the Bar counter if you like to see your drinks getting prepared live and if you’re really fussy about them 🙂 The other options are a high seating Table for a group of ten else otherwise usual table/chair seating is available as well.

Drinks – Being a teetotaler I didn’t set my expectations high at all however I wasn’t disappointed with both my drinks. The Spiced Guava Mary expectedly was a spicy guava flavored mocktail with a sour and sweet taste infused with a bit of chilly flavor as well. The Chocolate & Peanut butter shake on the other hand was sweet and chocolatey but thankfully wasn’t overpowering with peanut butter. Both the Non alcoholic drinks are #definitelyrecommended.

Appetizers – The good thing about any course of meal here at Irish house is that they are always accompanied by fries or something on the side apart from what you have ordered which gives a feel good factor for sure. Following are my top picks:

Cheese Burst Chicken – A pretty decent starter this came with a generous filling of melted cheese along with minced chicken spicy filling. I would definitely rate the taste as above average but if you’re only going to have one appetizer while you’re here this may not be the best choice.

The Great Irish Fish & Chips – This is by far the most popular and in my view the tastiest appetizer one could get at the Irish House. This preparation is outstanding with a crunchy outer texture and an amazingly tender inner fish fillet gently sprinkled with condiments coupled with some veggies on the side. The accompanying dip is the perfect partner in this gastronomical crime and expectedly this is #highlyrecommended.

Original Belfast Chicken Wings – In case you’re tired of the usual BBQ sauce laced chicken wings then this is the appetizer you must order and hopefully it wouldn’t disappoint you. The texture is sort of crispy but not KFC like crispy but the spices used are pretty different and I loved this to gulp down with my mocktails. #recommended

SrirachaChickenMains – A generous serving of grilled chicken served with grilled veggies combined with apple cider rice which were pretty flavorful. In case this is your idea of a mains dish then I can guarantee this wouldn’t disappoint you in the slightest possible manner. Each bite of Grilled chicken coupled with the mildly flavoured rice followed by a crunchy bite of grilled Broccoli was pure fun. #highlyrecommended.

Desserts – Let me specify some of the contents of the Irish Riverdance and I bet some of you might break into a dance step or two by the time the description is finished ! Here you go – it is essentially a beer mug loaded with Vanilla ice-cream, dark chocolate bites, chocolate truffles, chocolate coated cookies, gooey brownie, brownie crumble topped off with caramel sauce, caramelized nuts and fresh lager beer !! Everything was perfect until the last part (beer – a true teetotaler writing here 😉 I believe this can be had by both of my drinking and non drinking buddies as the beer is topped of right in front of you so could stop them from doing so. However if you’re a beer enthusiast this dessert is specially curated for you and there’s just no reason to not like it. #absolutelyrecommendedforbeerlovers

The Nutty Caramel Pie is devoid of any alcohol which isn’t such a bad thing and this dessert in itself is pretty competent as well. Served with warm caramel sauce that makes it a winner of sorts this is one gooey caramel and peanut butter pie that is layered with rich chocolate ganache and makes it an absolute sinful preparation. #highlyrecommended

EntranceThe Verdict – They also have their weekdays set Lunch Menus for Rs 325/Rs 375 for Veg/Non Veg that offer quite a bit of value for money proposition. They do however levy a 10% service charge and they also have weekend set Lazy Lunch Menu that offers a 5 course spread at 595 + taxes that includes limited servings of Beer & Sangria. Overall I liked the overall feel of the pace and despite me being a teetotaler I would definitely come here once in a while for a party like atmosphere coupled with good and not so expensive food and some excellent customer service.

BBQ OnFire, WTC – Kharadi, Pune

BBQ OnFire Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Seems like a never ending plethora of Good Food !

Rating – 4.5/5

BBQ OnFire much like its other Barbqeue cousins (other barbeque brands in the city) has started with a bang but also has all the ingredients to take it far into the game and not a six months wonder. Kharadi hasn’t had a Barbeque alternative so far and with all the IT folks slogging their days (and nights at times) in WTC and EON, it has all the makings of an affair that may last for a long time if treaded carefully with care and devotion.

Ambience – They have an option of both indoor and outdoor seating and during the evenings it is fun to sit at the covered outdoors with a bit of chill and a hot barbeque on your table lights everything up. On the night we were there it was January 2nd when Pune witnessed a good amount of caste related tension but that also couldn’t deter us from going for this Barbeque and in the end it was definitely worth it.

The Food Line up – So it goes something like the below:

  • 1 Veg / 1 Non Veg Soup
  • 5 Veg Starters
  • 5 Non Veg Starters
  • 6 Non Veg Tawa counter items (Keema kaleji, Fish fry, Keema Pao etc)
  • 5 Veg Tawa counter items (Aloo Gobhi, Bhindi Masala, Veg Tawa subzi etc)
  • 4-5 options of on demand oriental dishes (like Chicken chilly, Paneer chilly, Manchurian etc)
  • 10 Veg Main courses
  • 5 Non Veg Mains inclusive of Biryani
  • 10 types of Desserts (Hot/Cold/Indian/Continental)
  • The meal ends with an on the house “Fire Paan”

All this can be yours at the prices mentioned as per the below flyer:BBQ_OnFire_Pkg

The best recommendations on the Day included Tangdi Mumtaaz, essentially a Tandoori Leg-piece infused with a bit of cheese and it was absolutely lip-smacking. The Chicken Biryani was pretty competent as well and despite being on the buffet for a while, it was kept in its special vessel and on coal fire which ensured that the moisture was retained and the chicken pieces were tender and juicy. The Jhinga Gol Mirch on the grill was one outstanding starter that we kept on ordering one after the other. Almost all of the grilled starters were good and they indeed conspire to make it good so that you can’t eat much of their mains 😉 However between starters and mains there’s still two more categories you have to go through namely the Tawa items and Oriental items and my top picks from here were the Keema Pao and Chilly Chicken, both were outstanding.

The Desserts – In case you happen to have any space left after what I have aforementioned then the desserts are pretty good as well especially the two types of Mousse variants they had on the evening we visited them. In the Indian starters the Gajar Halwa was a traditional home cooked style halwa usually cooked with North Indian style with Khoa instead of just with milk and the end result was pretty rich and satisfying.

The Verdict – I am not sure if I needed to provide any clear verdict here as it should already be clear by now – at this price point the quality as well as the quantity is currently unmatched by any other Barbeque variant in Pune and for the folks living close-by to BBQ OnFire’s location this is an ideal spot to spend your evening with Family coupled with great food and courteous service at an unbelievable value for money quotient !