Babbi da dhaba, Old Pune Mumbai Highway

Hotel Apsara - Babbi Da Dhaba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

An exceptionally ordinary experience !

Rating – 2/5

On our way back on a fine rainy day from Lonavala and having read a bit about “Babbi Da Dhaba” on a Pune based foodie group on facebook and otherwise we decided to have our lunch here.

The setting is pretty ordinary (which I don’t mind as long as food is good) with a logically separated section where folks can have their drinks and smoke (which will eventually find its course to your table too. I hate passive smoking around my child but then this was a Dhaba, people even don’t care about it in City).

The server had no clue of what is the speciality or what one can order, so walked over till the counter and asked “Butter Chicken Meetha toh nahi hoga?” – question I ask every time I am pondering over the decision of ordering a portion of butter chicken away from North India. The answer thankfully was “Chatpata hoga ji – Delhi/Punjab ke jaise” – which was definitely reassuring !

Ordered for Daal Tadka, Half butter chicken, butter naans.

Service was fairly quick and food arrived in a matter of 10 minutes, however from this point onwards everything went downhill ):

1534857119524Daal tadka – there was something very sour about the Daal and it didn’t even taste like the Daal tadka we get in Pune, forget about calling it the Daal Tadka we are supposed to get in Dhabas. On bringing this to their notice they quickly changed it and brought another one in 5 minutes which was less sour but then again not good. To add insult to injury the owner – Senior Daarji comes up and tell us they checked the Daal and there’s nothing wrong with it, I couldn’t tell him that we even feared that the preparation might have been stale, didn’t take another bite !

1534857095799Butter chicken – First things first, this butter chicken wasn’t sweet at all. Infact not even minutely Sweet but it wasn’t a typical Dhaba butter chicken either, no creaminess – just adding a gallop of white butter to a Masala shredded chicken gravy doesn’t make for a typical Punjabi Butter chicken.

This isn’t the first time that my dream of having that perfect Butter Chicken is shattered in and around Pune. However the troubling part is that this was supposed to taste good as I was at a Punjabi Dhaba but I guess that’s what my food destiny had in store for me Today ):

That old Mumbai Pune highway with its string of so called Dhabas continue to disappoint me with their botched up food and serving anything in the name of Dhaba food.

The only slight point I found in favour were the decent pricing compared to the other dhabas on this stretch which will give even some 5 star restaurants a run for their money. Here the overall damages for a decent quantity lunch for two adults and one kid were under 500 bucks.

P.S. – My yardstick of judging this food is of-course the scores of Punjabi/North Indian Dhaba food experiences I have enjoyed over the years in North India (UP/Delhi/Rajasthan/MP).

In case you appreciate the Dhaba food at one of those places then this may not turn out to be your cup of tea.

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Mahabhog Thali, JM Road Pune

Mahabhog Thali Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fantastic vegetarian Thali experience !

Rating – 5/5

Saturdays are sadly vegetarian days for me and I am in constant fear as to where I will be dragged along by Wifey dear for the next dosage of vegetarian food .

I respect vegetarian food by all counts but in my personal opinion it is best to be had at home only as per our food orientation being biased towards the non veg side of things when eating out. However the high command loves her vegetarian Thalis. With couple of raving reviews on PEO having caught her eye I knew the writing was on the wall and here we were having our share of Mahabhog on a pleasant Saturday late afternoon.

To be on the safe side I got our table booking done through Zomato and pleasantly we didn’t have to face a lot of crowd (because of rains probably) and were straight away given a table as we reached around 2.30 pm.

1535196916264Some facts:

Parking – Valet parking is thankfully available at an otherwise busy area like JM road.

Cost : Each Thali costs 301 bucks.

Items : inclusive of salads etc there were 27 items in the Thali Today.

Best items : Khandavi, Sitafal Rabdi, Dahi vada.

Service : It was quick and full of courtesy.

Seating capacity : 60 indoor & 60 outdoor.

Waiting time : Can range from 20 to 90 minutes (during peak hours/weekends)

Details:

This is a huge thali and you better be hungry by a margin if you want to enjoy this to the maximum extent.

1535196606391The farsan has a good variety of five options with Khandavi (which I never usually eat) taking most of the honours. It was such a delicately rolled and tender preparation that was prepared with subtle masalas and I absolutely and surprisingly loved it ❤️ The next item which I ate the most was the Dahi vada, though the vada could have been a bit more soft the curd was perfectly sweetened in a subtle manner and I loved it 👍🏼

The dry manchurian was fair enough but was on the edge of being a little more salty than what I would have liked.

The best part about the Mains was that the taste of the items was unique from each other
with Paneer butter masala being the preparation – “jisko kha kar shaadi ke khaane ki yaad aa gayi” back home in Agra 😍

The Punjabi chholay and green peas curries were pretty good too and went well with Puris and later on with pulao.

1535196950396The icing on the cake was the Sitafal Rabdi, it wasn’t the thick preparation I usually like but even in a relatively runny preparation, it maintained its consistency and I ended up having it for more than a couple of rounds.

As was evident from my excitement on the taste and quality I did get a earful of – “dekha maine kaha tha na, veg khaana bhi kha lena chahiye baahar jaakar par tumhe toh biryani he khaani hai”. I nodded my head however couldn’t pay any serious heed and dug even more ferociously into my bowl of Rabdi and boy it was fun indeed👍🏼

In the end when talking to the owner Mr. Roopesh Jain, he came across as an extremely humble person and he further surprised me telling that since Today they had a large Jain group Booking, all of the prepared food today was not just vegetarian but jain compliant too!!

On the whole this experience which started with a lot of reluctance, ended up with a lot of indulgence and as is the case with all the arguments with one’s wife, in this one also there was only one undisputed winner but I was glad that in the process we got introduced to this lovely place and we will surely be back for more.

Damages – 602 bucks, we were not charged for our Daughter as she doesn’t like veg Thalis either and couldn’t eat much but had her fair share of Rabdi and Malpuas !

Grillicious, Kharadi, Pune

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

Pretty good experience at Grillicious Kharadi.

 

Rating – 4/5

Grillicious as the place has been on my hit list for a while and having missed the recently PEO connect at the Baner location courtesy a Project going live over the weekend and ensuing support I couldn’t even plan for it ):

However later on realised that we now have one in Kharadi as well and Today being a Sunday we thought we will give it a try and the overall experience turned out to be pretty good especially with the courteous staff and warm hospitality of the location owner Mr.Bhaskar.

The Ambience is that of the covered rooftop, doesn’t have an AC, but in this season it was pretty cool with just the fans and cool breeze flowing around !

Coming to the food, my recommendations would be Fiery Ghost Chilli Tikka (Bhoot jolokia preparation) – it is indeed chilly but we managed to finish it. Let me warn you the Chilliness wasn’t confined to the tongue but at times it was felt in the throat too but the experience was unique indeed as apart from the chilliness it tasted good and the chicken was tender too !

Among the drinks, chatpata guava and cranberry based Mocktails were pretty decent and went well with the food.

1534683188624Coming back to the food, the “Pack of three-349” worked pretty well where one can select three items from this section of the menu and we were pretty satisfied with Original Chicken crispies, Sichuan Chicken Strips & Fried Onion rings were a good combination to have.

In the Mains the Peshawari Chicken Masala went well with the Garlic butter Naan while in desserts the Gulab Jamun-Rabdi-Motichoor Laddu combination was unique and tasted pretty nice.

1534683781749Overall pretty satisfied with the experience at Grillicious and I can say that is indeed going to be my goto place in Kharadi when planning for a food outing near my place.

Taste of Punjab, Viman Nagar, Pune

Taste of Punjab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A fantastic Buffet experience at Taste of Punjab !

Rating – 5/5

Where – Taste of Punjab, Clover Park 5th Floor (where Rude lounge is, from the same group)

Cuisine / Speciality – North Indian Buffet style food, no ala carte option is available.

Damages – Ranges from 599 bucks to 899 bucks based on veg/non veg lunch/dinner options plus 5% gst.

Parking – Valet parking available.

Alcoholic drinks – Available !

Ambience – The ambience is dazzling, happening types with Punjabi Music that comes out of a Truck shaped DJ.

mehendiWhat’s extra – A mehendi waala which I first found to be a bit odd but all the ladies at one point queued up to get their hands dirty (pun intended) including my better half and I guess a mehendiwaala in middle of a sumptuous buffet does work.

Also there’s a centre stage dedicated for live Bhangra that happens once an hour for a live Bhangra song by their dancers !

Was it any good – It wasn’t just good but it was fantastic . It was only their third day today but the Food and service were right on the button.

Recommendations – Rabdi was fantastic, a little thick just like you get way up North.

The dessert/Multi cuisine Chef is from Banaras and that shows up in the fantastic preparations of Rabdi, Dudhi Halwa & Warm Masala Milk (a first for me in buffets) !

Among the starters, the Chicken Tikka, Cheese balls, Corn tikki, Fish fry, Mushrooms were just fantastic.

From the live counters, the Gobhi Parantha was pretty decent and the Raan Biryani which you can customise like I did to have double Masala added which resulted in a pretty decent mix.biryani

There was also an option to try Punjabi Dosa but we couldn’t try it at all.

From the Mains, both the Chicken and Hare Mirch ka Mutton were good preparations to have. In vegetarian the Daal Makhani was quite rich and prepared just the way I like it and the Paneer gravy was delicious as well.

I didn’t feel like I was having food from a buffet as the quality was as good as when you order something from ala-carte which offers a fantastic value for money quotient.

Preparations I didn’t like were as below:

1. Chicken wings – didn’t taste like your usual Indo Chinese wings but had a taste like that of Indian gravy preparation.
2. Seekh Kebab – as usual in Buffett places, it was hard and a bit chewy
3. Paneer Tikka – completely bland and didn’t offer much to my taste buds.

Although drinks are not included in the buffet price, some Mocktails definitely worth trying here are Mango Tango & Peach Margarita.

I was also told that the Alcoholic drinks are extremely reasonably priced and even the packaged bottles are available at MRP / near to MRP prices. I have been a teetotaler all my life so I have no idea about these claims but just stating what I was told, the interested ones may want to try them accordingly.

ChaatWaalaAt the mentioned price, one is getting 10 starters (served on the table), 2 soups, 3 Veg Mains, 3 Non Veg Mains, 6 salads, 6 desserts, Chaat counter, Biryani counter, stuffed Parantha counter, Dosa counter.

I am definitely impressed by the quality of the buffet items and if they maintain the taste they had on just at Day 3 of their operations, this place definitely has the potential to be the next best thing among buffet food options available in Pune.

Absolute Barbecues, Kalyani Nagar Pune

AB's - Absolute Barbecues Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Great deal @ Absolute Barbecues

 

Rating – 4/5

Pricing – Starts from 567++ and goes upto 825++ depending on Veg/Non Veg, Lunch/Dinner/Specific Days.

Children charges – For ages 6-9, 325 + Taxes

Early Bird Dinner offer – Wed-Sun between 6.30-7pm, 599++ for Veg and 725++ for Non Veg.

Deal – The 25% off discount is on top of all the charges aforementioned above !

I had a fairly good time at the new barbecue destination in town at Kalyani Nagar and the evening mostly delivered what it promised in the form of some good starters, fair enough main course and fantastic desserts.

What differentiates ABs from other places at the moment is the concept of Wish Grill where one needs to select from a variety of exotic meats like those of shark, rabbit, octopus…so far and so forth, select your choice of sauce and other condiments and voila your choice of Grill will be ready and delivered to your table in 10 minutes or so.

My favourites from this outing were the Chilly Garlic Prawns, Chicken Tikka (requested extra spicy and it was great), Paneer Tikka (nicely spiced and not bland at all), American Cheese sauce Potatoes, Crispy Corn, Veg Kebab (with green peas and cottage cheese), Grilled Pineapple, Dahi vada, Mutton Rogan Josh, Rasmalai, Chocolate truffle pudding, Chocolate balls.

The best part of desserts was their dedicated cold stone Ice cream counter with 4-5 different flavours of Icecream and the Paan flavour worked fantastically well for me and it was the best way of polishing off a good meal !

Areas of improvements – Seemed like a majority of serving staff is new and in terms of serving just at the right moment and in terms of customisation as per the customer there’s still some way for them to go. The service turnaround time may always be a challenge to an extent as I have seen it full almost all the time but they still need to address this to make the turnaround time better if not perfect.

In Mr.Rohit Rathi they have a fantastic customer service person who took care of not just our varying demands of customisations but was on his toes to delight other customers as well around us. I am sure till the time Mr.Rathi is with ABs eventually other staff will also come to terms with the teething problems and will do well.

Make most of the 25% discount offer till 20th August and have a good time like I did

1441 Pizzeria, Seasons Mall – Pune

1441 Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1441 Pizzeria – Wood fired Italian Pizzas.

Rating – 4/5

What – 1441 Pizzeria !

Options – Wood fired Pizzas, Lemonades, Pastas, various Cheese based starters and breads, desserts and more.

USP – close to international standards, considering their ingredients are shipped from Italy including the flour and spices. The only caution – you may not find too much Indianised taste in their Pizzas if that’s what you look for in your Pizzas.

Costs – 11” Pizzas cost from Rs 395 to 695 based on the classification you select while the munchies range from Rs 245 till 295 to give you an idea.

RecommendationsPeri Peri Chicken legs, Chilli cheese bread, Nutella Pizza, Lychee Lemonade, chicken wings (slightly on the sweeter side) and Smoked Chicken wood fired Pizza.

Details :

The much famed 1441 Pizzeria chain from Mumbai has recently opened its doors to the Pune folks on Seasons Mall, situated on the second floor, the place offers complete customisable options to truly make your own pizzas. I however didn’t choose this option and went for half of Smoked Chicken Pizza and the veg Krish Pizza. By Indian palate standards one may find the Pizzas a little bland (I certainly found to an extent) but then based on what I had eaten on a few of my international exploits these were right up there with the best I have had.

PeriPeriChickenThe best dish of the evening for me were the Peri Peri Chicken legs (thanks to my biased Indian taste buds) these were nicely spiced, juicy chicken legs served with a nicely tossed up salad. I absolutely loved it and while you’re here you just cannot afford to miss this preparation.

The next best thing in savouries was the Cheese Chilli Bread, infused with plenty of cheese and garlicky flavour that wasn’t quite over the top, this went nicely with the Lychee and Masala Lemonades.

In desserts, the Nutella Pizza was pretty good with lots and lots of Nutella to go with those tender marshmallows, it’s practically impossible to not like the preparationThough it could have been just a slight crunchy to give that crunch in every bite which I thought was somewhat missing, gave the feedback and hopefully this will be taken care of !

Some area of improvements – Found their special smoky cheese dough balls a little underwhelming – required a bit more cheese than what was stuffed and the right quantity of cheese would elevate it to the desired level.

ChickenWingsThe Chicken wings were slightly sweeter than what is usually available so a little more adjustment on the Sweet quotient would definitely help though the chicken texture and tenderness were right on the button.

Staff & Service – The staff seemed pretty knowledgeable about their preparations and were able to recommend dishes based on our likes/dislikes which is always a good sign and the service was overall courteous not just to us but to the regular customers from what I could gauge from a distance 👍🏼

The Verdict – Nice cozy place for some hatke Italian + ever so slightly Indian tampered taste, when in mood for this variant of food I would definitely look to visit them.

Farzi Cafe, Kalyani Nagar – Pune

Farzi Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Get farzified with new menu launch at the Farzi Cafe !

Rating – 4.5/5

I was pretty happy and impressed with my recent outing to the Farzi Cafe in Kalyani Nagar.

I always thought the place is more about Ambience and presentation than food but the recent experience definitely impressed me and I will be back here again soon.

ChickenWithBhakriThe show-stoppers of the evening were “Chicken Sukha with Nachani ki bhakri” -spicy and moist chicken chunks served on small portions of bhakri❤️ while the black chicken skewers were equally nice, tender and tasty😋

The other recommended items from my experience are Nachos made from nachani from their new Street Chaat Menu followed by Mishti Doi shots, Parle G Cheesecake, Patishapta dessert with a delicious serving of rabdi, Shawarma Biryani.

Some of the items from their new menu of Bar nibbles – papadam with gunpowder chutney and lunch bowl meal – Malwani Macchi bowl respectively were pretty tasty and enticing. The gunpowder chutney needs a special mention as we were munching on the papadams like crazy as the chutney was simple yet mind blowing !

Being on a tasting service is always expected to be good and this was not different either so no complaints there.The ambience and overall atmosphere was relaxed and perfect for a happening evening with friends / family.

FarziLogoOverall I found the pricing to be pretty decent when taken in conjunction with the quantity they served considering the experience that you get !