Hashtag – The Lounge, Koregaon Park – Pune

Hashtag - The Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Lounge that serves pretty decent food !

Rating – 4/5

The penning of this experience has been due for quite some time but good memories of that outing still lingers on which helps in writing about something which happened roughly three weeks ago. It all started when one blogger buddy invited me for a tasting at Hashtag the lounge and being a teetotaler the immediate thought that came to mind “yet another tasting filled with awesome booze which I am not going to drink anyway coupled with mediocre food”. As they say appearances can be deceptive and this one definitely surprised me, there were a lots of hits and a few misses but overall the experience was such that I can go out with my family and pay for it ! Let’s get directly to the experience now.

The Ambience & Location – Located in the happening Koregaon Park, they do have an underground parking within the building which was largely unassisted and also parts of the parking (-2 level) were submerged with water, though it’s an issue with the building maintenance but it should be an equal responsibility of the establishment and this came across odd and I had a difficult time while parking my SUV. I hope this is one aspect which could be improved and taken care of asap.

On the Ambience front, the place offers an indoor lounge like setting with dim lights and space for dance etc with a full stocked bar. At the terrace they have a pleasant and made for Monsoon outdoor yet covered setting which is where I sat with co-bloggers to cover this tasting invite. Overall I was pretty satisfied with these two types of setting and one can choose as per their convenience.

The Drinks – Among the Mocktails served on the day what I really liked were the Orange and Watermelon based drinks.

The Watermelon Mocktail in particular was refreshing and breezy and it went absolutely well with the starters that were served in parallel.

The Food – Well this was one tasting where the bloggers were surprised by the number of food items that were served and by the time we were done by the last dessert I am sure each one of us were literally bloated with food and we carried on since most of the stuff that was served was delicious and encouraged us to carry on and on. It would become a sort of book if I cover each and every item therefore I would talk about the ones that really impressed me during the meal.

Cheesy Jalapeno Cigars & Broccoli Cheese Balls – These two were easily the best veg starters of the meal and for cheese lovers these items were something that just cannot be missed at all. #definitelyrecommended

Paneer Tikka & Bharwan Achari Kumbh – These two were pretty good as well with the Stuffed Achari Mushroom winning the contest for me, the mushrooms were grilled in the right proportion and had that tasty yet subtle achari taste going for it. #yummy

Cafreal Chicken Tikka & Peri Peri Chicken – Chicken Cafreal Tikka is the first time I have had chicken cafreal preparation in a Tikka format and it didn’t disappoint at all, it’s a nice starter to go if you’re craving for some goan style chicken starter preparation. The Peri Peri chicken on the other hand was the star of the Starters for me but the only slight issue I had with this preparation was the chilly level which resulted in many bloggers having to rush for something sweet after having a bite (yeah it was that spicy but I loved it). #definitelyrecommended however do check the spice level before placing your order 😉

Cheesy Garlic Prawns & Zaytooni Chicken Kebab – The Cheese garlic prawns presentation was refreshingly different from the mundane ones where this one was presented on skewers served with cheesy garlic sauce that complemented the minimally dressed prawns. The Zaytooni Chicken Kebab was the perfect follow through after the rather spicy hot Peri peri chicken preparation and can be ordered if you’re looking for a mild chicken tikka preparation.

I had my Mains with Srilakan Chicken Curry, Kumbh Hara dhaniya & Sea Food Mix Pizza and these would be recommendation in Mains in their respective segments, surprisingly the Kumbh hara dhaniya was the best item among these three mains and was the most liked by almost everyone else as well !

The Desserts – The Blueberry cheese cake was the best of the lot, served in a cup this was quite smooth and had a good consistency and taste going for it. The Karari jalebis could have been better but weren’t bad at all, the basil rabdi was something I wasn’t able to gauge properly as it had confusing flavors while the assorted fruit tarts were crumbly and weren’t something that I would queue up for the next time I am here.

The Verdict – It turned out a good place for food and I loved their starters and main course while desserts is one area which definitely is an area of improvement especially the ones we were served except the blueberry cheese cake. Overall I liked the place and is good for buddy meetups as well as family dinners, just go for it 🙂

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Indigo Delicatessen, Koregaon Park – Pune.

Indigo Delicatessen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Exclusive Pre-Launch Tasting@Indigo Deli !

Rating – 4/5

Indigo Deli is opening to Public in Koregaon Park on 22nd August 2017 and I was a part of an exclusive list of Bloggers for the Pre-Launch Tasting session and largely it went well.

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The Ambience & Location – The Ambience differs a bit from their Phoenix Market City location as it has been KPed to a certain extent to be in tune with the usual crowd thronging the by-lanes of Koregaon Park. The light is adjustable from being pleasant bright to extremely bright and the overall feel is pleasant and easygoing while the tables are well spread which allow you to have the feeling of privacy over a quick lunch or dinner. Located at the junction of Lane number 6 the place is equipped with Valet parking which comes as such a huge relief in the busy lanes of KP 🙂

HBNM2078The Drinks – As a teetotaler I am always on the lookout for places that can serve decent Mocktails and many places do disappoint on this aspect. One unique ingredient of the mocktails is the cold pressed juice for the fruit based mocktails instead of the fruit syrups used in majority of the places. This gives a healthy aspect to your drink but at the same time it gives a sort of fruit juice flavor to the Mocktails so to each his own but I certainly didn’t mind it ! I had a mocktail each of Pineapple/Peach/Mint based, Guava based & Litchi based mocktails and though all of them were pretty decent I liked the Litchi one the best.

The Food – As is the range of Food at Indigo Deli, they are typically a place which serves Western / Continental Cuisine and they’re fairly good at it. However one needs to have their expectations and food orientations sorted before you land up here. The food here is not Indianised and I can say it’s pretty similar to what I have tasted in North America during my two year stint in Vancouver, Canada. For folks with activated Indian taste buds please keep your expectations honest and you certainly won’t be disappointed 😉

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Roasted Cauliflower, truffle & parmesean with sage oil & Cajun Lavash

 

The Soup – Roasted Cauliflower, truffle & parmesean with sage oil & Cajun Lavash

I really surprised myself when I felt that I am liking this Cauliflower based vegetarian soup, the roasted cauliflowers offered a crunchy bite in this thick and flavorful soup, it is recommended for sure.

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Salad of the Day – Mixed Lettuce, fennel, apple, dried cranberries & candied walnuts

Salad of the Day – Mixed Lettuce, fennel, apple, dried cranberries & candied walnuts.

This was quite a handful and it tasted as good as it looked, feta cheese with dried cranberries and candied walnuts when had with fresh lettuce and apple really evoked some serious flavors. I never knew I had the capacity to finish an entire serving of a Salad on my own. Biryanimaster galloping a Salad is a rare sight indeed, hell yeah it was that good !

The Pizzas – Both the Vegetarian & Chicken Pizzas were equally good in their own rights and they were not thin crust but wafer thin crust !! They were crunchy full of cheese and was everything that a Pizza needs to be. It wasn’t soggy at all and since the Chicken Pizza was in a BBQ sauce it was expectedly a little sweet but it didn’t spoil the deal for me for sure.

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The Deli Roast Chicken – This was one item which I enjoyed during my main course to the fullest. The Chicken was well cooked and the dauphinois potatoes were baked well in the oven with cream and acted an able counterpart to the tender chicken.

The Desserts – The first two desserts were good, being a teetotaler I found the Almond Layered cake spiked with Old Monk pretty decent from a non-drinker’s perspective and the layers came out beautifully in the final product. The Blueberry Cheesecake was again delicious with a lot of cheese and the pastry was moist and fluffy to give that feel good factor and I loved it !

The next two desserts were something that I personally didn’t fancy a lot. The Whiskey Pate had a pretty good presentation but from a non drinker’s perspective all it tasted like was bitter probably because of the Whiskey, I am not equipped enough to say whether it should have tasted like this or not so I’ll leave at that. The Lemon Mirangue Pie was a bit too tangy for my liking and I am sure provided that the feedback has been provided a little bit of fine tuning on the tangy quotient would definitely fix the issue for this one.

The Verdict – It’s a nice place to be and a fresh addition to the usual Pub feel of the places in KP. I liked the overall feel of the atmosphere and it was great to interact with their Corporate Chef Mr. Kedar and learn about his food journey and we both discovered our shared love for Biryani. Overall it’s a definite thumbs up for Indigo Deli and I look forward to taste more of their desserts and in house Ice-creams (I did taste some samples and they were great) in the next outing.

Coco – Sushi & Bar, Onyx Tower, Mundhwa – Pune

Coco - Sushi & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coco is an experience and feels like a privileged one at that !

Rating 4.5/5

Coco is one of it’s kind members only Lounge cum Bar recently opened in Onyx Tower, Mundhwa, Pune. The idea here is to have a dedicated Members only space though the Members will be able to book for their friends as “Guests” who will then be able to experience the place as well. Membership at the moment is up for grabs and one can call the Club directly for becoming a member. Monday is an off day while the Club Nights(Wednesday, Friday & Saturday) are Members only exclusive events starting at 11.30 pm and lasting till early Morning.

The place comes with a top of the line DJ System and I can only imagine how those parties are going to be – some foot tapping Music combined with tasty food and swanky Ambience.

The Ambience – The setup is pre-dominantly dark but can be controlled to be brighter if the need be. It is not an extremely huge place but just enough to have 70 covers, I guess the idea is not to concentrate on quantity but on quality by all means. It does give an exclusive feel and you have to be here to experience what I am talking about.

Apart from the Tables with couches, they do have a private cabin of sorts where you can gaze over the city lights and is ideal for privacy seeking groups. In a nutshell the Ambience is classy and goes well with the Lounge/bar theme.

The Food – The food is predominantly Oriental (inclusive of Japanese, Chinese, Thai) – Asian cuisine comprising of Sushi, Dimsums, Sea food delicacies, some lip-smacking soups & Desserts, if you like this kind of cuisine this place offers a great experience indeed. Moreover the presentation is absolutely impeccable and portion sizes are decent if not very generous. Following is a brief about the dishes I liked as below:

The Mocktails – I had a couple of them and the Watermelon based Mocktail (on the left) trumped the Pineapple mocktail by a slight whisker.

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Spicy Squid Salad

Spicy Squid Salad (Rs.240) – This salad actually grew on me, I wasn’t too thrilled after the first bite but the spicy squid combined with spiced cucumbers did the job for me and I ended up finishing up the salad single handedly.

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Pop Chicken Sushi Rolls

Pop Chicken Sushi Rolls (Rs.600) – Near perfect Sushi rolls with a crunchy chicken filling, worked really well with the supplied dips and wasabi paste.

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California Sushi Rolls

California Sushi rolls (Rs.550) –  Though Sushi rolls in vegetarian sounds a bit unique , nevertheless is a good choice for Vegetarian folks.

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Chicken Shiitaki Dumplings

Chicken Shiitaki Dumplings (Rs.270) – Steamed dumplings with a medium spiced and delicious chicken filling was something I did enjoy.

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Crispy Lotus Stem

Crispy Lotus Stem (Rs.190) – Even in my wildest of imaginations I would never have thought of such an innovative preparation including your humble lotus stem. Each morsel was crispy and came with a sweetish flavor, probably must have been honey glazed. Despite being a vegetarian starter I ended up galloping it the most I guess.

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Sesame Sichuan Snapper

Sesame Sichuan Snapper (Rs.360) – This came across as a good option in Mains and the snapper was cooked well and went relatively good with the gravy (medium spicy) and a spicy dip balanced the combination when eaten with the accompanying noodles.

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Smoked Chocolate Moussecake

Wasabi Ice-cream (Rs.180) & Smoked Chocolate Moussecake (Rs.180) – The Wasabi Ice-cream was innovative and good with a suble taste of Wasabi as anything more than subtle would be difficult to eat since it’s Wasabi, overall I liked the preparation but couldn’t capture the pic. The Moussecake on the other hand was soft and gooey with a bit of smoky flavor and was a perfect way to finish an interesting yet delicious meal.

Value for Money & Verdict – It promises a sense of fine dining experience and considering the location and atmosphere the pricing isn’t over the top. Most of the dishes are priced as a portion size for one person and there’s an option to order for two, consequently the price increases. For instance the Pop Chicken Sushi rolls are priced at 300/650 for 4/8 pieces respectively. This is going to become a party destination for a lot of people and requires an urgent visit for sure, a quick call to make a reservation would definitely be recommended.

Other dishes’ quick capture just for the pleasure of some outstanding presentation.

 

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Crispy Conji Sliced Lamb

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Rock Corn Dynamite (Veg)

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Veg Dumpling

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Tender Coconut Mousse

 

Prems, Koregaon Park – Pune

Prem's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A decent Prem affair !

Rating – 3.5/5

Quick facts
Address – Close to SBI Training Centre, North Main Road, Koregaon Park
Cuisine – North Indian, Chinese, European
Cost – 1000-1200 for two.

This place has been around for a long time and I remember dining here once during my initial days in Pune in 2004 and since then it was my only visit until Today. This visit was of-course motivated by the absolutely fantastic PEO offer that is available to all PEO Card holders.

The Ambience & Parking – We were a little skeptical to visit them for lunch in this scorching heat as we were aware that there wasn’t an indoor a/c seating option. However I have also heard about their sprinkler based misty ambience which prompted us to give it a try and we weren’t disappointed at all. The sprinklers combined with fans does a good job and we didn’t feel the heat at all.

There’s a large seating section (80% of area) where one can smoke as well and the water sprinklers are at a good height, in the other non smoking section the sprinklers are closer in terms of altitude and you might feel a bit more sprayed with the water droplets so choose your section accordingly. On the Parking front they offer a Valet parking where they park your vehicles in the lane on the opposite side of the road so this is one aspect you don’t have to worry about while you dine at Prems.

The Service – This was probably the best part of the experience, service was fast and top notch. The servers and Captains were all quite courteous and recommendations were made as per our preferences and overall I was pretty satisfied with the experience and didn’t quite mind paying the mandatory 10% service charge that they levy. However I am not quite sure why this isn’t optional still.

The Food – Food was a combination of hits and misses and overall was a decent affair but frankly I had more expectations considering the legend it has become over a period of all these years. Though I have to add that the quantity/portion size of the preparations were fair and in sync with the pricing.

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Vegetarian & Chicken Manchow Soup

The Veg Manchow (Rs.160) & Chicken Manchow (Rs.200) Soups were right on the button and surprisingly I liked the Vegetarian one better.

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Paneer Tikka

Paneer Tikka – This was one preparation that could have been so much better but remained as average due to the marination feeling a little raw, especially the Red chilly powder. Thankfully the Paneer itself was soft and tender and still went Okay with the Salad & Green chutney.

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Chicken Banjara Kebab

Chicken Banjara Kebab – This came across as a below average preparation as some of the chicken chunks were juicy and properly marinated while others were devoid of proper marination. Consequently some of these chicken chunks had a bit of a raw feeling after-taste which ruined the preparation for me. By the time we discovered this issue everything was on our plates and I had finished 1/3rd of the preparation as well. I informed this to one of the Captains with no intention of a replacement since we had already served everything up and left it at that after providing the feedback.

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Paneer Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka Masala – Along with the Soups this was the best preparation of the Lunch and we enjoyed the rich tomato gravy topped by cream consisting of soft Paneer Tikkas to the fullest with their well prepared Butter Naans. With this we ended our lunch on a happy note but definitely both the Paneer and Chicken starters could have been better and that would have been an ideal meal but this was still decent nevertheless.

The Verdict – This is definitely a friendly place to have your lunch/dinner and expectedly the evenings on weekends are a bit more busy than the afternoons so choose your time of visit carefully. This is an all day dining place so you can time your visit accordingly in case you don’t like waiting for Tables to become vacant. Despite food being mixed bag I would still visit them again and see how other food items hold up, definitely a one time place to visit for sure.

Murphies, Lane 6 – Koregaon Park, Pune

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

What da Murph!

Rating 4/5

One of the best pleasures of life is the pleasure of food and one of the best points about food blogging is you get invited to enjoy the one thing you enjoy the most – eating ! So here I was at Murphies – a quaint place with an innovative offering called Murphs and hence the name Murphies.

So what exactly is a Murph? It’s a whole potato slowwwly baked for hours with the skin intact resulting in a mashed form inside while the skin gets all crunchy. These murphs are then topped/drowned in the various constituents like gravies and meat chunks of their various recipes, the recipe is quite unique to say the least and we’ll talk about it later in the review.
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Hope this gives some idea on what the place is about, the attached pictures might help a bit however you need to be there and taste it in order to get the complete picture. You may or may not like the Murph based on your taste buds but there are other items to enjoy like the Smoothies, fries, some of the tastiest soups I have had in recent times and other tid bits.

Ambience & Location – I would rate them a good 4/5 on this parameter.
Located in Lane 6 of the Koregaon Park, the place is easy to locate and offers both outdoor and indoor seating. Wednesdays are the days of Jam sessions where people can bring their own instruments and well create a Jam.

There are board games to be played as well while you munch through their offerings, the overall atmosphere is pretty much casual. Coming to the Parking facilities especially for Cars one needs to rely on the adjoining lane parking and park accordingly.

Food – I would rate them a good 4/5 on this parameter as well. I found the soups to be really tasty and the Murphs itself interesting and filling, one Murph is definitely enough for one person so choose your order appropriately, like sharing it with your accompanied ones so that you could enjoy the other preparations.

DSC02796Mushroom Cappuccino soup – Don’t be scared folks, the Cappuccino part of the soup is only because of it’s color otherwise it’s a pretty good Mushroom soup. It was a welcome break for me from the much cliched Tomato Soup – the redundant choice to fall back upon when talking about Vegetarian soups. The soup is medium spiced with ginger playing second fiddle to mushrooms and I can say it was flavorful and I liked it very much.

DSC02797Cream of Chicken Soup – This was the milder of the two yet not to the extent of being bland and it was pretty decent in its own right as well. If you’re looking for a light and mild soup this is the one for you when you’re at the Murphies.

How to eat a Murph ? Well once the process of prolonged and slow baking is done, the end result is so tender that with a plastic fork you should be able to dig into the murph from top to bottom and attempt to eat the layered end result in one go and then top it off with the crunchy potato skin from the sides. This is what I exactly did for both the murphs I had during this meal.

DSC02799Mutton Kheema Murph – The good part about this is the use of Mutton (Goat’s meat) rather than that of Lamb which is even more pungent and it’s the handling of this element which can make or break a dish. This one came with a topping of Cheese, beneath the cheese Mutton Kheema Gravy and finally the baked potato base. It was a fair enough preparation though can be improved with adding more flavors to the mutton keema gravy to further enhance the preparation.

DSC02798Chicken Tikka Murph – This one I really enjoyed with the Makhni chicken tikka gravy playing its part nicely and the somewhat milder flavors from the previous murph were adequately topped up in this one. The Chicken tikka pieces were tasty and the makhani gravy was flavorful which was not too sweet and I liked this one quite a bit.

Green Apple Cooler – The only drink I had since I was recovering from a bad throat so couldn’t try their famous smoothies but this one without the ice (as per my request) was pretty refreshing and was a good way to end an otherwise good meal.

Value for Money – I would rate them 4/5 on this parameter and found the place to be a good deal and value for money for sure. They’re moderately priced given the KP standards and by taking the good taste and quantity, moderate ambience, service and prices into consideration I recommend the place.  However you still need to decide for yourself whether you’re with a Murph or against it 🙂

Credits – A huge shout out to Mr.Dhiren who shared the meal with me and who also happens to be the Recipe master and the brain behind their Menu. He took me through to the overall process of Murph preparation from a humble Potato in a farm / shop to that of the finished product in their Restaurant and it was good to learn about a new concept from scratch. Lastly, special thanks to Ms.Sonya for arranging the food tasting and inviting me for the same.