The Bridge, Radisson Blu, Kharadi

The Bridge - Radisson Blu Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Bridge of World Cuisines !

Rating – 4.5/5

Quick Facts
Damages – 1500-2000 bucks for a three course meal.
Food – Ala carte menu with a mix of Italian, Mexican and Indian.
Highlights – Courteous and customer friendly service and one of the best Mutton Biryani in Pune.

My experience with Radisson Blu’s various Restaurants has been pretty good with their staff being cordial and extremely customer friendly, this outing wasn’t too different either !

The Ambience & Service – The place has a comfortable seating and comes with a full fledged Bar and extremely toned down and pleasant feel. We were told that their live singing artist was not well and that this program will resume in a month or so. I am sure it will only add to the atmosphere once resumed. We pretty much liked the Ambience and it’s a place where you can have a good relaxed meal over a long and hearty conversation and no one is likely to disturb you which could be a good thing for some and for others it may translate to a laid-back and not so happening atmosphere. To each his own I guess but personally I am more inclined to these kind of places for sure.

Talking about the service, the more I say the less it will be, we were treated absolutely royally and just floored over by their desire to make the customer happy over everything else. One of their executives Mr.Shrikant was exemplary in going that extra mile whether it was getting us a fresh serving of Chicken Tikka on a mere mention of chicken morsels not being tender to just getting us a surprise dose of Galawati Kebabs from TGKF.

Their F&B Assistant Manager Mr.Vishal spent a few minutes on our table for the feedback and at the end of our meal surprised us with Desserts on the house. I don’t quite remember being so pampered in a food establishment whether on any food tasting invite or otherwise so a double thumbs up on the service and courtesy front.

Food & Mocktails – Among the mocktails, one strawberry based drink was a complete bliss followed closely by the litchi and watermelon ones. We were quite satisfied with the quality of the drinks and Mr. Abhijit the Mixologist/Bartender certainly gave some appropriate recommendations based on our liking. Talking about the food, we were not so impressed by the initial serving of the Chicken Angara starter but on giving them the feedback, a fresh serving was arranged with a smile and without an iota of reluctance which is where they score all the brownie points and deservedly so 🙂

The fresh serving of Chicken starter was both succulent and juicy and we liked it. Talking about the Mains, after a lot of deliberation we went with Butter Chicken fearing that it would be too sweet. Though my worst fears didn’t come true but it was a little too sweet for my liking, nevertheless it wasn’t too bad but not outstanding either.

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Lastly in the mains came the most anticipated item of the Dinner – Mutton Dum Biryani ! It would only be fair to say that it wasn’t just the star of the evening but the preparation was among the best ones I have ever had in Pune. So mark my words if you like your Biryani to be a bit spicy but not too overpowering and of Mughlai variant this is the place to be and I am sure you won’t regret it. Long and fragrant basmati rice with layers and layers of tender mutton chunks in a spicy yet subtle masala is all you can hope for a mind blowing biryani, for this preparation alone I’ll be going back again and again. It was great to meet Chef Jagdish after the Mains and talk a thing or two about the Biryani 🙂

The Desserts – Our Dinner was polished off nicely with a Mexican and Italian Dessert each and both were equally good though the Churos with Chocolate sauce had a bit of an oily feel to it without which I am sure it could have attained greater heights. It was great to meet their Mexican and Italian Chef Mr. Narendra.

Final Verdict – It would be understatement to say that the place is a bit underrated but we came out as happy diners, their Biryani and extremely courteous customer-centric service were the highlights of the day and something that will prompt us to plan a revisit pretty soon.

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Coconut Tree Kitchen & Bar, Konark Icon – BG Shirke Road, Pune

The Coconut Tree Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Tree of fabulous Taste !

Rating – 4.5/5

Quick Facts
Ambience – Available across two levels, first level quiet and soothing, second level – loud music/lounge bar setting.
Parking – Valet is available.
Food – Pretty good South Indian food (Mangalorean Sea food/Non Veg) with a bonus of decent North Indian offerings.
Value for Money – Pretty decent for the quality of food and atmosphere (1000-1500 for two)
Verdict – A must visit if you like your South Indian Non vegetarian delicacies.

The Location & Ambience – From the same management of the ever popular Coconut Grove comes another offering  -Coconut Tree Bar & Kitchen opened on 25th February in Konark Icon building on the BG Shirke road is one Chic addition to this area. In case of any confusion just put Konark Icon in Google Maps and you will arrive safe and sound. Otherwise one will have to take a U-turn from Seasons Mall signal if coming from Kharadi and provided you’re able to reach unscathed after withstanding the horrific state of affairs on the Mundhwa bridge you’re definitely in for a gastronomical delight for your taste buds 🙂

The Ambience on the ground floor is more like a soothing setting with soft background music while the first floor was more of a party type atmosphere and a lounge/bar type setting. We chose to sit at the first level which has space for 80+ covers while the ground level has space for 48 covers. The first level had both a comfy sofa type setting as well as high chair based club/pub like seating and I liked the feel of the place.

The Service – Service part of things for a food tasting review took some time to take off but it picked up pretty good for the later part of the meal though the first 20-30 minutes it was a bit pedestrian to be honest but no real complaints in the end. Special shout out to Mr. Nikhil, Mr. Rajesh and their Executive Chef Mr.Bhoja for graciously hosting us and we had a real good time. The peculiar thing about Mr. Bhoja was despite having more than 20 years of experience it was amazing to see him being so keen about the feedback and on hearing it he was ready to customize as per our liking while maintaining a very easy going demeanour with a smile.

The Drinks – The cocktails part looked extremely promising to me based on some of the explanations of their cocktails menu by Mr. Nikhil. Though it felt like a sin when I told him that we don’t take alcoholic drinks 😉However even the Mocktails were definitely something to reckon about especially the MCG (Rs 249), Litchi based drink with Curry leaves – looked a strange combination initially but worked very well. We also happened to have a Virgin Sangria which smelled like the real thing thanks to fermented apple’s extracts, mix of orange juice and just about decent in taste.

From kids perspective a cream + hazelnut + chocolate syrup drink (Rs 149) was really awesome and I think more than my Daughter I sipped on this special drink and had a jolly good time.

The Food – The starters were pretty good with Kundapur Tawa Fish (Rs 550, Surmai – strongly recommended) ranking on the top followed by their famous Mangalorean ghee chicken roast (Rs 285, a must try) and Murgh shikasta (Rs 285, a typical malai kebab like preparation).

The Main Course – Coming to the main course because the biryani master can’t really live without a biryani, we ordered only one main course to save some appetite – Chicken Anardaana which in hindsight had these anardaanas in abundance which played a bit of spoilsport in an otherwise fine gravy preparation which went absolutely fine with Neer Dosa (Rs 70 just yummulicious). We also tried their offering of Sheermal which came across as a thin version of the authentic preparation where the end result is thick yet fluffy so they missed out on the texture however they were able to capture that subtle saffron infused slightly sweet taste of Shirmal and I still loved it for that !

Next arrived the Hero of the Day – Andhra Dum Mutton Biryani (Rs 325) and this is a different biryani in it’s own right where it uses a rather thick variant of rice, sufficiently spiced and comes with even a spicier saalan (very good quality) and raita to really lighten up your day. Mind you this is not like your typical Hyderabadi biryani but uses different set of spices to have a standing on it’s own – loved it 🙂 The Mutton biryani had a real Dum about it unlike so many Dumb biryanis available in Pune so it would be fair to say ki “BiryaniMaster definitely gives it a thumbs up”.

20170301_225426The Desserts – Our dinner was topped off with a nice offering of Gulab-jamun with Rabdi but the winner here was Kulfi stuffed with Magai Paan syrup, remember this was not a Pan kulfi but a Kulfi that was sandwiched with Betel syrup/extracts and came across as a unique offering to end our rather sumptuous dinner.

The Verdict – Go for it guys, it’s a must visit for once and if you liked what you had in Coconut Grove then all that is now available at a closer place right here in Kharadi/Magarpatta vicinity.

The Bridge – Tarawade Clarks Inn – JM Road, Pune

The Bridge - Tarawade Clarks Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Good option for Mughlai Food !

Rating – 3.5/5

Tarawade Clarks Inn falls into the category of Business/Boutique class Hotels located a little off JM Road. The franchise is part of the well known Clarks Group in Northern parts of India like in Delhi NCR, UP and Uttarakhand, they are now making forays into Western India as well and this is an attempt into a different segment of Boutique Hotels unlike their Grand five star hotels like the one located in Agra.

As a young 10 year old food enthusiast I have fond memories of attending a number of my Dad’s Office parties back home in Agra in The Clarks Shiraz Hotel. I always loved their chicken kebabs, those were one hell of perfectly marinated and superbly cooked morsels of chicken tikkas I ever had. Back in those days in the 90’s I used to wait for Dad’s Office’s annual party as it usually took place in Clarks therefore this visit definitely reminded of all those fantastic memories and the nostalgia of some lip smacking food.Talking about food let me get straight to the point in the next section.

Food – 4/5 – I would rate them a pretty good 4 on a scale of 5 simply because of the North Indian / Mughlai taste they have on offer.

There was a Wine tasting presentation/session as part of the invite by Rhythm Wines which are basically into the business of fruit based wines. They had two offerings in the shape of Peach and Alphonso Mango Wine. However the poor me isn’t quite inclined towards anything alcoholic so I gave that a miss, I’ll leave it to the other foodies to comment on the Wines.

Food Recommendations – The Mutton Biryani, Fish Tikka, Mutton Seekh & Paneer Tikka.

Mutton Seekh Kebabs – 3.5/5 – One of my foremost issues with most places serving this delicacy is the hardness associated with the end product. However thankfully this wasn’t the issue here. It was a relatively tender preparation but wasn’t quite the melt in the mouth preparation and that’s where it needs to improve. I have been brought up on Seekh Kebabs that are almost impossible to pick up without breaking into pieces so in that aspect they definitely have to further improve to make it more tender the way a real authentic seekh kebab needs to be.

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Fish Tikka – 4/5 – The Fish tikka was chargrilled well, had good amount of spices and was tender enough for a good bite that one could hope from a Tandoori starter.

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Paneer Tikka – 4/5 – The Paneer tikka was amply spiced if a little short on salt, but it’s USP was in its moistness and tenderness.

Mutton Biryani – 4/5 – This was promised as a Awadhi style preparation however the end result wasn’t quite exactly that though I won’t complain at all. The reason being I like my Biryani at-least to be a bit spicy if not super spicy like my favorite Hyderabadi variant. On the other hand the Awadhi style of Biryani is aroma based with usually no khada masaala being visible in the end product. All the different ground spices are usually put in a potli and removed once the cooking process has finished. The end result of this style of cooking is minimum taste of spices but with maximum aroma of these very spices.

The biryani that we were served in the tasting session was like a Mughlai Biryani that you typically get in Northern parts of India, I have had these all my life while growing up in Agra so I absolutely loved it. It was moist, flavorful, had a lot more spices than a typical Awadhi Biryani but the spice level was still subtle compared to a Hyderabadi Biryani. I would have rated them 5/5 on the biryani preparation if not for an average quality of mutton chunks that really messed with an otherwise perfect preparation.

Desserts – 3/5 – Gulab Jamun and Vanilla ice cream served as the final destination of our tasting session and didn’t really evoke any out of the ordinary response from my taste buds but pretty alright.

Service – 2.5/5 – The service we had during the tasting was Average and would be great to see them improve in this area as they already have a good texture and taste to their food so an improvement here will only complement them perfectly.

Ambience – 3/5 – The restaurant area has a capacity of 50-55 covers and comes with a fairly stocked bar towards the side of the entrance. The furnishings and decorations within the Restaurant are fairly new so it offered a good enough ambience for a quiet family dinner.

Credits – A special word of thanks goes to the BTeam for extending me the invite of this session and it’s always great to have interesting conversations over the food with Divyanshu, Vaibhav, Arvind, Neel & Maanas. To make matters even more interesting I had the company of Ashish & Anupam as well on the dinner table. It was also good to meet first time with some of the other foodies in Pune – Sarah, Sidhartha, Saquib, Alok and some more. Also had interesting conversations with foodie cum techie Basant responsible for the FoodieApp that should be launched in Pune pretty soon so it was an evening well spent for sure.

For the Tarawade Clarks Inn, special mention goes for Mr. Arindam Sarkar (the GM) and Mr. Tarawade (the franchise owner) for hosting us. It was a fairly good experience.

 

Kabab Hut, Sun n Sand, Bund Garden Pune

Kabab Hut - Sun N Sand Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Mughlai Food affair to remember !

Rating – 4.5/5

These days there are Buffets of all kind available in Five Star Hotels/Fine dining restaurants which are at times so lavish that you would never be able to relish all the delicacies yet half of the items end up just making the numbers instead of being called taste-worthy. And then there are Buffets like this one which are not so lavish in the number of items but the items that do make it to your plate are brilliant which was indeed the case when I ended up sampling their Menu on a mundane Wednesday evening.

The Menu that is on offer as part of the Fixed (yet unlimited) Dinner menu had the following (see pictures) and I must say each and every item was impeccable in taste and I thoroughly enjoyed my outing !

They also scored Brownie points when I requested them to replace the Malai Jheenga (prawns) with some chicken/mutton starter without sweat which was refreshing to observe as Restos these days can be extremely fussy about things like these but it wasn’t the case here. The extra half point in this review is because of the extended hospitality and no fuss service 🙂

The Food – 4.5/5

I have spent 20 years of my life gorging on the aromatic (Lucknawi) and spicy (Delhi/Agra) Mughlai preparations and I believe this gives me a upper hand when talking about Kebabs and Biryanis in particular. I have been to Kabab hut before and one parameter I was also looking to judge was on the consistency front and they came on top here as well. A look into the hits and misses of the day in brief as below:

What can’t be missed (Non Veg)- Chicken Seekh Kebab – The bestest Chicken seekh kebab I have ever had, it was all that you could hope for – it was juicy, tender and had a silky texture which was mildly spiced yet so tasty that I had at-least ten pieces of it if not more. It was so good that it beat the Mutton seekh kebab easily.

The Hits –  Mutton Galawati Kebab (tender and juicy, would have liked a little less of Saffron essence though), Mutton Seekh Kebab (the best part that it was tender enough though not melt in the mouth category but fairly good)

The Misses – Chicken Hariyali Kebab (the marination was ordinary and the chicken wasn’t tender though wasn’t chewy either) , Kasundi Macchi Tikka (easily the most forgetful preparation of the evening, it was dry and had an overpowering pungent smell)

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What can’t be missed (Veg) – Chhaine se bhare khumb – The stuffed mushroom starter was divine to say the least and I would rate it right up there with the Chicken Seekh Kebab. Spicy mushrooms with creamy stuffing made up an almost perfect combination.

The Hits – Malai Paneer Tikka – Paneer coated with Malai which is spiced in the most subtle of manners makes up for a very good starter especially if you don’t like your food to be spicy.

The Misses – Paalak ki Tikki – This failed to leave any out of the ordinary impression as the preparation still had the raw taste of spinach which didn’t really go well as a starter dish.

The Main Course – 3.5/5 – The main course has a choice of either Daal Tadka/Daal Makhani and you could order a choice of breads. When you come to think about it that’s not an option to really write home about. However the meal focuses primarily on Kebabs and Biryani and apart from a few chinks here and there they were able to deliver what was promised i.e. awesome Kebabs and mouth watering Biryani.

Dum Pukht Mutton Biryani  – 4.5/5 – No matter what I write about here, one has to taste the Biryani to experience that almost perfect combination of long grained basmati rice, nicely spiced up mutton chunks and that hidden spicy gravy under the white and colored rice. I really had to struggle not to stuff myself with the tasty kebabs so as not to miss out on the awesome biryani later and the strategy turned out great in the end.

Desserts – 3.5/5 – The two options comprising of Malai Kulfi & Gaajar Halwa were not the greatest of choices available but after a heavy meal proved to be decent enough. The Malai Kulfi was how it should be however the Gaajar Halwa could have been a lot better as it seemed a bit dry and was devoid of dry fruits and khoa which could have enhanced the preparation.

Ambience & Service – 4/5 – The Ambience was fair enough with most of the Restaurant available only to us we enjoyed a pretty attentive service as well. We were served well by Mr.Anup and Mr.Kamal and all the dishes were replenished without any noticeable lags. We also had the pleasure of meeting the Chef Mr. Chandramani Patel who dished out some really wonderful preparations and we had a nice little conversation regarding the tasty delicacies.

In a nutshell with a set yet unlimited menu I would rate the Kabab Hut very highly for Mughlai and North Indian food, go for it if you’re in a mood for some authentic Kebabs and Biryanis 🙂

MoMo Cafe – Courtyard By Marriott, Bund Garden Road

MoMo Cafe - Courtyard By Marriott Pune City Center Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A case of class apart Hospitality !

Rating – 4/5

In my series of visiting Buffet places within Pune, my next stop on a lazy Saturday was Momo Cafe at Marriott Courtyard. Having read some of the latest reviews on Zomato I was not quite sure what I was signing up for but I must say the place pleasantly surprised me with its appetizers, desserts and warm hospitality.

As I entered the place couldn’t help but notice the impressive lobby area of the hotel with some decorations lined up for the Christmas. The area was brightly lit and I overall liked the look and feel of the entrance and the lobby waiting area.

Ambience – I give them an excellent rating of 4.5/5

The seating is nice and comfortable and the entire dining area is brightly lit with a view of the adjoining swimming pool. There are decorated lights and colorful interiors further enhancing the overall atmosphere of the restaurant. There’s also a mini bar setup along with a display of their wine collection which makes for good viewing if you’re into the history of wines and the associated dating stuff.

 

Starters – I give them a good rating of 4/5

The starters consist of a veg and non veg starter each and the having read other reviews on Zomato some people are not happy with the number of their starters.

I got  chance to interact with their Executive Chef Mr.Pradipt Sinha for a while and he explained that more than 80% of their clients are corporate folks who are looking for a quick lunch mostly and that’s the reason they lay out their starters in the buffet and can’t put more than a variant each due to the want of space as other items in main course make up most of the space. I asked him if that’s the case then why don’t they keep more starters and serve them on the table? Mr. Sinha tried to explain further that during the lunch hours the place is nearly full with 60-70 folks dining at a time and it’s difficult for them to server starters on the table quickly as it takes time and the corporate folks are usually in a hurry and they don’t usually have a lot of time hence they’re following this model. It was good to interact with Mr. Sinha and I got to know more about the serving model of their Sunday Brunch at the Eviva Lounge which sounded a bit tempting and in due course I would visit them so would provide more details in that blog as and when I pen that.

Personally I would have preferred more starters but that’s really not mine or anybody else’s decision except the people concerned at the Restaurant so be their guest if you’re OK with it I guess.

Chilly Paneer – The chilly paneer was good but had become a little soggy as a result of being kept in the buffet so we asked the Captain Mr. Abhijit to get us the fresh ones and he duly obliged. The fresh servings were really good and the standout factor was the fact that it wasn’t overflowing with oil as happens at so many places.

Chicken Hariyali Tikka – The chicken tikka with a tinge of green was very good, it had all the qualities of how a chicken tikka should be, it was tender, juicy and well roasted to give it a bit of a smoky flavor. Mr.Abhijit was gracious enough to serve the chicken on the table for us as well.

In addition to the starters one has the option to order for Pasta and Pizzas in either veg or non veg variants. I opted for a Chicken Pizza which came with a thin and crunchy crust, lots of cheese and a nice chicken topping to complement the preparation. What more can you expect from a Pizza, simply put it was pretty decent.

Main Course – I give them a good rating of 4/5

The Main course was laid out with a lot of Salads to choose from and I am primarily a no salads guy so except the pictures I won’t elaborate much on this front.

Some of the items I liked from Main course were the Chicken kolhapuri, dahi waali macchi, dry bhindi, green peas preparation and really loved the eggplant infused Melanzane Parmagiana.

As I was having the mains, I was greeted by their Chef Mr. Hitesh who asked for feedback and I told him about the good starters, pizza and other stuff but also told him about the bland Paneer preparation and enquired if they ever keep a Biryani in their buffet. He confirmed that at times the Biryani indeed makes up in the numbers but Today wasn’t the day but he’ll check if he could do something about it. In the next 5 minutes or so I was surprised with an amazing Kadhai Paneer preparation that was served especially for us on the table and was perfectly spiced which enhanced our experience of the main course.

However this wasn’t all he asked us to take the main course a bit slowly as he was in the process of getting us a Mutton Dum Biryani. We got a perfect 5/5 Mutton Dum Biryani after waiting for 10-15 minutes and this was as amazing and tasty as the one I have had in Kabab Hut at Sun n Sand in Pune. The mutton was succulent, rice was well spiced and spaced out and one just didn’t require any accompaniments to go with the Biryani and this took our dining experience to another level of satisfaction !

Desserts – I give them an excellent rating of 4.5/5

Most of the desserts were good and the best ones were the assorted pastries, the chocolate crumble cake, gajar halwa and the best of the lot was another exclusive preparation made for us (the last two dessert pics) of a dessert called Opera. This dessert had everything you could hope for, lots of chocolate, a layer of coffee and a crunchy layer in between which gave this a very unique yet amazing taste. A special thanks again to Mr. Hitesh who really treated us well and went out of his usual responsibilities to put a smile on face and make our experience an awesome one.

Hospitality – I give them a perfect and outstanding 5/5 on this parameter.

Usually I use the term service to define this parameter but in this case Today I’ll use the rather apt term hospitality because that’s really what it was and that too top notch to say the least.

Right from the executive Chef Mr. Sinha, our Captain Mr. Abhijit to the servers taking care of our table, everyone ensured that we had a rocking experience and we spent a good two hours as we lazily gorged on our Lunch buffet on a Saturday afternoon. In the meantime a big batch of corporate folks came, had their lunch and left while we were having our desserts. A special mention of Mr.Hitesh is absolutely necessary who served three dishes exclusively for us as we gently told him about the rather bland Paneer preparation in the mains and he did everything he could to ensure that we walked as satisfied customers and we were absolutely delighted with our lunch experience at the Momo Cafe Today !

I am rating them 4/5 considering what was available in the buffet along with the terrific service that was bestowed on us. However if I take the extra three exclusive dishes served to us out of the buffet into consideration (Paneer Kadhai, Mutton Dum Biryani and the Opera Dessert) then definitely the rating for my experience is 4.5/5.

My special thumbs to the place and I strongly recommend the readers to give it a try once and do let them know about your preferences as you dine. I am sure they will take a corrective step then and there itself if you don’t like something from the buffet and would try their best to make up for it.

Cheers !

Hyderabad House Hinjewadi, Pune

Hyderabad House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hyderabadi Cuisine at it’s spicy best !

Rating – 3.5 /5

Having heard so much about the biryani twins of Hinjewadi namely A1 Biryani House and Hyderabad House it was always on my radar to visit these outlets for quite a while. Since I live in Kharadi and Hinjewadi is literally at the other end of Pune I couldn’t make it here so far thanks to the horrific Pune traffic nowadays.

Therefore while returning from one of our road trips recently from Ahmedabad we thought of giving Hyderabad house a try. After a hectic drive of close to 11 hours thanks to the chaotic Mumbai traffic though a breezy drive from the expressway we landed up at the Hyderabadi Biryani land of sorts here in Pune 🙂

Ambience – I rate them a decent 3/5 though it has enough room for improvement.

We reached there on a Saturday evening at 8 pm and thankfully there was one parking spot remaining for my car in front of the restaurant and I accepted it gleefully. There’s a full time security guard who will assist you with the parking though just towards one of the restaurant’s sideways there was another area where a number of two wheelers were parked.

As could be measured from the Parking numbers I realized that the place was almost full and as I entered there were chaotic scenes near the entrance/reception area with the entire reception area blocked by people. I was scared initially as to whether these people were waiting for a table to become vacant? Later I realized these were the folks who were waiting to pick up their parcels much to my pleasure 🙂

I quickly scanned the area 180 degree and thankfully found a table with chairs at one side and a sofa seating at the other end, visiting with a child I always prefer this type of setting so we gladly occupied the table and next step was to get someone’s attention to take our order.

Service – I rate them an average 2.5/5, definitely an area of improvement for sure.

Due to the place almost being like a Circus with just people running from pole to post I had realized that it would definitely be troublesome to get some good service and I wasn’t completely wrong. It took more than a good 10 minutes and at least couple of reminders for the service staff to give us a visit on our table and take down our order.

Eventually sanity prevailed and out of the blue came our food messenger cum Captain and with a sigh of relief we placed our order with a hope to dig in to the delicacies as soon as possible. Expectedly our starters arrived after another 25 minutes and we knew the wait time and attention span of the servers is going to be along similar lines and accordingly we set our expectations and enjoy while we were there.

Food – I rate them a good 4/5 and the food is almost worth the hype though it’s not outstanding to be honest.

We ordered Tandoori chicken, Hyderabadi Chicken with Butter Rotis and of course the Central character of Hyderabad house – the Aroma’s Special Mutton Biryani. Here are the specific ratings and my take on each of the preparations.

Tandoori Chicken – 4/5, easily the most spicy tandoori chicken I have eaten not just in Pune but possibly most of the places I have eaten even and I just loved it as that’s the way it’s supposed to be prepared. The rating of 4/5 is because the chicken could have been a bit more tender and the dish was lacking only in this aspect.

Hyderabadi Chicken – 3/5,  it was more of a formality for me to order this as I was impatiently waiting for the Biryani but nevertheless to complete this course of meal I played along and just had a single butter roti to keep enough space for the Biryani 🙂 Coming back to this dish, it was a usual Chicken korma type gravy preparation though still different from the run of the mill ginger/garlic based gravies but I thought the dish demanded a more distinct presence of Hyderabadi cuisine as it almost tasted like a typical Mughlai Chicken Korma.

Aroma’s special Mutton Biryani – 4/5, at last came the hero of our meal and the first look was pretty impressive with the biryani not being dry and accompanied with a number of tender and succulent mutton pieces.

For some people it may taste like an overdose of spices but thanks to the Hyderabad House Kitchen Team they have tried to replicate the taste of Hyderabadi Biryani right here in Pune. For those who have tasted the original at Hyderabad and who understand the cuisine should realize that it’s supposed to be prepared spicy and boy spicy it surely was !! The accompanying saalan only accentuated the taste further and we enjoyed every single bite of the long awaited Hyderabad House Biryani.

Admittedly though I was a bit underwhelmed by the overall taste if I compare it with the Secundarabad’s Paradise Biryani but going by the ever degrading biryani standards of Pune it felt like an Oasis in desert for sure 🙂

With that cliche it’s time for me to pack my bags and being done for the night 😉 However if you’re a Biryani lover (like me) you must go to Hinjewadi at least once, I am definitely going again to taste their Mughlai Chicken Biryani.

Despite their good food I believe with the prices they’re charging they have a moral responsibility to make the dining experience a bit more user friendly for their customers and reduce the clutter that’s evident at least in the evenings and strive to improve their customer service as well. For food alone I would have rated them at least a 4/5 but if I take all the parameters into consideration then I guess a 3.5 it is ! Cheers 🙂

George Restaurant East Street, Pune

George Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A legendary place that still stands tall !

Rating – 4/5

This Restaurant falls into the elite category of select few legendary places in Pune that has stood the test of time and people still throng the place like it has just opened. They offer a wide variety of cuisines under one roof like North Indian, Chinese and Persian to name a few. It’s always a great idea to try their Persian specialties as that’s what they traditionally have been offering though I didn’t have any serious complaints about their North Indian variants either.

I have gone at different times in the evenings and anytime you go after 8 please be prepared for a waiting time ranging from 15 minutes to half an hour especially on the weekends. However like minded people like me don’t mind waiting just to witness George’s different take on kebabs, biryanis and meat gravies that stand them apart from the other traditional and contemporary settings.

Let’s start with the first impressions, on an extremely busy area of East Street Parking is something that you have to manage on your own apart from a limited area for two wheeler vehicles in front of the place. For parking cars you have to rely on the adjoining stretches of ear marked parking on the East Street but please be careful about the designated spots else there’s a great chance that after a hearty meal you may land up in Camp police station to fetch your towed vehicle as the traffic police is extremely strict in this area and rightly so to manage the huge traffic trails usually.

Coming to the Seating and Ambience the place has both AC and Non AC seating. The Non AC seating is on the ground while the upper floor has the pleasures of indulging in their delightful food with the comfort of Air conditioning. I have had my experiences in both the sections and both are equally good, the ground floor section is pretty airy and on most days you would do just fine in the Non AC section as well. Though as per expectations the ambience of the AC section is better than the Ground floor.

Service is quite assembly line like and no nonsense, you get seated, order your stuff, eat, pay and leave. Mostly there’s a sense of urgency with the scores of people waiting outside somehow you do get influenced and you do want to get rid of the ordering part as soon as possible and prepare yourself for the foodgasm to follow !

As with these places it definitely helps to know in advance what to order, I mean if you order the Indo-Chinese fare here and expect that it would be top class then probably you’re having some twisted expectations that may not get fulfilled ever.

So save yourself some trouble and especially after that you have managed to enter unscathed and wondering what to order, go for the following and I can vouch you won’t be disappointed  !!

Chello Kebabs – 4.5/5, firstly you got to have a taste for the dish as otherwise chances are that you may find the mutton minced seekh served with subtle flavored rice a bit bland if you compare with the usual North Indian Mughlai items. Within the cuisine this preparation falls into, they do an oustanding job and full justice to the Chello Kebabs. Striking off a .5 as at times I would have hoped the mutton seekh was more tender. Though they get it right most often than not however there is some scope of improvement in this area.

George Supreme Mutton Gravy – 5/5, a wonderful preparation that is not too spicy but not bland either. The succulent mutton pieces just have a texture of melt in the mouth types and is an absolute pleasure to behold to go along with their awesome butter naans.

Mutton Dum Biryani – 4.5/5 – This is different from both the Hyderabadi and Lucknawi variants and is closer towards the Iranian style preparation of biryani. It’s not very spicy at all but has all the required flavors to stand apart from its more extravagant cousins in terms of spice level. You can easily cut the mutton pieces from bones with a spoon without engaging fork or knife as the mutton is that tender and juicy. The Biryani has the right amount of Masala along with the white rice that lends such a fine balance between the two which many innumerable places miss so easily resulting in either an over-spiced or bland preparation.

Nawabi Gosht – 4/5 – This was available as one of the specials of the Night when I visited. I ordered this since they ran out of George Supreme Mutton at 9.30 pm (speaks volumes about the popularity of the dish) and I thought the preparation was good enough to the extent that I didn’t miss the George Supreme too much.

Tandoori Chicken – 3/5 – This was one item which I was not very impressed about, though nothing awfully wrong here but I thought they can do with a better marinade so that once the top layer of chicken is consumed the remaining portions don’t taste completely bland.

Among the desserts their Caramel Custard is pretty good and is a nice icing on the cake types item to sign off your meal.

If you could withstand the waiting time, overall busy look and feel in terms of traffic of the Camp/East Street area then go ahead and have a meal here asap and you would definitely feel good about what you ate !

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