Kareems Kharadi, Pune

 

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

Best Mughlai experience in recent times !
Rating – 4.5/5

My latest outing with Kareems was a delightful experience and this is the best North Indian lunch I have had in a long time. They are so good that I would rate them right up there with my recent exploits at Kabab Hut (Sun n Sand) and Momo Cafe (Courtyard Marriott) !

I was in a mood to have a pure North Indian food experience for a while and when I came to know that Kareems have opened a branch in the much deprived area of Kharadi (in terms of quality dining experience) this place was on my radar for a few weeks and Today I had the chance to be here.

Here’s my take on the different aspects I observed during my dining experience at Kareems Kharadi on Sunday, 20th December 2015.

The Ambience – I rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.

The place is not huge but is not very small either, since the restaurant is fairly new (only 2 months old) the interiors which are anyway interestingly done look bright and neat. The ground floor has 4-5 Tables with a view of their Open kitchen separated by a glass partition and thankfully there’s no smoke making it’s way in the dining section which can be a serious put-off for some.

They do have a mezzanine floor based seating layout which houses around 6 more tables. Both the ground and the mezzanine floor had a comfortable seating as I completed different courses of my meal split across both the sections. With a light music playing in the background and no real disturbances around, you can blissfully just dig into your biryani or kebabs without any tension in the world 🙂

The Food – I rate them an excellent 4.5/5 on this parameter.

Well I was pleasantly surprised by the dishes served during my lunch marathon and I was absolutely amazed to see that not a single dish served was of inferior quality. Everything I tasted today was above average to say the least.

Soups – I rate them an excellent 4.5/5 on this parameter.

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Murgh Yakhni Shorba – Textured as white in color, the appearance made me a little skeptical at first but the taste just won me over, the little chicken chunks fairly complimented the dish, I added a bit more salt according to my preference though.

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Paya Soup – This was interestingly yellowish in color with a fair bit of sprinkling of black pepper that actually enhanced the flavor of the dish.

Starters – I rate them again an excellent 4.5/5 on this parameter.

Murgh Charga (half) – This is as interesting as it can get, imagine a tender chargrilled chicken then fried with an egg based batter. The result is something that you may not have tasted before, very nice indeed. As per the serving size it’s a good option to order for two persons.

Pomfret Fry – This was cooked with a fairly spicy and tasty batter. It had all the positives going for it like the fish was fresh and tender and we liked it. As per the serving size it’s a good option to order for two persons.

Tandoori Tarkari – This was surprisingly the best starter of the lunch in my opinion. It came with a more than sufficient serving of Paneer tikka, Tandoori Mushrooms, Tandoori Aloo and Tandoori Babycorn. Though everything was tasty the best constituents of the starter were the mushrooms and potatoes. As per the serving size it’s a good option to order for three persons.

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Gosht Dum Boti Kebab – Among all the starters I would place this at the bottom of the ladder, unfortunately for us the marinade had gone a little sour (just a bit) and that was a dampener of sorts and the mutton could have been a bit more tender.

After that humongous starters section we were almost on the verge of being full and I didn’t see ourselves going through the main course, here’s anyway what happened in mains:

The Mains – I rate the mains an outstanding 5/5.

Murgh Mussallam (half) – This was one outstanding preparation and came in a huge portion that could be sufficient for four persons with a moderate appetite. Despite not being categorized as spicy, the preparation was so tasty that I could just eat the chicken pieces dipped in gravy without a roti or portion of rice. This comes with a thick gravy preparation and goes exceedingly well with Butter roti or naan.

Dum ka jeera gosht (half) – This again was a different from usual gravy preparation with cumin as it’s chief ingredient apart from the Mutton. The dish had a great potential to be overpowered by only cumin’s flavor but it didn’t thankfully and we enjoyed this very much. The serving size is good for two persons with moderate appetite.

How could a Biryani Master’s review be complete without reviewing his most favorite dish?

Mutton Dum Biryani – I rate the biryani as a good 3.5/5, the mutton was extremely tender and juicy and the biryani was a fair mix of white and masaala rice and it wasn’t dry at all. The spice level was something I was expecting a bit more and it wasn’t as spicy as it should have been to be considered as a Hyderabadi biryani variant. Nevertheless I wasn’t disappointed with the preparation at all.

Desserts – I rate the desserts as a decent 3/5

We had the Shahi Tukda and Caramel custard and both were pretty decent but nothing outstanding. However at just 60 rs each they were an absolute value for money and I don’t think one can ask anything more on that price point. The Shahi tukda was a colder version with the bread not being on the crispy side as happens to be the case in the hot version of this preparartion.

Perhaps this is one area where they can look to add more authentic and tasteworthy items to their already extensive menu.

Service & Hospitality– I rate them an outstanding 5/5 on this parameter and their staff including Mr.Nurul (our server), Mr.Prashant (Captain) and Mr.Akash (the Manager) were so courteous and accommodating that it took our experience to another level. Really loved the service and no words are enough to experience my appreciation in this regard.

Also had a chat with the Owner Mr.Rohan who came across as a humble person and was open to all of our feedback and I enjoyed a minute of chit chat with him.

What cannot be missed?
Murgh Charga, Tandoori Tarkari, Murgh Mussallam and Mutton Dum Biryani (to a certain extent) and their excellent style of plating that can be compared to some of the five stars of the city !

Value for Money – I rate them an excellent 4.5/5, you can consider this to be a fit between fine dining and budget restaurants. For the taste they were able to churn Today I think they have priced themselves appropriately and the quantity is pretty decent as well.

If you’re in a mood for an all Mughlai Lunch/Dinner just go for it 🙂 This place has the potential to become one of the best dine out options in Kharadi !

Kokkita Hadapsar, Pune

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

 

It’s a good find for sure !

Rating – 4/5

Kokkita is derived from an Indonesian name koki-kita which means “Our Cook”. As the name suggests they believe in laying importance on the heart of their kitchen i.e. the Cook. They definitely had flavors going for them in the complementary meal we were served at the recently concluded Zomato Meetup on Monday,14th December.

The Location

People who are not familiar with the Hadapsar Area may find it a discovery of sorts to uncover the restaurant’s location but thankfully Google Maps have listed them correctly so if you’re going there first time it will help to go with GPS. I took the left turn after the Magarpatta bridge and this road though was a bit narrow at times but was devoid of any traffic compared to the congested road that goes between the Amanora and Seasons malls.

The place apparently has two parkings, one that leads to their indoor AC section while the other bigger and valet facilitated parking leads to their vast Garden Area.

The Ambience – I rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.

Kokkita has both an indoor and outdoor seating space designed to cater to people’s preferences. The indoor section is Air conditioned and can house upto 90-100 people at time while the outdoor section would be my preferred one. The outdoor section comes with a garden type setting which is further accentuated by some interesting artifacts like a fish aquarium at a couple of places with one of them situated beneath the pathway under a transparent glass so you can literally walk over it. There’s a set of fountains located in the garden area as well which makes up an ideal spot for a photo session which we all foodies did while we were there 🙂
The outdoor section is huge and can accommodate up to 200 people at a time and in addition they have a banquet hall as well with a capacity of 120-150 which could be utilized for private parties I guess.

The Food – I rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.

The Zomato menu that was planned for the event was huge and had atleast one dish from the different cuisines like Mughlai, Chinese, Sea food, continental etc to give the foodies a taste of most of their items. The menu selection definitely deserves credit, at times in other food tasting sessions I have seen the menu turn out to be one dimensional, serving different dishes containing almost the same ingredients but not here and thankfully so !

ZomatoMenu

The Zomato meetup started up with a serving of soups and mocktails, conscious of the huge menu I decided to keep away from the soups and ordered my Guava based mocktail – Guava spice colada which came with a pinch of salt all over the glass’ edges. The drink was fair enough and I would rate it 3/5.

Drinks – I am a non alcoholic drinker but judging by reaction of other foodies it seemed the alcoholic drinks were a rage and to me the most mystical drink was a fire shot called as           B- 52. The B-52 is a combination of three types of liquer namely Coffee liquer, Irish cream chocolate flavor and Cointreau orange flavor. It’s served as a shot and is to be ignited and gulped in a single shot !

We even had mocktail shots during the end of our meal which was strawberry syrup based and was quite average to be fair. 

Starters and Salads – I rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.

I will first talk about the starters I liked from the Menu and then come to the ones that didn’t quite exceed my expectations:

Red Chilly Garlic Chicken – 4.5/5, this was spicy alright and had a lot of things going for it like the spice level, the chicken quality was good and the end result was tender chicken in a spicy sauce and I liked it very much.

Lucknowi Mutton Chops – 4.5/5, it was tasty and again the mutton was really tender, I thought of ordering a second serving but again due to the items to come I restrained myself from doing so. In any starter comprising of mutton the key is to not have that raw smell of mutton as otherwise it’s a complete turn off however there were no such issues with the preparation and I liked it good.

Stuffed Mushroom – 4.5/5, the evidence that I am rating mushrooms higher than the mutton chops speaks volumes about the preparation. This was chargrilled mushrooms with a tasty filling and the end result was a perfectly grilled mushroom with a soft stuffing that took the preparation to a higher level.

Chicken Caesar Salad – 3.5/5, it was good but with so much of meat around I wasn’t really a taker for any type of salad on that evening but I did taste it in order to rate it fairly.

Paneer Hot pan – 3.5/5, this was sizzler style preparation of paneer and went well with my Guava mocktail.

Coming to the other starters, I didn’t like them as much as I liked the ones above, a brief about them as below:

Achari Paneer Tikka – Being an achari preparation I think the end result of tanginess was a little too much for my liking.

Tawa surmai & Tandoori surmai – I found both of them a little too pungent than what I usually come across and didn’t end up eating them as much as other starters.

Murgh rossali kebab – I digged into this with great expectations and to an extent it was bit of a letdown with the starter coming out dry on the top and that was the deal breaker for me. The presentation of the dish was however good.

Mains – I rate them a good 3.5/5 on the mains, there were fish, mutton and chicken gravies each in Non Veg and for me the main attraction of the meal was the Mutton Biryani. Out of the mains I liked the Chef’s special chicken and Mutton rogan josh which went really well with a fair enough Mutton Biryani. The Biryani could have been a bit more spicy and could have definitely done with a bit more masaala rice as I thought probably the white rice outnumbered the masaala one with some margin.

To be honest after the rather sumptuous starters I was expecting the mains to be in the same league. Though the mains were pretty decent but didn’t quite enjoy as much I liked the starters, probably I had one too many going for me 😉

The meal ended with a serving of sizzling brownie, imagine a soft brownie topped by a soft scoop of Vanilla and then dipped in sizzling hot chocolate sauce. The fact about the dessert was that it tasted really nice when the three constituents were eaten together. It was like any other brownie but the sizzle factor made it stand out from the mundane brownie preparations.

Service – I rate them a good 3.5/5 on this parameter, we were served well by our servers Mr.Ashim and Mr.Nigam. Our Captain Mr.Haridas was on his toes all the time and we had a good interaction with their Manager Mr.Rokade as well more than a couple of times. Mr.Rokade came and gave us personal attention to check if things were going as per expectations.

On the improvement part I can see there was some level of confusion on who ordered what and things got mixed up on more than a couple of occasions and probably the turnaround time needs to be improved a bit as well 🙂

About the Zomato Meetup Zomato Meetups are always fun and apart from the complementary food the other big attraction is to meet foodies, the ones who’s posts you read and rejoice and it was great to share the table with Malay, Mishri, Abhishek, Ankita and Shreyasi. A big note of thanks goes to Vaishnavi for the invitation and rest of the Zomato staff (Mohammed, Kishore and Shravanthi) for making the event possible and giving us company.

In the end I want to thank the Management of Kokkita and especially the Proprietor Mrs. Archana Wasulkar, it’s always nice to see a Woman drive Business and I wish her all the best for her future endeavors 🙂

Rajput Restaurant Koregaon Park, Pune

Quality dining at budget prices !

Rating – 4/5

The food here is good and above average, there is no iota of doubt about it! However there’s a problem of cleanliness generally that I could observe along with some flies hovering over food every now and then. For people who can ignore these issues may find Rajput very interesting and extreme value for money.

Talking about my experience :

Service – Having read the previous reviews the major complaint here has been about service and thankfully the service was top notch Today on a Sunday afternoon with almost full capacity.
However be prepared for a wandering soul to ask you if you ordered a masaala Papad or some other item destined for the adjacent table 😉 But you should be fine in the end 🙂

Ambience – This is pretty basic to say the least and place is open from one side to a lot of greenery which contributes to flies and other kind of insects during the evening. The management should seriously look to fix this.

Food – As I said in the beginning, the food here is good and amply spiced but not overspiced or overpriced. Three people with moderate diet could have a three course Non Veg meal between 600-700 which is like a dream come true in KP 🙂

I ordered the following :

Tandoori Chicken – 4/5, very tasty marination and preparation, some of the chunks were tender while others were not and slightly hard hence the rating. The marinade was good though, better than most places.

Chicken chooza masaala / Murgh Mussallam – 4.5, very nice taste and ample quantity. I wanted to order Mussallam but it would have been too much for three so I asked the steward if it comes in half and he suggested to order the Murgh Chooza Masaala. This was a thick gravy and medium spicy preparation with four medium to large sized chicken pieces.

The Butter Naan and Butter Rotis went fine with the gravy though both the Naan and Roti were not the best I have had but nothing much to complain about really.

In the end, this is an awesome place as far as value for money is concerned, taste is along the lines of North Indian cuisine and the quantity is generous as well.

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Bagban Restaurant East Street, Pune

Quite a decent place though requires overhaul in terms of the waiting staff !

Rating – 3.5/5

This place is always buzzing with people and someone or the other is always in the queue to go in. On one such afternoon I noticed a queue of eager people and we decided to give this place a try.
First things first, they don’t accept credit or debit cards so make sure you have enough cash to clear the dues.
Secondly don’t expect a world class service experience while you wait for a Table or getting your food on the table. They are a bit unpredictable with the service part so I suggest if you like their food which is the first reason you’re there then enjoy that and take the service experience with a pinch of salt if you may:)
With the usual “Gyaan” on service done let’s concentrate on the food they serve – it’s largely good whatever I have ordered here and have seldom been disappointed with quality or quantity.

Mutton Biryani – 3.5/5, mutton is tender and the quantity of both meat and rice is sufficient for two people with moderate diet. Where it misses out is in its authenticity as you can’t classify it as a Hyderabadi or Lucknawi style of Biryani but it has a got a taste of its own but yet not as good as the Hyderabadi or Lucknawi variants. Thankfully it’s not dry and that’s always a good sign for a Biryani.

Chicken Afghani – 4/5, nice juicy tandoori Ichicken preparation, medium spicy and always good to have.

Chicken Malai Kebab – 3/5, as you would expect it was mildly spiced but it lacked flavor somewhat as well. I wouldn’t term it bad but it was average at best.

Mutton Rogan Josh – 4/5, it was spicy and good and had all the flavours going for it. We loved it.

Chicken Kadhai – 3.5/5, it actually literally gets served in a Kadhai and we ordered it only because we saw someone else ordering it and we were not disappointed. Though when you first see it the gravy has a blackish color to it but it tastes just fine. Even a half portion is more than enough for two persons.

Butter Naan – it’s nice and crispy and comes with three pieces per order so two are more than goof for a meal.

Indoor seating is recommended as the outdoor one may not look very hygienic with flies giving you ample company. The outdoor has a separate menu with the same dishes but slightly lower prices on an average by 20 bucks or so.

The place doesn’t have its own parking so you’re dependent on the public parking slots of East Street. The vacant slots are extremely difficult to locate over the weekends and the waiting time for a table increases many folds so I seldom visit it during the evenings on weekends.

Full marks for food and is decently priced for the quantity. However the entire staff including the Manager/Owner have to go a long way to look after their customers and give up their rather snobbish behaviour and it will only serve them good in the long run.

Another annoying point are the folks who usually take down your names as you wait to be seated, c’mon guys you’re not doing a favor to humanity as you talk to your patrons, have some humbleness and politeness that will only increase your reputation.

Cafe Goodluck Deccan Gymkhana, Pune

One of the legendary places in Pune !

Rating – 3.5/5

The place has an old world charm associated with it and is an extremely busy place at almost any time of the day. The evenings can be unbelievably crowded with scores of people waiting in queues for a chance to grab a table.
In case you’re looking to test your patience then you may want to give weekends a try and in 3-4 occasions if you manage to survive the wait and locate a parking spot then you’re guaranteed to become a reasonably patient person. Corporates these days are seriously thinking of this option to train patience to their employees 😉
On a serious note, this is a no-nonsense place and once you do get a table make sure you order quickly to go about your business else waiters will not hesitate to remind you about placing an order promptly!
The good part is once you place the order, more often than not you would get it served fairly quickly in less than 10 minutes:)
Coming to the food following is what I found to be good during my outings over the years:

Mutton cutlet curry 3.5/5 as the name suggests you get mutton cutlets and a curry and you can dip the cutlets in curry and have it with the soft and fluffy roomalis.

Special mutton fry 4/5 this is the best of lot and for mutton lovers is an absolute delight.

Chicken tikka 3/5 fairly average and makes a case for an important lesson to be learnt that this is essentially a Parsi style food joint and if you are looking for the usual Mughlai / North Indian spicy kebabs then this is NOT the place for you.

Tawa chicken boneless -3.5/5, thick gravy boneless chicken dish, fairly alright.

Mutton Biryani – 3.5/5, very different from the traditional Lucknawi, Hyderabadi or the usual Mughlai / North Indian type of Biryani. It’s one of the most mildly spiced Biryani I have ever had.I like mine to be full of spices and flavor and this one at times was devoid of any but I guess that’s the way Parsi food is and no real complaints to make. On the brighter side the mutton chunks were tender to the core which is why I am rating it above average.

Roomali Roti 5/5, fluffy and just about right.

Bread pudding – 4/5

Chocolate Souffle – 4.5/5

Overall it’s a different experience visiting Cafe Good luck compared to other restaurants both in terms of ambience and food. However if you talk about the heritage of Pune in terms of food this place ranks right up there and possibly you might not be a fan of this style of food but you just can’t help admiring their legacy and efficiency and the very reasons you may want to visit the place.

Lastly I have been guilty of not being able to sample their signature breakfast menu items and I intend to set that record straight soon 🙂