Kaveri, Wagholi, Pune

Hotel Kaveri Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What is the hype about?

Rating – 2.5/5

As per the claims of so many folks on social sites and otherwise this is supposedly THE place for authentic Kolhapuri Maharashtrian food. However my experience bordered on average at best on a surprisingly less busy Sunday.

Following items were ordered:

Mutton thali – Comes with a mutton sukha types preparation, rassa, choice of bhakri/chapati and rice. Except the mutton pieces all of the other preparations are unlimited.

IMG_20160605_133117The mutton pieces were average as only some of them were of good quality, the thali is 250+ bucks and if you can’t serve 4-5 good pieces of mutton then I am not sure what value I am getting from the meal.

Chicken thali – Same was the case here in terms of chicken quality probably being worse than the mutton.
Taste-wise I would rate the Mutton thali a notch higher than the chicken one.

The food was definitely not mildly spiced but it wasn’t super spiced either and the taste was decent, didn’t find anything outstanding in the thalis for sure. I have had much better thalis in villages of Konkan.

Mutton Biryani – This was a total disappointment with almost nothing going for it. The rice was mostly bland with only the mutton pieces having some masaala, even the masaala of the Masaala rice tasted bland. The accompanying gravy was the same as with the thali and didn’t quite add any value to the meal.

Solkadhi – The only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing meal, this was one of the best I ever had. However if I had known that the best item of the meal is going to be this then I wouldn’t have bothered coming till Wagholi for a weekend meal for sure.

Ratings in short:

Ambience – Average
Parking space – Good
Service – Average
Food – Strictly average
VFM – Average

Bar Bar, Phoenix Market City, Viman Nagar

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


Do you love deals on booze? 
Rating – 4.1/5

Well it’s only ironical to say that the poor me who doesn’t consume alcoholic drinks is in-fact going to review Bar Bar in this write up 😉 However I can only add that though I am a strict non alcoholic drinks person to the core I do love my food and it’s because of that love for food I ended up here for a food tasting session.

Before I dwell into the food experience it would only be fair to talk about their concept of wholesale pricing of drinks. To cut the long story short the money saving mantra here is to order all that you plan to drink in one single shot and not in multiple orders if you want the price of your drinks to move South. In the process of doing so you can get your drinks prices reduced up-to 50% ! If that’s what excites you then you’ll have to pay them a visit else in this review you won’t get any markers on what drinks to try as I won’t be able to tell you because I don’t drink 😉

However what I can do tell you is about some of the innovative and pretty decent finger food they serve and this review and ratings are solely based on the Food part. Moreover from what I could observe, the other accompanying bloggers liked what was served in the Drinks and the unique pricing concept takes it to a different level altogether.

Location & Ambience – 4/5, Located at Level 1 Phoenix Market City, this is yet another swanky place from the same owners (The Phoenix Mills Ltd/Bellona Hospitality) as Shizusan & 212 Cafe also located in the Phoenix Mall in Viman Nagar. It has all the constituents of a Bar and a Party friendly place ideal for groups of all sizes looking for a good time.

They offer both Outdoor and Indoor seating – the usual Table style and Bar style seating, DJ dishing out party numbers, Bouncers to take care of any situation in the making and a well stocked bar for all your drinking needs.

Food & Drinks – 4/5, food largely is finger food with an option of Main course through an innovative offering of Dabbas – a self contained Dabba enough to finish the Bar outing after drinks and munching crunching the snacks. Let me provide a brief on some of my recommendations when you’re here.

Drinks – Among the Mocktails I tried I liked the Spiced Guava Mocktail, you get the same Masaala on the Drinking Glass’ edges as you so fondly put on the Guava when eating at roadside or at home.

DSC02638In other words I want to say it worked well for me !

Toasties – Found both Tandoori Murgh & Kung Pao Chicken Toasties to be tasty and I like my food with spices so that did fit the bill nicely.

Fries – I liked the DIY Basket of Fries a lot and I am sure I might have come across hogging on to these for some as this was the first food item that was served and I just went for it. The Potato wedges within the preparation were tastier than the fries and went just fine with the provided Dip, Yummy !

DSC02665Popcorns – These were deep fried small sized balls available with different types of chief ingredients like chicken, fish, shrimps etc. This was one item I ate the most and liked it the most among all the dishes.

Among the Popcorns the Amritsari Fish Popcorn served with Mint Mayo Chutney was the Winner for me with the fish (surmai) so tender and fresh with a subtle marination that went really well with the Mint Dip.

The Vada Pav Popcorn was pretty good as well and it was amazing to see the little popcorn chunks able to fully capture the aroma and taste of an original Vada Pav. I have to admit I haven’t tasted that kind of variant in Popcorn before and it was pretty good.

The other notable mention would be of the Shrimp Popcorns that were pretty decent as well, a bit crispy on the outside and slushy on the inside made for a good combination.

Tiffins – I liked this concept of Main course being packaged in a Mumbai style like Dabba which is enough for 1.5 people with a moderate appetite.

DSC02699Lovely Singh Da Dabba – The one that was ordered was the Veg one comprising of Butter Paneer, Chapaatis and Jeera Aloo. The Butter Paneer thankfully was not all sweet but a combination of sweet and a bit of a smoky tadka like flavor to balance the sweetness and I can only imagine how the Butter Chicken would have turned out, must have been Yummy. In my opinion this was the best Dabba of the evening.

DSC02700Happy Ending Dabba – Though dubiously named does it’s job pretty well i.e. gives your meal a happy ending, again the one I found my hands on was a Vegetarian variant, came with thai green vegetarian curry – seemed a bit more Indianized than the usual but I liked it more than the usual so no complaints, went well with the accompanying steamed rice.

DSC02698The Lucy Liu Tiffin – Finally got a non vegetarian variant with the Kung Pao chicken, Fried Rice and Fried Wantons – made up for a spicy and tasty meal.

However I am a little disappointed with myself, being the self-proclaimed BIRYANI MASTER how on earth could I miss the IRRFAN’s Lunch Ka Dabba comprising of a Chicken Biryani ? Ah well it’s a cardinal sin I know but I guess that’s the reason I’ll be back to taste their Biryani and take it from there 🙂

Service – 4/5, Being served in a large group is never an easy task for the serving staff no matter how hard you plan it beforehand. Therefore considering our group size (9-12 people) and varied requests in food and drinks I think the service part was managed pretty well. Our main server for the evening Mr.Lateef did a pretty good job in this area.

Value for Money – 4/5, considering the drinks prices go down based on the quantity you order and the food being decently priced when compared to good portions usually I think the Value for Money quotient can definitely be rated as good.

Credits – Huge shout to Team Carpe Diem (Shivangi, Pracy & Carina) for inviting me to the event and Mr. Kartik Ganesh (Bellona Hospitality) for taking extremely good care of the entire group and especially ordering customized Virgin Cocktails for me (something not too many people would ask for I am sure). It was a good experience for sure.

Hope you like them enough as I did to visit them Baar Baar !

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.


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.


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.


Hard Rock Cafe, Mundhwa Pune

Hard Rock Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The World Burger Tour@HRC!

Rating 4/5

The Hard Rock Cafe situated in Koregaon Park Annex is one of the most popular Cafe landmarks of Pune. Frequented mostly by Youngsters and families to a certain extent this American Cafe is a go-to place for all party goers !

They do however charge a premium and a burger with fries would cost you around 550 bucks, so a meal for two with drinks would easily go in the region of 2k-5k depending on what/how much you order. So a pertinent question would be is it really worth it?  We’ll come back to it at the end of the review….

Hard Rock Cafe’s World Burger Tour 2016 Hits India, open to HRC Customers from 1st June till July 2016 – As part of the Tour HRC have come up with eight new burger preparations with a blend of regional flavors as their USP. The visitors can also participate in Burgerthon – wherein the fastest to finish off their much famed Legendary Burger on a Pan India level would be declared as winners. We also had a mini Burgerthon in the tasting session and it was fun, I can only imagine how the actual event would materialize with THE LEGENDARY BURGER !!

The Ambience – 4.5/5 – Well it’s a different World altogether inside the HRC with different Musical artifacts and Rock stars’ photos doting the walls. They have multi level seating options available and they frequently have live performances within the premises usually on Thursdays. On the weekends the atmosphere is just electric and one that should be witnessed once in a while if not every week.

Food & Drinks – I would rate them 4/5 on this parameter.

Among the Burgers they had 8 variety of Burgers as part of the World Tour namely Mediterranean Veg Burger, Lebanese Veg Burger, Caribbean Veg Burger, Mexican Quesedilla, Istanbul Kafta Chicken Burger, Italian Chicken Burger, Indian Tandoori Chicken Burger, Miami Cuban Beef Burger and their trusted sidekick – the Masala Fries.

A brief on the ones I tasted :

Caribbean Veg Burger – 3/5 – The first one on the block, the grilled patty topped with Cheddar cheese went fine and I would say this would be an average one for sure.

Mexican Veg Burger – 3/5 – The preparation tried to capture the typical flavors of Mexican food and was successful, I had a bite but I was waiting for the Non vegetarian ones.

DSC02478Lebanese Veg Burger – 3.5/5 – This was the best of the lot as far as the vegetarian burgers were concerned, was lightly spiced with an added healthy factor of beetroot added to the preparation.

Now comes the turn of Non Vegetarian variants :


Istanbul Kafta Chicken Burger – 3/5 – This is the one I gulped during the Burgerthon and due to the feta cheese I found it a bit salty for my liking. However for the cheese lovers this might turn out to be a delight, for me it turned out to be a mixed bag for me.


Italian Chicken Burger – 4.5/5 – This was among the best burgers I tasted during the preview. Going by the name I thought it’s going to be a bit bland but it turned out to be good primarily due to the usage of italian herbs, Cheddar cheese & sundried tomato aioli.


Indian Tandoori Chicken Burger – 4.5/5 – It was easily the best one for me (the one in background), being a lover of Indian food it had subtle use of Indian spices and the desiness won me over. Infact I loved it so much that I forgot to even click a proper photo of the preparation. The chicken patty had a tandoori flavor and packed quite a punch, it was the best way to end the World Burger Tour 🙂


Miami Cuban Burger – Not rated – I couldn’t quite taste this one, however going by the feedback from other foodies it was pretty decent.

Masaala Fries – 2.5/5 – The fries were decent and had nothing outstanding about them, probably a variety of seasoning or an option of coming with a cheesy dip etc might just spice up the preparation a bit. There was nothing wrong about it but they were the usual fries you would get at any other place.

Credits – Special word goes out to Ms.Akshata Rao from HRC Marketing for inviting me to the Preview, along with the other HRC operations staff – Mr.Sanjay, Mr. Manoj and Ms.Saloni who ensured that we were treated like Royalty and all of us had a good time 🙂

Quick Facts

Service – 4/5 – As expected in a Preview session – good.
Food – 4/5 – Food ratings are based on the Burgers and Masaala Fries only.
Drinks – 4/5 – Mango Berry cooler mocktail I had was not part of the launch but it was good. The launch had 8 variants of Cocktails which I won’t be covering as I am a strict non-alcoholic drinker.
Ambience – 5/5, it’s perfect for a quick catch up with friends but definitely not a place for a quiet family dinner. Live performances and Rock Music only complements the funky environment.
Value for Money – 3.5/5, it’s on the pricier side, as all popular brands charge premium so no issues with that on a personal level.
When is the World Burger Tour getting launched? – June to July 2016.
Timings – 12.30 pm to 12.30 am Weekdays & 12.30 pm to 1.30 am on Weekends.
Recommendations – Indian Tandoori Chicken, Italian Chicken & Mediterranean Veg Burger.

Cheers !

Healthy Bites, Kharadi, Pune

Healthy Bites Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A decent place for home delivery !

Rating – 3.5/5

In terms of home delivery places what is highly desired is an establishment which can deliver at the promised time with decent quality and quantity. Healthy bites checks all these marks…well almost, read on to find out about my experiences with them over a period of an year which is more than enough to gauge them I guess.

Delivery time – 3/5 – In terms of delivery time I think it varies based on the platform you’re using to order from here. You basically have three options namely Zomato, foodpanda or their own site hbrestro to order for delivery. Each option has some discounts associated with them while their own site gives 20% off on orders beyond 400 and an additional 20% off when paying with Mobikwik (once a month per user) so you may order based on your preferences accordingly.

In terms of delivery time they’re a bit inconsistent and this is the single most factor which they need to concentrate on to improve the customer experience. I have been at the receiving end couple of times when the order delivery took close to 1.5 hours ! Though just last night they delivered within 40 minutes so as I said before they need to be more consistent in this parameter.

Food – 3.5/5 – My take on some of the items that I have ordered over the last year or so :

Tandoori Chicken – 3.5/5 – The preparation usually is juicy and the chicken is tender if at times a bit under-roasted so it’s a good idea to call them and let them know your preferences. Taste wise the marination is pretty good and I am taking a point off because of their inconsistency of char-grilling the chicken properly.

Chicken Lollipop Masaala – 4/5 – This is by far one of the tastiest Chicken Lollipop preparations I have eaten in a while and it comes with a lot of Masaala (veggies and seasoning) accompanying the preparation which you can even eat with a bread like Parantha (may sound a strange combination to some) and I just loved it 🙂

Mutton Biryani – 2/5 – The only advice I have in this regard is to skip this one as the dish is pretty uninspiring to be really honest. It doesn’t appear to be a dum type version of Biryani and the taste of the meat is pretty average. At best it’s passable as a pulao with chunks of mutton thrown in later on.

Dal Tadka – 3.5/5 – Your standard Dal Tadka with nothing exceptional or bad about it !

Kadhai Paneer – 4/5 – This is a pretty good preparation but the only slight issue I have here is with the gravy or the lack thereof 😉 It’s a semi dry preparation with a good taste and the quantity of Paneer is fair enough as well.

Chicken Tikka Masaala – 3.5/5 – Fairly good preparation with Tikka Chicken that goes best with the Butter Naans.

Value for Money – 4/5 – The items are fairly priced with respect to quality & quantity and the aforementioned discounts only enhances the overall experience.

In a nutshell it’s a decent place for home delivery as per my experiences, I haven’t had a chance to dine there so far. Have communicated with the owner Ms.Gargi once when the delivery was really delayed and she came across as a courteous person who cares about the Customer feedback so I think they are in safe hands and would do well to strive to fine tune further on the little bottlenecks.

Bounty Sizzlers, Kalyani Nagar Pune

The Bounty Sizzlers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Just an above average experience !

Rating 3/5

To get straight to the point I have had better sizzlers elsewhere, however the place has an extensive menu in terms of Indo-Chinese options as well as Continental items. This of-course is a good thing as otherwise if you’re not a big fan of their sizzlers than at least you have other options to munch around.

This also comes with a flip side that the other options are not extraordinary either but when gossiping with a group of friends with booze being the priority even passable food is not that big a problem. Having said that during our experience at Bounty sizzlers the food was just about slightly above average and our outing by and large was not a bad one !

The Location and Ambience –2.5/5 – Situated in Kalyani Nagar, if coming from the Jogger’s park side then it’s just before Marrakesh and shares it’s boundary with Arctic the Sea-food place. The location is quite good though finding a good parking spot especially with a four wheeler on the week-end can be challenging as you’ll have to rely on the street side parking.

Talking about Ambience, it’s quite ordinary to be honest, in terms of seating options both indoor and outdoor options are there. Indoors you have the ground level as well as 1st level as a seating option. Being the season of WT20 Cricket they do have an LCD mounted on the wall visible to both the levels indoors so if you’re a Cricket fan it’s a good idea to sit indoors.

Drinks – 4/5 – With booze being the order of the Day, me the poor and meek stuck to Fresh Lime Soda and Cold Coffee as my drinking options for the evening 🙂 I was blatantly surprised by the absence of options for Mocktails but anyway my motivation was the meat so I wasn’t extremely bothered by this.

Fresh Lime Soda – I asked for the salt and sweet combination and it was the way it was supposed to be. I guess one would require some very special skills to ruin a fresh lime soda 😉 Thankfully that wasn’t the case and I toasted other’s beer mugs with my fresh lime soda. At 60 bucks per drink I think it was fairly priced.

Cold Coffee – It was creamy, frothy slightly strong but a little overpriced at 110 bucks for my liking.

Beer Tower – These were like the songs in the Hindi movies i.e. the Beer Towers made frequent appearances and my other four mates had a bowl drinking from them. They were basically the Kingfisher ones with 2.25 liters served at a time and I think one such tower was in the range of 750-850 bucks,  I didn’t quite check the price as I don’t drink anyway. However it came across as a convenient option and others were pretty happy to have it.

Food – 3/5 – This is the overall rating of the food items and I would say that I expected more from the place that prides itself as “THE” Sizzler joint. A brief description of what we tried as below:

Paneer Chilly – 4/5 – This was pretty good with the Cottage Cheese being really tender and the seasoning used was very tasty, clearly the star of the evening.

Veg Manchurian – 2.5/5 – With nothing much to clearly boast of this was at best an average preparation. The Manchurian balls were neither tender from inside nor crispy from outside though the taste was passable.

Paneer Schezwan – 2/5 – This was very ordinary and was on the verge of almost being bland.

Chilly Chicken – 3.5/5 – This was one of the better preparations of non veg appetizers and everything else hereafter in non veg appetizers went downhill.

Chicken LollyPop – 2/5 – The lollypops were a tad too over-fried and the chicken used had a distinct taste to it which I didn’t quite like.

Pepper Chicken – 2/5 – This was equally bad, looked like deep fried chicken with an overdose of pepper and was pretty dry again.

The Sizzlers – Oriental Chicken and Veg Italiano – 3/5 – The Chicken sizzler came with fries, veggies and was rice based while the veg sizzler was accompanied by mushrooms, paneer and was noodle based. Thankfully the sizzlers were the saving grace to a certain extent though as I said at the beginning I have had better ones right here in Pune but the preparations were fair enough.

Value for Money – 3.5/5 – The value for money parameter was good with every appetizer being priced in the range of 160-200 bucks and sizzlers were between 450-500 and the six of us were able to play around with two of them so the quantity was fair enough as well.


The drinks were reasonably priced though a happy hours offer was something that would have been an icing on the cake though they did have 3 pints + 1 free offer on King’s Beer. Overall we had a nice outing, if you can manage your expectations in terms of an ordinary ambience and just about average food it’s not a bad option for a drinks get together every now and then.

Senses Oakwood Premier, Mundhwa Pune

Sen5es - Oakwood Premier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Good Food but terrible hospitality !

Rating – 3/5

I was here for New Year brunch on January 1st 2016 and I was both surprised and shocked at the same time. I know it’s a strange combination but that’s what it really was – pleasantly surprised because of the food quality of the buffet and terribly shocked because of the rather cold and indifferent serving staff which messed up my dining experience !
We (me, wifey and little princess) thought of starting our new year with a long pending brunch at Oakwood Premier which incidentally is listed as the #1 Hotel in Pune on Tripadvisor. We went with an impression that the food might not be the best in class but the service level would definitely be owing to such good reviews however what followed was definitely a dampener of sorts to our new year’s dineline (more on this in the Service section) !
Location and Ambience – I would rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.
Located in the KP Annex within Mundhwa, the location is good with a Valet Parking on disposal though your cars may end up in the open parking by road if you’re not a hotel guest. The Ambience of the restaurant is good with an option for both indoor and outdoor seating and both sections are quite spacious with a portion of the indoor one which runs parallel with the live kitchen. There’s then a water body located just before the restaurant which has a fair share of some colorful fishes which keeps the kids interested.
The Food – I would rate them a very good 4/5 on this parameter.
They have a pretty varied buffet with lots of options for Salads, 4 starters, a pretty good Indian main course and some options for Italian and Mediterranean cuisine as well.
I would list out the impressions in brief and highlight the items that need to be outlined due to reasons good or bad as below:
The Goods – Chicken Tikka, Sikandari Lamb (though a bit dry), Mutton Dum Biryani (very good), Paneer Lababdar (the best dish of the buffet – cottage cheese balls in a tasty Tomato gravy), Egg fried rice, white thai curry, chicken shepherd pie, veg variant of Sushi, khandvi and patra (the interesting additions in tid bits).
The Bads – Vegetable Tikki (filling was sour), Tofu based starter (nothing exceptional about it and didn’t see any effort to even out the dryness associated with Tofu), the chicken and mutton gravies were ordinary as well.
The Desserts – They had a fair share of options in Desserts and some of the ones worth mentioning are the Chocolate fountain, the chocolate cake (the best), Ivorey Marquse, kaju katli and Chocolate brownie. The Desserts were good and couldn’t find any flaws 🙂
The Service – Now comes the worst part of the meal. I would rate them a poor 1/5 on this parameter.  I would list my very specific observations here and it’s for anyone to judge what rating can be associated with this aspect of the Restaurant.
#1 – While we had initially been seated at 12.40pm the place was fairly vacant and with just two other tables occupied, still our server Mr. Gautam didn’t ask us for water.
#2 – The starters had gone hard and dry as they were laid out on the buffet which is something I don’t prefer usually. However from my experiences in Marriott and other places where this arrangement is prevalent, as soon as you tell the serving staff about the dryness they promptly offer to get a fresh serving from the Kitchen which never happened here. When I asked my server he very reluctantly agreed to get us a fresh chicken tikka from kitchen which came after a good 30 minutes. I saw that the fresh preparation was left unattended for at least 5-10 minutes and by the time it reached our table it was cold.
#3 – The Sikandari lamb starter was good but due to the aforementioned reasons had gone dry and hard, when I informed our server about it, he nodded as if he would get a fresh on the table but unfortunately it couldn’t make it to our table for our entire duration of 3 hours.
#4 – I had given the above feedback to the Restaurant Supervisor/Manager Mr.Sahil and he was very apologetic about our experience and he himself served us the breads when again none of the other staff was interested in asking us about our preferences in breads when they clearly saw we were moving to the main course.
#5 – After all we went through the worst was yet to come when someone had asked us if they can get us something. I reluctantly asked the person if he could serve us a tiny portion of Mutton biryani as the one on the buffet was sticking to the base of the serving utensil. The person readily agreed with a smile however that was the last of him I saw and after reminding others thrice the Biryani was served on the table after a gap of thirty minutes as we were moving to the desserts, phew !
The Verdict – I am not quite sure if I’ll be back here again though as I stated before the food is good but the serving staff made our experience pathetic. It wasn’t as if they were understaffed however I could just see them passing by without being bothered too much. Although I might be hallucinating but I didn’t see the place overbooked or swarming with people so it could have been easily managed but for some unknown reasons it wasn’t and all this was enough to spoil our first dining experience of 2016 !

Shangri-La Wagholi, Pune

Shangri-La Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato





Can this place be termed as a Drinker’s Den ?

Rating – 3.5/5

Away from the hustle bustle of Pune City in the wagholi area of the city lies Shangri-La. With it’s rather inconspicuous location and visibility it’s hard to notice it mostly. However when the time came for a Guy’s only TTMM meetup where drinks were mandatory we started looking for budget options other than the mundane Invitation 365 in Viman Nagar which we usually visit for outings like these.

We decided to go for Shangri-La as it has 10 times better ambience compared to Invitation 365 and the drinks prices were on par as well so we thought of giving it a try.

To start with the place is situated on the Pune-Ahmednagar Highway towards the diversion to Kamalbaug Society and Marvel Fria on the left of the highway as you come from Kharadi side. It’s just half a km (550 m to be precise) before the now extremely famous Wagheshar Temple (thanks to all the builders in that area which provide the temple as reference point for their projects).

As you enter the place you realize that there’s enough parking space for cars and two wheelers alike which is always a relieving factor with the ever shrinking space in the City.

Ambience – I give them a good rating of 4/5 on this parameter.

As I entered the place, it’s ambience really suprised me as I was expecting a run of the mill, shabby place as is the norm for the budget places famous for reasonable price points for drinks.

However I was pleasantly suprised by the place with a clear and distinct setting for stags interested in the Bar and a neat brightly lit area for families. The bar can hold at least 25-30 people at a time and the bar seemed well stocked for all your drinking needs.


We were a group of four guys with quite varied tastes, two of us including me were non drinkers, one was pure vegetarian and then three out of the four of us were hardcore non vegetarians and that’s usually the make up of our Guys only parties and this gives us a fair and varied perspective of the places we visit.

Drinks – I give them a good rating of 4/5 on this parameter.

The major concern at places like this is whether the prices of drinks be reasonable or charged exorbitantly and thankfully my drinking buddies were quite satisfied with the charges (a Tuborg strong available for 220 bucks each). The second crucial concern is whether the titbits (chakhna) be replenished on a regular basis and more thankfully this was handled very well since we non drinkers (me and my colleague) also enjoyed the chakhna with our non alcoholic beverages and probably ate it more than the other two Guys 🙂


Food – I give them a respectable rating of 3.5/5

The food at Shangri-La was again beyond my expectations, we really liked the Tandoori chicken and Chicken tikka masaala while the Paneer Tikka and Tomato soup were pretty decent. However the Kadhai Paneer was probably of average taste and is one item which wasn’t quite up to the mark in the entire food and drinks affair.

Service – I give them a decent rating of 3/5

The service was good and then patchy at times, the Captain of the drinks section where we were seated was a little strange to be honest. Sometimes we had to do all kind of antics to get the Guy’s attention and he wasn’t too courteous either. When we were calling him for some order he just wouldn’t notice while the servers standing at the other end of the seating would notice and signal him to listen to our cries for replenishment. This Guy definitely needs to learn a thing or two in hospitality while all their other staff were decent and worked efficiently to get us what we wanted after of course our orders were registered with Mr.Captain of the place.

In case you’re looking for a place with good enough ambience and fair enough food to club with quite reasonable drinks prices then this is definitely the place to be if you don’t mind the slight distance that you have to travel to reach this part of Pune.

So to answer my question in the Post’s title – Yes, this place can definitely be considered as a drinker’s Den.

Cheers !

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 🙂