Siddha’s Cafe – A tranquil place to be with a Punjabi twist !
Rating – 4.5/5
Situated in the by lanes of Salunkhe Vihar road and thankfully a bit far away from the hustle bustle of fast City life Siddha’s Cafe is one peaceful place which I would love to visit again and again. Though marketed as a Cafe Place on Zomato their USP lies in their awesome Punjabi Food and the foremost reason being their Punju owner – Mr. Vanit Bhalla who invited me to this quaint little place but introduced this as a Vegetarian friendly place.
Well, ahem…people who know me in the food circles I don’t go by my first or last name but by the name of Biryani Master and I am a hardcore Chicken and Mutton eater. I was as usual a bit skeptical reviewing a Veg only place but Vanit reassured me that some of their curries are as rich as one would find in the Non Vegetarian Cuisine and reluctantly I agreed to pay them a visit.
I decided to be there on a Saturday afternoon and it was a wonderful day indeed as while we had some piping hot delicacies it rained like cats and dogs and we enjoyed the atmosphere to the fullest.
Ambience & Location – Their location is too good to be true as it happens to be in complete peace, I felt like I wasn’t even in Pune while I was there, it felt like I was visiting a week-end destination and for the good 2-3 hours I was there never even heard a single honk / vehicular traffic.
Talking about the Ambience it was plain and simple yet contemporary with different seating options available at your disposal, ranging from open air seating and varied interior seating options. You have a Guitar and lots of books/board games to accompany you and the owners encourage you to spend time instead of just coming in, placing order and pay for your food, an interesting concept indeed.
The Food – All I can say is the food – both finger food and traditional Punjabi Cuisine was top notch and I don’t have anything to complain at all. I will mention some of the strongly recommended dishes during my outing that you should definitely try when you’re there.
Tandoori Momos – These are definitely recommended as this comes as an innovative offering wherein they have combined two of the most loved cuisines of our times i.e. the Tandoori flavor with that of the Desi Chinese taste. It’s an item which you just cannot miss and is a must have.
Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta – This was pretty good with fresh veggies complemented by a lot of cheese went beautifully with one of the most fluffy and softest breads one could ever hope for.
Soft n Cheesy Garlic Bread – This offered a bit of a twist wherein the Cheese was not melted but was left in a semi-melted state intentionally so as not to keep the accompanying bread soggy. I wasn’t much thrilled about it initially but slowly it grew on me with the garlic present in a subtle amount doing it’s trick.
Yummy Oreo Shake – This is your ideal companion when you’re having that Yummy Garlic bread or having some crispy masaala fries.
Shahi Paneer with Parantha (Strongly recommended) – This was the first Punjabi dish I tried after a lot of finger food and this delivered the absolute knock out punch. The Shahi Paneer you get in this part of India (Western parts) appears in a white gravy and is usually prepared sweet with loads of sugar it seems. After trying at a lot of places here in Pune I literally stopped ordering it as I have had some horrific rendezvous with this particular Paneer preparation. I was advised by Vanit to give it a try and after having the first bite I absolutely fell in love with it as it was my long lost Shahi Paneer from the bazaars and small restaurants of Agra & Delhi. If you like your authentic Delhi waala Shahi Paneer this is one place you should definitely order it and I haven’t had a vegetarian preparation like this in Pune for quite a while.
Tawa Chaap – With the awesome Paneer dish I realized that more than the finger food its really the Punjabi items that are or can become their forte hence tried this Soya Chaap curry based dish and again the flavors were authentic North Indian and felt like I was having my meal in a Chaap speciality restaurant in CP, Delhi.
Service – As I mentioned earlier the atmosphere is a bit laid back and the service is not rushed in as most of these preparations are cooked fresh on order so if you’re in a lot of hurry then probably you might want to label them as slow but once you understand their concept and blend with the overall idea you could only appreciate and have fun.
A must visit for like minded people – if you like your dining place to be laid back and not in your face types and ofcourse with the company of some delicious Punjabi and lip smacking finger food.