China Grill – Restaurant Review.

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Chinese cuisine is an important part of Chinese culture, which includes cuisine originating from the diverse regions of China, as well as from Chinese people in other parts of the world. Because of the Chinese diaspora, Chinese cuisine has influenced many other cuisines in Asia, while modifications made to cater the local palate.

The preference for seasoning and cooking techniques of Chinese provinces depend on differences in historical background and ethnic groups. Geographic features including mountains, rivers, forests and deserts also have a strong effect on the local available ingredients, considering climate of China varies from tropical in the south to subarctic in the northeast. Imperial, royal and noble preference also plays a role in the change of Chinese cuisines. Because of imperial expansion and trading, ingredients and cooking techniques from other cultures are integrated into Chinese cuisines over time.

The ancient Taoist principle of Yin and Yang in which balance and contrast are the key. Each Chinese dish reflects a balance of taste, texture, aroma and colour. Be it sweet, sour, pungent, hot, salty or spicy – all the six basic flavours are incorporated deftly in all Chinese dishes.

Indian Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes through a larger offering of vegetarian dishes. The Indian Chinese cuisine is said to have been developed by the small Chinese community that has lived in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) for over a century. Today, Chinese food is an integral part of the Indian culinary scene. It is also enjoyed by Indian and Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore and North America.

Chill Grill Brand comes from the Family of the legendary Chinese Room Restaurant (East Street). The four times in a row award winner of the World Famous Restaurants International USA Award Chinese Room, is one of the oldest Chinese Restaurants in Pune. It was started in 1976 and has completed 40 years. The restaurant has always been well ahead of its time and has maintained its iconic status through continuous innovation in the menus and service. The exquisite food is a blend of imported aromatic spices, mesmerizing fragrances, elusive oils, blissful sauces and delicious recipes. The authenticity of Chinese food along with tastes to match the Indian taste bud is represented at Chinese Room.

China Grill started its first restaurant in Wanowrie 10 years back and Riding on the success of the Wanowrie branch, China Grill is back, this time at Viman Nagar! Offering the best quality Chinese ingredients, do not miss out on the seafood here! Not only that, China Grill also brings to you North Indian dishes, to satisfy the Indian palate. All of this under one roof. Deciding where to dine has never been easier!

China Grill’s newest outlet in Viman Nagar is a fine dining branch. Owing to its sophisticated décor and interiors, the restaurants gives a quality experience to its customers. The restaurant comes with a beautiful banquet hall on its second level which is ideal for all your special occasions. China grill serves Authentic Chinese food similar to its other branches. In addition to its scrumptious menu, China Grill has also added Authentic Indian cuisine to its food options.

The food we had out here at the Viman Nagar Branch as follows:

We started with some Drinks to cool us down so ordered Blue Lagoon and Paradise Island. They have an elaborated menu for both the Food and for the Drinks to suits every ones palate.

For starters:

Sesame Toast Vegetable: Nice crispy golden brown bread triangles. Yummy in taste. #Musthave.

Corn Curd Mongolian: Very unique dish and one of the signature dish of China Grill. This dish goes through all basic cooking then refrigerating and then frying to get the exact texture without loosing the aroma and taste. It can be enjoyed with Schezwan sauce.

Paneer Tikka: Big square pieces of tender soft Paneer marinated with tikka masala served with Mint chutney. This is one of the Indian Signature dish of the China grill.

Main course:

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Vegetables in Hunan sauce: This was nice and served in a huge portion which goes well with Veg Fried Rice. Chunky pieces of vegetables tossed in Hunan Sauce with a perfect thickness of Gravy.

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In Roti I tried the Cheese Garlic Naan: Nicely presented and good in taste.

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Dessert: Sizzling Brownie with Vanilla Ice-Cream: The only different thing was instead of a scoop, a big slab of Vanilla Ice-cream was placed.

Overall… It was an wonderful experience of having a quick lunch and total Value for Money.

P.S. : Along with their fancy fine dine restaurant China Grill Viman Nagar also has a luxurious banquet facility to host all your important events. Housing a maximum of 200 people our banquet hall is ideal for a birthday party, company event, get togethers, pre/ post wedding celebrations and weekly kitties. Centrally air conditioned and one of the few places where stags are allowed we also offer you with an outdoor seating, smoking area and free wifi. Apart from these services we would be glad to add to your celebrations with tonnes of scrumptious food, a beautifully done up space, foot tapping beats topped off with a classic selection of alcohol. They have basic pre curated Menus to choose from or if you have a budget in mind even that can be worked out as per your need and choice.

212 Junior – Why should Mommy and Daddy should have all the fun!! 


​Why Parents should have all the fun!!! Especially when parents take their kids for shopping in a mall and they have nothing to do other then wait and get bored or otherwise either of the parent has to take care of the kids and other goes for shopping. Being a father of two daughters I face this kind of situation very often. 

Kids get dragged in all this shopping spree. But now it has a solution where kids can enjoy their activity while either of the parent can relax, keep a watch while sipping a coffee or fresh juice. This sounds so good plan! 

212 All day cafe has come up with ‘212 Junior’ with a  concept, We were invited for the launch of 212 Junior along with my Daughters Samia (10 yes old) and Syna (4.5yrs old) For further details read ahead:

The kid-friendly café with a seating capacity of 40 guests, is located at the atrium of Lower Ground floor and doubles up as a haven for parents and an entertainment zone for their juniors. It’s the ideal spot for a quick meal after a family shopping session or a full-of- drama movie.

HOW WAS 212 JUNIOR CONCEPTUALIZED?

Talking about the concept, Romil Ratra, Group Director says, “A café with an in-built kids area is a concept that is quite popular in the west and is slowly picking up momentum in Asian countries as well. When it comes to India, this segment is still being explored. After a careful study of the footfalls in the mall and an in-depth market research, we conceptualized this one-of-its kind space in Pune which is not only appreciated by the adults but also by kids. The philosophy is simple: Treat kids as adults. Give them their space and let them enjoy while you enjoy solitude. The best part is, you don’t have to break a sweat running behind your kid.”
Gone are the days when kids used to let parents dictate their food preferences. In an era where Nickelodeon is replaced by PlayStation, the little ones like to have control over what they’re eating. Chef Paul Kinny has curated a menu that will appeal to not just the little one but also adults. The food at 212 Junior goes hand in hand with the philosophy as well as space – simple yet vibrant & colorful.

The menu features cookies, croissants and donuts right out of the bakery. Yes, you can expect the addictive fragrance of freshly baked items! Chef Paul has also added a Choco-Berry Cronut – An innovative combination that came into the world when a donut married a croissant. The savory section features cheesy pizza squares, stuffed croissants, loaded hot dogs and more. One of it deserves a special mention and that’s the Pokemon Burger made using a chicken patty, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. It’s shaped like your kid’s favorite Pokemon – Pikachu. 212 Junior completely gets every ones love for the sugar rush and that is evident by their dessert menu which includes S’mores Sandwich – two gooey choco cookies filled with marshmallows and almonds, a colorful Rainbow Cake, an éclair with a tiramisu center and much more.

BEVERAGES AT 212 Junior 
From healthy smoothies to indulgent milkshakes, 212 Junior has it all. Going to a restaurant with a kid is not everyone’s cup of tea but at 212 Junior it can be your cup of tea as well as your cup of coffee. Now parents can sit and enjoy their cup of solitude while their kids are occupied with some brain-stimulating games and puzzles in the kid section made especially for them.

WHAT CAN ONE EXPECT AT 212 JUNIOR?

212 Junior understands the importance of family time. Staying true to the brand’s philosophy, the venue will organize events which does not only cater to kids but also to adults. Now while your kid is making best out of waste you can learn origami. While your kid attends an Enid Blyton book reading, you can simultaneously attend a book reading of well-known Indian authors. 212 Junior will also be organizing events where both the parents and the kids can participate together; Cook with your dad, 212 quiz contest etc.

My Daughters experience with the overall concept of 212 Junior: 

Samia says that it was fun filled experience right from moment we entered, we started with our Hair Braiding, and then the most enjoyable activity was the Canvas Painting. We like the food as well, as it was yummy and served in an attractive way”. Syna liked her drawings and as well some finger licking Donuts. She had a good time while getting herself a nice Tattoo very similar to her mom. 

Overall it was a chilled out time for the father and daughters. 

Thank you #carpediempune for the invite. 

Address: Lower Ground Floor, Phoenix Marketcity. Viman Nagar

Contact Details: 020- 66890212


Savya Rasa – Epicurean Journey through Southern India. -Restaurant Review.

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Savya Rasa is a first of its kind dining experience that celebrates the epicurean journey of South India. Created with the intent of offering guests fine dine with exclusivity, their existence is about the re-creation of traditional cuisines and bringing them to a wider audience.

Team Savya Rasa have travelled extensively across the seven major culinary regions of South India and spent years learning from local sources to make sure that every dish they serve is authentic. Cultural aspects and attributes have been incorporated into the dining experience to help you rediscover the heritage and history that has helped shape South Indian culture.

Savya Rasa has a story on every wall of the Bunglow converted in to Fine dinning experience. They also give a Tour of the restaurant which takes back centuries of tradition and strong Indian Culture which is discovered by the team Savya Rasa. 

Savya means South and Rasa is derived from Sanskrit is work of art and flavour or essence of food.

This is a 62 seater place is divided in sections, two private dining rooms, a mezzanine section and an outdoor section with a Live/Open Kitchen 

I was Invited for the Bloggers Table for tasting of special Summer Menu or Mango Special menu. As we settled down the one of the staff asked me which type of water I would like to have from the standard Regular or Bottled and room temperate or cold, this was a new experience altogether they had Tulsi, Jeera or Khus? I opted for Jeera to start with, it was served at the room temperature or just above it.The staff is also have a Traditional south indian attire called veshti. 

The Main Menu has covered the 7 Main regions from South: 

Kongunadu: Kongu Nadu cuisine is predominantly south Indian with rice as its base and a collection of exotic recipes being created by the people residing in the Kongu region. Food is served over a banana leaf. Eating on a banana leaf is an old custom and imparts a unique flavour to the food and is considered as healthy. 

Idly, dosa, paniyaram and appam are popular dishes. Kongu Nadu cuisine does not involve marination of any raw material and as a result the food has a different taste and unique texture. Turmeric is added into curries which gives the product a deep yellow colour and an aromatic substance. Arisi Paruppu Sadam, made from a mixture of dal and rice is a recipe that existed from fourth century CE and unique to the area. Kaalaan is a popular dish prepared by simmering deep fried mushrooms (usually chopped mushroom) in a spicy broth, until it reaches a porridge like consistency and served sprinkled with chopped onions and coriander leaves.The traditional Kongu people were mostly vegetarians for religious reasonOppitu is a type of sweet made with the basic ingredients rice, sundal paruppu, palm jaggery, cardamom and ghee.

Nellore: Nellore is a very important producer of different agricultural products in South India. Being a prominent part of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Nellore is a place where one can find different kinds of spicy and tasty foods. As the district is one of the leading producers of red chilli, rice and millet in India, its influence can also be found in the food of Nellore. Both vegetables as well as meat and sea food feature prominently in the menus of the people of Nellore. Dal or lentils, and tamarind are largely used in cooking in Nellore. Various spicy and hot varieties of pickles form important part of the cuisine of Nellore.

Chettinad: The cuisine of this community called the Nattukotai Chettiars, or Nagarathars as they call themselves, from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India. Chettinad cuisine is perhaps the most renowned fare in the Tamil Nadu repertoire. It uses a variety of spices and the dishes are made with fresh ground masalas. Chettiars also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments such as dosaisappamsidiyappamsadais and idlis. The Chettiars through their mercantile contacts with Burma, learnt to prepare a type of rice pudding made with sticky red rice. Chettinad cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes include idiyappampaniyaramvellai paniyaramkaruppatti paniyarampaal paniyaramkuzhi paniyaramkozhakattaimasala paniyaramadikoozhkandharappamseeyammasala seeyamkavuni arisi and athirasam.

In Chettinad food, major spices used include anasipoo (star aniseed), kalpasi (a lichen), puli (tamarind), milagai (chillies), sombu (fennel seed), pattai (cinnamon), lavangam(cloves),bayleafkarumilagu(peppercorn),  jeeragam (cumin seeds),  and venthayam (fenugreek).

Mangaluru: Mangalorean cuisine is largely influenced by the South Indian cuisine, with several cuisines being unique to the diverse communities of the region. Coconut and curry leaves are common ingredients to most Mangalorean curry, as are ginger, garlic and chili. Mangalorean Fish Curry is popular dish in Karnataka. Well-known Tuluva dishes include Neer Dosa,Masala Dosa,”Chicken Ghee Roast“,”Chicken Sukka“,Kori Rotti (dry rice flakes dipped in gravy), Bangude Pulimunchi (spicy sour silver-grey mackerels), Beeja-Manoli UpkariNeer dosa (lacy rice-crêpes), Boothai GasiKadubu, and Patrode. The Konkani community’s specialities include Daali thoybibbe-upkari (cashew based), val valavnas ambe sasamKadgi chakkopaagila podi, and chane gashi. Vegetarian cuisine in Mangalore, also known as Udupi cuisine, is known and liked throughout the state and region. Since Mangalore is a coastal town, fish forms the staple diet of most people. 

Masrani: It is also known as Kerala cuisine offers a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fishpoultry and red meat with rice a typical accompaniment.Chilliescurry- leavesmustard seedsturmeric tamarind and asafoetida are all frequently used. Kerala is known as the “Land of Spices” because it traded spices  with Europe as well as with many ancient civilizations with the oldest historical records of the Sumerians from 3000 BCE.

 Mysuru: The Karnataka or Kannada Cuisine is one of the oldest surviving cuisines and traces its origin to Iron Age. The varieties of the karnataka cuisine has influenced the neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra. The cuisine also reflects influences from the food habits of many regions and communities from the three neighbouring South Indian states, as well as the state of Maharashtra to its north. Some typical dishes include Bisi bele bathJolada rottiChapatiRagi rottiAkki rottiSaaruIdlivada SambarVangi BathKhara BathKesari BathBenne doseNeer DoseRagi muddePaddu/ Gundponglu, koli saaru (chicken curry- Kannada Style), Maamsa Saaru (Mutton Curry – Kannada style), and Uppittu. The famous Masala Dose traces its origin to Udupi cuisine. Plain and Rave IdliMysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade are popular in South Karnataka. Kodagu (Coorg) district is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries while coastal Karnataka boasts of many tasty seafood specialities. Among sweets, Mysore Pak, Holige, or, ObbattuDharwad pedhaChiroti, Sajjige, Kadabu/ Karjikaayi are well known.

Malabar : Malabar Cuisine or the Moplah cuisine of Kerala are unique in its rich flavour. The lightly flavoured aromatic Malabar Biriyani is the best example of it. The coastal region of Kerala is known as Malabar. It comprises of northern districts of Kerala and some parts of Karnataka. 

Ohh So much of reading!!!! 

Lets start our journey of food tasting.

As we settled, Hot Rasam was served to us along with the Crispy Papaddum. Rasam was nice and tangy in taste, after having it would give you warm kick start. 

After the Hot Rasam to give a soothing effect Aamras was served in a Wine Glass. It was thick and appropriately sweetened. 

In the mean time the Appetisers started flowing in: 

(Please Note: although the names are big and bit confusing the staff is trained to explain/describe you each and every dish. So don’t worry what to order)   

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KONDAKKADALAI KOZHUKKATTAI

KONDAKKADALAI KOZHUKKATTAI (Kongunadu)
Steamed rice flour dumplings with well balanced fillings of chick peas, trio of peppers and onions seasoned with hand blended spices.

The aroma of the freshly grounded spices was so immense that I couldn’t make you that the small ball/dumplings are made up of rice.

CHUTNEY PANIYARAM (Chettinad)

Rice and lentils steeped over night, stone ground into batter, seasoned with ginger, green chillies, grated coconut, crushed pepper, stuffed with three types of chutney and shallow-fried in a customised cast iron pan.

Here we call it an “Appe” with the very first look I could make out the rustiness of the dish as it was cooked in a Cast Iron Pan. Tender soft with amazing taste. It was served with the three different types of Chutney and all three were very tasty and freshly made. 

CHANAGA PAPPU VADA (Nellore)

Deep-fried patties of Bengal lentils with chopped green chillies, ginger and spices, served with coconut and coriander chutney. 

It was kind of Dal vada but bit on dry side which was served with the Green Chutney. The vada was not that oily, nice and crispy. 

Main Course: 4 types of Curries with 3 types of  breads. 

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MANGO THOKKU

MANGO THOKKU: A sweet, sour and spicy Chettinad preparation of ripened mangoes enjoyed best with Appam.

With the very first bite you feel the sweet and sourness of Mango chunks tossed in spicy Chettinad masala, which gave the the Curry a fresh red colour which was again rich in flavours. 

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KALAAN THIRATTAL

KALAAN THIRATTAL: A thick curry made with button mushrooms, groundnuts, shallots and red chillies. Kongunadu treat best enjoyed with bun parotta.

Nice earthen colour curry with little milder in taste. This goes well with the bun parotta. 

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MAMIDI PANDU PULUSU

MAMIDI PANDU PULUSU: This dish is a seasonal speciality of Andhra kitchens. This mango-based, spicy, sweet-and-sour dish is known for its cooling powers and can help prevent heat strokes.

This dish is a seasonal speciality of Andhra kitchens and is universally served in the region’s restaurants during the months of March and April, when the mango crop is ripe for consumption. Besides happily entertaining your taste buds, this mango-based, sweet-and-sour dish is known for its cooling powers 

VEGETABLE STEW: This has to be eaten with Appam pouring the hot Stew right in middle on the spongy part let the stew get soaked by Appam and then you enjoy the dish. It is Cooked in a creamy coconut milk base, with vegetables.  #Recommended. 

 

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Bun parotta: A  fluffy multilayered bread made with refined wheat flour, egg and butter cooked on a griddle. 

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Neer Dosa: A delicate Crepe made with rice batter and coconut oil. A delicacy from the land of Tulu, goes well with almost anything. 

Rice: 

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Kukuda Nuppu: Its a Mangalorean tempered rice preparation very similar in taste of Lemon rice but with a Mango twist to it. 

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Ghee Rice: Classic rice which can go with all spicy curries.  

Desserts: (Portion size- Tasting sample size) 

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Mambazha Kesari: Semolina roasted in Ghee and sweet mango pulp, is added which gave a distinct taste to it. 

Kukuda Payasa: Nice and sweet Payasam with the Mango flavour with perfect sweetness. 

Mambazha Halwa:This had loads of ghee. With a rough texture to it. A melt in the mouth, gelatinous sweet made reduced mango sugar syrup cooked with a mixture of rice flour, clarified butter and fried almonds and pistachios. 

Mambazha Pudding: Indianised version of Pannacotta with a Ripe mango jelly set with china grass – A Thannur Delicacy. 

Drinks:

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Frozen Mango Daiquiri: It can be served in both Cocktail and Mocktail version. It was served with mango pieces on it nicely presented. A relish from the Mango lover. 

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The other drinks which were served with the Liquor were : Cucumber and Mint Mojito, Spicy Litchi Mojito, Watermelon and Tulsi Mojito, Mulberry Mojito, Mango and Chilli Mojito. (All were served in a Shot glass as a tasters) All had a their own distinct flavours to it.

We completed our journey with a Filter Kappi…. 

 

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Savya Rasa Ambience: As I told you that the restaurant has a history attached to it with every artefact displayed there I recommend that you should ask for the tour of the restaurant which might take you around half an hour. 

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Please note: The Mango Special Menu or Summer Menu will be available till 21st May 2017. 

NOTE: My review is unbiased and is solely based on my experience even though I was invited. The serving size and preparations may vary. Restaurant has rights to change the Menu or Discontinue any of the above mentioned Food preparation. Some of the Information has been taken as a reference from the internet and other related sources which are freely available. 

***Big ShoutOut for Shivangi Shah from Carpe Diem and Sathish Kumar from Savya Rasa for hosting us. ***

Savya Rasa Website

Zomato Page

Its a Fusion time – Italy via Punjab Restaurant Review.

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Fusion cuisine is cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions. Cuisines of this type are not categorised according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in innovations of many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s. Foods based on one culture, but prepared using ingredients and flavours inherent to another culture, are also considered forms of fusion cuisine. For instance, pizza made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans or other common taco ingredients is often marketed as “Taco Pizza”. This particular dish is a fusion of Italian and Mexican cuisines. Similar approaches have been used for fusion-sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients such as curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves, which resembles inside-out dolmades.

But today we are talking altogether fusion of Italian cuisine with a Indian Tadka: 

We were invited for the foods tasting at a restaurant on NIBM road Pune. The name goes by Italy via Punjab. 

As we reached to this place which was actually far from the city centre, Owner and Chef Ninad Joshi warmly welcomed us and made us comfortable. After while we explored the ambience which were rustic and fusionised version of its own, like they had sitting made from the drums and Hand cart was converted into the table. Copper Glasses on the table gave a feel of a dhaba style sit out.

Coming to directly to the Food:

Summer heat was at peak in Pune we thought of ordering some Shakes to cool us all….

Oreo Cookie Shake and Kitkat Shake: Presentation wise it looked yum… thick shake with cookie crumble and Kitkat stick was placed on both. It was bit disappointing when we actually took our first sip, it was almost at the room temperature, Even the scoop of ice-cream couldn’t cool the shake.

Starters:

Peppered Tomato Bruschetta: It was very close to Nanza which are served as Flat breads in many Cafe’s in town. Fresh tomatoes, olives and Mozzarella with a hint of Basil leaves on a Garlic Naan. As naan was kind of crisp and loads of Olive oil was drizzled over it so had a good shiny look. Taste wise more of spices can be added to enhance the taste.

Paneer Tikka Cannelloni: This was the one of the best fusion dish I ever had. As Indians we have our taste buds inclined more towards Indian spices and rich aromatic flavours, this had both infused with it. #Musthave.

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Morney Pasta (Penne): A Mornay sauce is a Béchamel sauce with shredded or grated Gruyère cheese added. Some variations use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmental cheese, or white Cheddar. A Mornay sauce made with cheddar is commonly used to make Macaroni and cheese. This was super cheesy pasta. If you are looking for some spice or herbs in it skip this, but those who love their pasta cheesy this the first dish to order. This was served with Garlic Naan.

Mains:

Babycorn Saag Chilli with Roti:  This saag was yum. Nice and think gravy with tender soft babycorn with all the rich Indian aroma intact served in handi style with butter roti it was brilliant. If they can add more of Babycorn it will be wonderful.  #Recommended.

Dessert:

Masala Chai Pannacotta: As the name suggested, being an super fusion dessert we were excited to try it out. But the some punch was missing here. It could have been better.

Overall….

It was nice with some good fusion food to taste, although everyone goes through the initial teething problems, And I am sure this will be overcome by the Chef Ninad and its Team.

I personally Thank you Chef Ninad and the Team Italy via Punjab for Hosting us.

Disclaimer: The invite was for a complimentary food tasting event. This review is a narrative of my experience at the event. The views expressed in this review are solely mine. Some of the information might be taken from freely available data bank of Internet.  

 

The Sassiest Place in Pune- The Sassy Spoon Review.

Introduction:

Pune City, ‘The Queen of the Deccan’, now has Mumbai’s sassiest restaurant The Sassy Spoon, adding to its culinary delights. Brainchild of the dynamic duo – Rachel Goenka and Irfan Pabaney, the restaurant opened its doors on Monday, 23rd January at Koregaon Park.  The Sassy Spoon’s philosophy has always been delicious food peppered with sass. The restaurant aims to recreate the same ‘Sassy Experience’ in Pune as well with quirky bar bites, innovative mains, takeaways, scrumptious breakfasts and an innovative menu spanning across European, Mediterranean, South East Asian and Indian cuisines, for both vegetarian and non-vegetarians, along with an exciting selection of cocktails and mocktails. The ambience, with both outdoor and indoor seating makes it the perfect dining & drinking destination. 

Chef Gautam Samel who has worked at The Sassy Spoon restaurants in Mumbai for more than 2 years is the Chef at the helm of The Sassy Spoon, Pune and is integral to the curation of the menu. The menu has a variety of both international as well as regional appeal. Some of the recommended dishes include a warm green apple-smoked scarmoza soup which, is all you need in this chilly weather. The bar bites menu boasts of some whacky yet delicious selections of tidbits like a Sri Lankan spiced chicken poi, mini pulled pork poi sliders, coriander and rava crusted bombil with mango chutney and the prawn pakoras, which is a sassy take on traditional pakoras. The tenderloin jerky with coriander seeds and lemon, spicy cherry tomato and chili dip, Murtabak with Thai style tenderloin pad krapow and the other version of the classic baida roti are great bar nibbles to combine with drinks!

Amongst the mains some of the highlights are the Kerala lamb, which is a yummy, spicy pairing with buttered brun, a smoked, beer braised tenderloin burger with an in-house beer ricotta, a brined, cornflake crumbed oven fried chicken and finally a tangy coconut prawn served with appams.

The menu also features an array of creative vegetarian options like the loaded potato skins (a take on vada pav), deep fried sweet corn soup, crispy on the outside yet oozing of the quintessential “chindian” favourite, mushroom tortellini with porcini cream, and a delectable trio of sassy fries with bbq, cheese and Cajun spice.

The beverage menu comprises of exciting house infused liquers. A few flavors include Kashmiri Kahwa, spiced raspberry, pomegranate and plum liquer, citrus vodka and bacon infused whiskey in order to enhance the flavor of the cocktails. Don’t miss out on the Gold Member – A vodka, house infused green tea kava liqueur! The concoctions reflect nostalgic elements which have been experimented with resulting in tantalizing creations like Indus Gimlet (Chaat masala, lime & gin), Jack & Ginger (uses smoked ginger syrup) and Morning Brew (whisky and espresso)

The breezy fruit based cocktails one would surely want to sip include Berry Chilli – Muddled mulberries and green chilli shaken with tequila, crème de cassis and fresh citrus or an unusual Banana Mojito and lots of flavoured beers.

For the teetotalers the recommended drinks include –The Very Berry Khatta-our sassy signature and take on the classic Kala Khatta, The Virgin Mule -fresh lime, homemade smoked ginger syrup, mint and fizz, a Sassy Mint Iced Latte -cold brewed coffee, vanilla and mint or a Soul Cooler -kokum, lemon, cilantro, green chillies, fizz.

I was invited for the Food and Drink Tasting by Shivangi from Crape Diem Pune. 

I must say for Shivangi Sassy Spoon is like second home and she know the menu so well so we left it to her for the orders. Believe me she is the best in placing the orders in Sassy Spoon.

We Started the evening with their signature Drinks:

Spiked Berry Very Khatta: Its one of the signature drink and most talked about in sassy spoon. It was refreshing with orange, mulberries, grapes and with strong flavour of kala khatta. Rum/Vodka can be added which depends on the what you prefer.

Morning Brew: “You can’t buy Happiness but you can buy Coffee which is very close to it” So it had Expresso with Vanilla, Whiskey, in-house orange liqueur and Orange zest for the decor. This has found a special place in my heart.

Spiked Soul: A Kokum based Drink with lots of decor to it like with Green Chilly and Fresh Cilantro placed on top infused with Rum and zest of a lemon.

Salads: 

Raw Mango  & Papaya with bell peppers, arugula and bean sprouts, salted peanuts, fried onions and sweet chilli drizzle : This was a fresh salad with raw mango shreds, papaya, peanuts and fried onions. Peanuts gave the right amount of crunchiness and fried onions gave a different flavour to it.

Pearly Barley salad with toasted almonds, apple, pomegranate seeds and smoked scarmoza: Not found of Barley much so just tried a bit and to my taste I found bit bland and subtle. The apple and pomegranate were the saviour to the taste buds.

 

Bar Bites: 

Bruschetta of Smoked eggplant, Crispy chickpeas and Fried onions –Crispy Bruschetta topped with tomatoes, cheese and herbs. This dish had a nice Combination of crunch and softness along with fresh flavour from the eggplant which gave it very unique taste to it. #HighlyRecommended.

Creamy Mushroom Fricassee stuffed Brioche, Tomato basil sauce-  These are the smallest form of blessings, As we all say that we should be counting your blessing and not your Problems!!  This is far most delicious appetiser I had this year. In-House freshly baked Mini buns are scooped out and filled with the buttery mushrooms and which melts in your mouth. It is served with salsa dip which gives nice contrast taste to overall dish. #Highlyrecommended.

Deep Fried Sweet Corn Soya Chilli Dip: This feel like you are having/Eating  a Sweet Corn Soup. Nice deep flavour of the soup with every bite. #Recommended

Mains: 

Spaghetti with Lemon Beurre Noisette, Parmesan and Roasted Almonds:  Nicely cooked spaghetti with a hint of lemon. Beurre Noisette is a type of warm sauce used in French cuisine. It can accompany savoury foods, such as winter vegetables, pasta, fish, omelettes, and chicken. It is also used in making French pastry. It is notable for its deep yellow, almost brown colour, and nutty scent and flavour from the heating process. Apart from this Almonds gave a nice crunchy taste to overall dish. #Recommended. 

Baked Lasagna of Creamed leeks, Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes and Cheddar:
It was nice and cheesy, mouth melting Lasagna with smooth leeks and Mushrooms took this dish to the next level. Perfectly Baked to the golden brown. #Recommended. 

Desserts: 

The Sassy Teaspoon, their first stand-alone patisserie and bakery. It has been inspired by French patisseries and they introduced their speciality High Tea every day from 4 pm-7 pm. Sassy Teaspoon has a variety of cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pound cakes and bread baskets of  Croissants and more.

Basil Pine Nut Ice-cream: One of the signature Ice-Cream from Sassy. Pure Bliss with every bite. 

Salted Caramel Macarons: Didn’t liked it much. It was Too dry.  

Sour Cherry Cheese Cake: This is the only Cake available in Sugar free option. Sour Cherry played a good role to cut the Cheesiness and Sweetness of the Cake. 

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Raspberry Short Cake: Again this was good variant from the berry family. Perfect blend of sweetness and the sourness of Raspberry.  

Sassy Stacks: This is again a signature dessert right from the heart of co-owner. Its  Rachel’s twist on red velvet served with Cappuccino foam and Raspberry Caviar. This was one of the best Dessert for the evening.   

Sticky Toffee Pudding: Date & Toffee pudding with caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and candied ginger. Here Ginger’s strong flavour didn’t tickle my taste bud much. So i gave it a pass.

Overall…

the Most Sassiest place is here in town where you can enjoy All day Breakfast and all the meals with amazing Signature Cocktails.

Details For Sassy Spoon Pune :

Zomato Link

Website

Contact Details: +91 7666222111 +91 7666222999 

Some More Pics:

 

Rajdhani- “Aamlicious” the Mango Festival.

DSC05005Introduction:

Rajdhani, The Vegetarian Thali Restaurant which is the flagship brand of Mirah Hospitality has spread its aroma in this industry over the past few decades. Known as a “thali place” with 72 different rotating menus with 22,464 delicacies from Gujarat and Rajasthan, Rajdhani gives even the most regular customers out of more than 9 million delighted guests with the flavour of novelty.

Brand Promise:

The brand has been in existence for over five decades and is renowned for its commitment to authentic& hygienic food, and good service.

Spread:

With a fast pace expansion and over-whelming response by millions across the country, Rajdhani Restaurants has over 28 locations across India and is also present in the Middle East. Come to Rajdhani to savour the taste of tradition.

Rajdhani has one more Brand which serves the Food from the Royal Kitchen.

RASOVARA – THE ROYAL KITCHEN

An exotic vegetarian, royal gourmet Indian meal

Rasovara brings to you, centuries later, the magical food from the palaces. They have spent long months digging into the secrets of the mystical royal kitchens of Rajasthan and Gujarat. They have traced the lineage of the shahi khansamas and dug out precious information from their attics. After months and months of work, they were generously rewarded with a treasure trove of recipes and tradition. They have carefully handpicked the recipes for the us and present it to us on a platter. Right here at Rasovara. Everything you will touch, feel and taste here is a leaf straight out of royalty and a unique experience of India’s rich gastronomic legacy.

Aamlicious – Mango Festival at Rajdhani: Its a two months long festival and serving some blissful Mango flavours delicacies. If you are Mango Lover you should not miss this festival.

Lets start with some Mango Trivia: The variety is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese general and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in India. The Portuguese introduced grafting on mango trees to produce extraordinary varieties like Alphonso. The fruit was then introduced to the Konkan region in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and some parts of southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. (Wiki) 

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There was a display counter where all the food items were kept with all the name tags to it. As almost everything had an Mango in it, no matter it is a Kachi Kairi (Raw Mango) or the Ripened Mango.

The Details of the todays menu as follows:

Welcome Drink: Aam Thandai and Kairi Panna: Both were good, Thandai was loaded with dry-fruits and the Kairi Panna was just refreshing and appetising.

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Farsan: 1. Kairi Stuffed bread Roll: Perfect soft and crispy with a twisted taste of kacchi Kairi with a combination to Indian spices made this Farsan one of the best of the lot.

2. Mango Dry-fruit Ghugra: Loaded with dry-fruits with a nice crunchy cover. It was good in taste.

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3. Shahi Aam Dhokla: Three layer Dhokla was bit stiffer compare to the regular Dhokla, for which the feedback was given.

4. Chatpata Kacchi Kairi Muthiya: Bright red colour marinated with all the tangy spices, those who have a taste developed for it they will relish it.

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Special of the Day: Mango Dal Dhokli: Although the Dhokli was less, it was served hot and the taste wise it was amazing. Nice consistency of the dal with perfect sweetness to it.

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Vegetables: 1. Arbi Mango Rassawala: It had very similar taste to the Dahi wale Gatte ki Subji. Almost all the ingredient were similar.

2. Aam aur Pyaaz ki Subji: Bit oily. Feedback given.

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3. Kaddu Kairi ka Bharta: This was the best of the lot. Perfect in taste and had it was a dry Subji.

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4. Aam ki Launji: Aam ki launji is essentially a pickle type Rajasthani chutney made by cooking raw green mango pieces with basic Indian cooking spices and sugar. Generally eaten with the Khoba Roti.

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Dal/ Kadhi: Malabari Mango Kadhi: This was just not right!!! Ripen Mango in a Kadhi. I suggested them to make it with the Pakoda with Kacchi Kairi Stuffing, which they also  agreed and said they would definitely give it a try to this option.

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Khichadi and Mango Pulav: Khichadi was the regular signature taste soft and soothing Khichadi, on the other hand Mango Pulav was rich in taste and the small mango pieces gave a sweet taste to the Pulav. Although the Pulav had lots of Dry-Fruits as well but Mango gave a distinct taste to it.

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Raita: Mango Pachadi: Finely shredded raw mango mixed with fresh yogurt with strong indian spices like hing and mustard seeds.

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Desserts:  Aamras and Aamrakhand: Both were just perfect. Right amount to sweetness along with perfect consistency.

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This Festival thali is charged at Rs 399/-. It will continue till May end. 

Thali with full Details:

Rajdhani ThaliIMG_1787

Some More Pictures to drool:

Rajdhani Details:

Facebook link.

Website

Twitter

Zomato

This was Food Tasting invite for the ongoing Mango Festival. Big Shout out to Lazeez Stories  and Reach out

BARAZA BARS & BITES- Food and Drinks Tasting.

Introduction:

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, Pune gets a perfect getaway spot to unwind after a long day or to relax on a weekend, a unique one of a kind island-themed bar and lounge experience, Baraza Bars & Bites.

This concept is the third brand by Rachel Goenka and Chef Irfan Pabaney, the owners and founders of The Sassy Spoon and Sassy Teaspoon, which recently opened its doors to Pune. 

Pune is the first location for Baraza and is located in Ishanya Mall at Yerwada.

The concept of Baraza embodies an island or beach like feel to it coupled with a homely taverna like atmosphere. The idea and thought behind the design of Baraza was to create a ‘destination’ that immediately transports you to another placeThe place channels in the relaxed and laid-back vibe of Goan shacks, Spanish tavernas and Portuguese botecos. Influences from these places can be seen in the interiors as well as the al fresco area with the tall trees and palm foliage to give an island-like feel.

The bright and colourful external wall frescos are inspired from the tiled facades of houses in Portugal and are reminiscent of the colourful houses dotting the streets in Fontainhas, Panjim. Elements like the country-tiled ceiling, eaves board, the wrought iron grills and beautifully patterned tiles or the azulejos, have been incorporated in the design and the walls serve as displays for collectibles and curios.

The 224 seater space, sprawling across 5,670 sq. ft. is divided seamlessly across the indoor and outdoor area with the azulejos running across the length of the indoor area. The outdoor area has a verandah that overlooks a beautiful tropical garden, picnic benches, a canoe that functions as a table and a Volkswagen Bar, under streamers of carnival lights, serve up a happy ambience. The vintage furniture and light elements add to the overall mood of the space.

 The cuisine at Baraza is a creative mix of Indian, Asian and Bar Snacks, with food that compliments the drinks and comprises of comfort food and bar bites which one can nibble whilst drinking. Some unique appetizers include Boneless chicken lollipop with sambal sauce, Stir Fried Pepper Lamb in noodle basket, Pull apart bread with pesto, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Some of the delish sliders would include BBQ Pulled Pork with raw mango, Mushroom done two ways topped with cheese, Goan Style Roast Tenderloin and kimchi. Baraza will also serve veg & non-veg rolls, Asian bowls, biryanis and desserts.

The bar menu at Baraza is an interesting mix of its signature drinks such as The Baraza Mule, Punch Buggy, the flavoured beers especially Lemongrass, Juicy Fruit, Soul Kadi , Brew Baraza and the Big Daddy cocktails, like Big Daddy LIIT, Fire Island, Big Baraza Bang  which are half litre drinks with 150 ml of spirits. Some of the unique shooters include Nutty Professor & Caribbean Sunrise. Moreover, Baraza will be offering the highest number of draught & craft beers on tap for the first time in Pune and 8 different craft beers of which 4 beers are from Independence Brewing Co & 4 beers are from Effingut.

Baraza will have interesting properties each day of the week, with live performances, renowned DJs playing at the venue once a month and an in-house DJ spinning the console to different genres of music, to cater to everyone.
Baraza will focus on The B Life Non Stop, which is Eat, Drink, Party, Repeat, to keep up with the energetic, buzzing yet relaxed vibe of the place, for anyone who wants to unwind, catch up with friends, party or just have a good time.

I was Invited for the Food and Drink Tasting event along with fellow foodies. We were introduced to Chef Irfan Pabaney, owner and head chef Baraza and Pranav Mody,  Mixologist at Baraza.

Cocktails 

Willy Wonka- Willy Wonka was a fictional character in Roald Dahl‘s 1964 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, its sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. They had a fictional Chocolate bar by the name Wonka Bar where the Willy had secretly stored the Golden Tickets. This was just a co-relation with the drink. 

Although this was an excellent combo of Whisky and Milk Chocolate Martini and its a treat for the Whisky lovers but with a twist. It was Smooth yet hard to taste. I bet this will take you to the next level of the Cocktails. 

Citrus Bomber- Rum Fresh Citrus Fruits: It was a refreshing drink overall with the strong presence of citrus fruits and Rum’s warmth added the illusion effect to the drink. I would call it as slow poison as it gave the effects little later after the drinking. 

Double Trouble- This is the pure version of Hard Coffee with some twirl of Vanilla Vodka, Coffee Liqueur, Cream, Espresso Shot. Perfect Drink to order after a long day. 

Flavoured Beers: (All are Must have) 

Kingfisher Khatta- Kala Khatta was so strong that Beer’s taste was was almost untraceable. Felt like having a Full glass of Kala Khatta with crushed ice. 

Kingfisher Passion Fruit- This was another refreshing drink, nice lemony yellow in colour, Taste wise: it had good presence to beer taste to it. It had Passion fruit puree and infused with beer. Excellent cooler in the summers. 

Further some Mocktails were served: 

Paan Banarasi Wala- Very ingeniously served, Paan Flavour juice with a dash of lime and loaded with crushed Ice, and nice spoonful of Gulkand on top of it. Beetle leaf added the contrast to the overall appearance of the drink.

Cosmic Bubble- This was the most talked about drink… Candy floss was placed on the edges of the Glass and then the Citrus mix was poured on to the Floss and which later got dissolved into the glass. This was just apart from all the drinks which were served. 

Cilantro & Ginger Mojito and Mandarin & Mint– Both these drinks are perfect for the summer thirst quenchers. fresh ingredients used like Ginger Malta orange, Mint & Lime. 

Pink Apple Lemonade- This was the most unique combination of Apple, Mint, Lemon, Fizz very close to girl thing!! 

Coffee Cooler- This is one more drink from the menu offered for the coffee lovers. Basic ingredient is Cold Brew Coffee, Citrus Flavour. 

Virgin Berry Khata Slush: One of the signature Drink from the team Baraza. It will give a mix feeling of brain freeze and khatta tingling taste in your first sip. 

Sides and Mains:

Pull apart bread with pesto, mozzarella & cheddar cheese: Big Block of bread loaf with 2 types of cheese with pesto flavour, although the Cheese could have been more. Pesto flavouring can also be increased.

Rava paniyarram with Keral chutney, ghee & curry leaf tadka: Freshly ground spices in the Keral Chutney made this dish more aromatic and tasty. Rava Paniyaram were well cooked and the South indian dishes can’t be completed without the Curry Leaf Tadka. #MustHave 

Three cheese & chutney naan with chat masala: The main ingredient was Cheese was very less which was informed to the chef as well. So can’t really comment on this. 

American corn tempura with chilli, spinach & Sriracha mayo: Very similar to the corn fitters just to the addition of Spinach and Sriracha Mayo which changed the taste to next level. I personally found this dish bit oily which can always be reduced. With a first bit it had nice crunchy and tempting to have more taste. It is good to go with Beers. 

SLIDER- Mushroom dine two ways topped with cheese: One bite sliders were well cooked and taste wise it was good. The crunchiness was intact and this is good to go with the any cocktails. 

Desserts:

Boozy brownie with homemade vanilla ice-cream: This is one of the amazing dessert I have had. On a hot pan the Brownie top with Ice-Cream and drizzled with some Chocolate sauce, now the fun part comes lit alcohol is poured over the Ice-Cream and brownie which creates flammable pan and it gives subtle flavour of both the brownie and the alcohol mixed chocolate sauce. #MustHave 

Nutella creme brûlée with pistacho and almond biscotti: Mouth melting Creme Brûlée, Crème brûlée is usually served in individual ramekins. Discs of caramel may be prepared separately and put on top just before serving, or the caramel may be formed directly on top of the custard, immediately before serving. To do this, sugar is sprinkled onto the custard, then caramelized under a salamander broiler or with a butane torch. Perfect in Taste. Being little extra sweet tooth more sweet could have been good. #Musthave

Classic banoffee pie with baileys ice-cream (Eggless): Not much fanboy of Banofee so I gave it a skip. 

Churros with chocolate sauce and snicker chunk ice-cream: Nice big chunky pieces of Churros served with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream. Generally Churros are thin and long but these were big fat and soft churros. #MustHave

Flourless chocolate cake with basil pine nut ice-cream and salted caramel: It was Soft not too sweet, I like the Basil Pine nut Ice cream more then anything. It was just super tasty. 

Overall, Baraza is an eclectic space that offers diverse experiences under one roof. It is a fresh take on the old-world charm, that is bound to induce nostalgia, yet is modern at the same time.

I personally thank you Chef Irfan and Mixologist Pranav and the rest of the Team Baraza for hosting us.

A big Shout out to Svetlana from Carpe Diem for the invitation.