Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Lifestyle, Lunch, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews, Travel

MasalaBar – Balewadi High Street, Pune 

As you must’ve heard already, Masala Bar is now open in Pune, a fairly new addition to the food scene at Balewadi High Street, this is a typical modern gastropub that offers an eclectic mix of food & drinks.

I was recently invited to a tasting, & here’s my take on this place.

This review is actually a mixed bag of sorts.

While there are some things I really liked a lot, there were few others that were totally disappointing.
The decor and overall vibe of the place is trendy, modern & lively; but completely misses the point when it comes to using that word ‘Masala’ in their name, which is supposedly their USP.

I would’ve liked to see a bit of that Masala element in their decor, more like an Indo Western look, instead of a run of the mill swanky eatery.

They have however taken the whole Masala concept a bit too far in their cocktails, by adding copious amounts of Indian Spices to all of their signature drinks.

From their list of signature cocktails that we tried, the Chai Whiskey Pe Charcha, Whiskey Business, Bombay Velvet , Imli ka boota , & Jaadu Tona were all very heavy on spices like Cinnamon, Star Anise, Kewra , etc. The spices were overpowering all other flavours including those of the alcohol in the cocktail.

I mean yeah, all the theatrics of adding dry ice and using fancy and unusual glasses and paraphernalia adds to the novelty factor. But unfortunately that’s a one time thing. Would it make me go a 2nd time and order that drink again ? I don’t think so.

What worked for me though was their Classic Cocktail, a Whiskey Sour, which had a brilliantly mixed egg white which was frothy, & yet so smooth without any trace of that eggy smell.

I don’t think I’ve ever walked up to the bar & complimented the mixologist on his skills of earating egg whites so well, but this time I did !

Speaking of the food they serve, Masala Bar does serve some interesting bar bites, some of which are like pretty addictive, especially those Pyaaz ke Challe, which are basically crisp fried onion rings generously coated with a spicy south Indian Malaga podi powder. This one is literally unputdownable.

Another favourite was the Guntur Chilli Chicken – spicy, tangy, and heavy flavours of curry leaves and guntur chillies make these tender chicken chunks a great accompaniment with your sundowner.

Murugan baby Idli was another interesting dish as these soft baby Idlis were dunked in the same spicy Malaga podi as the onion rings, and then coated with another tangy chutney.

So far so good I thought,

But then came the biggest let down of the evening.

Khar Danda Jhinga Bhel – An underwhelming mixture of kurmura and all other ingredients of a typical bhel, with Prawns (??!!) on top ..?!!

The bhel on its own had very little flavour of its own, and the grilled prawns were literally just placed on top as if for a garnish. The entire dish felt like a complete mismatch.

Had the bhel been tossed with some fried squid rings, some sauteed dry shrimp or maybe a dash of fish sauce etc, it would’ve atleast had a unique seafood flavour to it, and would’ve made some sense in terms of flavour. But this preparation was a complete No No for me.

Chilli Pork Ribs on the contrary were quite good. I’ve definitely had better ones than these, but the sweet, spicy, tangy sticky glaze on the ribs was quite good. The meat was cooked right, and the serving portion was good too. So overall a satisfactory dish.

Another unusual combination which I quite surprisingly liked was the Thai Curry Risotto.

All the typical flavours of a Thai Curry and the perfectly cooked risotto made from it, the rice had a good bite to it, and the creamy texture from the curry made it quite delicious, along with the crisp banana fritters served with rice.

Now on to the dishes that failed to impress-

Carbon Pav Bhaji. – You read it correctly. The whole activated charcoal trend that has taken the food scene by storm, be it icecreams, smoothies, shakes and now even good ol pav bhaji.

This one was served with an intense black bhaji, and a stack of baby pav, did nothing to impress. Neither the look of the dish, nor the flavour could hold my attention more than a minute. Flavour wise it was too spicy for me, too much masala which hit the throat and had me reaching for a sip of water with every bite. 

Kacchi Dabeli – this was another average dish in terms of flavour and presentation. Honestly, I expected much better (read- innovative) preparations than this one.

I mean why would I go to a place like Masala Bar and order Kacchi Dabeli, when I can have it anywhere else ?! (and tastier than this one, to be frank)


Dessert –

Gulab Air Jamun – this was a couple of gulab jamuns, hidden under a fluffy cloud of Rabdi foam.

This desseet was definitely the better one among the 2 we sampled.

The other one was –

Faces Of Chocolate – Everything you can think of , chocolate soil, chocolate brownie, icecream, chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings, some praline – a huge mish mash of all things chocolate.

We either get tempted to try something, or get totally put off when we 1st look at a dish, well atleast I do. And the look of this chocolate medley felt just too shabby and unappetizing even to a chocolate lover like me.

That said, I think there are some things that work for us, and some just don’t.

Maybe some others might love the dishes that failed to impress me, coz food is after all quite a subjective thing.

What I would like to go for a 2nd time, are those Malaga podi coated Onion Rings, the Chilli Pork Ribs, and that amazing Classic Whiskey Sour ofcourse !

* Bloggers table was hosted by Masala Bar *

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Food Blog, Food Blogger, Home Cooking, Lifestyle, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals

Easy peasy no cook Chocolate Fudge 


Midnight treats ❤

This easy peasy no cook chocolate fudge is just perfect for those midnight dessert cravings, or for a quick snack any time of the day. Just a few simple ingredients, a quick mix, & set in the fridge, that’s it ! Swipe to see the ingredients. 

Here’s what you’ll need – 


● Condensed Milk 

● Unsweetened Biscuits (I used ‘Marie’) You can also use powdered oats, to make it healthier (but nah, I’m good with just the biscuits 😂) 

● Cocoa Powder 

● Walnuts 

● Mixed seeds of your choice (I used Sesame, Flax, Sunflower & Pumpkin seeds ) 

■ In a mixing bowl, Add cocoa powder, chopped walnuts, coarsely powdered/crushed biscuits, & seeds. (keep some for garnishing) 

■ Add condensed milk as required, just enough to make a thick dough like mixture of the above ingredients. Mix well. 

■ Tranfer the mixture to a greased (& preferably lined with butter paper) square tin, & smoothen out the surface. 

■ Sprinkle seeds & chopped walnuts & pat down gently so they set properly. Refrigerate for 15-20 mins & then cut into squares. 

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Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Home Cooking, Lifestyle, Lunch, Motivation, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Quick Meals

I tossed up a delish salad in 5 mins ! 😃

​I’m just a girl, standing in front of a #salad , asking it to be a #doughnut 😒

Anyway, this quick 5 min salad I made for #lunch today was quite good ! 

Grilled #mushrooms & #cottagecheese tossed with some #rocketleaves with a generous sprinkling of Keya all purpose seasoning. That’s it ! (all purpose seasoning was a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, paprika, salt , oregano) 

Mushrooms added a meaty texture to the salad, while the creamy sweetness of #paneer (indian cottage cheese) balanced the peppery flavour of the #arugulasalad ….& it literally took 5 mins to prepare this dish 

(I still want a doughnut though 😂) 

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Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Lunch, Quick Meals, Restaurant Review, Travel

Croque Monsieur et Croque Madame 


* Croque Monsieur et Croque Madame *🗼 

During summer last year, I became slightly addicted to French comfort food, the Croque Monsieur. 💖

When prepared right, this delicious French sandwich can give even the best of American grilled cheese sandwiches a run for their money. 

The story behind the Croque Monsieur (which literally means crispy/crunchy mister 😉) is that, some French labourers accidentally left their lunch boxes filled with Ham & Gruyere Sandwiches near a hot radiator, & by lunchtime, those sandwiches turned into gooey, grilled ham & gruyere sandwiches…which then became a very popular snack among the labourers. 

I’m not sure, if this story is true, but by the 1900s the Croque Monsieur was a standard on every French cafe menu, & the rest, as they say, is history. 

So what’s a ‘Croque Madame’ then ? 

Its basically a Croque Monsieur with an egg on top ! (a fried egg, most of the times)

And just in case all that Ham, Gruyere, & Egg isn’t decadent enough for you, we have additions/substitutes like Bechamel Sauce, or Blue Cheese, Smoked Salmon instead of Ham, thinly sliced Tomatoes/fried Potatoes etc. 

And a definite must have with this snack, is a glass of white wine ! 

So now you know why I got ‘slightly addicted’ to this French comfort food, while I was in Paris, right…? 😜

 (PS- My favourite out of the 2, is ….ahem …the Crispy Mister/Monsieur 😉…..and None of the sandwiches available here in town, can even dream of coming close to the ‘Real’ French ones….Seriously.)

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Food Blogger, Reviews, Travel

Sacre-Coeur, Montmatre. Paris – Travel Diaries. 


The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacre-Coeur, is a Roman Catholic Church, in Paris. 

This majestic structure situated on the top of Montmatre hill, is one of Paris’ major tourist draws. 

And it is from a point on this very hill, that I clicked a picture of the gleaming  Eiffel Tower at night. 

Its best to walk up the hill in the evening (no worries, it’s a regular cobbled street, very safe, and you wouldn’t have to struggle your way up on an actual hilly terrain. However comfortable walking shoes are a must) 

You can also enjoy shopping & eating, on your way up or down the street, since the entire route is dotted with beautiful quaint cafes, & shops. 
I was so hungry by the time I walked down, I had to stop by a cafe, for dinner. They close pretty early though (atleast by the Indian standards), so mine happened to be the last order of their dinner service that evening.

 Lol….I have this habit of placing ‘last orders’ no matter where I am in the world ! Be it Pune or Paris, I guess some things just never change 😂 

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Travel

Evening Strolls & Window Shopping around Sacre Coeur, Paris – Travel Diaries. 

​Evening strolls around #sacrecoeur were more like ‘window shopping strolls’. 

These quaint shops dotted along the cobbled streets leading up to Sacre Coeur offer a huge variety of delicate hand crafted home decor articles, knick knacks like mugs, coasters, planters and other souvenirs. You can buy some beautiful pottery articles, aprons, wall decor pieces to take back home, or simply spend a couple of hours admiring them and just window shopping.

I spent an entire evening just walking up n down the street, enjoying the weather & stopping by the little street cafes for a crepe or coffee, in between strolls. 

And then, as it starts getting dark, there’s a special ‘sight’ in store for you. Stay tuned to the next pic, for more on that 😉 

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Diet, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Healthy Meals, Home Cooking, Lunch, Quick Meals

Junk Food can be made Healthier in just a few simple steps – My version of MAGGI 

​I know this might sound stupid… but honestly… I DO NOT LIKE MAGGI (Or ANY other 2 minute noodles) 😑

But sometimes you need something quick, & easy to make after a long tiring day… or you’re back home late, & there’s not much of an option really. 

 MY version of #maggi is what I make then…. lots of crunchy vegetables, & crispy noodles, spread over regular (instant) cooked noodles. 

This method is not really the quickest, but it’s definitely tastier & much healthier than the regular instant version. 

So here’s what I do – 

● Chop vegetables into small bite sized pieces. You can use any/as many vegetables as you like from this list – Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrot, French Beans, Peas, Cabbage, Spring Onion. (Spring onion should be added at the end of cooking/as a garnish to retain freshness & crunch) 

● Heat a pan and add some oil (couple of teaspoons) 

● Add some crushed MAGGI noodles and stir fry on low heat till golden & crisp. (Always add noodles 1st, let them crisp up, before adding vegetbles) 

● Add chopped vegetables, salt to taste, and Tastemaker /any other spice mix of your choice and stir well. 

● Stir fry the vegetables on medium heat for a few minutes, taking care to retain their crunchy texture. 

● Simultaneously in another utensil, cook the instant noodles as you normally do (boil water, add tastemaker, add noodles & let cook) 

● Add the stir fried crunchy noodles- veggie mix onto the boiled noodles and serve immediately. 

I like the taste & crunchy texture of the stir fried noodles & vegetables along with the softness of the regular cooked noodles…it’s a nice balance of flavours & textures. 

Plus it’s a good way of eating veggies. Makes you feel less guilty about eating junk food (as if I care too much about that 😂😂….No I just like my version much more than the regular boring packet noodles.)

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