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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Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Lifestyle, Lunch, Quick Meals, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews, Travel, Work

3 Spices – Double Tree by Hilton, Pimpri-Chinchwad.

Located in the heart of Pune’s Industrial belt, Double Tree by Hilton is an ideal venue for a lunch meeting, corporate event, or even to stay on a business trip.
I was recently invited to their restaurant ‘3 Spices’ for the launch of their new menu.

A warm inviting ambiance with a lively vibe, this place isn’t just for mundane meetings, but also a good venue for an evening out with family and friends.
We started the tasting session with an assortment of wines from Sula Vineyards, and some delectable starters to go with it.

Keeping in mind the preferences of the guests, the newly designed menu is a mix of cuisines, to cater to all palates.

There’s a wide variety to choose from Indian, Oriental, & Continental cuisine.

A special mention has to be made about the Desserts though. Everything on the dessert counter looked so attractive, that we started our meal with a couple of desserts !

We were quite literally alternating between the sweet and savoury courses.
I particularly enjoyed the Continental cuisine and preferred to stick with that, over the Indian mains. And then some more desserts ofcourse !

The place felt a little crowded and noisy later, as the restaurant was almost packed to capacity by late evening…but then again, that’s a good sign…right?
Everything from the food, to the plating, presentation and the service was upto the mark & definitely worth another visit.

* Bloggers table was hosted by 3 Spices *

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Food Blog, Food Blogger, Lunch, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews

Farm to Table Sunday Brunch at Hyatt Regency, Pune.

​Sundays are meant to be enjoyed lazying around, catching up with friends and family, and ofcourse enjoying a laid back brunch.

That’s exactly what I did last Sunday at the Farm to Table Sunday Brunch at Hyatt Regency.
This brunch offers you an assortment of cuisines that use fresh, organic seasonal produce, seafood, meats, all procured from local farmers markets and suppliers.
The freshest and most tempting fruits, & veggies welcome you, as you walk into the The Cafe for brunch.

The spread is large indeed, with something to please every palate.
They serve everything from Salads, Chaat , to Lebanese (read Hummus, pita , fattoush, tabouleh, babaganoush) to Japanese (read Sushi – Ok ….the vegetarian ones with Tomato, Bell Pepper and Okra wasn’t impressive at all….but the standard ones like Crab, Prawn, and Tuna more than make up for it.)
There’s a Salad and Pasta station where you can get your dishes customised as per your choice.
The Grill counter offers an array of Chicken, Shellfish and other Seafood, Beef (buff) etc)
For mains, you can choose from a plethora of dishes, whether it’s a spicy, rustic Chicken Rassa, Thecha, Zhunka and Bhakri you’re craving, or a perfectly cooked Dum Biryani or Murgh Makhni.
The vegetarians have a choice of the freshest seasonal produce cooked right in front of them, be it Indian Curries, Thai delicacies or Salads.
The enticing aroma of Thai curry and steamed fish wafting from a corner of the restaurant is sure to lead you there, and try out the delicious Curry and Rice. You can choose from the variety of seafood, chicken or vegetables and get your curry made as per your preference.
If you’re more a ‘wine and cheese’ kinda person, then you’re in luck. The restaurant offers a huge selection of Cheeses and Cold Cuts to enjoy with your favourite wines.
I’m sure no matter how much you eat, there’s always a little corner in the tummy reserved for Dessert !

Those with a sweet tooth will have a tough time choosing from the countless options on offer.

Everything looks so good, and tastes equally good, that you wish you spent all day there !

End your meal with a lovely cup of cappuccino (if that’s even possible, after eating so much !)
I really wish they extend their brunch hours though.

Atleast 12:00 – 16:00….(instead of 12:30 – 15:30)
*Review conducted on Invite*

‘Farm To Table Sunday Brunch’ will be on till February end

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Food Blog, Food Blogger, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews

‘Bubble Bee’ – Aundh, Pune 

​So…all those instagram pics & posts, all that hype Everywhere on social media dragged me to this place, ‘Bubble Bee’ at Aundh.
My experience in one word..? ” Meh ”
I really didn’t understand what all the hype was about. It’s just (below) average waffle with (below) average toppings and hardly any choice.

They were serving only 2 types of waffle base (atleast that evening when I visited) – Chocolate & Red Velvet.

I chose Red Velvet… so was obviously looking for Cream Cheese to go with it.

But all they have is Whipped Cream and Coffee Cream.
And top it off with either ferrerorocher , kitkat or fruits .
So I had an underwhelming combination of Red Velvet (?) Waffle with whipped cream and 1 Ferrero Rocher cut in half, which basically does NOTHING to enhance the falvour.

Had it been crumbled on top, or mixed with the cream, there would have been a textural and flavour twist to the otherwise boring whipped cream.

At roughly 150….170/- something, for that waffle, I have better options in town.
As for the bubbletea , I’ve had toooo much of it while in southeastasia … and this one does not match up at all !

So if you go there expecting that taste and quality, then I’m afraid it’s going to be disappointing.
Tried the Green Apple flavour with Passion Fruit flavoured Pearls. (Juicy ‘Boba’….not the chewy starchy tapioca pearls I was looking for)
At 120/- for a small glass of overly sweet (premix) drink, it was some more disappointment for the evening.

The flavoured tapiocapearls , are not even close to the real slightly ‘chewy’ pearls you would expect in a bubbletea.

These are like juicy, liquid filled globules (boba) that instantly burst in your mouth.
They do have a ‘jelly’ variation instead of the boba pearls, but will I go there again just to try that out ? ummm… I doubt.
Ohh btw… Waffles and Bubbletea are the only 2 things served at Bubble Bee. 

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Dinner, Food Blogger, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews

Culinary Collection Fest at JW Marriott Pune

Food festivals featuring different cuisines and guest chefs from all over the country and abroad is a common thing now.
But what a fabulous concept it is to have a festival showcasing and celebrating works of so many chefs and their specialities all at the same time.
J W Marriott Pune which has a mix od restaurants specializing in different cuisines, is hosting the Culinary Collection fest at all its different restaurants – Spice Kitchen, Paasha, Alto Vino, Shakahari, and PBC.
The bloggers table was hosted by JW Marriott at their swanky 24th floor restaurant Paasha which gives you a brilliant view of the city by night.
‘Paasha’ is serving authentic Arabian cuisine by Chef Nicola of JW Marriott Dubai.

The mezze platter was my pick of the evening.
While ‘Shakahari’ is serving a twist on some classic Indian vegetarian dishes and ‘Spice Kitchen’ is serving Srilankan delicacies.
‘Alto Vino’ has Chef Christian Huber who is joined by his twin, Chef Andreas, to dish out cuisine from their native place in North Italy.
And our very own stellar Pastry Chef Vikas Bagul, whom I very religiously follow (read – ‘stalk’…! ) on Instagram, is heading the ‘Chocolate on Canvas’ collection at PBC.
He has created some beautiful edible art on canvas, using single origin chocolates from all over the world. This one is definitely worth a look.

All the festivals are on till 15th Oct 2016.
So make that dinner plan ASAP and dont miss out on this Culinary Collection.

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Food Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews

Syrakko , Mundhwa

Looking for a lovely fine dine, with a beautiful ambiance, delicious food and excellent cocktails, to impress that special someone? ‘Syrakko’ is The place.
Perfect for a quiet cozy date night, or even for a meal with your family.
They have a long list of cocktails and I strongly recommend, you try some of them.
My pick for a light refreshing summer drink is the ‘Fresh Mowed Lawn’
A refreshing blend of chilled cucumber juice and Vodka.
But if you are a coffee lover like me, then the Espresso Martini is a must have !
I twisted mine with Bourbon instead of Vodka…and boyyy the combination of that strong espresso with bourbon was an absolute delight !
Moving on to Soups- I tried Chicken and Almond Shorba.
Its one of those subtle, creamy soups that you could just go on having on a cold rainy night. So warm and comforting. The garlic melba served on the side deserves a special mention. I loved it.
I chose Malai Prawn Tartlets for starters. True to its name, the prawns were indeed very creamy and delicately flavoured. The flaky, buttery shortcrust base was done nicely and the garnish of microgreens gave the dish a fresh crisp edge.
I was keen on trying the Prawn and Chorizo Risotto from the mains.
I love the strong, almost pungent aroma of spicy chorizo sausages. But it can be overpowering if used excessively.
Happy to say, the rissotto was flavourful with just the right quantity of chorizo used in it. The chef was careful enough not to overpower the dish with too much chorizo, while still infusing the perfect amount of flavour required.
The tender, succulent prawns added the delicate balance to this dish. Quite impressive!

In a fine dining restaurant we are generally used to seeing tiny portions on the plate, which leave you wanting more. (or maybe I’m just the greedy one…lol)
But at Syrakko the portions are pretty generous…so much, that I found it difficult to finish my rissotto!

There’s always room for a little dessert no matter how full you are…and at Syrakko, you definetly have so much to choose from !

‘Paan’ pannacota….Yes you read it correctly. Paan infused panacota is definitely worth a try. A bit too sweet for my liking, but a nice dessert for all those with a sweet tooth.

But my pick is definitely the ‘Espresso Phirni with Tiramisu Granita and Chocolate Soil.’ Honestly, the idea of ‘Espresso Phirni’ didn’t quite appeal to me when I first read it on the menu.
But it was so flavourful, and the tiramisu granita with the crunchy chocolate soil was a medley of different tastes and textures on my tongue.

The massive coffee lover that I am, having coffee in my drinks, and in my dessert was like being in coffee heaven !

Syrakko opens this week, so next time you want to plan a family dinner, or want to impress that special someone, you know where to go !

Bon Appetit 🙂

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