Khiva – Phoenix, Pune 

‘Khiva’ from Mumbai, is the latest addition to the restaurant scene at Phoenix Market City, Pune. 

Considering that this place serves rich, traditional Bukhara cuisine, the decor is quite modern, simplistic, with just a few touches like, artefacts, paintings, Middle Eastern music, that try to stick to the concept of the restaurant. 

I was invited to a Preview dinner last month, & the tasting menu we were served that evening was pre decided by the management. 

Not the best mix of dishes, honestly. I would’ve loved to sample their Signature dishes, or something unique in terms of flavour, style of preparation, & presentation. 

But frankly, how different can a Palak Paneer, a Methi Mutter Malai, or a Rasmalai be, than any other place serving it ? 

The kebabs we tried – Chandni kebab, & Murg Mozarella kebab, both had a similar marination of cream, yogurt, cheese, green chili, & were pretty average in terms of flavour, presentation, and portions.

The vegetarian starters – Makai Seekh Kabab, & Mutter aur Cheese ka Tikka, were both dry and crumbly, & not really big on flavour (and Defintely Not Worth spending close to 400 bucks on!) 

The 1st (& probably the only) impressive dish of the evening was Mutton Lahori, a smooth thin onion based gravy, with absolutely tender melt in the mouth chunks of mutton that tasted brilliant with hot Naan. 

Murg Peshawari was another simple homestyle chicken curry, which is worth a try, but is it worth the high price ? I doubt. 

The vegetarian mains, as I said, were just like any other place serving this cuisne, would prepare. There was nothing different, nothing unique, in the Palak Paneer, Dal Makhani, Methi Mutter Malai or Meloni Tarkari that we were served that evening. The presentation was also as regular & run of the mill as any other place would serve. Which is exactly why I keep wondering why they’re charging whatever they are. (check the prices on Zomato, you’ll know what I mean 😐) 

Chicken Dum Biryani served with Mirch ka salan did not disappoint. Good ratio of meat to rice. Generous sprinkling of saffron and spices, and balanced flavours. No complaints there. 

It takes a very good dessert to impress me, & compel me to go for a 2nd helping, as I’m not really a big fan of Indian desserts. 

The Anjeer Halwa, Angoori Rasmalai, & Lychee ki Tehree served that evening unfortunately failed to compel me to go even for a 2nd bite, leave alone a 2nd helping. 

With the Supreme Court highway ban on alcohol still in place, you will have to settle for a mocktail with your meal at Phoenix, as of now. 

So taking all these factors into consideration, will Khiva be able to impress guests, and have them come over a 2nd time ? 

Well… it’s barely a month since they’ve opened, maybe I’ll just wait for a few more weeks, give them some more time to settle, then try the food again… I’ll reserve my opinion till then. ☺

In the meanwhile, if you do try it out, do let me know about your experience there. 

* Bloggers table was hosted by Khiva * 

Easy Cherry Galette 


Its stone fruit season ! Looking at all those fresh plump juicy peaches, apricots, plums & cherries in the market, makes my mind work overtime, thinking of all the delicious things I can make with these fruits. 

So you’ll be seeing a lot of Jams, pies, tarts & galettes on my blog now. 

Honestly, nothing is simpler than a galette though. 

Served with a scoop of icecream or whipped cream, this handcrafted pie/galette makes for a comforting dessert on a gloomy rainy day. 

Here’s my Cherry Galette recipe for you – 

■ With your fingertips, rub together 100 gms of Flour with 50 gms of chilled butter (i prefer salted – @amulindia butter ), a pinch of Baking powder and 1 teaspoon of icing sugar. 

■ Rub this mixture lightly with just the fingertips, till it starts looking like coarse breadcrumbs. 

■ Add a couple of teaspoons of chilled water/milk to the mixture, & start bringing it together in a ball shape. Do Not knead the flour mixture like a bread dough. Just press it lightly between your palms, to bring it together in a dough ball. 

■ Wrap this pastry dough in a cling film & refrigerate for 15-20 mins. 

■ Take about half cup of fresh cherries (you can also use Peaches/Apricots cut into bite size pcs) Mix in few teaspoons of Demerrara (brown) Sugar, & a drop of Vanilla essence. 

■ Roll out the chilled pastry dough between sheets of Plastic, (roughly the diameter of a Quarter plate.) & roll about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. 

■ Place the rolled dough onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Pile the fruit mixture in the middle, leaving a sufficient border (atleast an inch) along the circle. 

■ Fold the border onto the fruit filling, so that the fruit does not slide off while baking. 

■ Bake the Cherry Galette in a preheated oven at 160° C for 20-25 mins, until the fruits are caramelized &  the pastry is golden-brown. 

■ Serve warm with a dollop of icecream or whipped cream. 

Waffling Around, Aundh. Pune 


The other day I went out for a late night snack/dessert. 

Didn’t want the regular icecreams & shakes, so decided to try ‘Wafflin Around’ at Aundh (opp Croma)

A nice cute little place, which was later invaded by a group of people who had a competition with their unruly kids, over who could be the loudest & most obnoxious of the lot. (Not the restaurant’s fault at all, but all that ruckus, along with the music in the restaurant, kinda ruined my idea of having a nice dessert, on a quiet rainy night before going home & sleeping peacefully) 

Anyway, coming back to the Waffles. This place serves waffle sandwiches, basically half waffle stuffed with filling of your choice, & folded over like a sandwich. 

I tried the Strawberry-Cream waffle which my friend ordered. A mixture of whipped cream & strawberry crush topped with coloured confetti sprinkles. A bit too sweet for my liking. 

My ‘Salted Caramel’ waffle turned out better, with the balance of cream & salted caramel, which didn’t have a tooth ache inducing sweetness. 

However the actual Waffle, needs a bit of change. It was crisp on the outside, as it should be, but sadly it wasn’t at all light n airy inside. The waffle felt too dense and under done inside. 

Will I give it another try ? Yes. 

They have just 2 savoury options, but I’d like to try the Cheese filled waffle sometime. 

The Sassy Spoon, Pune.

​The year has started off with a bang, with some big names coming to Pune.

The much talked about Sassy Spoon from Mumbai is now at Koregaon Park, lane 7, where Jimmy Hu and Brooklyn Shuffle once used to be.

This casual, chic resto bar is tastefully done up, with each section offering a different decor and ambiance.

The air conditioned section with its high ceiling , dim lights and muted tones, a winding staircase leading up to a huge book wall is charming, and impressed me much more than the al fresco section, which is a bright, cheery place with a fresh colour palette. (but honestly felt more like sitting in a Doll House) Yeah… I’m not really a fan of Baby Pinks and Pastels and Doll House kinda colours and decor.

That section is infact their Patisserie called ‘the sassy teaspoon’.
The Bar menu comprises of some promising drinks like Berry Chilli, The Very Berry Khatta, Jack and Ginger, to name a few.
The one drink I had, and thoroughly enjoyed was the ‘Morning Brew’. Espresso, and Whisky spiked with Vanilla and Orange Liquer. This is one drink, I’d go again for.
The food menu is a mix of different cuisines, a bit of Asian, Indian, Mediterranean.
Of all the dishes I tried that evening, my favourites were –

Cajun Spiced Prawns, sitting in a puddle of spiced garlicky oil and a crusty bagguete to mop it all up, is quite nice.
Tenderloin Jerky, Pork Ribs with bbq sauce, are decent on flavour and texture, but not really the best I’ve had.
Savoury Pumpkin Tart with Goat Cheese was quite a pleasant surprise. Buttery tart shell with a lovely smooth velvelty pumpkin filling and a salty goat cheese topping to cut through the sweetness of the pumpkin.
Twice Baked Ementhal Souffle served on a bed of tangy Green Apple salad, and candied walnuts is definitely worth a try.
Now for the the major let down that evening –
Chicken Burger with Wasabi Mayo. (Read – tasteless crumb fried chicken patty, with a dry bun, absolutely No wasabi flavour….rather, no other flavour at all !

McDonald’s would manage a better burger (and those who know me, know well, how much I dislike it)
Another one in the list of let downs, is the Pulled Pork Poi. Underseasond, dry, tasteless and very disapointing indeed.
Desserts from their Patisserie, ‘The Sassy Teaspoon’ looked good on the display counter, but failed to impress on the flavour aspect.

None of the desserts we sampled that evening – Red Velvet Cupcake, Sassy Stacks, Sticky Tofee pudding or the Macarons made me go ‘Wow’ !
The only one I really really liked was a tangy, refreshing Raspberry Sorbet, of which I would gladly have seconds.
In my honest opinion Sassy Spoon seemed like a mix bag… and maybe I had higher expectations.
* the bloggers table was hosted by Sassy Spoon *

New Year -New Menu @212 All Day Bar & Cafe 

This new year 212 introduces a new menu which is going to make all those sticking to their resolution of eating healthy, very happy indeed.

212 has come up with a wide variety of delights for patrons who want to eat out, and still eat healthy. 

Lots of options for the non vegetarians, such as Tea Smoked Shrimp, Cajun Spiced Chicken Pizza, Grilled Norwegian Salmon to name a few.

There are Vegan friendly dishes like the Quinoa Bowl, Coconut and Corn Bisque, Savoury Baklava with kale, leek, potato and caramelized onion. 

Also some gluten free and low/no Carb recipes like Golden Corn & Zucchini Fritters, or the No Carb Spaghetti. 

The tasting started of with a small portion of Coconut and Corn Bisque with burnt garlic and cilantro. It was a bowl of sheer comfort on a cool winter evening. Forget a tasting portion, I could literally have a bucketful of that heavenly stuff and eat nothing after ! 

But I knew Chef Paul Kinny had lots of new dishes planned for the evening, so I had to stop at that tasting portion and give everything else a try.

I’m not really a fan of Quinoa, but this salad bowl had my favourite ingredients like cranberries, mixed greens, pomegranate and roasted almonds. So the Quinoa Bowl wasn’t really disappointing as I earlier thought. Its infact quite a good option for a light lunch /dinner on a summer day. 

Tea Smoked Shrimps with frisse, key lime, olive oil and chia seeds, all with a subtle smokey tea aroma was next. Tender, just cooked right prawns, subtle flavours, nothing overpowering the other. Good stuff. 

212 does a nice rendition of Caprese, with an almost mousse like mozzarella, oven roasted tomato, basil pesto and balsamic. Clearly some good effort gone into making an otherwise boring and lazy salad. 

Cajun Spiced Chicken Pizza with chilli oil drizzle, chipotle spiced pineapple, onion and capers was a perfect medley of sweet, spicy, tangy flavours on a thin crisp crust. 

Next up was Savoury Baklava. Yummm! Unlike the sweet sinful sugary dessert we all know, this savoury treat is actually just as healthy as it is pretty. Crisp sheets of phyllo pastry, layered with kale, leek, potato and caramelized onion. I’d happily eat Kale if someone serves it like this !

The few let down dishes for me that evening were – 

Golden Corn and Zucchini Fritters. The tangy raspberry sauce with a mild hit of pepper, served with the fritters was nice. But the main dish failed to impress. The fritters were not really big on flavour, and had turned limp and soggy rather quickly. 

Beetroot & Ricotta Ravioli with sage brown butter and red onions was another dish that I don’t think I would be ordering again. 

However the No Carb Spaghetti with crunchy zucchini, squash, almonds and carrot is a nice, light, yet filling meal for those on a gluten free/low Carb diet. 

I wish my favourite grilled Norwegian Salmon had entered the scene much earlier, coz it was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. Think, perfectly cooked flaky salmon with a side of potato and scallion confit and caper vinaigrette.

Dessert had the most sinful, decadent Baked Peach Cheesecake, and Baileys Brownie Cheesecake with Strawberry Peppercorn Compote. (Ok…after eating so much of low carb….no carb…salad and quinoa, you’re allowed to cheat a little ! 😜 Hehehe) 

Couldn’t really decide which one was better….so ended up finishing both ! 😂  

*Review conducted on Invite* 

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

‘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.