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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Good News Dhaba – Ishanya Mall Pune 

There’s good news for all Punekars…yeah… quite literally ‘Good News’, coz that’s the name of this Modern-Desi Dhaba at Ishanya !

Going to keep this review pretty short and simple.

So why is it good news…You ask ?

Coz this :

Great Ambiance – ✔

Interesting (& Potent!) Cocktails – ✔

Good Food – ✔

Friendly & Efficient Service – ✔

This place just ticks all the right boxes.

A special mention to the OTT decor ! All that kitsch, all that bling, the quirky wall art, massive light fittings made with chai kullad & cutting chai glasses, a full size bathtub to chill beer bottles (yeah, you read that correctly, they have placed a bathtub with overhead showers that work, bang in the middle of the bar !)

And as garish as all this sounds, all these elements come together and totally work somehow, giving this place a very fun and lively vibe !

Over to the food and drinks –

They serve some interesting (read- potent) cocktails with equally interesting names. 

The bar bites are not your usual chips and peanuts, but a rather interesting concept where they serve a basket of Khichiya Papads and along with that a tray full of ingredients to make your own chutney.

So you get small bowls of mint, coriander, yogurt, ginger, garlic, chillies, etc along with a small mortar & pestle. Mix and grind ingredients to your liking and enjoy your chutney with those rather addictive papads.


Though not a big fan of soup or shorba,  the Murgh Galliana Shorba was quite the bomb ! I could literally just have that instead of dinner on a lovely breezy winter evening. 

Paneer de sholay , Jhinga Kalimiri, Highway Mutton Seekh Kabab, were my favoutires from the menu we tasted that evening.

Also, do save some appetite for that simple yet hearty and delicious Langar Dal Amritsari , which we mopped up with some hot fluffy naan. 

If you have a sweet tooth, then there’s Rabdi, matka kulfi, Paan- Choco bon bon that you can end your meal with. 

Good News indeed, right ?! 

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Baali to Baan Tao – Indonesian Food Festival at Hyatt, Pune.

Get a feel of your favourite holiday destination, Bali, sitting right here in Pune ! 

Been Tao -Hyatt, Pune is hosting an Indonesian Food Festival till 5th December, where you can tuck into delicacies like Sari Segara, Lawar Kacang Panjang , Soto Ayam, Ikan Bakar, Bubur Injin to name a few. 

This a la carte menu is curated by Chef Nyoman, from Grand Hyatt Bali, who explained the nuances of each preparation as we sampled each dish in the menu at the preview of this festival. The attention to detail can be seen in the fact that Chef Nyoman brought with him, some of the essential herbs and spices that would be unavailable in India, to ensure that the dishes are as authentic as possible. 

Out of all the dishes we sampled that evening, here are few of my favourites – 

Gado Gado – A salad made with steamed vegetables, tofu, bean curd, egg,  peanut sauce. 

Lawar Kacang Panjang – Long bean salad made with minced chicken , grated coconut, & Balinese bumbu spice.

Chef also gave us a quick demo of how this salad is made. Simple ingredients with subtle flavours. Very light and refreshing. 

Next up were the Prawn, Fish, Lamb & Chicken Satay, out of which the Prawn and Fish Satay were my favourite. The lemonlemongrass stalk used as a skewer for the satay infused a great aroma into the meat as it cooked. 

Lamb satay turned out rather tough and chewy, maybe because of the way it was cut into chunks. So that was bit of a disappointment. But the fish & prawn more than made up for it. 

Sari Segara – This was easily the best dish for me, from that evening. Sari Segara means ‘everything from the Sea’.

This was a seafood soup which consisted of prawns, clams, mussels, squid & fish. The seafood was cooked in a broth flavoured with lemongrass, lemon leaves, fried shallot, potato & beans. Very subtle flavour of the aromatics which let the original seafood flavour shine through. 

Nasi Goreng – A popular fried rice dish , is served with lamb satay & chicken on the side & topped with fried egg. Except for the lamb satay which was rather tough & chewy, everything else on the plate was quite well cooked & balanced in flavour.  

Balinese Lamb Curry – This curry which is best had with steamed rice, has chunks of perfectly cooked tender lamb, braised in coconut milk, fresh turmeric, galangal, & lemon leaf. Quite a hearty dish. 

Bubur Injin – The only dessert on the menu , but definitely a good one if you like a warm rice porridge sorta end to the meal. This one is a Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk. Moderately sweet, with a nice creamy texture of the coconut milk, & black rice which has a nice al dente texture to it. This is one of those slightly warm comforting desserts you’d want to have on a winter evening. 

This festival is open for Lunch as well as Dinner till 5th December 2017 at Baan Tao, Hyatt Pune. 

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Panash, at Four Points by Sheraton launches new menu. 


Panash, at Four Points by Sheraton which is well known for its subtle yet classy interiors, calm & relaxed vibe and excellent service, has recently launched their new menu.

Curated by Chef Tenzin, this pan Asian menu offers to the guests a wide selection of preparations, that would please all palates.

While you have a wide choice of Sushi made the authentic way, you also have a section of it curated especially for the vegetarian guests, or for those who like a bit of Indian or fusion touch to their food.

Along with this, there are various streetfood style preparations like Stir Fried veggies and meats, Pad Thai noodles, dumplings, crisp lotus stem and lotus leaf wrapped chicken, prawns in xo sauce, to name a few. The dumplings which had a chicken & mushroom filling were spot on, in terms of flavour and texture. Also a plus point to them for not adding artificial food colouring, and instead using vegetables to give a natural colour to the dumpling flour.

You would also find on the menu, some unique desserts like coconut pancakes, & lemongrass panacotta, which I really enjoyed. I would have liked to see a better garnish on the lemongrass panacota though…maybe a lemongrass leaf & a citrus garnish, instead of a regular chocolate garnish, which quite honestly had nothing to do with the core ingredients of the dessert, & looked slightly out of place.

But just that minor point aside, most of the preparations were pretty good, and definitely worth a try.

The restaurant is open for dinner service, 7 pm onwards. Do check it out !

* Bloggers table was hosted by Panash *

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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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That Susegad Sunday Lunch. Goan Thali Experience -Authenticook, Pune. 

My phone has been buzzing non stop since Sunday afternoon, after I posted #instastories of this goan  lunch…Everyone’s asking the same question ! 😁 So let me tell you more about this epic Goan thali we had 2 days ago. This meal was hosted by home cook Soniya (Instagram – @sonan23) at her residence at Wanowrie, Pune. 

For those of you who already know about @authenticook , you can book this particular meal online & check other upcoming events as well…and for those who don’t , I suggest you check the #authenticook page for more details, & thank me for it ! 😁

So, back to this stellar seafood Thali. Lunch started with a glass of lovely chilled Solkadi; Which was then followed by this massive meal comprising of tival, friedfish, chickenxacuti , crabcurry, neerdosa, prawnssukka, prawncurry, clamsukkha, kismoor, rice & serradura.. Phew ! 😅 I think the picture says it all, but if I must describe it, I can only think of 1 word right now, BRILLIANT ! 

Low on oil & spice but so full of flavour, each dish had its own unique texture & flavour & it was evident that a lot of effort & careful planning had gone into preparing this meal. 

I’ve had a LOT of goan food, as I’ve lived in Goa for quite some time, & this meal is as authentic as it can get. Highly highly recommended ! 

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Bengali food festival at Eighty Eight, Hyatt Pune.

Chef Suvendu Roy & team have have come up with yet another must visit food festival, from a land best known for its poetry, music and delicious food….Bengal ! 

Extend the festivities a bit more and indulge in this rich cuisine once, before you start with your diet again, post Diwali. 

This amazing buffet which serves different delicacies everyday include Bhetki Machar Paturi, Mochar Chop,  Cholar Dal, Aloo Pateler Tarkari, Sarse Hilsa, Kosha Mangsho to name a few. 

You will also find here, a variety of street style foods, soups, momos, rolls, noodles and other Tangra style preparations, which are an equally important aspect, when you think of the typical daily cuisine from Bengal.

This fest is on till 3rd November, at Eighty Eight, Hyatt Pune. 

At 1300++ per person, this huge buffet is definitely worth a try, & value for money. 

And how can any Bengali meal be complete without their famous desserts ?! 

Indulge your  sweet tooth with an array of desserts that include the legendary Rosogulla , Misti Doi  & much more ! 

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