Dinner, Food Blogger, Lifestyle, Lunch, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Reviews, Travel

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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Cheflife, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Home Cooking, Lunch, Reviews

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

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My phone has been buzzing non stop since Sunday afternoon, after I posted #instastories of this goan  lunch…Everyone’s asking the same question ! ๐Ÿ˜ 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 ! ๐Ÿ˜

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 ! ๐Ÿ˜… 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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Cheflife, Dinner, Food Blog, Food Blogger, Lunch, Party Snacks / Appetizers, Restaurant Review, Restaurant Reviews, Travel

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

Peshwa – Aundh, Puneย 

One of the best things to have happened in this city, as far as Maharashtrian cuisine is concerned. ‘Peshwa’ originally started in Dubai, opened its 1st outpost in Pune, at Aundh recently… And what a great move this is !

If you’ve been a fan of Maharashtrian cuisine, you’d know that there are 2-3 types of places that serve this type of food.

One is your typical Vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali place where you get simple homestyle meals like Chapati, Sabji, Dal, Rice, Koshimbir, Sweets etc. But strictly vegetarian.

Another type is the Non-vegetarians delight. These places serve mostly Chicken, Mutton & Seafood preparations, which makes it difficult for vegetarian patrons to enjoy along with the non-vegetarians.

Then there are some places that serve a bit of both, veg as well as non veg food, but no alcohol :-/

And then there’s Peshwaa ….that serves it all !!!

That’s right.. a fine dine place that serves authentic Maharashtrian cuisine from all over the State, that also serves alcohol, and gives you the liberty to enjoy a relaxed meal unlike the hustle bustle of the typical no frills eateries serving similar cuisine.

I was recently invited for a tasting at Peshwa.

The 1st impression of this elegant place, true to its name, the gorgeous Paithani curtains, the wall art and decor definitely scores a brownie point.

Rich, elegant , yet subtle interiors are definitely pleasing to the eye, and I’m glad they’ve taken care not to make it too glaring and gaudy in order to make it look royal.

The tasting started off with welcome drinks.

Solkadhi, and Thandai were both pretty good & refreshing.

The starters which consisted of Vegetarian as well as Non veg preparations were all above average.

Except for the Malvani inspired Chicken Kabab that failed to impress. I couldn’t really identify any Malvani element in that dish. The green marination was like a regular Tikka you get at other restaurants, so maybe you could just skip it altogether.

But what I loved was the Chatpapta Prawns. True to its name, lipsmacking good, chatpata, and well cooked.

Sukka Mutton, Kothimbir Wadi, Matter Karanji were all quite satisfactory.

The mains had a mix of cuisines from all over the State, Masale Bhaat, Bharli Waangi, Birdyaachi Usal, Aluu chi Paatal Bhaji, Kombdi- Wade, Amboli, Goan style fish curry, Biryani, all of which were truly tasty and as authentic as possible.

I know this is strange, but a hard-core non vegetarian that I am, I still enjoyed the vegetarian preparations more than non veg…and that’s quite a big compliment to the restaurant ๐Ÿ˜€

What I loved about this place is that they serve desserts which most other Maharashtrian places don’t !

I was absolutely delighted to see my favourite sweet, Kharvas on the menu, and it was very well made, just like the homemade one.

If you love Maharashtrian cuisine, or if you’re new to it, & want to give it a try, I’d definitely recommend Peshwa ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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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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Khiva – Phoenix, Puneย 

‘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 ๐Ÿ˜) 

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. โ˜บ

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

* Bloggers table was hosted by Khiva * 

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Waffling Around, Aundh. Puneย 

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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. 

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