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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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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Rawa Fried Prawns *warning – Highly Addictive ! * 


* Rawa Fried Prawns * –

These crisp golden fried prawns are so easy to make, & highly addictive ! 

They make an excellent bar snack or even as a side dish with a fish curry- rice meal. 

If you want to serve these at a party, you can marinate the parwns in advance & then just fry them up before serving. 

You will need – 

■ 1/2 Kg Prawns (shelled & deveined) 

■ Red chilli powder, Turmeric Powder, & Salt – to taste 

■ Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1/2 tsp

■ Tamarind Pulp/Kokum Extract/Lemon Juice – 1/2 tsp 

■ Semolina (Rawa) & Rice flour – as required.

■ Oil – to shallow fry. 
● Shell, Devein & wash the prawns thoroughly. Drain excess water. 

● In a mixing bowl, make a paste using Red Chilli Powder, Turmeric, Salt, Ginger-Garlic Paste, & Kokum extract. 

● Add the cleaned prawns to the mixing bowl & rub the spice paste into the prawns taking care that each prawn is coated well with the spice mix. Set aside to marinate for 30 mins. 

● In a bowl or plate mix some rice flour & semolina (1 part rice flour : 3 parts semolina) You can add a pinch of Salt, chilli powder & turmeric to this mixture if you wish. Coat the marinated prawns with this semolina mixture & dust off excess. 

● In a non stick pan, heat couple of tablespoons of oil & shallow fry the prawns till golden brown. Do not keep flip or stir them frequently. Cook on one side for 2 mins & then flip once to cook on the other side for another minute or 2. 

Overcooking will make them tough & chewy. 

~ Taste best with a generous squeeze of lemon, some salad on the side & chilled beer ofcourse ! 😉🍻

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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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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 * 

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When all else fails, CHEESE.

​When all else fails, Cheese ! 


It’s been raining non stop, & the weather’s so nice & cool. Perfect for a day long Baking session. I made grand plans for the day! 

First up, kneading the bread dough, as it would take the longest to ferment. That done, I left the sourdough to ferment. Then got on with marinating some chicken, which I later planned to bake along with thin slices of potato, onion, cream & cheese. Marination done, I turned to the fermented dough, shaped & scored  a lovely french baguette, & put it in the oven to bake. 

Within 20 minutes the aroma of freshly baked bread was wafting through the kitchen. So now it was the Chicken that had to go in, to bake. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes, onion, chicken, herbs, cream & cheese were all set to bake & turn into a magical dish, which would later be devoured while listening to the pitter patter, sitting by the french window. 

I poured myself a glass of wine, & settled for a bit, waiting for the chicken to be ready in another 20 mins….

And then….BAM ! 😑 *power cut * 

How could I be SO naive & optimistic about this ‘Baking on a Rainy Day Plan’ ?! 

This is #pune ! Even 10 mins of rain, results into hours of powercut ! Hmmph… 

But I wasn’t gonna let my plans be ruined, just bcoz this brilliant ‘Smart City’ decided to cut off power suply! 😏 

So out came the next best thing – the Cheese Board ! 

Now how can you go wrong with a Cheese Board & Wine ?! 

* That’s why I always say – Stock up your groceries smartly * 

I had all the essentials of a Cheese platter ready, & all it took was a little assembling. 

So within minutes we had – Olives, Parmesan, Gruyere Crisps, Mild Cheddar, some Fruit Preserves, Spanish Chorizo, & the lovely fresh warm baguette ready, for a candlelight evening by the window, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, sipping wine & having an awesome evening. 

Well played ‘Smart City’….But I’m smarter than you 😏😎😂

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One of the healthiest ways to Gamble is with a Spade and a pack of Garden Seeds ! 🌾 

I like growing my own vegetables & herbs. 🌾 I like being able to tell people that the food I’m serving started out as a seed in my yard. 😊

And you know what guys, it really doesn’t require a lot of space. You can grow these beautiful plants in pots, on your terrace, balcony, or a windowsill even ! 

I’ve been growing Lemon grass, curry leaves, chillies, basil, lemon, mulberries, coriander, tomato, capsicum, garlic chives, mint, etc besides a lot of flowering plants & climbers on my small terrace (and 1 pot is dedicated to the small wild birds that love to feast on the fresh Millet that I plant for them 😊)

I haven’t used a single drop of chemical fertilizer or pesticides till date. Just a good mix of soil, coco-peat, vermicompost, & kitchen waste like crushed egg shells, vegetable trimmings, tea leaves, etc. Its such a joy to be able to just go to the balcony & pluck a handful of mint & coriander leaves to make green chutney or for a garnish. Some fresh fragrant Curry Leaves & spicy chillies for a nice Tadka to a simple dal. The evening tea or a nice piping hot bowl of Pho on a rainy evening is made with the freshest most fragrant lemon grass ! Salad made with freshly plucked tomatoes & capsicum. Simple pleasures !

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