Around Pune – Atul Karmarkar.Com http://www.atulkarmarkar.com Around Pune, Technology, Startups, Investing, Food Mon, 23 Jul 2018 02:48:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3411319 Dinner at Flying Duck Pune http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/dinner-flying-duck-pune/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/dinner-flying-duck-pune/#comments Sun, 08 May 2016 11:12:54 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3917 First visit to the much spoken about Flying Duck Pune and it was a good one. Had been hearing about […]

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First visit to the much spoken about Flying Duck Pune and it was a good one. Had been hearing about this eatery for quite a while now, thanks to photos and reviews all over social media so a visit was in order.

We made plans to visit on a Tuesday, only to realise they’re closed that day, and eventually went on a Thursday. It’s a small joint with 6 tables and a seating capacity of around 24 but one thing is for sure – whether weekday or weekend, better make a reservation to avoid any disappointment if you just land up there hoping to get a table.

On the flip side, a small joint also means personalised attention from the owner, as was the case here – and Alakesh was quite enthusiastic and forthcoming with suggestions. The Pork Chops here come highly recommended, so that was a no-brainer. Also the main reason we’d come over. They don’t serve alcohol so Lemon Ice Tea seemed as good a drink as any on a hot summer day to accompany the food.

Flying Duck Pork Chops

We also ordered the Smoked Pork with Bamboo Shoot which was a good change, and tasty. We ended up nibbling at it through most of the meal.

Flying Duck Smoked Pork with Bamboo Shoot

The Quail with Sauce and Butter Rice was next, and this was the first time I’ve tried quail, so it was quite an interesting experience. The meat was good and tender and our already messy hands got messier as we got to work on it.

Flying Duck Quail with Sauce and Butter Rice

All the dishes were quite good, and we could see why the Pork Chops here are such a hit. Ticked all the right boxes though could’ve been a tad less spicy. However all of us unanimously agreed the highlight of that evening was easily the Duck with Rice and Legume Sauce. Even Alakesh seemed somewhat surprised that anything could surpass the Pork Chops, but that’s how it was. The second time I was having duck, and it was cooked beautifully and that legume sauce only made things better.

Duck with Rice and Legume Sauce at Flying Duck

Best part – the prices. For all this food, the cost worked out to just ~ Rs. 500 per person, which is absolute value for money! There are several interesting dishes on the menu so another visit or two will be made for sure. The quality of food and the prices together easily make Flying Duck one of the must-try places in the eating out scene in Pune. If you’re looking to head there, just remember:

a) they’re closed on Tuesday
b) there are only six tables so make a reservation to avoid a long wait
c) they don’t accept credit cards (yet), luckily we had enough cash to cover the tab

The last bit is especially important since there don’t seem to be too many ATMs in that area, so carry sufficient cash to avoid doing the dishes later 😉

Flying Duck
Shop 6, The Capital Building,
Baner-Pashan Link Road,
Baner, Pune
Tel # 85518 48481

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Exit in 5 minutes or pay Rs 85 – Pune airport parking is a rip-off http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/pune-airport-parking-charges/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/pune-airport-parking-charges/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 03:09:15 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3906 Recently, I was at the Pune Airport to pick up some guests in the morning. The first thing I noticed […]

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Recently, I was at the Pune Airport to pick up some guests in the morning. The first thing I noticed was the long snaking queue on the approach road (which usually isn’t the case) with a traffic cop making a hash of things (no surprises there).

Pune Airport

When I *finally* entered the premises after being on that road for 15 minutes, there was a guy at a parking meter who handed me a slip. Now I’d not been to the airport for a while and was unaware of this new parking system. That slip, which is time-stamped as you get it, allows you a grand total of FIVE MINUTES in which you have to pick up the passengers, load their luggage, and head out of the airport premises.

This sounds perfectly fine in theory, but anyone who has visited Pune airport will vouch for the fact that 5 minutes is just not enough. The biggest culprit? The queue of vehicles waiting to get out of the airport.

Sounds strange but that’s how it is – you could be done with the actual pick up, seating etc in a couple of minutes, and it could take you more than 3 minutes to reach the exit gate. The first time around, I was surprised when asked to pay Rs 85 since the overall time exceeded 5 minutes by a minute or so (yes, I know there is a blink-and-you-miss-it signboard placed on the road at the entry, stating this), and telling the attendant the line of vehicles in front of me was to blame had no effect.

Also, the attendants there are a bunch of thugs or the bouncer variety, and this guy started hammering on the car bonnet and window when I refused to pay. If it weren’t for the guests in the car, I was all set to argue things out with him or call the supervisor into the fray. Informing the traffic cop outside of this attendant’s behaviour had no effect (“we have no jurisdiction on airport parking”).

The second time around, when I went to drop them – it was almost a similar situation. Dropped and said goodbye in a couple of minutes, and then got behind the line of vehicles wanting to exit. Wonder of wonders, there was a cab parked sideways in front of us – the driver waiting for his passenger to arrive and get in. It was a mad cacophony of blaring horns and yelling from drivers in other vehicles (including yours truly), asking him to get his cab out of the way – as we all anticipated paying 85 bucks just because of this dumb driver. Luckily, made it out without incident, and just within 5 minutes.

I guess all this sounds a bit dramatic, but the Airport Authority seriously needs to reconsider this brainless rule. In an extremely crowded and cramped enclosure like the Pune airport, 5 minutes is simply too less for entry and exit. I’m aware there have been cases of vehicles (especially cabs) hogging space in the premises as they wait for their passengers with the usual “sirf paanch minute” excuse, so I’m not at all against a time limit for parking.

All I’m saying is – either increase the time to 10 minutes, or create some more space (if that’s even possible) so that vehicles can exit smoothly without getting stuck in a queue and having to pay for that reason.

 

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Trying the Khanabadosh Lunchbox http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/trying-the-khanabadosh-lunchbox/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/trying-the-khanabadosh-lunchbox/#respond Thu, 11 Feb 2016 03:01:30 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3885 With one chicken gravy dish, 3 chapatis, steamed rice, green salad, pickle and papad, the Khanabadosh Lunchbox at Rs.170 is value for money

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Nowadays, all newspapers come with a bunch of various pamphlets and flyers shoved in – right from some tuition classes to furniture sale, food delivery, broadband plans and so on. Over the past 2-3 weeks, we’d been seeing this flyer of ‘Khanabadosh’ and were somewhat intrigued – by the name as well as the menu on offer. I vaguely recall coming across the name last year but maybe they weren’t in the neighbourhood back then and I didn’t come across any mention either.

Khanabadosh Menu

They seem to be only based in Pune as of now, and in 3-4 areas of the city. They have quite a diverse fare – right from Malabari and Hyderabadi Biryani, Malvani and Konkani dishes, to Goan, Punjabi, Delhi and Kerala cuisine. Among all those items, one that caught the eye was the ‘Lunchbox’ which seemed good value for money at Rs. 170 per box. The catch is that it is only available on weekdays.

We ordered two lunchboxes for three people thinking it would be just right, and oh boy, it was 🙂

Khanabadosh Lunchbox

It is delivered in a nice big box with all the items neatly laid out in containers. There’s one chicken gravy dish (we chose Chicken Chettinad and Butter Chicken), 3 chapatis per box, steamed rice, green salad, pickle and papad. The salad was actually nice and fresh, not the limp and soggy mess that most restaurants send these days.

The dal was superb, as good as made at home. Ditto for the chapatis, nice and soft (and warm). Both chicken dishes were quite good too. The portions seemed just right, although if you consider one lunchbox for one person (and not 2 for 3 as in our case), then all that food would certainly be a handful mouthful. At Rs. 340 for 3 people, the Khanabadosh Lunchbox was absolutely worth it!

I’m definitely going to try their other fare on offer – will keep you posted 😀

You can visit their website at www.khanabadosh.com or give them a call on 020 3377 1947 (interesting last 4 digits).

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The Best of 2015 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-best-of-2015/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-best-of-2015/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 16:16:39 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3860 Wow, 2015 seemed to go by so fast – but then each day, week, month, year seems to be whizzing […]

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Wow, 2015 seemed to go by so fast – but then each day, week, month, year seems to be whizzing by so quickly now. I’ve never been a fan of listicles and a ‘Best of’ kind of post, so this one is rather surprising – and even more so in a year when there weren’t too many opportunities / experiences to really merit a ‘Best of’ but here goes.

Best of 2015

This was actually more of an effort than I realised – not because there was a problem of plenty, but because there was a problem of too less, which means some many popular choices could be missing simply because I haven’t experienced them yet 😉

Best Book

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story – Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl With Seven Names

In a year where I read less than half a dozen books, and just three that were published this year, I thought “The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story” was one heck of a read. This is the story of Hyeonseo Lee and her escape the dictatorial regime in North Korea as a 17 year old, and finally returning 12 years later to reunite with her family and help get them to South Korea, overcoming incredible odds.

Best Movie (English)

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max - Fury Road

Yes, there were some very good movies that were released in 2015, but for sheer overall entertainment value, nothing tops this wild, adrenaline pumping, chest thumping roller coaster of a movie. The fourth in the Max Max series, it has fantastic stunts and action scenes, and Charlize Theron in probably one of her best roles ever.

Best Movie (Hindi)

Masaan

Masaan

A far cry from the staple Bollywood films, I first heard of this movie when it won a couple of awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Set in Varanasi, it tells the story of two separate couples from different strata of society. Poignant and helpless in parts, offering hope in others, it is a brilliant directorial debut by Neeraj Ghaywan.

Best Music Album (English)

The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour

The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour

Admittedly, I’ve not listened to many English albums this year, barring a stray song or two here and there. I’ve been a fan of Warren Mendonsa’s Blackstratblues since 2009, when I heard ‘The New Album‘, and at the NH7 Weekenders from 2010-2012, and though I felt this one lacks the same punch as their previous albums, it is still a damn good listen. Besides the link above, you can also get from iTunes.

Best Music Album (Hindi)

Roy

Roy

Again, as above, I’ve not listened to many Bollywood albums this year, and I’m aware there are several other contenders for this. There have been several good songs from other movies as well, but as an album, the songs from Roy have probably stayed with me that bit longer, whether randomly humming them or listening more often while driving.

Best TV Show

Narcos

Narcos

In a year that saw some brilliant new shows as well as the continuation/end of some all time popular shows, I’d pick Narcos as my favourite show of the year. The story of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin drug cartel has been told before, but the way it was presented here was fantastic. A riveting watch, and I’m looking forward to Season 2. You may need to use a VPN to watch it on Netflix or use “alternate methods” to watch it Netflix is now available in India 😉 Incidentally, the theme music (below) is also my current ringtone.

Best Meal

Guppy by Aoi pop-up

Guppy Pop-up

Yeah, I know – this is a strange addition in this list, but I couldn’t resist. For me, 2015 didn’t see any travel out of Pune for various reasons, and although there were some good lunches and dinners in the year, the Guppy pop-up in late August and then again towards September-end was the highlight – particularly because when it comes to Japanese cuisine, Pune really doesn’t have much to offer.

So that’s it. Which were your favourites of 2015? Drop a line in the comments and share 🙂

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The Guppy by Ai Pop-Up at Olive Bistro Pune http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-guppy-pop-up-olive-bistro-pune/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-guppy-pop-up-olive-bistro-pune/#respond Mon, 24 Aug 2015 03:44:55 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3848 Planned to catch up with friends over the weekend and we had almost decided to meet at one of the […]

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Planned to catch up with friends over the weekend and we had almost decided to meet at one of the breweries when the Guppy pop-up came into focus. Originally based at Delhi, they had just concluded their pop-up at Olive Mahalaxmi in Bombay before touchdown at Olive Bistro in Pune.

Guppy Pop-up

Living in Pune, there have been very limited options to have Japanese cuisine, though Bombay fares slightly better in this regard. Thankfully, in our group of four, three were Japanese cuisine ‘veterans’ and I was the only n00b – so no worries in terms of what to order and look out for 😀

Another friend had been to the preview and and said it was good, so we booked a table for the opening day on Friday, 21-Aug, and landed up there at 8pm. A section of the indoor area has comfortable lounge seating and that’s where the drinks and and small plates were served.

We started with drinks – Gari Gari Kun (fortified rice wine, club soda and Blue curacao) and The Rising Sun (brandy, bourbon, coffee liqueur, cocoa cream & dark rum). I chose the ‘Crouching Tiger‘ – a cocktail with red wine, port, vodka, apple juice, red grape, pomegranate juice and chopped fruits. Phew.

We met Head Chef Vikram Khatri and besides discussing the cuisine and what was being served, asked what he’d recommend. He suggested the Prawn Gyoza (black tiger prawn pot stickers, pan fried), Chicken Nanban (marinated and tossed in Worcestershire sauce), Chicken Karaage (soy and sake marinated fried chicken), California Roll (crab, cucumber, avocado, tobiko). He also mentioned the Spicy Tuna roll – and then said salmon was available too. We unanimously voted for the Spicy Salmon Roll.

Guppy Pop-up

The main course is served outside and they have a separate section for the Guppi pop-up; based on the set-up, it seemed to accommodate 60-70 covers. We ordered the Guppy Signature Pork Belly – slow braised, glazed with soy honey, and served with mustard miso sauce. So crispy, succulent and melt-in-the-mouth – for me, this was easily the highlight of the evening, and certainly something I’d go back for!

Guppy Pop-up

We weren’t keen to have any more drinks, but on an off-chance, asked if any sake was being served. The steward initially said there wasn’t any available; the manager said likewise, and that they were expecting some stock from Bombay. To our surprise and delight, he turned up a few minutes later, confirming they had a bottle, and we were only to happy to have sake shots. I was probably having sake after almost 3-4 years. Super stuff, wish we’d had more.

The Chashu Ramen (egg noodles in a pork and soy broth, simmered for 72 hours, served with boiled egg, pork crackling, spinach, seaweed and corn) was something we were eagerly looking forward to. It was decent, though somewhat underwhelming in terms of our expectations. Chef Vikram clarified later that the broth was a fusion, catering to local taste. He did assure us that it could be made differently next time. This was only the first day, and he mentioned they planned to add more dishes as well as the momentum picked up.

Guppy Pop-up

Just as we thought we’d call it a night, Khodu Irani (the owner) suggested we try the desserts, especially the Nashi Pear Pie. We thought we’d share it among us, but were too content and satiated to go ahead so dropped the idea.

Although seemingly pricey at ~ Rs 2K per person, I’d say it was totally worth it and merits a visit again to try some of the other dishes and newer ones they plan to introduce. The pop-up is here for three months, and if you’re planning to go, do remember to book in advance. Call 7798720737 / 9765400484 / 9730068533 for reservations.

* The quality of the pictures isn’t all that great due to variable lighting and (horror of horrors), I had to use the flash as well, so pliss excuse :p

Olive Bistro
Poona Club,
6, Bund Garden Rd,
Camp, Pune 411001

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Merchants of Poona – a collectors item http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/merchants-poona-collectors-item/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/merchants-poona-collectors-item/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 02:37:02 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3230 Bought this book “Merchants of Poona” off Amazon just over a month ago, and after flipping through some pages the […]

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Merchants of Poona

Bought this book “Merchants of Poona” off Amazon just over a month ago, and after flipping through some pages the day I received it, I’ve just not been able to actually read it till now.

Published by Sakal Publications (yep, the same group which publishes the newspaper by that name) in English and Marathi, the book is a wonderful tribute to those businessmen who set up shop in Pune and who have since gone on to become household names in the city over the decades and even centuries in some cases.

The first thing I loved about the book was its cover. Designed by Falguni Gokhale, it is typically like the books used by businessmen of yore. Some use them even now in parallel with newer methods.

The book itself is an enjoyable read. The quality is good, layout is clean and simple, and with 3-4 pages devoted to each business house, it is just the right length, not too long or too short with several interesting nuggets and photos peppered throughout the book.

Merchants of Poona

In any such tribute, it is not always possible to include every single business, and the publishers have wisely taken the late 1960s as a cut off for when the business was established, thereby featuring 40 “brands” in this edition, like Chitale Bandhu, Dorabjee’s Restaurant, Prabhat Film Company, Cafe Good Luck, Manney’s, C.T Pundole, Budhani Wafers, Champion Sports, Marz-o-Rin and many more.

I’ve not come across a similar book which features all these iconic names, so for me, and any Punekar for that matter, this is definitely a collector’s item. You can buy the book directly from Sakal Publications at their office in Pune or online. Right now, it’s available on Amazon but seems to be sold out on Flipkart.

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Independence Brewing Company Pune http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/independence-brewing-company-pune-welcome-addition/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/independence-brewing-company-pune-welcome-addition/#respond Wed, 25 Jun 2014 01:48:32 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3214 Planned to catch up with a friend after a long time, somewhere around Koregaon Park. I’d also been meaning to […]

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Independence Brewing Co

Planned to catch up with a friend after a long time, somewhere around Koregaon Park. I’d also been meaning to visit Independence Brewing Company for a while now, and we finally landed up there on a hot afternoon. It is towards Mundhwa, as you take a right turn from the end of North Main Road, and I was surprised to see the level of development around that area, coming that side after many years.

The brewery setup is nice and big and they have indoor as well as outdoor seating. There weren’t too many people around at the time, so the AC wasn’t switched on and took a while to kick in. Till then it was like a mini furnace, and only became tolerable after 15-20 minutes.

Independence Brewing Co

Independence Brewing Co

Independence Brewing Co

It is quite a well spaced out place with seating at different levels and thankfully, the tables aren’t too close to each other. As we entered, we saw they had an offer of a free beer for every two consumed (weekdays). There are three beers on tap – presently, they’re serving craft beers from the Gateway Brewing Co – the White Zen, which is a hefeweizen or wheat beer, the Blonde Ale, and the India Pale Ale. I was a bit surprised at the absence of a Stout (available in the bottled variety).

Independence Brewing Co

The Gateway craft beers were decent – if I had to rank them, I’d go with the Hefewizen, IPA and Blonde in that order of preference. I wouldn’t go really raving about them, as for me, Doolally sets the benchmark, particularly where the Hefeweizen is concerned.

Independence Brewing Co

Independence Brewing Co

Independence Brewing Co

For food, we tried the Thai curry with garlic and basil rice, and the Paprika and Herb Crusted Chicken Breast. Both were good, though I couldn’t help thinking that the presentation of the latter (with the dip) reminded me of fried fish 🙂 The potato mash with it was actually small potato chunks with chopped onions, which gave it a slightly chaat/pav bhaji-ish taste.

Independence Brewing Co

Hopefully, at the next visit, we’ll get to try their own brews besides some of the 8-10 bottled craft beers as well.

Overall, it’s a nice place with good seating and ambience, good food, decent beers (Rs.240/pint), and is a welcome addition to the brewery scene in Pune. At ~ Rs.1,000 per head, it was reasonable and worth it for six beers and food. Maybe they can revise the prices downward once they brew their own beer 😉 and yes, improve the quality of the very random and nondescript music.

Independence Brewing Company
Zero One Complex, S. No. 79/1, Pingle Vasti
Ghorpadi – Mundhwa Road, Mundhwa
Pune 411 036
Tel: 020-66448308

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Dinner at Mezzuna Pune http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/dinner-at-mezzuna-pune/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/dinner-at-mezzuna-pune/#respond Tue, 09 Jul 2013 01:49:52 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=2924 Had dinner plans this Sunday with a friend and another who was in Pune for the weekend. As evening approached, […]

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Had dinner plans this Sunday with a friend and another who was in Pune for the weekend. As evening approached, we had to zero in on a place and although we did consider WTF! at Phoenix, Mezzuna was the final destination.

Nestled inside City Point, it can be quite easy to miss as it doesn’t ‘face out’ unlike the other restaurants in that complex. They have a choice of indoor and outdoor seating. However, keeping in mind the possibility of rain and insects, we decided to sit inside.

Mezzuna Bar

Mezzuna Ambience

Mezzuna has a nice and warm ambience, relaxed seating (although a tad too close in some places) and overall, is well spaced out. They have a pretty decent bar and one side of the room is stacked with various kitchen goodies, sauces and breads.

Mezzuna Ambience

We were pleasantly surprised to see the management screening the ladies singles final at Wimbledon, on the adjacent wall, though it was a pity Lisicki lost.

The bigger surprise though, was the menu. Rarely have I seen such a ‘chunky’ and comprehensive menu. There were plenty of options for beverages, and we chose to order the draught beer pitcher.

Mezzuna Beer Pitcher

For starters, again there was no shortage of choices and we initially thought of ordering Barbecue Pork Ribs but were informed it had only two pieces. As there were three of us, obviously that was cancelled. We eventually ordered the Orange and Ginger Grilled Chicken. Enough pieces, delightful taste, and that hint of orange stayed right till the end.

Mezzuna Orange and Ginger Grilled Chicken

The beer was pretty ok too and we had downed two pitchers when we decided to order the mains. Both went in for burgers – Old Smokey Lamb Burger (Char grilled lamb patty, topped with smoked mozzarella) and Teriyaki Pulled Pork Burger (Slow cooked teriyaki pulled pork, grilled over charcoal with soy and ginger glaze).

Mezzuna Old Smokey Lamb Burger

Mezzuna Teriyaki Pulled Pork Burger

Obviously, with my right arm still in a brace, there was no way I could have a burger, so I ordered Stuffed Fried Chicken (Turkey ham and pesto stuffed chicken breast, soaked in brine and crisp fried, with purpleslaw and hand cut wedges).

Mezzuna Stuffed Fried Chicken

The food was fabulous in every way. The meat was well cooked and melted in the mouth. I liked the flavours in the stuffed chicken. During the meal, we had ordered a third pitcher and were feeling quite full, but then how does one come to a place like this and not sample the desserts? 🙂

Besides the regular menu, they had a special dessert menu and these had us scratching our heads as we couldn’t zero in on what we wanted. We asked the stewards to help us decide, but sadly, they seemed quite clueless about the desserts and preparation+content. Luckily the manager there was able to gauge our preferences and suggest some that we might like. Molten chocolate (with vanilla ice cream) and Crème brûlée were chosen from the regular menu, and I ordered cointreau souffle (with vanilla ice cream) from the special menu.

Mezzuna Molten Chocolate

Mezzuna Creme Brulee

Mezzuna Cointreau Souffle

The desserts were yummy; the chocolate was sinful, the subtle hint of Cointreau lingered on, however the Crème brûlée wasn’t among the best. Overall, an extremely satisfying time was had. The prices were quite reasonable and we thought having all of the above for just over 1K per person was quite good value for money.

Mezzuna
Ground Floor, City Point
Off Boat Club Road,
Pune 411 001
Tel: 020 – 39397755 / 56

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Burger Fest at Manchester United Cafe Bar, Pune http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/burger-fest-at-manchester-united-cafe-bar-pune/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/burger-fest-at-manchester-united-cafe-bar-pune/#respond Sat, 02 Mar 2013 00:57:09 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=2674 Some weeks ago, the Manchester United Cafe Bar in Pune had a burger festival going on, so landed up there […]

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Some weeks ago, the Manchester United Cafe Bar in Pune had a burger festival going on, so landed up there with a friend to have a dekko. I hadn’t been there before, and it was quite hot in the afternoon, so the knowledge that this place was located in the courtyard in Amanora Mall almost had me do a rethink.  However, there’s AC seating, which was a huge relief. :-p

There was a special menu printed for this burger festival and it had several options available. We decided to go with the English Beef Burger and the American Chicken Patty (with Pork Bacon) Burger. There was also a burger platter available, with mini burgers from various nationalities, so we ordered that as well.

I was feeling quite “beerish”, so ordered an Asahi beer. The main burgers took their own sweet time coming, and when they finally did, they sure looked appetising.

Manchester United Cafe Bar - Asahi

Manchester United Cafe Bar - American Burger

Manchester United Cafe Bar - English Burger

Sadly, looks were the only positive feature here. Both the burgers were quite disappointing in terms of taste and flavour and it was tough to tell which was which. They were dry, the bun was crumbling and falling apart, the juiciness of the beef was non existent. It wasn’t prepared to specifications either. In the American burger, the pork bacon was replaced with limp chicken bacon. Apparently, the pork bit in the menu was a printing mistake, as we were informed.

Thankfully, the meal was salvaged by the mini non-veg burger platter which featured Lebanese, Mexican, Indian and Thai burgers.

Manchester United Cafe Bar - Burger Platter

In terms of portions, they were barely 2-3 bites worth, but were quite succulent, and much better than the main burgers. The Indian burger, with a chicken tikka inside, wasn’t really much of a burger anyway. The other three had an interesting mix of flavours native to their countries.  The dips were pretty interesting too. However, at Rs.850, the platter was quite overpriced.

All said and done, the burgers were average, and I’ve had better chicken burgers at Burger Barn, and beef burgers at Hard Rock Cafe and even Terttulia for that matter.

Manchester United Cafe Bar
West Block, Amanora Town Centre,
Near Magarpatta City, Hadapsar,
Pune

This post, Burger Fest at Manchester United Cafe Bar, Pune, was originally published at Atul Karmarkar.Com

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TJ’s Brew Works Pune – a disappointing experience http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/tjs-brew-works-pune-a-disappointing-experience/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/tjs-brew-works-pune-a-disappointing-experience/#comments Wed, 03 Oct 2012 06:17:10 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=2480 Ever since it opened it’s doors as Pune’s second microbrewery, I’d been meaning to check out TJ’s Brew Works at […]

This post, TJ’s Brew Works Pune – a disappointing experience, was originally published at Atul Karmarkar.Com

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Ever since it opened it’s doors as Pune’s second microbrewery, I’d been meaning to check out TJ’s Brew Works at Amanora Town. The first microbrewery in Pune was of course, Doolally. Pretty soon, most of my friends had been to TJ’s, and my visit remained pending, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover another friend who hadn’t been there either.

It had begun to rain quite heavily by the time we got there. It was also the first time I was coming to Amanora and I have to say the way to the parking lot is quite confusing. Eventually, I just told the security guard I wanted to go to TJ’s and he directed me to the East ‘Blok’ parking. Located on the first floor, TJ’s seems well spaced out, has a pleasant ambience and a mix of indoor and outdoor seating in a relaxed and casual setting. The place was brimming with people and there was some loud retro music playing. A little ahead once you enter are the impressive looking shining steel vats.

TJs Brew Works Vats

I’m not much interested in cricket nowadays, but there was a T20 match going on, so thought what the heck, and plonked myself in a TV facing area as I waited for the friend to finish his phone call. The menu card was pretty dirty and sticky and tearing in some parts already. TJ’s seemed to have six beers in all – Premium, Zen Weiss, Devil’s Dark, Blonde, Mystery Brew and the Devil’s Dark BC (Belgian Chocolate). We called for the samplers and were presented with only four of them – apparently the ones on tap now.

TJs Brew Works Sampler

These were the Mystery Brew, Zen Weiss, Premium and the Devil’s Dark BC. In terms of flavour and taste, they were all quite weak and tasted like a diluted soft drink, to put it mildly. We’d heard a lot of praise for the Devil’s Dark, and though the sampler didn’t really indicate anything as such, we decided to order it anyway.

TJs Brew Works Devils Dark Belgian Chocolate

Frankly, it was a bit of a let down and I’d say even Murphy’s Irish Stout (which I’m not a big fan of) is better. I’m not even comparing any of the beers here with those at Doolally, who have really spoiled us by giving us a taste of real beer.

TJs Brew Works Korean Beef

For starters, we immediately chose the heavily recommended Korean Beef, and I have to say it is a fabulous dish. The beef was really tasty and just melted in the mouth, though I went overboard on the red chili and needed a few swigs of the beer to get the fire out of my ears 🙂 It was demolished within no time and we had no hesitation in placing a repeat order for both this and the Devil’s Dark, as the other beers were really pathetic.

For the main course, we ordered a well done Beef Tenderloin Steak and a Rosemary Roast Chicken. It took a while coming, but thanks to the Korean Beef, we weren’t all that hungry either.

TJs Brew Works Beef Tenderloin Steak

TJs Brew Works Rosemary Roast Chicken

The beef was overcooked, tough and leathery, besides being “fried”. We called the captain and pointed this out to him, and he scurried away to look for the chef. Meanwhile, I’d been nibbling at the potato mash and veggies and when I ate a piece of the chicken, it was so salty I almost spat it out. To be sure, I had another bite and it was salty too. Uggghh! Asked the friend to try as well from another section, same reaction! Called the captain again, told him it was inedible, and asked him to take it back as well, along with the beef steak.

Finally after a longish wait, the chef came over personally to get feedback. By then, I was quite pissed off and although he first suggested replacing both dishes, then getting any other dish, then saying it would be at their cost, I was in no mood to oblige. The friend was contemplating Butter Chicken with paratha – after all, how many people can mess that up? However, seeing TJ’s track record for the day, he changed his mind and ordered just a sweet lime instead, which was served without sugar!

Rarely does a place get it so wrong on a single occasion, and while I’m willing to accept that everyone has a bad day as far as the food is concerned, having two dishes sent back is sheer carelessness. What’s worse is that their raison d’être – the beer – totally failed to make any impact at all. I’ll make an exception only for the Korean Beef, which was truly excellent, and probably the only reason I’ll think of coming back to TJ’s Brew Works Pune.

TJ’s Brew Works
Amanora Town Centre,
East Block, Level 2,
Magarpatta, Pune 411028
97301 95222 / 77093 77042

This post, TJ’s Brew Works Pune – a disappointing experience, was originally published at Atul Karmarkar.Com

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