My blog is my personal expression and a window into my food world. Instead of a restaurant review this time I thought I’d list a couple of places in different cities or towns which I personally think are MUST visit joints. I know I’m going to get feedback with everyone suggesting different places and maybe even veto-ing what I’ve listed but these are Tiny’s top noteworthy picks at the moment. I decided to start with Pune, and I’m aware that there are a lot of other places as well but I think this sums it up because they are not only fabulous but found only in Pune. Maybe I’ll come out with a follow up list as well. Till then, enjoy!
ABC Farms cheese and lemsi- for most people when you say ABC Farms in pune they refer to the trendy spot which houses some of the best restaurants in town. However there is so much more to it than that. ABC Farms Pvt Ltd is a family run dairy that produces milk butter cheese and various other dairy products but their pride and joy is of course their vast and creative line of cheeses. This is a must visit for cheese aficionados. From ham and pepperoni cheese to mango or coffee flavoured cheese you name it they produce it! In fact every year the company hosts their prestigious wine and cheese festival where they proudly showcase their vast line of cheese products to sample and buy. Along with their cheeses they have developed their signature drink, a lemon flavoured lassi which is aptly named “lemsi” which is widely popular with a lot of folks. Next time you’re in Pune, hop across to ABC Farms where you can relax over a leisurely meal at one of their many fabulous restaurants and then pop into their dairy and buy some mouth wateringly rare cheeses.
Kayani bakery– this 60 year old bakery is a Pune legend. If Pune is called the biscuit city then Kayani bakery is its emperor. This family run bakery churns out some of the best buttery treats the city has to offer. From sponge cake, coffee biscuits, mawa cakes, hazelnut biscuits, cheese papri, wine biscuit, this bakery serves it all. The jewel in its crown is of course the schewsberry biscuits which is so popular that on average they make and sell anywhere between 220 – 240 kilos in a day, sometimes even more. Their reputation spreads far and wide and not just tourists but even the locals come clamouring every day for their fresh bread, cakes and biscuits. The bakery opens at 7am and is crowded till 1pm. It re opens at 3.30 pm and once again caters to the crowd in the evenings till 7pm.All their products are fresh and sold as they are made and it’s easy on the pocket. This value for money bakery is a must when you visit the city. Even if you don’t want to go, someone back home will demand their Kayani biscuits and a trip will be made. One bite into those heavenly treats and it will be well worth battling the crowd.
Bedekar’s Misal Pav – it would be unheard of to come to Pune and not sample the famous misal pav at Bedekar’s, a small joint that has been dishing out this spicy Maharashtrian favourite for quite some time now. It’s a tiny place with a hungry crowd clamouring for their turn at almost any time of the day. However any one of those hungry lot can vouch that it is well worth the wait. The missal here is served with a slice of bread not pao and though it is quite spicy there is a slight touch of sweetness to it. Unlike the Kohlapuri misal which is like a rocket lighting up inside your body. The misal is best enjoyed with a bottle of cool chilled chaas. It’s a quick meal but an extremely filling one.
Mastani Ice cream – the best way to describe Mastani is a perfect combination of an ice cream and a milkshake and it is unique to Pune city. You don’t seem to find this ice-cream -shake hybrid anywhere else. Named after the wife of Bajirao, this refreshment is thick, creamy, heavy, and a meal in its self. It’s best to share one, and a small size at that! The popular flavour is mango and though it’s lovely, I think the sitaphal is the best of the lot.
Dorabjees restaurant – Dorabjee’s and Sons restaurant has been around since 1875. Each generation of Dorabjee’s has ensures that this legacy lives on through their mouth watering Parsi food. Situated in the heart of Camp, this no frills restaurant with its old world charm has a legion of dedicated patrons who faithfully come for their fix of “parsi Bhonu”. The hot favourites are mutton biryani, chicken farcha, bheja fry, mutton Sali boti, and weekend Sunday special of Patra ni Macchi. Most people like to come and parcel their food but come Friday Saturday Sunday there isn’t an empty seat in the house.
Burger King– this isn’t the international franchise in fact its Pune’s very own legendary burger joint. This old school eatery has been around for the past 25 years and is still going strong. They steak burger and Jumbo burgers are very popular and fly off the counter but the rest of their burger range is equally delicious not to mention extremely affordable. The most expensive item on the menu is roughly 90 bucks and the average price is about 50 – 60 bucks. Did I mention its a whopper of a burger and a meal in itself! If you’re expecting a gourmet burger, look elsewhere. If you want your meat as the showstopper then this is the place for you.
Manchos Grill and Fries – right around the corner from Dorabjee’s restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall which dishes up some of the best grill chicken I have ever tasted. It reminds me of a tandoori chicken but its spicy and the meat is juicy and is easy on the pocket. Their signature dish is their fried chicken which is also great but I’m partial to the grilled one. On Sundays they churn out a mean mutton dhansak and some flavourful patra ni macchi. It’s more of a take away joint and either you pick it up from their or call and ask for it to be delivered home. It’s a relatively new restaurant in Pune but one of the best I’ve recently come across.
Irani cafes for chai – the heart and soul of Pune are these adorably old Irani cafes. With their old school furniture, simple décor, no nonsense attitude and delicious chai and snacks no one who eats at any of these places is ever disappointed. The popular ones of course are Cafe Vohuman, Yezdan and Goodluck café. Omelette pao, cutlets sometimes even good ol caramel custard are popular items but the real treasure at these places is the strong chai or ‘ choi’ as we parsi’s like to call it and the soft warm bread buns generously slathered in butter. The classic bun maska is a delight at any of these cafes and to me quintessentially Pune.