Category Archives: Food

Isle Of Wight, United kingdom

The Isle of Wight is a gorgeous island in the English Channel, about 4 miles off the coast of Hampshire. Brimming with natural beauty, this island is a unique mix of quaint English towns, a magnificent coastline , some astounding views of the countryside with a surprising dash of modernization. If you’re planning a visit, here are a few pointers you could use:

Shanklin Beach, Isle Of Wight, UK

How can I reach there?

  • The island itself can be reached by Ferries that run from Southampton (Red Funnel Ferry or Red Jet) and Portsmouth (WightLink). Since I travelled from Southampton, I can only speak of the Red Funnel ferries.
  • The red funnel one is primarily meant for people who are carrying their vehicles with them. And although foot passengers are allowed, if you don’t have a vehicle with you, you must go for the Red Jet instead as it is much faster.
  • The prices for the ferries can be found on their websites. We had travelled for approximately £40 for the two of us. Charges are higher when you carry a vehicle on board.
  • How you reach Southampton or Portsmouth is another thing you need to think of. We had taken the train from Slough to Southampton and that cost us about £80 (for 2, with return).
Near Yarmouth, Isle Of Wight, UK

What Should Be the Length of my Visit?

  • Surprisingly, the inputs we received while planning this trip was that a day’s time was sufficient & more to visit this Island. Having been there, however, I would suggest atleast 2 complete days to explore this beautiful island well. There are LOTS of things to see here, suitable for different age groups and interests.
  • The best way to go about planning your trip would be to study beforehand which places you would like to explore and allot time accordingly.
Freshwater Bay, Isle Of Wight, UK

What should I see there?

  • The island has basically 4 main areas.
  • The North is the Cowes(East & West). Towards the East/South East, there are Sandown, Shanklin & Ventnor. The West has Yarmouth, Freshwater Bay, Needles Bay, Alum Bay & Totland Bay. And the center has Newport and the surrounding areas.
  • East Cowes has the famed Osbourne House which is Queen Victoria’s seaside home. It is supposedly beautiful(we couldn’t visit it) and has lot of artefacts from India as well.
  • West Cowes has some great places to eat and is a must visit if you want to see a quaint English town.
  • The West has come spectacular views from the bays and the Needles Battery point, and the drive to the top is truly breathtaking. Alum Bay is known for its intricate glass products.
  • The Shanklin and Sandown area has some beautiful beaches .
  • The Shanklin Chine is located very close to the Shanklin Beach and is basically a mountain ridge with a small river running through creating waterfalls amidst the scenic greenery. Known for its ancient woodlands the chine was supposedly an inspiration for famed writers John Keats, Charles Dickens & Jane Austen. Although enjoyable, its true beauty in my opinion can only be seen in the rains. A thing to look out for in the summers is the Chine Lumiere, when hundreds of lights will illuminate the paths, streams & waterfalls after dark.
Shanklin Chine, Isle of Wight, UK
  • The BlackGang Chine in the south has an interesting history as being a regular smuggler’s haunt.
  • The little town of Godshill has a cute little model village and an Old Smithy’s garden that gives a sneak peak into the days of the yore.
  • The Carisbrooke Castle located near Newport was home to Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Beatrice.
  • The Brading Roman Villa is one of the finest Roman sites in the UK.
  • There are vineyards with free tours of their grounds.
  • And the one thing we really enjoyed was the Garlic Farm with an array of all things garlic and its delicious black garlic ice cream was a unique experience.
  • There are also lots of things children & wild life enthusiasts can enjoy. There’s a Monkey Haven, a Donkey Sanctuary, an Owl & Falconry Center.
  • For those with interests in shopping, there’s the Isle of Wight Pearl and the Oasis.
  • Do note that all these places are quite a distance apart and hence the more the things you want to cover, the more the time you must have on hand.
  • There are also lots of Festivals that take place in the summer, there’s the Jazz Festival from 31 May-4 June 2017 or the Isle of Wight Festival from 8-11 of June. You can try finding out on them ahead of your trip and plan accordingly.
  • One additional tip. If you are taking the ferry from Portsmouth, you can keep some time apart from shopping at the Gunwharf Quay. This shopping complex has loads of designer brands at discounted prices, and sometimes with additional discounts on it as well. If you find a good deal, that could be great start to your vacation 😉
View Atop Needles Point, Isle of Wight, UK

How do I travel within the Island :

  • The Southern Vectis buses running on the island are really good. For a mere £15, you could travel ALL over the island for 2 days. What’s more, this ticket allows you to hop onto the open top Breezer buses (Downs Breezer, Shanklin Breeser, Island Coaster & Needles Breezer), giving you brilliant views of the sea and the countryside on your way to the various attractions.
  • The down side of relying on buses is of course that you have to match up to their timings. So, although these buses run till very late in the night, there may be times when you waste time waiting for them.
  • Another disadvantage is that since these buses run on the main roads, there may be times when you have to walk a bit from the bus stop to reach a point or they may be no bus routes to a location at all. We faced this problem since we wanted to visit the Vineyard and the Garlic Farm. We also ended up skipping the Carisbrooke castle since we could see there was a long walk from the stop and we were short on time.
  • A third problem with the buses would be that the buses basically run from Newport, which is the central place on the island. Since we were staying in Cowes, we took a bus from there to Newport and then changed buses depending on where we had to go.
  • If you are planning ahead and are good at driving, I would definitely suggest hiring a car on the island. One point of caution I would like to mention here are the cycling options most pamphlets on the island recommend. What I realized once I reached there was that this is England’s Largest Island!! So while I had gone expecting a tiny place, the sheer vastness of the island shocked me. Going from Cowes to Shanklin or Freshwater is no cake’s walk. Also, vast stretches of the island are deserted with nothing but the countryside giving you company. So unless you are accustomed to cycling long durations, this is not the place to give it a try.
The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight, UK

Where can I stay?

  • There are lots of hotels and B&Bs all across the island. Since we took the Red Funnel Ferry which dropped us off at East Cowes, we booked a B&B at Ashley & Simone’s lovely home. It was super convenient, being just 1 minute away from the bus stand. They were lovely & gracious hosts and the breakfast we had there was nothing short of restaurant class. They helped us with the drops, suggested places to cover, recommended restaurants and we exhanged stories of India & Goa. If you decide to stay over in Cowes, theirs would be the best place you could find. You can contact them at http://abnb.me/EVmg/cGulZ6ZfNC.
  • However, if what you have in mind is a stay on the beach then I would advise you to look for a place near Shanklin.
Shanklin, Isle Of Wight, UK

Where should I head for some great food? 

  • West Cowes has some good restaurants for seafood, Murrays (or Murries, I can’t remember) being one of them. The Coast is another such famous place. I would definitely recommend a meal at The Garlic Farm. Do call and ask for their lunch timings and don’t forget to try the Black Garlic Ice Cream. There are lots of Garlic products to shop there as well. The Fisherman’s Cottage is a good place at the Shanklin Beach, and the walk to the Chine begins very close to it. There are loads of other recommended places on the island that many pamphlets can inform you about.
Fried Squid with a dash of Rock Salt & Peppers, Prawn & Crab Salad @ Fisherman Cottage, Isle of Wight, UK
  • However the one thing I would ask you to not miss at any cost would the Cream Tea. We had it at the Vernon Cottage and the scones were superbly delicious. Before you start to eat the scones though, don’t forget to slice it in the middle and load on dollops of the Cornish clotted cream and jam, that’s what the tea is all about!!
Cream Tea @ Vernon Cottage, Isle of Wight, UK

Anything else I should know?

  • Yes, this one stems from my disappointment. Now when we planned the trip there, what I was looking forward to was a weekend on the beach. We covered Shanklin on the evening of the first day and thought there were lots of beaches on the West Coast to linger on the next day as well for a good time. Unfortunately, on the West, all you get to see are bays (spectacular, nevertheless). Upon asking for a sandy beach, we were directed to the Colwell Bay and again while beautiful, it was a very narrow stretch of sand near the water. For someone who’s used to vast stretches of sandy beach in India, this was a big disappointment.
  • So if you want beaches, Shanklin & Sandown area is all you can get. But if you are looking for some time well spent in the midst of nature, the island is a view to behold!
Black Garlic Ice Cream @ The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight, UK

#I have loads of pamphlets and booklets with regards to the places to see and the bus timings on the Island. If you need any info, do drop me a note and I would be glad to share the PDFs with you.

Mineority By Saby, Kalyani Nagar, Pune

I had been thinking of visiting this place for quite some time now. The name intrigued me and its pictures put up on some food blogs were fascinating enough to finally push me its way. Unfortunately for me the reality couldn’t catch up with the expectations and I was a tad bit disappointed. Read on for more!

The first thing you love about the place is the ambience. It has a fresh café like look….bursts of colours here and there, big comfy sofas strewn about, lots of lights…it’s a vibrant look that preps you up for something unique and different coming your way.

Mineority by Saby, Pune

The second exciting thing is the menu. You read it and realize that you could taste authentic dishes from all over the North East under this one roof. There are dishes from Odisha, Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal. And although there are international dishes, I decided to stick to the national ones. We started off with the Kalimpong Chilli Cheese Rolls. These were really good, albeit oily. They were really fine crisp rolls stuffed with looaaddss of cheese with a serving of mayo on the side.

Kalimpong Chilli Cheese Rolls @ Mineority,Pune

Then we went for the Black Vegetable Skewer. This was again a good dish, although again, on the oilier side. It had grilled paneer, cauliflower & pumpkin in a black sesame paste served with coriander chutney. What disappointed me was the fact that the sesame didn’t make its presence felt in the dish…at all. Although tasty, it was almost like any regular tandoori vegetable platter. The serving of flat bread on the side too puzzled me as I just couldn’t see it going well with the grilled vegetables.

Black Vegetable Skewer @ Mineority,Pune
Black Vegetable Skewer @ Mineority,Pune

The main course is where the real disappointment set in. We ordered for the Arunachali Thukpa. It had momos floating in a clear broth with mushrooms and carrots around. The thukpas I have had in Sikkim have been surreal, with the clear water oozing with the freshness from the vegetables. To my dismay, in this one, I could see droplets of oil floating on top…so the extra oiliness seemed to continue everywhere I looked. Also, the broth itself tasted of haldi. The momos were good and the dish overall wasn’t bad, but definitely not the exceptional surprise I was expecting.

Arunachali Thukpa @ Mineority,Pune

We also ordered the Odiya Chatu Bhaja & Kasundi Vegetable Jhal. Being an Odiya myself, these were the dishes I was really looking forward to. I hadn’t had an Odiya/Bengali meal for days and I was craving the mustardy taste we typically incorporate into our dishes. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the dishes authentic at all. The Chatu Bhaja was way too tomatoey and thick and full of masala….the kind of gravy I have never eaten in Odisha. The menu had said it would be served with Ajwain Puri. Instead we were served an undercooked ajwain paratha.

Odiya Chatu Bhaja @Mineority,Pune

The Vegetable Jhal was alright in that I could taste the mustard here and there but again, nowhere close to what any authentic Bengali dish tastes like.

Kasundi Vegetable Jhal @ Mineority,Pune

In the end, I decided I wanted to give the place one last chance and ordered the Jurassic Cheesecake which is basically the Chena Podo , ‘the oldest cheesecake in the world’ as the menu says. As an Odiya I am extremely fierce about my Chena Podo being tampered with. But that’s exactly what this place did . The exquisite burnt cheese taste of this mouth watering sweet was definitely missing. In its place all I got was weirdly a taste of dry gulab jamun. Again, while not bad, definitely not authentic.

Jurassic Cheesecake @ Mineority, Pune

All in all, the place was a disappointment. Maybe if they had publicized it as a modern fusion of authentic dishes, I might have gone in with different hopes. But with the tantalizing talks of original dishes from the North East, this place unfortunately failed to deliver for me.

Finally, My Ratings for the place would be :

Ambience : 3.5/5 ; Service      : 4/5 ; Food          : 2/5 ; Pocket Friendly : 2.5/5 (About 2500 for 2) ; Presentation : 3.5/5

Royal China, Mundhwa

As with all my other food discoveries, this one was not only by chance but in fact was the cause of a tiff between my husband and me. My husband, who believes in zomato blindly (apparently correctly so!!) said we must try this Chinese place, while I said I wanted to have something light and satiating and Chinese would just be too oily and heavy with the sauces. Finally, pretending to be a loving partner while holding a grudge for the future 😉  I sacrificed and gave in to his dictum and ever since, I haven’t stopped hearing of the amazing choices he always makes. And in this case I actually have no arguments, because it turned out to be the Best Chinese I have ever had!

And now for the food. This is the most authentic Chinese I have ever had. Everything isn’t tossed in extra oil and double extra soy sauce to match the Indian tastes. And yet, in no way is anything bland. The flavors are delicate and mild and every single ingredient in a dish makes its presence felt. We tried loads of things and after each one, our hearts screamed for more and surprisingly, our stomachs agreed! And the best part was the offer they have on Mondays and Thursdays….for 1095+Taxes, we could order ALL we wanted from the ala-carte and dimsum menu, no limits on the number of dishes, nothing. What’s the catch then, we asked? Well, honestly no catch at all! The secret is in the portions. They give you a reduced portion of any dish you order, which is still more than enough for 2 people, and you get to try all the variety your heart craves for!!! For people like me who have got tiny stomachs but insatiable palates, this was an amazing deal!

Royal China, Mundhwa

To start with, we chose Creamy Sweet Corn Soup & Chicken Coriander Soup from the elaborate menu. The sweet corn was truly creamy with a good amount of corn and very fresh in taste. The coriander soup was light and very refreshing. This was the first time I had soups which were actually appetizing rather than filling.

Sweet Corn Soup @ Royal China, Pune
Sweet Corn Soup @ Royal China, Pune
Chicken Coriander Soup @ Royal China, Pune
Chicken Coriander Soup @ Royal China, Pune

There was no way we were going to give the Dimsums  a miss. We chose Vegetable Crystal Dumpling, Roast Pork Cheung Fun, Chicken Shanghai Dumpling & Sesame Paper Prawn Roll. They were Out of the World Delicious! The dumpling covers were transparent, thin and really soft and could be seen oozing with the stuffing. Served with them was a chilly soy sauce which was mind blowing. I can literally eat ANYTHING after dipping it in this sauce. I had to ask for it thrice during our meal and I still wish I had brought back some (Yes, it was just a soy sauce, I know I sound mad)!

Vegetable Crystal Dumpling, Chicken Shanghai Dumpling & Roast Pork Cheung Fun @ Royal China, Pune
Vegetable Crystal Dumpling, Chicken Shanghai Dumpling & Roast Pork Cheung Fun @ Royal China, Pune
Vegetable Crystal Dumpling & Chicken Dumpling @ Royal China, Pune
Vegetable Crystal Dumpling & Chicken Dumpling @ Royal China, Pune
Sesame Paper Prawn Roll @ Royal China, Pune
Sesame Paper Prawn Roll @ Royal China, Pune

For more starters, we tried the Smoked Shredded Chicken and we just couldn’t get enough of the amazing smoky flavor. We also had the Cambodian Basa in Chilli Oil & Spring Onion. The fish was cooked to perfection and the dish was heavenly!

Smoked Shredded Chicken @ Royal China, Pune
Smoked Shredded Chicken @ Royal China, Pune
Cambodian Basa in Chilli Oil & Spring Onion @Royal China, Pune
Cambodian Basa in Chilli Oil & Spring Onion @Royal China, Pune

For main course we had the Vegetarian Royal China Lotus Leaf Rice with Mixed Vegetables in Yellow Bean Sauce. After eating Chinese for all these years, I never knew a simple yellow bean gravy would drive me crazy, but it did, and I don’t think I can just feel the same for black bean sauce again!! We also had the Pork in black pepper sauce, but were unfortunately disappointed with the way the pork was cooked. This was probably the only so-so dish among all the ones we tried.

Vegetarian Royal China Lotus Leaf Rice @ Royal China, Pune
Vegetarian Royal China Lotus Leaf Rice @ Royal China, Pune
Mixed Vegetables in Yellow Bean Sauce @ Royal China, Pune
Mixed Vegetables in Yellow Bean Sauce @ Royal China, Pune

Finally, it was time for desserts. We went for the Banana in Toffee Syrup, Chilled Mango Pudding, Steamed Chocolate Buns and the Mud Cake. While all 4 were good, I loved the Banana in Toffee Syrup best!

Banana in Toffee Syrup @ Royal China, Pune
Banana in Toffee Syrup @ Royal China, Pune
Chilled Mango Pudding @ Royal China, Pune
Chilled Mango Pudding @ Royal China, Pune
Steamed Chocolate Buns @ Royal China, Pune
Steamed Chocolate Buns @ Royal China, Pune
Mud Cake @ Royal China, Pune
Mud Cake @ Royal China, Pune

All in all, we indeed had a Royal Dining Experience! The grandeur of the interiors only enhanced it further. This restaurant is in fact in the same complex as Hotel Westin. And yes, for those who think, same compound, must be similar price range, you are right. This place is not for a pocket friendly meal. I went there twice, once with just my husband and that cost us around Rs.4000 and the second time we were a group of 4 and that cost us around Rs.7500 inclusive of all taxes. But we tried an enormous amount of dishes (yes, there were many more to my pics above, I just got tired of clicking pictures and decided to dig in!!) thanks to their Eat All You Can Offer and by the end of the meal, we felt every penny was truly worth it! And although most dishes I have mentioned above are non vegetarian, there are LOADS of vegetarian options as well. I just happened to go with a group who preferred non-veg. The menu is as extensive as it can get and I really wouldn’t mind going back a third time to try more.

If you love Chinese food, or even if you don’t, you MUST visit here for an “Ahh La-Dolce-Vita” experience!!! 🙂

My Ratings for the place would be :

Ambience : 3.5/5 ; Service      : 3/5 ; Food          : 5/5 ; Pocket Friendly : 2/5 (About 4000 for two, no alcohol) ; Presentation : 3/5

Farzi Café, Kalyani Nagar, Pune

As with most of my experiences, we landed up here without much research coz we were in a last minute rush to find a place to celebrate the start of my birthday(yayy) and this is literally the first place you come across as you enter Kalyani Nagar(hehe) and of course because Zomato said it was trending(best app ever)!! 😉

My first realization when I reached there was that it’s a lounge, and not a restaurant like I had initially thought. So don’t go there for a quiet evening or for a conversations-over-dinner kind of a night. There’s some loud music, amazing ambience and a super busy bar.. you get the picture right? 🙂

So..speaking of painting the picture, there’s been a lot of thought put into designing the whole place. There are quirky little quotes and drawings all over the menu. The cocktails are served with a twist. Anything you order is sent out of the kitchen in a unique dish. You can see someone being served something in a small truck. Someone else is pulling out lollipops out of branches of a mini ceramic tree. The menu itself has not a single dish that you may have already heard of…everything has been fused with something else and a unique combination has been created.  The whole place oozes DRAMA!

Quirky Quotes @ Farzi Cafe
Quirky Quotes @ Farzi Cafe

The cocktails here are quite good. There has been innovation involved and the menu shows.

Cocktails@ Farzi Cafe
Cocktails@ Farzi Cafe

And finally we come to the food. I keep the food for last because I am not entirely convinced about it. You see there’s so much effort been put into reinventing the Indian cuisine to a fusion, and the effort is so apparent that I WANT to LOVE the food. But the problem is, my taste buds are too khadoos to be bought out by my swaying heart. The menu primarily offers Indian food, ofcourse redesigned Indian food, but Indian food nevertheless. We went for the “Amritsari Fish & Chips, Desi Ghee Hollandaise”. It was good, the fish had been cooked well, but otherwise it was pretty standard fish & chips one can find anywhere.

Amritsari Fish & Chips, Desi Ghee Hollandaise @ Farzi Cafe
Amritsari Fish & Chips, Desi Ghee Hollandaise @ Farzi Cafe

Then we tried the “Tandoori Soy Chops, Cheese & Nut Fudge, Burhani Cream”. This, I was super excited for, but was unfortunately very disappointed. If you have tasted Soya Chaap, that’s what this is. Only, here the problem was that the chops were too big! So as long as you had the nutty masala to give the soy company, it tasted OK, but once you took a bite in the middle of the chop, it tasted too bland! The “Cheese & Nutty Fudge” was a tandoori masala with nuts, but it didn’t taste too different from the regular tandoori masala and I wasn’t impressed.

Tandoori Soy Chops, Cheese & Nut Fudge, Burhani Cream @ Farzi Cafe
Tandoori Soy Chops, Cheese & Nut Fudge, Burhani Cream @ Farzi Cafe

We also went for the “Bacon & Eggs, Curry Leaf & Pink Pepper Appam”. It was good, the chutney, I must admit, was great. But I have definitely eaten better Appams.

Bacon & Eggs, Curry Leaf & Pink Pepper Appam @ Farzi Cafe
Bacon & Eggs, Curry Leaf & Pink Pepper Appam @ Farzi Cafe

Finally we asked for the “Ras Malai, Tres Leches, Carrot Cream, Rose Petal Net” which was basically a layered cake of ras malai and gajar halwa. While good, again, it wasn’t extra-ordinary.

Ras Malai, Tres Leches, Carrot Cream, Rose Petal Net @ Farzi Cafe
Ras Malai, Tres Leches, Carrot Cream, Rose Petal Net @ Farzi Cafe

So in conclusion, the problem with the place is, the menu describes too many variations, but when you take a bite, you realize there’s actually nothing very different from what you get in any regular Indian restaurant. Their USP is definitely their flair in dramatic presentation and that is worthy of applause! So head there with friends for some great ambience, for the lovely energy in the place, for some great drinks and for some amazing presentation, but don’t go with the hope for extraordinary food!

My Ratings for the place would be :

Ambience : 4/5 ; Service      : 4/5 ; Food          : 2.5/5 ; Pocket Friendly : 3/5 (About 1800 for the food+alcohol) ; Presentation : 5/5

KARGO, Koregaon Park, Pune

Our discovery of this place was as a result of a last-minute hunt for some yummy Sunday dinner! It had been trending on Zomato for a few weeks and we decided to give it a shot, and thank God for that J The food here looks absolutely drool-worthy!! And when you dig in, you aren’t disappointed!

Kargo
Kargo

We started off with the Soups as there was good deal of variety in this section of the menu. We tried the Potato & Leek, the Asian Spiced Pumpkin and the Roasted Tomato Garlic & Thyme soups. All three were very good. The potato & leek soup is very rich & creamy and almost reminds you of the Bechamel sauce. So although very tasty, if you plan on going white-Italian for the night, you can give this a miss. The Pumpkin soup hits your Thai palate just right with the wonderful aroma of lemongrass & galangal. The Tomato Garlic and thyme is your regular tomato soup, but tasty nevertheless.

Potato & Leek, Asian Spiced Pumpkin, Roated Tomato Garlic & Thyme Soups @ Kargo
Potato & Leek, Asian Spiced Pumpkin, Roated Tomato Garlic & Thyme Soups @ Kargo

For Starters, we were drawn to the obvious highlight of the place, the “Naanzas” which have a whole dedicated page on the menu. It is, as the name suggests, a Naan-Pizza..almost along the lines of a thin crust pizza. We went for the Mushroom & Pokchoy naanza…and Oh My!! It was absolutely yummylicious! There was loads of cheese just oooozing out and just…somehow..this dish is a lip smacking blend of Indian, Italian and Chinese cuisines. Do try this one!

Mushroom & Pokchoy Naanza @ Kargo
Mushroom & Pokchoy Naanza @ Kargo

We also tried the Baby Corn & Potato Bujjule and the Kurkure Makkai Sheekh Kebab which, while not outstanding, were pretty decent.

Baby Corn & Potato Bujjule @ Kargo
Baby Corn & Potato Bujjule @ Kargo
Kurkure Makkai Sheekh Kebab @ Kargo
Kurkure Makkai Sheekh Kebab @ Kargo

For Main Course, we had the Pattaya Curry, again a Thai dish, served with sweet & spicy flat noodles, fried rice and Asian Veggies in a soy-like-gravy. The dish was a hit and we had no complaints whatsoever. Next we tried the Mushroom & Spinach Lasagne, which was sooo good, one of the best lasagnes I have had in a long time, made just with White Sauce, Just the way I love it! We also had Khow Suey, which is an all-time favourite of mine. Unfortunately, this dish disappointed us. It was too sour, enough to overpower the delicious flavor of coconut milk that this dish deserves. Lastly, we finished with the Asian Veggies Ramen. I am very particular about my ramens and expect a super clear broth, overloaded with unexploited flavours from the veggies, and this dish scored on all accounts, almost cleansing your palate with its lovely freshness!

Pattaya Curry @ Kargo
Pattaya Curry @ Kargo
Mushroom & Spinach Lasagne, Khow Suey @ Kargo
Mushroom & Spinach Lasagne, Khow Suey @ Kargo
Asian Veggies Ramen @ Kargo
Asian Veggies Ramen @ Kargo

By then, we had almost reached our bursting point! But the Desserts menu was just tooo tempting to miss 😉 We ordered for the Caramel Baked Cheese Cake And…Ahh..La Dolce Vita..It was heavenly! It was smooth and velvety as a cheese cake should be with the occasional bursts of saltiness from the caramel. I am a cheesecake maniac and such cheesecakes just remind me why!! We also had the Opera, which is a layered sponge cake served with their homemade dark chocolate & espresso ice cream, And the Cream Cheese Muffin which is a red chocolate sponge topped with cream cheese and served with their homemade berry lime ice cream. The sponges in both cases were a huge disappointment. They were just too dense for my taste. The saving grace in both dishes were the homemade ice creams, especially the tangy berry ice cream. You can skip trying the cakes and go right for the homemade ice creams they recommend.

Caramel Baked Cheese Cake @ Kargo
Caramel Baked Cheese Cake @ Kargo
Opera @ Kargo
Opera @ Kargo
Cream Cheese Muffin @ Kargo
Cream Cheese Muffin @ Kargo

All in all we had a Lovely Scrumptious meal and would definitely love going back. The menu is extensive and there are still so many dishes I want to try out. Just in case you go with people who prefer Indian in the main course, there’s Tomato & Batata Rassa and Buttered Paneer on the menu too. The presentation is commendable, with attention to detail, making the food look appetizing and beautiful!The biggest surprise was the cost. I expected a bomb considering the number of things we tried, but we just had to shell out Rs.3300 for this meal for 10 people!! Also, please note that this place is ALWAYS crowded. We have always had to wait. So if you want a reservation, call and reach the place before 8. It’s a small little place on the outside, but on the inside, it’s a whole world of flavors waiting to be explored!

My Ratings for the place would be :

Ambience : 3/5 ; Service      : 4/5 ; Food          : 4.5/5 ; Pocket Friendly : 4.5/5 (About 700 for 2, which the food is worthy of); Presentation : 5/5

 

 

BIPIN SNACKS AND JUICEBAR, Erandwane, Pune

Come Saturday and the one place I want to head off to for breakfast is Pune’s very own Bipin’s!! I won’t be surprised if you haven’t ever heard of it. It’s literally a hole-in-the-wall place, but the food it doles out is simply mind blowing! It specializes in Indian breakfast items such as Poha, Sabudana, Batata Wada, Pattice etc and fresh, piping hot ones at that! I am an out-and-out English breakfast person normally, but this place has changed my mind.

Bipin Juice And Snacks Bar
Bipin Juice And Snacks

The most popular dish here would probably be the Sabudana Khichdi. I am not a lover of Sabudana Khichdi especially because most places disappoint, with the almost-gluey-elastic Sabudana giving my jaws a hard time! But not here. The Khichdi itself is just perfectly cooked to be super soft. But what’s different here, is the accompaniment it gets. The dish is actually “Kakdi Khichdi”. So they serve Kakdi Raita with the Khichdi. And they are just perfect for each other! The cold slightly-sweet Kakdi wonderfully complements the HOT mildly-spicy Khichdi. It’s a Jodi made in heaven, trust me!

Bipin Juice And Snacks Bar - Kakdi Khichdi
Bipin Juice And Snacks – Kakdi Khichdi

If you’ve had the Indori Poha ever, you would agree that Poha in Pune falls short of its counterpart. But once again, this place surprises me. The Poha is soft & delicious, served with a garnish of grated coconut and a green chutney of chillies. The chutney again is probably a dish EVERY eatery in Pune has, and yet, the balance this guy manages to give it is found lacking in most other places.

Bipin Juice And Snacks Bar - Poha
Bipin Juice And Snacks Bar – Poha

We also went in for the Bata Wada-Sample combo, and although superlicious, go for it with a brave heart!! It is HOT and SPICY, staying true to the Puneri Sample standards!

Bipin Juice And Snacks Bar - Wada Sample
Bipin Juice And Snacks – Wada Sample

Lastly, we had the Bread Pattice, which is basically bread stuffed with a potato mix, dipped in besan and then deep fried. Again, with a stylish twist one wouldn’t expect from such a small place, it is garnished with onions, green chutney and coconut that elegantly manages to elevate the taste of this simple dish.

Bipin Juice And Snacks - Bread Pattice
Bipin Juice And Snacks – Bread Pattice

Although we didn’t have it this time, they also have Sooji Sheera. I found it a little too sweet with a little too much ghee for my taste. But I would recommend you give it a try! They also have sandwiches, juice, tea, coffee, idli sambar.

Bipin Juice And Snacks
Bipin Juice And Snacks

Service here is super fast, but don’t get too late heading out as they run out of the dishes pretty soon cz of the huge crowd. Reaching around 8 would I think be perfect, and definitely not later than 10:30. Also, do note the place is closed on Sundays. The one negative about this place would just be that there’s no place to eat as such. You have to stand on the footpath and the place is so popular that there’s generally no place. We eat in the car but finding parking space too is a bit of a fuss as the place is on the side of a busy main road. So just think it through or if you can, get it packed to enjoy the delicious food in the comfort of your home!

And if by some chance the food doesn’t appeal to you, there are places next door serving yummy dosas and cold sugarcane juice, so you won’t come back disappointed! Do try this place, especially in the rains. Nothing beats the feel of piping hot yummy food in the beautiful monsoons of Pune..Ahh..La Dolce Vita!

My Ratings:

Ambience : 1/5 ; Service      : 5/5 ; Food          : 4/5 ; Pocket Friendly : 5/5