Friday, August 07, 2015

620, 619, 618: Recommending eats in Pune (Part 1)

1. The Book Song Café in Aundh behind McDonald's: The first thing you should know is that it's very very cute - like dollhouse cute - and maybe that's why I'm gushing. Neat space with nifty knick-knacks and books in Korean. There's a tiny patio, a space on top where you sit on the floor along with some stuffed toys seen in a teen's room, and maybe two small tables on the ground level. I love that space for the nibbles of good taste that spot is surrounded with. You get a great assortment of herb teas (I like their white chocolate and lavender) and very nice French toast. Also, I'm partial to the hazelnut black - which is black coffee with hazelnut flavour. They don't accept cards, service is slow-ish, and no takeaways. But it's a pretty, pretty spot with some good stuff. Reminds me of a simpler time - which is exactly the mood I go for when having coffee.

2. Malaka Spice, Baner: I think that a restaurant is evolved when they have thoughtful non-chocolate options on the menu. Or something other than honey noodles (which really, when you think about it is what?!) Anyway, the monsoon menu at Malaka has some options made with jaggery that are very, very good! The other night, I just had soup and 3 desserts - all jaggery-based. There was a jaggery pudding which comes looking really tiny on the plate - like an innocent, lost continent. But it's flavorful and somehow, just right when you mindfully eat spoonful after spoonful. They also have a wedge of jaggery tart that is served warm and, from how wholesome it feels, maybe with grandma's blessings. This was my favourite. The other thing, that I really wish Malaka increased their portion of, was the jaggery ice-cream served with caramelized oranges. I got only two scoops of that sweet churn and two quarters of the orange. There should be three scoops and 5 quarters of oranges. I don't know how I arrived at that number but it feels good to my heart.

3. Kimling, Aundh: Some days, I get tired of places serving so little food that it looks like the grub is painted on the plate. Kim Ling is not that place. I love how a thick wad of spring rolls comes laden on a pan or how the noodles overflow from the bowl or the soup looks like it's a river in spate. I love this place because one does get tired of this minimalistic nonsense that is taking over the world. Less is not always more. Sometimes less is less only. Sometimes the heart just needs to burp at the sight of plenty.

4. Food Court, Baner: Whatever else you have in this place, definitely try out their tandoori food - especially with people from Delhi who make it their job to not like anything from anywhere. A friend from Delhi almost teared up at their chicken sholay kebab. And I would earnestly recommend their tandoori mushrooms. Not the tandoori mushrooms with melted cheese - which is strictly okay - but tandoori mushrooms that are perfectly seasoned and marinated and charred. Eat two plates of it with a broccoli and badaam soup.


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