This restaurant, just like it’s namesake, is at the heart of Pune’s lively hub of Pimple Saudagar. And just as a Bazaar should be, the resto is very sprightly, replete with options, and *wait for it* it’s inexpensive. That’s the real coup de grâce to the competition, really; with options spanning Tex-mex, pan-asian, Indian, and more at but a fraction of the cost.
The live counter of the day was Tex-Mex and my choice of Crispy Tacos was well received by everyone at the Blogger’s table. The crunchy taco mini-shell filled with tangy-sweet salsa and topped with cheese was quite a mouthful of flavors.
There was more the live counter had to offer, but with so many options, some of them do tend to get missed –
To wash this down, we called for –
Madh Island Iced Tea – the potent Indian cousin of the LIIT who stuck to his roots and opted for chaat masala, to accentuate the vodka-rum-sour mix flavors and what a great job he did of it!
Of the other three cocktails, the Tamba (Copper) was the best concoction that was predominantly sweet on the palate with strong minty notes in a whisky base. The Khus Khus and Tropical (mango and rum) weren’t as impressive as the Tamba, though. I know what I’ll be ordering the next time I’m back here.
The cold salad platter was freshly cut. That’s all it should be and that’s all it was.
Next up was the Sev Tikki – crunchy on the outside…..and inside. That’s a little too much crunchy for me, but the mellow savoury flavors were plenty palatable.
The Portugese Peri Peri Potatoes that came after, were cooked through and coated generously with a nicely tangy and spicy Peri Peri sauce. The size of the pearl potato pieces was just about small to not feel pasty and tasteless. That’s a Thumbs Up from me!
The Paneer Achaari Tikka was nice and soft, and the dahi (yoghurt) – achaar (pickle) balance was executed pretty well, too. I’m beginning to sense a pattern, here (hold on to this thought, more on this, later).
The Crispy Corn Salt and Pepper was not as crispy as you’re probably used to, but to make up for that, it was served in what seemed like a Wonton, with fried noodles on the side for that extra crunch. When had together, the combination was pretty good; by itself, not so much.
The Kumbh Koliwada was a pretty good pakoda per se, but not as Koliwada-ey as the name suggests. You’ll need to have authentic Prawns Koliwada at Sion, Koliwada to understand what I’m on about. But maybe that’s just me being overly picky.
The meat in the Mutton Chapli Kabab was nicely tenderized and lightly spiced with whole spices. If you like your Kabab a little extra spicy, you probably won’t like this. I, on the other hand, appreciated what the chef was trying to do, here. The chef did mention later that the level of spiciness can be adjusted to one’s liking on request, so I guess that explains the default version being moderately spicy, right?
Pesto Chicken Wings. Honestly, I didn’t quite get what this preparation was about. Was it supposed to be grassy-cheesy from the pesto, or was it supposed to be sweet from the BBQ dressing? I could really use either one of the two on my plate, but not both together. I wouldn’t recommend this without customization (because I know that’s possible, here).
Meen Varathathu or Kerala Fish Fry was an instant hit with everyone; the curry leaves having infused their flavor and aroma deep inside the crumb-fried fish. ‘Crispy on the outside and succulent and juicy on the inside’ almost ALWAYS works, doesn’t it? 🙂
Fatti Dajaj or Chicken with Tahini – just as it sounds (and looks), it was delicious! Small, juicy chicken tenders soaked through in that creamy sesame-flavored sauce and sprinkled with black sesame for that extra punch. Remember I’d spoken about a pattern, before? This is it – all the creamy-style preparations were notably tastier, as compared to the others.
Of the mains, I particularly liked the garlic noodles alongside the khao suey (which could’ve used a little kaffir lime for the aromas, but I’m not complaining; it was alright). The Andhra Chicken Biryani we had, paired well with the Kala Masalyachi Kombdi and evven the Konkani Jhinga. It wasn’t the best I’ve had but I was’t looking for a serious main course anyway, after such delectable appetizers and delicious cocktails.
As with most all-you-can-eat places, there’s usually just one or two desserts that click, with the others being worth going for only if you’re craving or are a compulsive sweet-tooth. In this case it was doodhi halwa and BOY was it good! I really wouldn’t bother explaining the rest because if this is on offer, I’ll just say HAVE IT and ignore the rest like me! 🙂
All in all, it’s most definitely worth a visit or even two (or three!), simply for that change it brings to the all-you-can-eat options available to Punekars at the moment. That said, it certainly comes with some really great appetizers that make the trip worth the while, all while not sending the balance sheet into disarray. Now that’s a Bonus!