Authentic wood fired pizza joint in Pune

Brix Pizza – Aundh, Pune

I sometimes have this habit of exploring Google maps. Yes, for the heck of it! And the other day I was just casually browsing the Aundh area and a certain fork & spoon symbol appearing next to Brix Pizza caught my attention. On hovering the mouse cursor over it, I realized this place had decent reviews. A search of the same on Zomato later that same evening made me curious enough to give it a try.

The Ambience The ground floor as you walk in to the Pizzeria, has a small dining area with just one table and next to it is the cashier’s counter. A flight of stairs by the side takes you to a slightly bigger dining area with 3 tables. A big glass window separates the dining area on the ground floor from the wood fired oven where the Pizzeria’s specialty – Wood fired Pizzas are made. So it’s really more of a take away place than a dine-in. Therefore there is hardly any décor on the walls and no one other than the cashier himself to serve your order!

The Food Wanted to try the Pepperoni when I saw it on the menu, but had to settle for the Meat-lovers. The pizza thankfully lived up to its wood fired reputation. The pizza was a thin crust type and one could really differentiate the gourmet quality from the mass produced pizzas at Domino’s and Pizza Hut (no offence though!)

A snapshot between all the ravishing!!

Other makes/breaks Location – one word – Terrible! Just happened to stumble upon this place like the few others who did previously, but otherwise largely an unknown joint. The staff is extremely courteous. He even asked me if I want the pizza changed as the edges of 2 of the slices were burnt a little – for the non-indians, it hardly ever happens in this part of the world!!

Gives me hope that my Thursday pizza nights may be back for good 😉

Best donuts in Pune

Café PeterDonuts – Aundh, Pune

Nestled away on the 1st floor of the HPCL outlet in Aundh, with the name written in bold on the glass panes of the café, the stairway invites you into an abode of smooth tasting coffee and donuts!

The Ambience A treat to the eyes as you walk in and set them on the assortments of cup cakes, donuts, tarts and cake; this café sets itself apart from the scores of others – Café Coffee Day and the likes. With world music playing and the TV channel set to FTV, I somehow thought it was rather unconventional for a café or any eat out in India for that matter, to don such an ambience. But it certainly was a good one! This cafe has a fantastic focus on customer satisfaction. There is Free WiFi, comfortable couches and lots of natural light pouring in.

The Food & Drinks We ordered the Multigrain Nut Tart, White Chocolate topped Donut, Café Latte and a Turkish Cappuccino! What stood out were the donut and the cappuccino, though the tart and the latte were also commendable. The coffee is of Blue Mountain blend, which aficionados will know, is a premium coffee blend sourced from the Blue Mountains in Jamaica. However, being one of more milder blends, expect no bitterness. The donut was exceptionally well made and delicious. It was served warm and had a crispy ending; those MOD lovers, take note, this one’s to die for! And yes, they also serve sandwiches, waffles and bagels!

Other makes/breaks The staff was polite and knowledgeable enough to recommend that lip smacking donut when asked for a suggestion – Bravo! The portions are fairly large and prices are more or less appropriate for a café of such standing!

It is now safe to say I’ve finally found a terrific place for donuts & a cup of Joe in Pune!

Click to add a blog post for Cafe PeterDonuts on Zomato

Elevate Lounge, Pune

Elevate – The Lounge, Pune

This one was a surprising find; cutaway from the Dalchini restaurant its part of, down a dark passage to the right after acsending the stairs, it opens up into a mood lit pub ! I probably had the  same feeling readers of spy novels have, when one figures out this underground secret den, totally oblivious to the unassuming onlooker from outside!!

The Food and Drinks Draught beer is what drew us to this place. Served in frosted mugs, they certainly know their trade here. The menu is extensive though catering mostly North Indian and Asian cuisine. In this the feather in their cap is perhaps the preparation of the Empress Chicken ! Truly Excellantè !!

The Ambience This is the WOW factor of this pub ! Perfect lighting complimenting the interior decor; featuring bar stools for the ones loving that kind of a experience and regular couches and chairs & tables like every other restaurant. Elevate has, thankfully a DJ who knows his job well and a lovely playlist that will set the mood. The music gets livelier and louder post 9 30 pm until closing time.

Other makes/breaks The service is pretty decent and the waiters are never trying to override your choices, which, mind you is a big relief ! Prices are a bit steep, but one helluva experience if you’re in Pune and looking out for a place to crash on a Friday evening !

Yours,

Click to add a blog post for Elevate Lounge on Zomato

The All American Diner, Lavasa

This is one of those restaurants that makes Lavasa an attraction to visit ! Easy to find as soon as you reach Lavasa; this place is always bustling with patrons who love American food !

The Food is great and the menu offers a wide variety of popular American diner options. We loved the Big Breakfast and Buffalo Wings the most, though almost everything on the menu that we tried were just fantastic. Perhaps, not wanting to mislead the odd patron who doesn’t know that the Buffalo Wings are actually Chicken wings, they have gone the extra mile by adding Chicken to the name, making it sound a bit redundant to a foodie 🙂 But otherwise, a well prepared menu. The watermelon juice that we ordered though wasn’t very fresh and was quite disappointing. The waiters don’t seem to know much, not do they live up to the quality of the place, but one can always concentrate more on the food itself !

The Ambience is what will draw you to this restaurant in the first place. The decor is fantastic, even better than the Soda Rock Diner (another review on it’s way ;)) in Melbourne. It has everything from I Love Lucy posters, Harley Davidsons, Corvettes to Elvis and Superman on the walls, adding to the classic checkerboard tiles and red chairs typical of a diner! So that’s everything proudly American ! It’s just really wonderful.

Other makes/breaks Well service is a bit on the tardy side and waiters I must add are a bit lost. But well, if you already know what you want, that’s not very bothering; plus you can always get past the tardiness reading the funny wall posters and deciding what to order for dessert !!

A definitive must try !!

Yours,

Kettuvallam’s seafood

Kettuvalam Restaurant has opened it’s new outlet at Kaloor off late and though this wasn’t exactly the restaurant I had in mind, while driving past it, we decided to give it a try !

This restaurant is located in a prime location, slightly away from the buzz of Kochi City, almost equidistant from the either sides of the Edapally – Kochi stretch.

The Food Featuring dishes from Kerala and apparently better known for it’s seafood specialities, we went for the Prawns dry fry in the starters and were quite happy with the traditional preparation and the spice. In the main course though, the Meen (Fish) Mappas and Nadan (Kerala Style) Chicken Curry were quite a bit of a let down and didn’t taste anything like the traditional recipe. The Kadai Vegetable went a tad overboard with spices and wasn’t much of a delight either. Seafood – 7.5/10 Overall – 6.5/10 

The Ambience Really, this is one thing that stands out in the restaurant. The outside of the restaurant is built up in the form of a traditional Kettuvallam (Houseboat) and the inside decor has wall paintings of fishing boats; walls are lined with coir/bamboo mats and the overall feel befits the theme of the restaurant. 8.5/10

Other makes/breaks Given the area of the restaurant this is primarily meant to accommodate smaller groups of people and the parking space is much limited (3-4 cars in front).

The restaurant is one of few in Kochi serving authentic Kerala cuisine and for that matter is a must try for anyone looking for a Nadan treat.

Yours,

House of Wang’s / Wang’s Kitchen, Kochi

 Checked in here 3 times in the last 2 months’ and my taste buds have thoroughly enjoyed the delicious treats that this Indo-Chinese restaurant offers !

The Food & Drinks Wang’s Kitchen offers a wide variety of dishes from the actual Chinese menu. One quickly notices the absence of Manchurian dishes, which gives hope to foodies who are looking for authentic chinese preparations, though the steamed dumplings and dim-sims are dearly missed. Taste wise though, it’s more Indo-Chinese, which debatably is more popular with the locals. All in all, the dishes are really well prepared and the portions are large. Must Try Crabmeat soup, Phuket Fish, Sesame Prawns.

The Ambience One of the more gratifying aspects at Wang’s is the ambience. Red chinese hanging lanterns and pictures of old chinese artifacts on the table mats adds more value to the fooding experience.

Other makes/breaks Good service and reasonably priced. Valet parking available.

Being one of the best restaurants in Cochin in this category, the whole experience is just excellante !

Yours,

Campos Coffee Melbourne

Campos Coffee, Carlton, Melbourne

On 28th November 2010, Sunday, I walked into the Campos Coffee outlet in Melbourne.

This is a specialty coffee vendor that has a fantastic reputation for fine coffee in Sydney. The Melbourne one, opened quite recently, therefore didn’t feature in the Melbourne Coffee Review 2010.

Nevertheless, I got wind of it much attributed to my new interest in being a regular on Beanhunter.com. Given that the place is at a stone’s throw from where I live, I did not need any more invitation to check it out!

So I got there in time, few hours before they closed for the day, for a cup of coffee. Though a huge coffee addict and an aspiring coffee aficionado, I was a little unsure about the bean and type of coffee to pick when I stood at the order table, So hesitantly I asked the Barista, who was more than happy to help me out. He suggested I go for black if I choose the Siphon or white if I preferred the house blend. So I went for the Campos Superior house blend in Latte. I also bought an almond croissant to go with it.

So I waited patiently for 10 mins while my latte was made. A sip of it told me, the extraction was one of the most perfect ones I have ever had. The bitterness was just right and the temperature too, I presume – neither cold nor too hot. The Verdict Coffee: 8.0,

Ambience: 7.0, Service: 7.5

Other makes/breaks Being a specialty coffee vendor, they also have cupping sessions scheduled over the year, which needs a booking and is usually done on a first come first serve basis.

This is a definite recommendation to look up whenever you are in Sydney or Melbourne and need a good hit of coffee!!

Campos Coffee on Urbanspoon

theinsanefoodie

The Punjab House – Broadway, Kochi

 

This little cutaway restaurant off Broadway, boasts of serving some of the best Punjabi food in town. Always bustling with patrons, who are mostly the North Indian community living in Cochin and the odd few others who love Punjabi food.

The Food & Drinks Food served is vegetarian and always fresh, with the highlight of the lot being Aloo Paranthas topped with a dollop of Amul butter (charged extra). With this the need for a side dish is largely avoided. Finish off the meal with a sweet lassi and you’ll be really full! In a nutshell this is a no nonsense veg dhaba which serves decent hot food and lassi.

The Ambience Though not anything like that of a typical Dhaba, the rush hour mode at all times in the restaurant adds a certain dhaba ambience to it. The place is usually jam packed after the matinee show at Sridhar and few mins of waiting is guaranteed.

Other makes/breaks Being an old school restaurant there is no option of making reservations in advance. This makes waiting time on most occasions unavoidable.

Drop in for dinner at around 8 30 pm to escape the mad rush!

Yours,

Chillax Lounge, Kochi

Chillax is a 24hr coffee lounge off the Cochin Bypass which makes it an ideal pitstop for the weary travellers; or so is the intention of the place, I’m guessing.

The Food & Drinks Hot Coffee which went by the name Chillax Special didn’t do any justice to the category of Freshly Brewed Coffees.

However the food is good and decently priced. Yum tasting grilled veg. club sandwich. The french fries however tasted bad and were possibly fried in stale oil.

The Ambience Lovely ambience – Harley Davidson themed insides with lots of memorabilia. Well lit – mood lighting. The music playing was a tad too loud which befits a pub ambience than a coffee lounge.

Other makes/breaks 24hrs is a definite attraction !

Still needs to seen how long this is gonna stay in business in Cochin, where there is hardly any night life. Gauging from the timing, they may have to hang in there till Cochin graduates from it’s young city status.

But hey I love the fact that it remains open 24hrs and as long as there are enough insane guys like me out here, voila !!

Yours,

Coffee Berries

Up close and personal with coffee cherries! This picture was taken in one of the farms in Nelliyambathi, a hill station in Kerala, situated less than a hundred kilometres from the town of Palakkad. The weather here is moderately cool and suited for coffee and tea cultivation.