Some thoughts, experiences, analysis, reviews, observations . . .

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Restaurant Review | Mezza9, Hinjawadi, Pune

We had heard a lot about Mezza9 and it’s been on our go-to-list for quite some time. Last weekend we had family visiting and hence decided to try out Mezza9 as we had heard a lot about the ample sitting places and excellent ambience. So all of us (a group of 13 people including 1 kid and 2 babies) landed up at Mezza9 at around 2 pm on last Sunday. The place was literally empty but the waiters finally gave us a large enough table to accommodate all of us, after a lot of internal discussion! I really don’t know what and why they were discussing so much as the restaurant was literally empty!

Any ways the sitting is quite decent and the place has a lot of greenery around. But frankly the good points stop right there! Everything coming after this is absolutely disappointing.

First of all the place and our table (outside sitting under the canopy) was swarming with flies. We had to eat with one hand and swat the flies with the other!

Secondly, the waiters showed least interest in serving us or taking orders. We had to wait for ages to locate them …. This is really surprising as the place was literally empty!

Then the tables. Well they were big …. But then the waiters could never reach the guests sitting at the ends as they couldn’t reach them. We had to serve ourselves! Guys you need better planning!
Any ways all things aside – lets come to the food! That’s why we went there right! But alas most of the fare they served was quite average.

For soups we had Minestrone (rs 150), manchow (rs 130) and TomYum (rs 140). Well to put it simply, we’v had way better soups in lesser places!

For starters we had Mozzarella sticks with spicy tomato sauce (rs 280) and Paneer banjara kebab (rs 220). The Mozzarella sticks were quite nice though we never got the spicy tomato sauce. The paneer was quite ordinary.

Then we went for sizzlers. We had Harvest Supreme (rs 350), Tikka masala (rs 350), Oriental (rs 330) and Paneer Nawabi (rs 350). Again most of the sizzlers were quite ordinary … nothing outstanding!

Finally I would not recommend this place if you are looking for good food or service. May be if you want to spend long evenings/nights with friends over drinks … you could give this place a try!

Damage: Rs 500-600 per head
Ambiance: Ok (flies can be really irritating)
Taste: Average
Service: Poor
Portions: Could be better

Value for money: No

Restaurant Review | Zikomo, Baner Road, Pune

Zikomo is fast turning out to be our favourite restaurant in the Baner-Aundh area. Whenever we want to take someone out for lunch or dinner, Zikomo has turned out to be the safest option and they have never disappointed us.

So this Saturday when our parents came down from Mumbai, dinner was at zikomo! We generally prefer the lounge type sitting, but this time to make it easy for the senior generation, we opted for the regular table chair sitting.

Now service at Zikomo has always been superb. The waiters know what they are serving, take the orders correctly and the food also comes to your table within acceptable time.

For starters we had dahi kebab (yes yogurt kebabs @ Rs 185) and Jalapeno cheese poppers (Rs 215) and broccoli cooked in Manchurian style (Rs 225). While all the starters were nice, I’d like to make a special mention of the broccoli which was simply superb!

For the main course our parents tried the Indian fare and had Ratan Manjusha (a kofta curry @ 245), Daal tadka (Rs 125) and butter naan. They quite liked the taste as it was not spicy or oily. We went for the Thai curry and Jasmine rice (Rs 265) which was absolutely lip smacking!

For desserts we tried the apple pie with vanilla icecream which was frankly quite ordinary. But in all we really really enjoyed the food and service there.

This place is definitely recommended!

Damage: Rs 600-700 per head
Ambiance: Good
Taste: Fantastic
Service: Excellent
Portions: Decent

Value for money: Yes

Restaurant Review | Chitale Bandhu Mithai wale

Yesterday mom went back to Mumbai and I had to get her a whole bag full of Chitale Bandhu goodies to distribute back home. When I was there I suddenly realised I hadnt reviewed this iconic place as yet. Well Chitale Bandhu is to Pune, probably what Haldiram is to Nagpur! No one goes back from Pune without a visit to this place.

Chitale Bandhu has been as famous for its food as its been for their unique Puneri behaviour (read RUDE)! They used to have only one shop, they used to stay open for very limited time and used to cap customer's orders to preserve exclusivity. There have been enough jokes on them out there. But now well thankfully they seem to have changed.

There are multiple branches, their average working times have increased and now they even have their products packed in special packages which preserves the products for a long time.

Anyways coming to the food. The most famous product from their stable is the world famous 'bakerwadi'. I don't think anyone makes it the way these guys make it! Perfectly spiced and crisp . . . you cant just stop at one! I don't think any one travelling to Pune hasn't tasted and appreciated this delicious snack.

The next best and second most famous product is the mango barfi. Big orange squares of absolute goodness! The best part is it gives you the taste of mango through out the year. This is an absolute must have when you choose from the mithai section.

Other things which are recommended are their jumbo pedhas, shrikhand (there are unending serpentine queues for this sweet yoghurt based delicacy on festivals), sutar-feni (also called buddhi ke baal) and sugar coated dry gulab jamuns.

Chitale also provides other milk products like ghee, paneer, chakka (hung curd), etc of high quality.

In all this iconic place is definitely worth a visit.

As an ending note and a tribute to their Puneri behaviour, I'll share some Chitale Bandhu jokes I know:

1) What happened when RAJNIKANTH went to Chitale Bandhu to buy bakarwadi at 3.00 pm??
Chitale:"RAJNIKANTH hoga apne ghar me....! 4 baje ke baad aaol!"

2) When the shop is on fire, the firebrigade arrives at 12:58 & asks chitale to keep shop open. Chitale says : 12 se 4 tak dukan band rehtay. 4 baje ke baad aao ....