Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good Breakfast Joints

Enough about fine dining places! Lets discuss a few good breakfast options in Pune which will ensure a merry start to your day.

For sheer quality and consistency through the years, Vaishali on FC Road would definitely be at the top if you are looking for a good South Indian breakfast. The onion tomato uttappas, idli wada sambar, the various dosa options, the filter coffee are probably the best in Pune. With all due respect to Wadeshwar, Madhuban and Ram Krishna, I have not tasted a better sambar and chutney anywhere else in Pune. Vaishali also makes a fabulous upma sambar and batata wada sambar and with their famous cold Bournvita provides a terrific start to your day.

If you are looking for a good and cheap bread-omlette breakfast, I don’t think you need to look beyond Vohuman Café and Good Luck. Cheese omlette, buttered toast and Irani chai at Vohuman Café will put you in such a great mood, you wont mind the slightly shabby ambience that has always been the way at Vohuman. Ask any of the regulars here and they will swear by the place.
Good Luck as everyone knows is another Irani joint on Deccan and with a similar, albeit slightly better ambience than Vohuman. Bun omlette, scrambled eggs on toast, baked beans on toast, sweet French toast, brun maska and chai – can you think of anything better for that ‘feel-good’ breakfast? Both these places get full with their regular patrons, so mind that you go early.

The popular German Bakery has plenty of healthy and slightly unusual breakfast options. Mostly frequented by foreigners and Osho people, this place has only continental-style dishes with various egg, potato and bread items like the Spanish omlette and fried egg on mashed potatoes, home-made muesli and cereals, variety of fruit and vegetable juices, sandwiches, cakes and what-not. They also have a lot of snack items on display which you can order or parcel home with you. It’s a shaded cozy little place, though not very comfortable with wooden benches for chairs.

Now if you are looking for more expensive places for breakfast with non-veg options, then Mocha is a good bet to go for. There you will find pancakes and waffles, mind-blowing omlettes and Panini sandwiches, crustinis and croque monsieurs and an amazing selection of coffees. Mocha is very comfortable and people here spend hours chatting away with friends. It’s a little expensive, but the food is worth it and definitely a place where you can indulge in now and then.

Fine dining buffet breakfasts – Le Meridien is the best in this category. Priced at 450 a head, the variety is mind-boggling and I guarantee you will not be able to have another meal in the day if you sample all the available options here in the buffet. Everything from cold meats, eggs made to order, waffles, pancakes, south Indian items, milkshakes, juices, fruits, cereals, variety of breads and on and on. Spare a couple of hours for breakfast and do visit on some special occasion. Aubergine (on Nagar road) and the Glass Window (Deccan Rendezvous) also have good breakfast buffets and priced cheaper than the Le Meridien one.

Apart from these places, if you want some typical Maharashtrian (upma, pohe, misal, khichadi) breakfast fare, you can try the Sunday buffet breakfast at Shabree for Rs.100. Café Coffee Day is a decent option for a quick sandwich-coffee breakfast. Or Marzorin of course, for chicken mayo rolls, almond macroons and cold coffee.

So go ahead and explore and let me know how it works out. Also any new places you find, I will be very interested in knowing!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Polka Dots

Polka Dots is a small inconspicuous eatery located in Aundh and Kalyaninagar. But for a diehard foodie, its a very valuable joint in Pune’s gourmet scene.

It’s not a place where you can have a nice romantic dinner or a quiet family outing. It’s a place which you can frequent with a group of college friends or office colleagues. The crowd is young and colourful and the décor is minimalistic. Its best to go very early, especially if you are going for dinner as the place gets packed to the brim soon.

The main thing about Polka Dots is the eclectic cuisine on offer and quite reasonably priced. They specialize in continental food, though the menu does have some Indian options as well. The food is rarely disappointing in quality and well presented with the Paprika Chicken, Traditional Roast Chicken, Chicken Teriyaki, Shepherd’s Pie that are at the top my mind, having sampled them recently. The menu also boasts of specialty dishes from around the globe like the Hungarian goulash, the Greek moussaka , Italian pastas and the traditional Thai curries among others. The only downbeat thing about the food is probably the quantity. If you are really hungry, then maybe one dish may not suffice and you may have to order a side dish as well. Most of the main course dishes are priced for Rs.185/- Veg options are slightly limited, but the desserts are definitely worth going for. And sorry, no alcohol here!

For me, Polka Dots will always be among the first places in the list for an economical, yet delicious continental dinner.