All-night buffets at five- and three-star hotels are aplenty in Pune, but not everyone prefers to dine in relatively quiet sophistication after a raucous night-out. Instead, roof-top baithaks, shishas, lower prices and more nuanced menus seem to be a local preference that has led to the mushrooming of several late-night eateries in and around town, frequented not just by revellers, but also professionals with odd shifts or visitors swinging by to the city in the wee hours, when few regular restaurants opt to grapple with the police to stay open late.
At Jashn on Salunkhe Vihar Road, as fragrant hookah smoke swirls around you, any regular would wax eloquent about the joys of their spicy buffalo meat boti roll, wrapped in a succulent egg-fried roti and loaded with piquant garlic mayonnaise; the Chinese menu here is popular as well, as is the more unusual gurda kaleji fry mix, coupled perhaps with a soft, unending roomali roti.
Over at NIBM Road – a food hub brimming with excellent options to indulge in varied Indian fare – the Bombay South Café has a fairly exhaustive menu. It offers luscious gravies with biryanis, pulaos and kulchas, soul-satisfying Indo-Chinese food, and even sizzlers. Most interesting, however, is a section advertising Middle Eastern cuisine, with Iranian doogh, mutton kabsa, shawarma, Greek gyros, and more.
Sufi’sin Wanowrie is not what you would call a posh hangout, but this diminutive eatery dishes out delicious food and shisha till late night. Their shawarma plate comes loaded with chicken chunks, mayo and cheese, while the hakka schezwan noodles will more than satisfy your midnight food cravings.
JG Resto in Aundh brings you that perfect, dimly lit ambience with baithaks to curl up on, as you sip on your nth glass of poison-of-choice of the night, coupled with a copper handi of their well-balanced sweet-creamy butter chicken and tender garlic butter naans.
Sky Garage in Aundh is well-beloved for its sprawling space and rooftop ambience, and tends to be rather crowded on most nights. If you manage to wait it out for a seat, order a serving of their malai kofta with tandoori roti and maybe a chicken bhuna biryani as well.
Open till around 2 am, Ringer Burgers in Viman Nagar will serve you varied hot dogs, munchies, shakes, coffee and, most importantly, burgers. Their Fishi Talia burger combines a basic pizza flavour (mozzarella, tomato, jalapeños and green bell peppers) with a barbecued fish fillet; the Meccy burger is a spiced mutton patty topped with an omelette and oodles of melted cheese. There is chicken and vegetarian options as well.
Farmaaishin Viman Nagar does a bunch of really delicious starters – their assorted kabab platters are not just generous, but speak of attention to detail, with each component as tasty as the next. Alternatively, the oriental lemon chicken appetiser is a study in the balance of flavour, and just as tasty as the paneer crispy here.
Loud music, cushy leather seats and brawny security will make you feel like the party never stopped over at the lounge named (tongue-in-cheek)Alpha Q in Viman Nagar. Their chicken raspberry kababs or paneer momos are interesting orders.
Spice Factory in Kharadi has rooftop seating that would appeal to many owls, and the Indian, Chinese and Continental menu here is far from limited. Try the cheesy fusilli mornay with prawns, or a steaming bowlful of their Thai red curry with hot rice.
Amruteshwar at Nal Stop is a tiny, brisk outlet run out of a small shop that just about opens at 3.30 am, if you are up for a quick, no-fuss snack before you head home. Brave the crowds for their crisp sabudana wadas, idlis doused in coconut chutney, or hot fragrant pohe to walk around with and gulp down – there is no seating. The prices just make it ever more worth it.