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It is an exciting time to be a gourmand in Pune. The last few months have seen a spate of new restaurants, helmed by chefs who are pushing the envelope, in terms of creativity and offering truly original, funky menus full of culinary surprises. In fact, so vibrant is the scene right now that places that started as exclusive home-delivery services, food trucks or pop-ups at various events have now been converted into full-fledged restaurants.
Street Meat, a popular ex-food truck in Viman Nagar, with a highly innovative fusion menu recently opened its doors as a cosy, minimalistic café in Koregaon Park. Epicures can look forward to trying out their specialties Thai golgappas (puris filled with minced chicken in Thai spices, tangy tamarind water and a smattering of sev); pulled pork brun pao (featuring those luscious meat strands soaked in barbeque sauce along with mayonnaise, a three-cheese sprinkle and some fresh arugula); soft shell tacos with cajun chicken (or vegetarian or pork) filling or a wholesome grilled kale and radicchio salad with balsamic vinaigrette and candied nuts, are a few among other yummies.
Pizza fans rejoice, for two of their favourite delivery services have turned into pizza joints. Baked & Wired, known for dishing out humongous 28-inch thin-crust pies – the largest in Pune – with lovely toppings such as lemon chicken with slow-marinated thyme; three-cheese with watercress; and a gluten-free base for the diet-conscious, will soon start operating out of a pizzeria in Kalyani Nagar. Also watch out for their delicious pastas and desserts – bottle gourd tortellini in 3-cheese sauce with a sticky caramel cinnabun to round things off. Anyone? For residents of Hadapsar, home delivery venture Olivinos too, has gone a step-ahead and become a restaurant that rustles up some scrumptious vegetarian pies.
And, for bearers of the midnight munchies, the go-to nocturnal Burger Kitchen in Koregaon Park has now started accepting orders for lunch and dinner too! While their ‘buffmeister’; which packs in a grilled quarter pound patty dressed with cheese, garlic-pepper mayonnaise, tomatoes, gherkins and onions; is a must-have, I was particularly impressed by their ‘what the fish’; which features a huge basa fillet, crumb-fried to a perfect golden brown and dressed with an in-house tartar sauce and cheese; for its surprising crispiness (given how most tartar-drenched fillets tend to get soggy) and spot-on flavours. So even though a restaurant space does not seem to be on the cards yet, their loyal customer base still has a very good reason to celebrate.