Archive for April 2007

Pune Food Guide

April 25, 2007

Book Review – TIMES PUNE FOOD GUIDE 2007 

[Reviewed by Foodie Vikram Karve] 

 

I believe that if you want to write about food you must actually eat it. Being a passionate Foodie is probably more important than being a competent journalist. First hand gastronomic experience is sine qua non for a food guide or restaurant review. That’s why, when I read in the Pune Times supplement of today’s Times of India that, in the compilation of Times Food Guide 2007, in order to give a perfect picture of the Pune’s culinary scene, they had sent out food inspectors who visited restaurants incognito to sample and rate the food, I rushed out to the nearest Crossword bookstore in Aundh and bought the book. 

With its eye-catching red cover, attractive get up, convenient size [a food guide must fit in your pocket and be easy to carry around during your foodwalks], and reasonable price, my first impression was quite favourable. It’s comprehensive, alphabetically compiled, well collated, aptly indexed, easy on the eye and pleasing to read, with helpful maps at the end. All in all, a delightfully compact food guide with superb production quality befitting the prestigious Times of India group who have published this pioneering Pune food guide.  

It was only when I tried to find my favourite eateries that I was shocked by the glaring omissions. How could the incognito food inspectors have missed out all time Puneri favourites like Janaseva Dughda Mandir the ultimate Puneri Snacks place on Laxmi Road, Purepur Kolhapur, Durga and Nagpur of Sadashiv Peth,  Ramnath and Bedekar Misal, Badshahi Boarding, Sweet Home, Ganu Shinde Ice Cream, Sujata and Gujar Mastani House, Olympia Kathi Rolls, Radio Restaurant, East End Chinese, Kalpana Bhel, Spicer Bakery famous for its inimitable delectable lip smacking Lamingtons, Ambika and New Ambika Amrututulya Teashops serving ambrosial tea, et al? And, please tell me, have Khyber, Eddie’s Kitchen, Kabir’s, Poona Goan, Santosh Bhavan, and Latif closed down? Does Café Sunrise still exist? By the way, my all time favourite Marz-O-Rin on

Main Street

is certainly not a roadside joint as categorized in the index. It’s a decent respectable family place. And Manmeet too, the chaat place on

FC Road

, is a decent eatery with proper seating. What about Radhakrishna caterers? And Shreyas’s  cozy new branch on

Satara Road

opposite Panchami which also does not find a mention? And the excellent restaurants in hotels like Raviraj, for example? And back of the beyond places like Thomson in Navi Sangvi for Kerala cuisine, Mahableshwar in Baner for Butter Chicken, Sadanand on the Katraj byepass for Dabba Gosht, and Babumoshai on

Aundh Road

for Lavang Lata and Bengali Sweets. 

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to be critical and it is certainly not my intention to belittle the great effort that has gone into the making of this pioneering food guide to Pune, but then one has very high expectations from a publication from the highly esteemed Times of India group. 

I’m glad I bought the Times Food Guide Pune 2007. It is a superb user-friendly guide covering a wide range of cuisines, and featuring many new places, especially in the upcoming suburbs of Pune.  If this food guide is targeted at the newly arrived IT professionals, the high-falutin crowd of “restless achievers”, the rich hip and happening students flocking to Pune, visiting tourists, and the cosmopolitan elite living in posh suburbs like Kalyaninagar, Kondhwa, Aundh etc,  it is certainly an excellent and informative compilation. But is it fair to ignore the fast dwindling diehard Punekar and the unique Puneri cuisine? 

I’ve tasted better Chinese food in Kolkata, Mughlai Cuisine in Delhi, Irani, Continental and Multicuisine Mumbai, Biryani in Hyderabad and Lucknow, Chaat and Chola Bhatura in the north, Vindaloo and Fish Curry in Goa, and Dosas and Chettinad cuisine in the south, but where else but in Pune will you get the inimitable heritage Puneri Cuisine? A little more focus on traditional Puneri and Maharashtrian cuisine would certainly have made this Pune Food Guide more comprehensive and complete. 

I wish that, for their next edition, the editors choose true blue Punekars with culinary knowledge, sensitive taste buds and cast iron stomachs as the incognito foodie inspectors who will dare to delve deep into the heart of the city, the nooks and crevices of the peths, and the underbelly of camp, and discover for us the best eateries serving the signature food of Pune and Maharashtra. For starters, I suggest they take a foodwalk on

Laxmi Road

starting from Alaka Chowk to Camp, delving into gallis and by-lanes and exploring the peths on either side. And then fan out all over Pune on a gastronomic trail. A section on Club-Food served at the many excellent clubs and institutes would be most welcome. 

There is no greater love than the love of eating. Food reviews must be written with passion and candour, be exciting, and create in the reader strong gastronomic emotions. Most of the food reviews in this guide appear perfunctory and generic in nature. They don’t create in the reader the zest for eating! I feel that a good food review must mention the signature dish of the place, recommend specific cuisine, and describe the eating experience in its entirety, make one’s mouth water and trigger a zealous desire for eating, or otherwise. Take the review on Café Good Luck, for example. Surely Good Luck is not a mere run of the mill Irani Bun Maska – Chai – Mutton Masala place. How about letting readers know about the unique Mutton Cutlet Curry, matchless Biryanis, spicy yummy Tawa Goshts, and other specialties of the place. Have the writers actually savored the SPDP at Vaishali? Or relished the Shepherd’s Pie, Roast Chicken Supreme and Blueberry Pudding at Polka Dots? And remember, if it’s Bhavnagri, or
Karachi, it’s the irresistible Sev Barfi!
 

One must tell the readers what to eat, the specialties of the place, and describe the restaurant, it’s background, and the eating experience a little bit more passionately, and enthusiastically, like has been so nicely done in the write-up on Arthur’s Theme Restaurant – it made my mouth water and I feel like rushing there right now – I’m sure the incognito food inspectors had a delightful meal at Arthur’s! Also the reviews on the bars and pubs are much more spirited – no prizes for guessing why!  

As one peruses the guide one realizes that Pune is fast becoming a culinary melting pot of cuisine from all over the world. The writers need to be congratulated and commended for their excellent compilation of so many new exciting eateries, especially in the newly developing neighborhoods. There is so much new information. I was quite sad when my favourite non-veg eatery Aasra in Shukrawar Peth closed down. Now I learn from this guide that its namesake an Aasra Lunch Home exists in Chinchwad. I wonder whether it serves the same stimulating fiery nose watering Maharashtrian Mutton Rassa? Well I’m going to find out pretty soon! And I’m going to try out all the value-for-money College Canteens too – this is indeed a novel and innovative listing I have not seen in any other food guide.  

This wonderful food guide is going to be my constant companion as I set forth on my gastronomic exploration of my beloved city of
Pune. I strongly recommend that every food-loving Punekar get a copy of this handy and informative food guide too. Happy Eating!    
 

 

DETAILS OF THE BOOK REVIEWED 

Title:  TIMES FOOD GUIDE PUNE 2007Published by
Ravi Dhariwal for Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.
New Delhi
ISBN: 81-89906-09-7Pages: 232Price: Rs. 100/-Easily available at all book stores. 

 

 

Reviewed by: 

VIKRAM KARVE 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

 

 

 

 

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Khau Galli

April 20, 2007

Which is your favorite Khau Galli?ByVikram Karve 

 

 

Khau Galli? 

What does this mean? 

Well, in Marathi, Khau means treat, a food treat; and Galli means lane, or street. So Khau Galli means

Treat Street

, or

Food Lane

, call it what you like, for every town, neighborhood, locality, and person, has a favorite Khau Galli.  

When I used to stay near Churchgate in Mumbai, my favorite Khau Galli was the one near Cross Maidan, on the lane connecting SNDT’s Sunderbai Hall to

Fashion Street

. Here amidst the teeming crowd, I used to relish to my heart’s content, the choicest of street food – Pav Bhaji at Lenin Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav, Misal, Juices, juicy syrupy hot Jilebis, and even non-veg delicacies and gravies at the dhaba-like shack towards the Cross Maidan. The variety of street food here is awesome – you name it and it’s there! But if you are one of those high-falutin hygiene-maniacs please stay away. 

And during Ramzan, every evening, the entire lane near Minara Masjid off Mohammed Ali Road, transforms itself into a spectacular Khau Galli with mouthwatering aromas wafting through the air and exotic foods, ranging from lip smacking kababs, meats and chicken, nourishing malpuas, refreshing phirnis and cool soothing faloodas – it’s a magnificent gastronomic experience.  

In Pune, where I now live, there are a number of terrific Khau Gallis in the heart of the city, but the nearest one to me is the Khau Galli at Sangvi where you can savor Bhel, Dabeli, Pav Bhaji, Tandoori Chicken and Tikkas, Dosas, and , of course, the ubiquitous “Chinese” fare. 

In
Delhi, I can never forget the Khau Gallis around Chandni Chowk. Parathe Wali Galli, the unmatched incomparable finger licking syrup dripping lip smacking rich sweet succulent pure ghee jalebi at

Dariba Lane

– I’m going crazy just thinking about it, so I’ll stop here, before I go into gastronomic raptures and digress! 

Dear fellow Foodie – Which is your favorite Khau Galli?  

Please do tell us all about it. 

 

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

http://360.yahoo.com/vikramkarve 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ART OF EATING

April 11, 2007

THE ART OF EATING
By
VIKRAM KARVE
 

Are you in the habit of “grabbing a bite”? Do you ever eat in the office while continuing to work or just skip meals altogether? Do you multitask while eating? Do you have power breakfasts, working lunches and business dinners? Do you eat fast and hurriedly, finish meals well ahead of everyone else and eat in bigger bites without savoring the taste of food? Can you vividly recall the taste of all the dishes you ate for dinner yesterday night? 

Do you want to master the Art of Eating and enjoy your food? Dear reader, remember, there is no love greater than he love of food; so read on and learn the Art of Eating! 

Good food must be savored delicately; slowly, attentively and respectfully; in a befitting manner, with finesse and technique, with relish and appreciation and you will experience true gustatory delight. That’s essence of the Art of Eating. 

It’s sacrilege to eat in a ravenous and rapacious manner. And never eat when tired, angry, worried, tense, hurried, and at mealtimes refuse to think or talk about unpleasant subjects. It is best to eat alone, mindfully, with yourself, in glorious solitude, in a calm, serene, conducive and unhurried environment. If you must have company, you must always eat with relaxed and tranquil people who love food and whose company you enjoy; never eat with “toxic”, “harried” or “stressed-out” people or in a tense or hurried atmosphere. 

If you want to do full justice to good food, you must build up an appetite for it – merely being hungry is not enough. And the first step towards building up an appetite for good food is to think about it – simulated imaginative gustatory visualization to stimulate and prepare yourself for the sumptuous indulgence. An important thing we were taught at boarding school was to read the menu and prepare for the meal by beginning to imagine relishing each and every dish, from soup to pudding, in our mind’s eye. 

Remember: First plan your “eat” and then eat your “plan”. It’s true. I eat my food twice. First in my mind’s eye – imagining, visualizing, “vicariously tasting”, fantasizing, strategizing on how I am going to savor and relish the dish to my utmost pleasure and satisfaction till my mouth waters and I desperately yearn to eat it. And then I do the honours – actually go ahead and eat it and enjoy the delightful experience. 

Eating is not a gustatory experience alone; it’s visual and olfactory as well. Food must look good, smell good, taste good and, most importantly, make you feel good. The Art of Eating. It’s Holistic. Multidimensional. Encompassing all domains of your inner being.  

Eat in silence. Mindfully. With full awareness. Savour the aroma, delicately place the food on your tongue, chew slowly and experience the variety of flavours as the permeate your taste buds, fully aware and sense the nourishment as the food dissolves and sinks deep within you. Chew your food to a pulp or milky liquid until it practically swallows itself. Never mix food and drink – alcohol dulls the taste buds, and olfactory sensation, and encumbers the unmitigated enjoyment of good food.  

You must always close your eyes during the process of eating. When you eat, you must eat; nothing else, no seeing, no hearing, no talking. No multitasking. That’s right – never multi-task while eating. Just eat! Focus all your senses on your food, eat mindfully, meditatively, and you will attain a state of delightful bliss and happiness. 

It’s simple. Create a positive eating atmosphere, honour your taste buds, respect your food and eat it in a proper state of mind, with love, zest, awareness and genuine appreciation and it will transport you to a state of bliss and happiness. Remember: There is no love greater than the love of food! 

In a nutshell, this is ‘The Art of Eating’.  

VIKRAM KARVE
vikramkarve@sify.com
http://360.yahoo.com/vikramkarve

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

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