After a hopeless, crappy, dirty, bumpy and absolutely eventless 7 hour journey from office to my home in Mumbai, I thought I wouldn't write a review this weekend. Last night, I thought I'd quit everything. Including mangoes.
But then, there is nothing like that joy-filled shout from your 10 month old nephew on his first sight of rain from the balcony, or the fluid motion of Federer on a tennis court, or the first bite of bhabhi's bhindi. And I changed. It sounds better with background music. Aah forget it.
So anyway, since I was not in Pune, I thought I'd write a different kind of review. Not for a restaurant, but an entire complex of restaurants! A place where there are probably 15 odd places to eat, ranging from absolutely shabby with good food to fancy with good food. The important thing is pretty much all of them serve good food. The complex is named Destination Center and its kind of like the only busy, non-green and noisy place in all of Magarpatta. Here, every day, atleast a thousand folks from the area come to buy their groceries, take out cash and eat.
For people like me who are new to Magarpatta, there is clearly a need for a guide to good and economical dinners. So, I'll try making one.
First up, comes the very famous Ghar Ka Khana (GKK). This is where you literally get ghar-ka-khana. 65 for a thali that consists of 4 rotis, one vegetable curry, dal and rice. But the thing to rememeber is, if you order this thali, you can easily keep half of it for tomorrow. The quantity is just amazing. Taste is good too. But, GKK's real fame comes from the daily tiffin service for 60rs, paid wholly in advance. Completely veg. Only let down - doesn't deliver/serve on Sundays.
Next is Vandana, another thali restaurant for 60rs, this one seems a bit gujarati-ish with kadhi, chaas, papad and more variety in veggies. But, equally nice. You can pay 20rs more and get unlimited dal and rice. But, that just seems stupid.
Both these restaurants are on 1st floor. Majority of the restaurants are on the ground floor. And that is where we are suddenly hit by this uncanny Incredible India feeling, with restaurants named after states. Bengal, Punjab, Andhra, Hyderabad and Bombay. And Chinese too. All of these restuarants are good, but pricier. But then, you have to keep in mind that I am comparing these restaurants with Vandana. In absolute terms, they might not seem too bad. Chinese Box's hakka is particularly good, loaded with veggies and in enough quantity.
Right in the center of DC lies Mini Punjab and in its back end, is Smokin Joes. Both are probably good to try once. Mini Punjab is very expensive with DC standards. It is also full of nonsense meals and reviewed with similar criticism for Kapil Sibal. If you want to have a nice, cheesy sandwich made with coriander chutney and a jug of fresh mango/pineapple/watermelon juice, you should head to Juice Destiny run by an extremely talkative sardar. But somehow, the prices on the menu aren't what they charge. No no, don't get all excited. They charge more. x-( Again, total cost should be <= 120.
Smokin Joes is situated behind Mini Punjab and is like any other smokin joes. You should instead probably go to Chinese In Box, WOW Kolkata or Hyderabadi Zaika, which are a bit higher on the price range but offer much more variety in their respective cuisines.
After all this, you must head down to Kwality Walls. Ha! Don't. You won't find any ice cream for less than 50. Which only makes me wonder why there isn't a Gelato or a Baskin Robbins in DC, coz Kwality Walls just isn't worth it. Instead, try Amul, which is adjacent to the veggie vendor.
And since a friday evening calls for it, a huge Fosters sign hangs near Juice Destiny. And...