What you see - Located on the busy Tilak road the pink building in the corner is difficult to miss. The huge kitchen of this Pune restaurant is on the first level with high hygiene standards while the second level is the massive dining area which can easily accommodate about 200 people. The place is simple with no frills and fancies. There are several tables laid out here with plastic chairs and a red table cloth matching with the velvet curtains. The daily menu board is right at the entrance giving an idea what is to be served today.
What you get - There are varieties of Maharashtrian thalis and the one served here is the Brahmin variety which is not a spicy preparation. They have about 15 dishes in the thali which is unlimited at a mere cost of Rs. 80 per person. Therefore make sure you come here with an empty stomach to gorge on these delicacies. The daily menu is pre-decided by the owners as they have no a la carte.
The thali is served in a shining stainless steel plate with small bowls called the vatis. Our table already had varieties of chutneys and the kakdi koshimbir (cucumber salad with curd) which is a great way to beat the heat. Starters include pakodas (fried Bengal gram preparations), potato and coriander wade which are crispy and addictive if relished with green chutney. Then varieties of breads are served like the chapattis, bhakri and thalipeeth which are fresh and piping hot.
In vegetables we were served gourd or dudhi, which was tasty but a bit oily. They had varieties of curries like the usal (pulses), kanda batata rasa, the tangy and sweet dal called amti and the soothing sweet kadhi. There are many waiters who do the rounds here and in case they see any thali empty they fill it. This gives this place a homely experience. Other than the usual which was very spicy we loved all the dishes.
Then comes our favorite waran bath, a dal and rice combination served with ghee which is truly delectable. They also have the yummy moong dal khichdi which is best had with ghee and kadhi (a preparation of buttermilk and Bengal gram). We were told that a lot of thought goes in preparing the daily menu to make it wholesome and nutritious. Buttermilk, a great heat buster is served to finish the meals with.
The sweet dish here is a must. This will, however, cost extra. Well we ordered for the dessert of the season, aamras for Rs. 20. It was cooling and so tasty that we decided to go for a repeat. Gulab jamuns and sitaphal rabdis are served here as well.
Our verdict - This place is a definite value for money. The food standards have been maintained over the years in terms of hygiene, quality and price. The wash area is crowded and is slightly a put off. But that's also because a lot of people frequent this restaurant. So sometimes there is a long waiting even on weekdays. We liked the restaurant for its homely service. Parking space is available in the building.
Pune Restaurants has been written by Trupti Shetty who writes for MetroMela