[Update: This article was originally published November 20th, 2014, before the 5th edition of NH7 Weekender Festival in Pune. However, most of these still stand so we’re reminding you not to go hungry as you hit the road for edition number 6, as we type this.]
In light of the fifth edition of the Bacardi NH7 Weekender festival in Pune, we decided to do a little recap of the past festivals and zero in on the one thing that we’d like to do differently this time around - dealing with our munchies. Most of us had our essentials down, our outfits picked (with some, weeks in advance) and our cars all fuelled up, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t hear stomachs growling on the long drives through the crowded roads to the venue. Those three days of wandering from one stage to another to catch your favourite artist on-stage and in action, passed in a blur of colours and a tangible bubble of pure energy - but that rumbling resurfaced from time to time when, separated from our friends, we got lost in patches of grass.
To keep dancing, you need some real food - so you might as well make it some of the best bites in the city. Do yourself a favour and do the Weekender right this time - here are the places you should make the effort to head out to before the festival or after to make sure you (a) avoid road rage, and (b) keep going strong until you can charge with teary-eyed war cries towards the food arena sometime late in the evening. Happy bellies await.
[Note to readers: this list compiles munchies spots in and around the NH7 Weekender area.]
I) Chicken Kathi Kabab Roll at Kapila Kathi Kebab
Where: 153/1, Dhole Patil Road, Pune
This unassuming little stall outside Hotel Kapila is great when you’re in a rush (AKA always, during a music fest) and goes easy on the hangovers as well (AKA always, during a music fest). Their limited menu is enough to keep the patrons coming all day long while the flavour of the meat and the spicy mint chutney are both spot on, so make sure you do it right and get the succulent chicken kathi kabab roll with double filling.
Insider Tips: Go here when you’re running late for the festival, and you need a quick bite on the go. Plus, it’ll make the traffic seem way more tolerable.
Price: Rs. 120. Welcome to Poona.
Other Things We Love Here: That you can ask for extra egg to go with the roll.
Timings: 11AM-11:30 PM
II) Bun maska & chai at Café Good Luck
Where: 759/75, Goodluck Chowk, Deccan Gymkhana, Pune
You haven’t been to Poona until you’ve tried the creamy, soft bun maska dotted with little treasures of tooty fruity on FC Road here. An Irani café that’s been parked at the corner of FC road since 1935, Good Luck’s that old-timer that’ll have you coming back every time you’re in the city. It’s a great breakfast place to kick off your day at, with bun maska omelette and kheema pav coming out on top. For lunch & dinner, you’re going to be spoilt for choice with the bheja fry, biryani, mutton fried in eggs, plus they make the roomali rotis on the tandoor in front of you, which is strangely hypnotic to watch. A meal here isn’t complete without dessert – the chocolate soufflé will have you in tears with its rich darkness, and the fruit funny is layered too generously with cream, even by our standards.
Insider Tips: Get there ten minutes early because Good Luck is always, always crowded. Don’t go here on a full bladder. Smile at the waiters–you’ll make new friends who’ll remember you the next time you’re in the city.
Price: Keep the chai coming @ Rs. 400 for 2.
Timings: 7AM-11:30 PM
Other Things We Love Here: Good Luck is the best! We really love the service which, even if it is sometimes delayed because of the crowd, is always genuine & helpful.
III) Wada Pav at JJ Garden Wada Pav Centre
Where: 948 & 949, Boottee Street, Camp Cantonment , Camp Area, Pune
This powerhouse means business, averaging 200-300 vada pavs an hour, with an upswing on the weekends. Served in a fluffy, fresh, white pav, the vadas are fried till crispy and golden brown, and the mint chutney to go with it has hints of lime and tamarind. Top this off with a masala tak that’s sinfully good, and you’ll have the perfect any-time-of-the-day pick up meal. Take one for the drive!
Insider Tips: Call the guy serving you the vada pav ‘kaka’ and him for ‘chura’ (crispy bits!) and the fried & salted green chillies. Then feel guilty when you order 3 more.
Price: One gigantic vada pav is @ Rs 14, so this one’s definitely going to your b-o-o-t-y.
Timings: 9AM - 10PM
Other Things We Love Here: The quality never, ever wavers. We like that in our vada pavs.
IV) Blueberry Waffles at Peter’s Pan
Where: Shop 10, Konark Arcade, Viman Nagar, Pune
Your seemingly never-ending hunt for hangover remedies will have you reaching for the extra dollop of cream at Peter’s Pan to go with the waffles. If the sun is too bright and you want to feel ‘like a king’, get the royal combo and you’ll have a grilled chicken omelette, blueberry waffle, choco-chip pan cake, coffee and a hash brown at your disposal.
Insider Tips: The coffee – which is important for your ultimate hangover remedy – might be too milky for some so try and figure it out with the waiters as you place the order.
Price: Why can’t we have pune prices in Bombay? @ Rs 300 for all your whims & fancies.
Other Things We Love Here: The dollop of cream (not cold, rock-hard butter, thankfully) comes half-melted on both the waffles and the pancakes.
V) Mysore Cheese Masala Dosa + Filter Coffee at Vaishali
Where: 1218/1, FC Road, Pune
If you’re thinking Vaishali is too far out to drive for ‘some dosa’, we highly recommend you suck it up and buckle up because that coffee is worth driving anywhere for. The Mysore Cheese Masala is not just another dosa either, slathered on the inside with the masala and soft cheese, and comes with a sambar that’s been adapted to suit the Punekar’s palate and the best goddamn coconut chutney. The filter coffee is strong, and will definitely have you shaking off the previous night’s shenanigans to get ready for the new ones.
Insider Tips: Call the waiters ‘anna’, and order the coffee first, if picking from the menu seems to be harder than anticipated. Vaishali = waiting time, so make sure you take that into account. Making a trip to the Times of India lane should leave you updated on pretty much all the gossip this side of the city.
Where: 1218/1, FC Road, Pune
Price: Say ‘Azun ek coffee, anna,’ @ Rs 500 for 2.
Other Things We Love Here: That you can get extra bowls of that coconut chutney.
VI) Shrewsbury biscuits & Mawa cakes at Kayani Bakery
Where: 6, Opposite Victory Theatre, East Street, Camp, Pune
Shrewsbury biscuits, thanks to this Raj-era institution, have become synonymous with Poona, with frequent requests streaming in from Bombay during long weekends. There’s no fighting the crowd in this mother of all bakeries, just roll up your sleeves and keep your eyes on the prize. Have some choco-walnut cake if it seems like things are getting too intense in there, you won’t regret it.
Insider Tips: Mawa cakes fly off their shelves, so try and get here by 11:30 tops, or you’ll miss out. The Madeira cake is light and wonderful and the coffee crunch & peanut butter bread is delicious as well.
Price: Rs 320 for 1kg of Shrewsbury. If you’re just going there to get some cake, it’s not going to come up to more than Rs 100.
Timings: 7:30 AM to 1 PM, 3:30 PM to 8 PM
Other Things We Love Here: Those wine biscuits. Drool, Crunch, Tears.
VII) Barbeque Chicken Burger & Chocolate Shake at Burger Barn
Where: 393, Sanas Corner, Lane 5, Off South Main Road,Koregaon Park, Pune
We love places that are generous with cheese, which Burger Barn comes at you like a peace offering, and they do us one better by making sure the Oreo shake is crunchy. Nicely done. The menu will draw you in with the array of options and the BBQ Chicken Plate is a good call if a fried chicken fillet covered with a BBQ sauce sounds good to you (the tanginess of the sauce is balanced just right by the fries and the garlic bread that are served on the side).
Insider Tips: Try any of their shakes, or check out the peppermint latte. Go straight to the counter and place your order or you’ll get lost in the vortex of the menu. They’ll get your order to the table.
Price: Try this one towards the beginning of the festival when you’ll probably have your priorities sorted better.@ Rs 650 for 2
Timings: 9AM to 11:30PM
Other Things We Love Here: This is one of those Poona places that oozes that characteristic lazy-afternoon vibe and it’s nice for some grub & down time with your gig buddies.
VIII) Spinach & Mushroom/Cheese Omelette at German Bakery
Where: 291, North Main Road, Koregaon Park, Pune
The reinstated German Bakery is a leafy eatery tucked at the corner across from ‘O’ on North Main Road, and - although quite unlike the old one - has a stream of regulars that swear by its fare and ambiance. The kheema pav and lamb chilli burger with jalapeños are always good bets, and the creamy chocolate mousse is absolutely heavenly. If it’s lunch you’re looking for, you should definitely go for the crispy thin crust pizzas, which come absolutely loaded with meat.
Insider Tips: Try and take a rickshaw instead of your vehicle here, because parking’s a real pain.
Price: Rs 600 for 2 for a happy belly.
Timings: 7:45 AM to 11:45 PM
Other Things We Love Here: The mushroom risotto is authentic and laced with mushroom stock, and the rosemary ice cream with apple pie is a love story waiting to happen.
IX) Chicken with Basil Pesto & Cheddar Cheese Sandwich at Le Plaisir Patisserie & Bistro
Where: 4B, Lane 6 Intersection, Bhandarkar Road, Deccan Gymkhana, Pune
An alumni of Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney, Siddharth Mahadik has ensured that nothing on the menu is lacking, and that’s why this little eatery makes it to the list next to several other culinary institutions in the city. The flavours are never overdone or ‘Indianised’ and the Roasted Ratatouille Veggies with Cheddar sandwich is a great vegetarian option. The white sauce pastas are cheesy, with just the right hint of burnt cheese and the coffee is rich, the caffeine rush is real. The macaroons (get the coffee or mint & dark chocolate ones) are to die for, and the New York style cheesecake seals the deal on this one.
Insider Tips: The macaroons sell super fast, so get there earlier in the day to get some. It’s also kind of a small place, so chances are, it might be crowded this weekend.
Le prix du bonheur: Rs 600 for 2.
Timings: 11:30AM to 9:30PM
Other Things We Love Here: Besides all the gorgeous desserts, this French bistro seems, initially, like a space & time warp; a welcome one on this side of the city.
X) Maharashtrian Mutton Fry Thali at Purepur Kolhapur
Where: 7, 8 & 9, Sai Pride Building 1, Preet Nagar Housing Society, Old Kharadi Mundva Road, Kharadi, Pune
If this place had been in Mumbai, it would definitely have featured at the top of our best thalis list but luckily for us, Pune isn’t too far out. This is definitely one of the places you go to for the food, not to marvel at the interior design. The thali that we speak of comes with one katori of succulent and spicy, fried pieces of mutton cooked in traditional Kolhapuri style, a mini-katori of kheema, one katori of tambda rassa (a tasty, spicy Kolhapuri dish prepared by using mutton stock) one katori of pandhra rassa (perfectly spiced mutton broth cooked with coconut milk), egg curry, 2 large chapattis, onion, and a katori of plain steamed rice (you can opt for jeera rice). Kolhapuri food is not for the weak-stomached - and the food here is as aunthentic as it gets in the city.
Insider Tips: Don’t forget the sol kadhi, traditional kokam and coconut milk drink that’ll soothe your tastebuds after this fiery meal. This would make for a great lunch to keep you going full power till late evening, although you’re probably going to nap on the way to the venue.
Price: You’re not going to be able to move for a while @ Rs 500 for 2.
Timings: 12:30 PM to 4 PM, 7 PM to 11 PM
Other Things We Love Here: The value for money, and the anticipation before the food coma.
XI) Brown Chicken Zoom Burger & Cold Coffee at Marz-O-Rin
Where: 6, Bakthiar Plaza, MG Road, Camp, Pune
Poona’s oldest fast food establishment welcomes you into the century-old heritage building like an old friend, with its rustic interiors, all shafts of sunlight on wooden floor in the afternoons. The chutney sandwiches are an age-old across generations, and the zoom sauce used in the sandwiches and bakes is like a spicier, creamier 1000 Islands dressing - which can only be a good thing. The baked bean cheese bake is constituted of a layer of baked beans, zoom sauce, then a layer of cheese sprinkled with capsicum which are then baked into crunchy perfection into the melting cheese. Yes, please.
Insider Tips: Try and go upstairs if you have some time, it’s really nice to sit out in the afternoons.
Price: Yes, yes, yes @ Rs 250 for 2
Timings: 9:30AM to 9:30PM
Other Things We Love Here: The rose milk is really nice, and we love their range of chillers.
XII) Lamb Chops & Garlic Mushrooms at Zamu’s Place
Where: 189, Nirmal Building, Dhole Patil Road, Pune
Marinated in spices and tender, the pork chops will have you from the get-go. The three-step sizzler making is fun and lets you pick exactly what you want - with the waiters proving to be incredibly helpful in case you try and combine chilly garlic noodles with chilly garlic sauce (you really need to mix it up). The cozy interiors will give you a sense of deja vu, and there’s nothing like dinner here on a chilly night, in the seating area outside. The garlic mushrooms are filled with flavour and unlike any you’ll find elsewhere in the city. Regulars and newcomers alike swear by the salli botti and dhansak - a typical Parsi mutton or chicken dish, with lentils and vegetables flavoured with spices including cumin and ginger, served with caramelised rice. If there’s too much, don’t fret - take it home, because rumour has it dhansak tastes better on the second day!
Insider Tips: Talk to the waiters - they’ll prove to be your biggest allies. Order a chilled beer or some iced tea to go with.
Price: Bawa power weighs in cheap @ Rs 600
Timings: 11 AM to 3 PM, 7 PM to 11 PM
Other Things We Love Here: The beef cutlets, served with Russian salad and fries, are great if you just want a quick bite. The service here is a nice change from the disgruntled norm.
XIII) Chicken Sausage Surprise at Burger
Where: Next to ABC Farms, North Main Road, Koregaon Park, Pune
You’ve probably heard about most popular burger at this boss of a burger institution - the steak burger has become a steakgasmic legend over the years, a messy little monster of buffalo beef. So we decided to suggest an alternative that’s equally delicious - give the chicken sausage surprise a shot. Hot dog bread stuffed with four chicken sausages, scrambled eggs and mayo, it’s filling and delicious as hell. Reach for the Fram’s (stick to the green apple) or the cold coffee that has seen many a student through weeks of exams. If it’s way too crowded and the waiters are refusing to make eye contact, walk down the road over to the corner, near the High Spirits parking lot - the beef pav (seekh kababs with chutney in pav) are delicious and should keep you going till it’s your turn at Burger. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Insider Tips: Don’t order the fries here, they generally come refried and cold. Besides that, this is a good place to pack from while pre-gaming.
Price: Rs 200 for 2 is why we love Poona prices.
Timings: 12 PM to 11 PM
Other Things We Love Here: The beef burger and the no-frills environment, which makes it a great place for people-watching.
XIV) Sunday Brunch at Olive Bistro
Where: Poona Club, 6 Bund Garden Road, Pune
It’s Sunday morning, and the chaos of the last two days has left you feeling kind of drained, what with the driving, dancing and screaming. The Big Bottomless Brunch sounds like exactly like what you need. My Big Fat Greek Kitchen, a month-long festival, has been eyeing prey like you all month - just one look at the menu is enough to leave you salivating, with its range of cocktails, flavourful dips with warm pita bread, varied cold spread and live grill and live pancakes station making you grateful for being in the right place at the right time. Olive, with its rustic interiors, and its undeniably classy and romantic ambience in the candle-lit evenings, is a great place to kick off your ultimate last day of the fest.
Insider’s Tip: Try the Greco Chicken & Cream Cheese Pizza, a crispy thin-crust affair with a generous amount of marinated chicken, tomato, onion, feta and oozing mozzarella with cream cheese sauce. Get the tobasco and chilli flakes to even it out to make it even better. Oh and Dark chocolate fondue with brownie bites to polish off this mammoth meal. Obviously.
Price: Save up, save up @ Rs. 1400. You’re not going to care if you have an empty wallet after, anyway.
Timings: 7 PM to Midnight
Other Things We Love Here: The guys at Olive really know how to do authentic food festivals right, so we’re always willing to take a chance with them.
XV) Butter Chicken/Ginger Chicken at Prem’s
Where: 28/2, SBI Training Centre, North Main Road, Koregaon Park, Pune
Prem’s - another time capsule of lazy afternoons - is the kind of place you turn to when you just want some really good Indian food. The ginger chicken (tender chicken cooked with ginger, garlic, chilli powder, half the coriander, lime juice) or creamy butter chicken & tandoori rotis here are great for the munchies, and a chilled beer never hurts. Tucked away behind Swig, the large seating area is relatively quiet and the valet parking here makes life easier. Prem’s makes for a great place to hang out with large groups, and everyone’s looking for some decent grub.
Insider’s Tip: Late afternoon lunches with the occasional beer here make for some quality down time with some wholesome Indian food.
Price: Only if you’re really feeling butter chicken but the brunch seems more worth it @ Rs. 1400 for food & alcohol
Timings: 8 AM to 11PM
Other Things We Love Here: How it hasn’t changed in years, and has always been a little quaint. Also, how good the cheese garlic naan tastes with the butter chicken.
XVI) The Chillidog at Brooklyn Shuffle
Where: 390, Sanskruti Lifestyle Complex, Opposite Post 91, Lane 7, Koregaon Park, Pune
Poona’s favourite new American-style diner’s caught on awfully quickly over the year, becoming a regular haunt with locals looking for a filling meal. Make a beeline for their Mexican-style chilli beef and pork frankfurters to satiate your meat cravings and if you want to top it off drinks, opt for The Cold War (watermelon, vodka & red chilli) or Third Base (pineapple, white rum & green chilli) drinks which are refreshing and really hit the spot, leaving you wondering when you ordered the refill. The chicken nuggets, marinated in cumin, are crispy on the outside and come with a tangy mayo, if you’re looking for a nice order for a side, and the nachos are pretty decent for a quick bite as well.
Insider’s Tip: Try and steer clear of the burgers as we’ve heard murmurs of them being too oily.
Price: Rs 1600 for food & alcohol for 2, but hey, it’s festival time?
Timings: 11:30AM to 11:30PM
Other Things We Love Here: Loving the size of the portions and the energy of the staff.
XVII) Stuffed Omelettes at Flour Works
Where: Commercial 3, Nirvana, North Avenue, Between Jogger’s Park and ICICI Bank, Kalyani Nagar, Pune
Flour Works is one of those places that has been making waves amongst foodies in the city for the full-power breakfast options it offers - their stuffed omelettes are divine and literally melt in your mouth (we suggest you go with bell peppers, ham & cheese), and they are served with toast, potatoes and grilled tomatoes/fresh fruit/yoghurt. Lots of decisions to be made, people! No need to dawdle over going for their American-style pancakes and any of the hot teas, which are delicious especially during chilly Poona mornings. The hot chocolate here is literally melted chocolate so if that’s your kind of thing – we know it’s ours – don’t think twice. The service can get annoying sometimes, but keep your eyes on the prize and you’ll be just fine.
Insider’s Tip: If you get here early enough in the morning, you’re in for a lovely, quiet breakfast before the adrenaline of the day kicks in.
Price: Start your day off on the right note @ Rs. 1300 for 2
Timings: 7AM to 12:30AM
Other Things We Love Here: Quiet and elegant, Flour Works is always consistent when it comes to the quality of food.
XVIII) Chicago Bulls pizza at High Spirits
Where: 35, A 1, Near ABC Farms, Mundhwa Road, Koregaon Park Annexe, Pune
High Spirits has long been synonymous with the best gigs in the city, bringing in quality independent artists time after time – but if you’re looking for some grub, coming ‘home to da high’ can sort that out for you, too. The popular Chicago Bulls pizza, which comes with spiced chicken sausages, red onions and pepper on a tomato base, will leave you licking the remains off from your elbows.
Insider’s Tip: There’s one of them legendary cookouts happening on Friday to kick off the festival, so keep an eye out for the menu.
Price: Hits the spot @ under Rs. 1000. No, we’re not counting alcohol.
Timings: 7:30PM to 11:30PM
Other Things We Love Here: The smiling faces and the homely atmosphere despite the general rush of patrons.
XIX) Creme Brulee French Toast at Terttulia
Where: 393, Sanas Corner, Off Lane 5, South Main Road, Koregaon Park, Pune
It’s the second day of the festival and you want to feel like a rockstar before kicking off the second. Or perhaps you’re holding back tears courtesy the hangover the previous night’s shenanigans have left you with. Head over to Terttullia’s for the delicious affair that is the bouchee here--crackling, caramelized sugar tops beautifully baked french toast, but with a twist. The Creme Brulee French Toast is absolutely divine, and melts in your mouth with sugary goodness, but save some space, because there’s more. Their eggs benedict –served with ham on English muffin & hash browns - are always a safe bet, and the veg BLT sandwich is always done right. Besides, if the filet mignon – a quarter kilo of tenderloin with red wine and mashed potatoes – doesn’t have you feeling like a rockstar, we’re not sure what will. Although all the mojitos here are lovely, its reputation precedes the green apple martini served here, so go ahead and indulge.
Insider’s Tip: Try and sit in the outside seating area to bask in the slight, November nip in the air. Bon appetit.
Price: Rs. 2000 for 2, with alcohol. Cuz you’re worth it.
Timings: 8:30PM to 12:30AM
Other Things We Love Here: The relaxed atmosphere of Terttulia just immediately puts you at peace, and the food is absolutely divine.
XX) Pizza at Dario’s
Where: Sundarban Hotel, Lane 1, Off North Main Road, Koregaon Park, Pune
Hidden deep inside Pune’s Koregaon Park, Dario’s is a quaint little Italian haven with a calm, soothing ambience. Hailing from Sicily, their Italian Chef crafts authentic pizzas with crusts so thin, you’ll never look at another pizza again. Dario’s is completely vegetarian, but even meat-lovers will surrender to the deliciously rich pizza sauce and fresh ingredient toppings. Pick any pizza on the menu, and you won’t be disappointed.
Insider’s Tip: Try getting a seat outside. With pleasant December weather, their outdoor candle-lit tables are perfect.
Price: Authentic Italian delicacies at Rs. 1,800 for 2
Timings: 8AM to 11:30PM
Other Things We Love Here: If your sweet tooth craving kicks in, the chocolate crepe is to die for.
XXI) Thai Curry and Basil Chilli Rice at Malaka Spice
Where: Lane 5, Opposite Oxford Properties, North Main Road, Koregaon Park, Pune
With Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Asian cuisines, Malaka Spice spoils your for choice. A gorgeously aromatic and perfectly spiced Thai curry drenches your flavoursome basil chilli rice, with all those ingredients coming together in perfect synergy. Crunchy yet light lotus stem chips top off this dish, making it a definite must-have.
Insider’s Tip: Monday to Friday, happy hours are from 4pm to 7pm, so grab that three-hour window.
Price: Rs. 2000 for two people, and a pint of beer costs Rs. 200
Timings: 11AM to 11:30PM
Other Things We Love Here: The 11:30AM to 4PM lunch buffet for Rs. 599 plus tax is absolutely worth it--perfect hangover recovery food, too.
[Interested in covering your own city’s foodie delights for us? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org And while you’re waiting for your inbox to load, take a look at some of Bombay’s best steaks.]
Words: Aditi Dharmadhikari