Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eating Out in Pune - Mouthwatering Memories

After a long long time, we are going to have lunch in Polka Dots - one of our favourite restaurants during our Aundh days many years ago. Sure, I will tell you all about it. But before that here is a piece I wrote a few years ago...

Eating Out at Polka Dots

From my Foodie Archives: 
Mouthwatering Memories of a Memorable Meal we savoured more than five years ago at a café in Aundh Pune called Polka Dots…. I hope the cute little eatery is still going strong and the food is as good as it was then…
Hi, dear fellow Foodie. Have you noticed that as you roll your food on your tongue its taste changes and flavour varies as the food interacts with different regions of your tongue?

The Tongue Map – have you ever heard of it…?

Yes…? That’s good…so you know all about the Tongue Map – taste buds on some parts of the tongue respond to certain flavours, while taste buds on other parts are sensitive to other flavours. The taste buds for "sweet" are on the tip of the tongue; the "salt" taste buds are on either side of the front of the tongue; "sour" taste buds are behind this; and "bitter" taste buds are way in the back.

You don’t believe me; you think I’m pulling a fast one, do you…?

Then try this – take something real yummy, delicious, which is a symbiosis, a medley of various scrumptious tastes, like Chicken Teriyaki, and place it on your tongue.

Once you feel the food on your tongue, close your eyes.

Yes, you must close your eyes to heighten your awareness, your mindfulness.

Now focus inwards to accentuate your gustatory, kinaesthetic and olfactory sensations and gently press the rich juicy scrumptious chicken teriyaki with your palate on the tip of your tongue and notice how its sweetness enhances, then slowly roll the soft tender succulent chicken teriyaki on the backwards and relish the tangy sweetish-sourness, the inimitable sweet and sour flavour – further back – a tinge of delicious subtle bitter flavour – and as you move the delectable melange forward on the sides of your tongue, soak up the tingling vitalizing scrummy saltiness.

Eat on, and soon you’ll experience that intense lip-smacking luscious flavoursome savouriness of Umami – the “fifth” flavour…!

Wondering where you’ll get that delicious Chicken Teriyaki in Pune…?

Try Polka Dots.

It is a cute little eating place in Aundh.

Just drive on DP Road past Parihar Chowk and soon you’ll find Polka Dots to your left.

Polka Dots is a covered outdoor café with airy seating on the sides of a house, the cooking area towards the rear. If you have a choice, select a table towards the entrance, away from the kitchen. (I do like to see my food being cooked in front of me, but to be overwhelmed by meaty odours and stifling hot oily vapours is another thing altogether…!)

The cosmopolitan crowd is a delightful assortment of young IT nerds, joyful families, eager students, lovey-dovey couples, lonesome singles, relaxed senior citizens, the high-falutin, the restless achievers, panoply of people – but foodies one and all…!

There is no wine, no beer, no spirits – that’s good – Polka Dots is a clean well lighted place with quick turnover and the focus is on eating, not drinking.

The menu is confusing – it features vignettes of all types of cuisine, a potpourri of dishes from around the world, so one can’t really classify the genre of this eating place.

So let’s call it a “multicuisine” café.

The Shepherd’s Pie is the pièce de résistance of this café – a wholesome, nourishing and delicious baked delight of melt-in-the-mouth mutton mince, mashed potato, vegetables topped with melted cheese. 

A visit to Polka Dots is incomplete without their signature Shepherd’s Pie.

My daughter loves the fish and chips here – crisp British style fried pomfret with piping hot potato chips and tartar sauce. The Chicken Corden Blue served at Polka Dots is truly excellent too – succulent breast of chicken in a bed of mint flavoured mashed potatoes drenched in delicious sauce is exquisite.

My son’s favourite is the scrumptious Chicken Roast which is of the same standard as the inimitable Roast Chicken I used to relish at the Sassanian Boulangerie near Metro in Mumbai.

My darling wife, a pure vegetarian, looks through the menu confused, in a quandary, wondering what to order. The waiter suggests vegetarian corn and jalapeno and though my wife diplomatically says it’s okay the expression on her face speaks otherwise.

If you are a vegetarian, Polka Dots doesn’t have anything special to offer.

Skip the Indian Cuisine too – the curries, the gravies and the biryanis – they are barely passable and probably put on the menu for those who aren’t sure what they want to eat and don’t want to experiment. 

We decide to indulge ourselves – my daughter suggests a Chicken Teriyaki.

I order it and wonder what it will taste like. The Chicken Teriyaki is superb – its exciting umami taste zestfully titillates my taste buds – a truly delicious experience.

You know what Umami is, isn’t it…? It is the fifth taste - Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Umami – just savour a Teriyaki and you’ll know what umami is…!

Polka Dots has a very tempting array of desserts which you can feast your eyes on in the cool-case at the entrance – may favourites are the walnut fudge ice cream, blueberry pie and tiramisu – a luscious end to a delicious meal.

You’ll find a board listing the day’s specials and it’s worth trying them out. In fact, most of the non-vegetarian Continental, Italian, Mexican and South East Asian dishes are worth trying – not a very exciting place for vegetarians and Indian Cuisine though.

If you love a potpourri of cuisine from around the world and want to have an unhurried relaxed meal with your family, friends or loved ones in cosy ambience try Polka Dots. 

You may find it a bit expensive, but it’s okay once in a while. 

It’s best to go in the evenings, as the place may be stifling hot in the afternoons. You may have to wait a bit, and parking may be a problem, but the delectable food will make up for it all.

So Dear Reader and Fellow Foodie – if you happen to be in Pune and somewhere near Aundh and are in a mood for some good food; why don’t you visit the place and tell us if you liked it…

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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Poorvi said...

I bet Chicken Teriyaki was great. I love it. Try it with 'sweet onion' sauce, its more Umami :)

Tes said...

Polka Dots is one of my favorite restaurants. In my openion, they have the best Thai food in the city. You're right, their shepherd's pie is so delicious :)