Thursday, August 16, 2012



We relocated to Wakad, a Western Suburb of Pune, almost two years ago, and since then I have been “Eating-In” rather than “Eating-Out”.  Yes, if you live in a “Foodie Nightmare” place like Wakad, it is more convenient to order and have a relaxed meal in the comfort of my home than venture out in the crazy traffic and eat in places where the ambience is pretty unappetizing.

At last, things seem to be looking up. The main road widening is slowly materialising, albeit at snail’s pace, so, for a change, I decided to take a walk on the main Hinjewadi – Aundh Road, rather than totter on the horrible, slushy, dirty, congested road towards Dange Chowk.

Just a very short distance ahead, to my left, I noticed a new roadside eatery called THE BEST TEA. There were a lot of cars parked and there was quite a crowd, so I decided to give the place a try, since it has been my experience that an eatery with a large crowd and quick turnover generally has good and fresh food, rather than a desolate one which may serve you stale re-heated stuff.

I was quite surprised to see Bhaturas being fried Delhi-Style. Now, I love Chole Bhature, but unfortunately you don’t get good Chole Bhature in Pune. Yes, the Chole preparation at Mona Food Restaurant (on Main Street in Camp) and Darshan Café (on Prabhat Road) is quite tasty, but the standard of the Bhatura leaves much to be desired.

To the best of my knowledge, you do not get authentic Bhatura in Pune. In Pune, the Bhatura they serve resembles a deep fried Giant Puri made of Maida. The reason probably is that here in Pune they do not let the dough marinate and ferment with curds long enough like they do in the upcountry. A good Bhatura must be soft and fluffy and should not be crisp and flaky. I observed that the Bhaturas in THE BEST seemed to be soft and fluffy.

That’s why I decided to try out Chole Bhature at THE BEST and to my pleasant surprise the quality of the Bhature exceeded my expectations, though not of the quality you get in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi – they still need to ferment the dough with curds much more thoroughly. (My most memorable Bhatura is the one I used to relish at Bareilly Club along with Channa – it was so soft and tasty that you could eat it by itself).

Overall the Chole Bhature were of quite a decent quality – all in all, a wholesome dish. And do you know how much a plate of 2 Bhature and Chole cost? Just 40 Rupees. Now that is surely value-for-money eating, at least by Pune standards – yes, Pune is one of the most expensive places in India as far as food is concerned.

This place serves Samosa, Misal and excellent Batata Vadas. In fact, the Vada Pav reminded me of my favourite CTO Vada Pav of Mumbai. The Vadas are fresh, crisp, lip-smackingly tasty, with plenty of green coriander inside – in fact, arguably, probably this Vada is the best in Pune.

I ended up with a refreshing cup of Amrutatulya Chaha (Tea).

So, Dear Reader, if you are driving down from Hinjewadi to Pune, and are feeling hungry, do stopover for a snack and try out the fare at this value for money roadside eatery. Have a Quick Bite and Cup of Tea, refresh yourself, and drive on.

As for me, now at least I have a alternative to Saffron. 

Saffron? You dont know about that tiny place near Datta Mandir on the road from Wakad to Dange Chowk - okay, Ill tell you about it soon.

Meanwhile, wherever you are - Happy Eating

Dear Reader, do tell us about your favourite Chola Bhatura.

And, if you live in Pune, do let us know about your favourite Vada Pav and also tell us if you get a good soft fluffy tasty Bhatura in Pune.

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 is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 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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