Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Fine Food Story

Food Story located on Dhole Patil Road, gets its food right. It surely is one place to try out Hyderabadi, Mughlai & North Indian Cuisines in style.

Different regional & international cuisines are now offered on platter for the discerning Puneri. Amidst all the eating a joint jostling for space, an interesting eatery aptly named Food Story was sort out by me. Suitably located at Dhole Patil Road, it offered Hyderabadi, Mughlai & North Indian cuisines as authentic as possible. I decided that I should try out the food at the interesting award-winning eatery.

The moment I entered the restaurant, I found the place to be quite casual, despite its rather formal appearances. Spaciousness was the keyword here, with tables kept at neat distance to avoid crowding & chaos. It would have helped if the music was a bit mellow and on lower volumes. Nevertheless, one assumes that one could request for lowering the volumes and being able to have good chitchats with friends and family.

I love starters to the core and so had to begin the meal with some good ones. Hyderabadi, Mughlai & North Indian cuisines are filled with some amazing kebabs & other starters. Amongst the vegetarian options, I loved the Aloo Ki Katliyaan (Rs. 210) which is simply mashed potato with pepper & coriander. Despite its appearance of an Aloo Tikki, the delicate taste tantalized your taste buds. The Subz Navratan Kebab (Rs. 275) is an acquired taste, as it happens to be an combo of chopped veggies & nuts with saffron. Despite its heavy ingredients, the smoky flavour allows it be light. Another acquired taste, according to me, would be the Malai Broccoli (Rs. 275) which has the oft-hated veggie marinated in cream, cheese and cooked in tandoor. I personally like the crunchiness of the broccoli, which went well with the great combo of cream & cheese. The overall mildness complemented each other. The Bharwa Kumbh (Rs. 275) which is mushroom filled with cheese, spinach & nuts, was a good choice as despite the odd combo, the flavours were not overwhelming.  The Paneer Dudhiya Kalmiyaan (Rs. 235) was just about decent.

The non-veg starters are what intrigued me a lot. The Murgh Seekh Gilafi (Rs. 350) turned out to be just the perfect kebab I was looking for. It has chicken mince coated with bell peppers & boiled eggs. Tender and well spiced, it allowed you to savour it delicately. The Seekh Barkhasi (Rs. 450) turned out to be tangy & spicier kebab, which I am sure, is quite a popular option at the restaurant. This kebab made of minced lamb with 25 Indian spices cooked over charcoal, creates a tantalizing smoky taste, which is unlike others. The mild Shikampur Kebab (Rs. 250), which is pan-fried lamb & lentil cutlets are a meal by themselves. It is another winner here. I personally loved eating the Patthar ka Gosht (Rs. 450) which happens to be their specialty. It is lamb, which is flavoured with pathar ka phool  and has been shallow fried on a special stone. The tender meat dish is a must-try here.  
Coming to the main course, I happened to try out the ever-popular Nalli Nihari (Rs. 525) & Haleem. It was worth the wait as both the dishes were as perfectly authentic as possible. The meat in Nalli Nihari just comes off the bone and has rightly spiced gravy, while the Haleem was the kind one could find in Hyderabad. Though the Gosht Kachi Akhni Biryani (Rs. 435) was a fine attempt, it did not click with my taste buds as I found it to be more like a pulao than a biryani.

Overall, visiting Food Story located at Dhole Patil Road turned out to be a good choice as it managed to stay true to its promise of serving authentic meals at good prices. The good service meant that food was served on time with a smile. Attentive is the keyword here. Try out the cocktails here which are quite tempting & perfect for the food served. Whatever your mood or event, feel free to try out Food Story but do not assume it is for budget seekers. Even though being reasonable than most five-star restaurants, it is not your roadside thela to go with Rs 500 in your pocket. Go figure!

ADDRESS: Ground Flr, City Point Bldg, 17 Boat Club Rd, Dhole Patil Rd, Pune
CONTACT: 020 41216576, +91 9021831119
TIMING: 11:30 AM-3:30 PM
                  7:30 PM-11:30 PM 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Murder She Wrote!

For successful writer Carola Dunn, writing mysteries is more complicated, as it requires more reasoning and less emotion. She speaks about her novels and her popular character, Honourable Daisy Dalrymple.

Writing novels are a tricky business. You need to know the reader’s pulse without losing sight of what you want to write. Carola Dunn, a known name for her historical romances & regency novels, knows how to write such good novels. Her crime novels featuring the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple are interesting cases solved by the charming Miss Daisy. Her loving bourgeois husband Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher at Scotland Yard is reduced to helping his gifted wife, while she also handles a career as a writer. With upto 22 Daisy Dalrymple series till date and the Cornish Mystery Series, she is surging ahead to pen more entertaining books for her fans.

Many writers plan to become writers or at least are in the process of becoming one, despite being in another profession. For Carola, it was entirely an accidental foray into writing. “While my son was small, we moved a lot and I had lots of part-time & temporary jobs. Then we settled down and my husband thought I ought to get a ‘proper’ job. He had said for years that I ought to write a book because I read so much. So, I decided I might as well give it a try. I didn’t expect to complete it, but once it was written I thought I might as well try to sell it. And I was lucky enough to find an editor who loved it.” The good start eggs her to write until date.

Carola happens to be American who grew up in UK. Carola feels English in American and American in England. “Almost all my books are set in England, so most of the time I live in America physically but in England in my head. I have to look up many idioms before I use them in my writing to be sure they are British, not American. Call me a hybrid. However, the two cultures are much more similar these days than they were when I was growing up.”

Regency novels are what connect to Carola as a writer. Indian readers still are on a back foot with this genre. Carola states that Regency happens to be a period in history (1811-1820), after King George III went mad only to have his son take over as Prince Regent. “It’s the time when Jane Austen’s novels were published. In the 1930s, Georgette Heyer, another English author, wrote the first of over 30 romances set in the period. With memorable characters, excellent historical detail, and very varied plots, she set the tone for the genre.”

A layman might think it quite strange to jump genres from romance to mystery. Carola reveals, “Looking back, I’m amazed at how many of my Regencies had elements of mystery. The very first, Toblethorpe Manor, has a heroine with amnesia. No one knows who she is and that mystery drives the story. The Miser’s Sister has a kidnapping and an attempted-murder/suicide. Several have spies or smugglers, and many have villains of one sort or another who have to be thwarted.”

With different genres, one assumes a writer takes different writing process for each. Carola states, “The goal of a romance is to introduce the hero & heroine to each other, have them fall in love, overcome obstacles, and end up living happily ever after. It is a straightforward process. The goal of a mystery is to present a crime, give readers plenty of clues to enable them to solve it, and give them plenty of red herrings to lead them astray; and then to have your sleuth(s) reach the solution logically and/or intuitively, in a satisfying way.”

This, she says, makes writing mysteries more complicated, as it has more reasoning and less emotion. “That doesn’t mean there’s no reasoning in a romance or no emotion in a mystery, but the balance is quite different.”

All this talk leads to her popular & fascinating character – The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple. She is a career woman in the 1920s and a woman detective to boot that. Carola reveals that her first choice was the setting, time (1920s) & Place (England). For her main character, she wanted it to be female. “I made her the daughter of a lord so that she would be able to question anyone from a duke to a street-sweeper. However, I killed off her father in the flu epidemic of 1918-19 and her brother in the First World War, so that she would have to work for a living. Then I made her a journalist so that she would be able to go places and ask questions. She’s interested in people and usually likes those she meets, which makes it reasonable that they’ll tell her things they wouldn't tell the police. She met Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard in the first book, Death at Wentwater Court, and they married at the beginning of the ninth book, To Davy Jones Below. Both their mothers were bitterly opposed to the marriage because of the difference in class. Daisy’s stepdaughter, Belinda, loves her dearly. Though each book is a separate story, the characters develop over the series, as my readers & I get to know them better and see how they behave in various circumstances.”

Carola Dunn
Writing a period detective novel is not an easy cup of tea, as the writer must have the knack of keeping that period alive in every way. Carola has had her share of reading done of mysteries written in the 20s & early 30s. That allowed her to feel the period and understand the people. “The rest is research, which has become much easier since the amount of information available on the internet has increased by leaps and bound.”

A writer loves his/her character like his/her child. It is the same for Carola. If asked about Daisy, she admits that she likes Daisy as a person. “I hear from many readers who think of her as a friend. They don’t even care that much about the mystery aspect, it just gives an excuse to spend time with Daisy and her family & friends! I try to make the mysteries all different from each other. They tend to be light-hearted but also deal with the emotions that lead to murder and those stirred up by the murder. Some of them also deal with serious social issues, particularly those caused by WWI.”

Considering the amount of mysteries she has written, the fan following must be strong & interesting. “I’ve written 22 books in the series, so clearly I have enough readers to make my publishers happy. I hear from a lot of them. The letters/emails I like best are those that say the Daisy books have helped them through times of trouble or illness by distracting them from their woes. That’s a great compliment,” Carola reveals. Since her books are her children, she does not like to keep any favourites.

Fans eagerly await the next book to come from Carola’s writing stable. She reveals that she has just finished a fourth Cornish mystery – series set in Cornwall around 1970. “It’ll be out next autumn. In the New Year, I’ll be starting on another Daisy book. In the meantime, the second Daisy book, The Winter Garden Mystery, will be reissued (March, I think) and the most recent, Superfluous Women, will come out in paperback,” Carola ends.

Creativity (and a thumping good at that) never stops coming to its admirers. One is assured that Carola Dunn never keeps her pen down and allows fans like us to be delighted with more books.

All of Carola Dunn books, mystery and Regency, are available as e-books. Readers can visit her on Facebook and on her website – www.CarolaDunn.weebly.com.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Life of Rafi

Singer Mohammed Rafi cannot be forgotten. Sujata Dev makes sure that you don’t via her biography on Rafi – Mohammed Rafi: Golden Voice of the Silver Screen. Published by Om Books International, she speaks about writing his saga.

The name Mohammed Rafi just brings out nostalgia & love for good music. Though much is written about him, a authorized biography has hit the town - Mohammed Rafi: Golden Voice of the Silver Screen by Sujata Dev. Om Books International are the publishers. A Rafi fan, Dev is the Managing Director – Third Generation Mobile Pvt. Ltd, Co-chairperson – National Committee of M&E, ASSOCHAM, Founder Member-Senior Vice President –  Indian Broadband Forum, Member of Executive Council – International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Society Member of the Governing body, IIM, Shillong. She speaks about her reasons for choosing to write about Rafi and decodes the legend for the readers.  

Mohammed Rafi is the stuff legends are made of. Was that the reason to write this biography?
Mohammed Rafi is one of the most versatile singers who left indelible impressions on the canvas of time with his melodious voice. In his four decades of outstanding career, he sang 5,063 songs with innumerable music directors whose careers were established because of him. The legendary music director Naushad, who was responsible for giving Rafi a foothold in the film industry, referred to him as the ‘Emperor of Playback Singing’. He is one such legend of the Golden Era who worked with the best singers, lyricists, musicians & music directors of his time without disappointing anyone. He was the voice for all the lead & lesser-known actors. A man who never restrained himself when it came to giving and helping people was fondly called ‘Rafi Sahab’ by the whole industry. What more can you ask of a legend?
For me, Rafi Sahab was a natural choice. My grandmother introduced me to the singing of Rafi in my early childhood, describing the soulful voice as God’s voice. I grew up listening to Rafi Sahab’s voice, and even without realising, I fell in love with his melodious voice. This book is not only a tribute to the ‘Immortal Singer’ but also my homage to my beloved grandmother.

What are the aspects of Rafi’s life & music covered in the book?
The book answers everything that you would like to know about Mohammed Rafi; his childhood, family, family-life, career, relationship with his co-singers, controversies, mysteries surrounding his death, his fan following, the ‘Farishta’ that he was known as and much more. The book covers the essence of that period and the industry in which Rafi struggled, flourished and ultimately ruled. The book is accompanied with a DVD, which captures footsteps of Rafi & what went into the making of this book. 
Sujata Dev

A lot is already out in the public domain about Rafi. How is this book different?
Life of a great legend like Rafi obviously has been talked about in media in the last many years. What intrigues me the most is his illustrious career that stretched almost for four decades and so I dove deep into it. This was the toughest part of the research, as those days had no computers or records. Many stories & figures came to me from different sources like existing books, blogs and Internet at large but to authenticate them was not easy. For eg., the number of songs Rafi Sahab had sung... 
Discovering Siddique Chacha who continues to live in Lahore (now in Pakistan) and interviewing him. It is he who gave lot of insight into Rafi’s childhood and his first marriage to Basheera Bibi. The facts about the legend’s death and the prevailing circumstances were enigmatic and I tried my best to unravel it. That meant meeting Doctor Chandiramani, who attended Rafi Sahab on that fateful day. Besides the family, a few close associates recounted the last few hours of Rafi Sahab’s life.
The controversies that the 2 great singers Lata Mangeshkar & Mohammed Rafi had over royalty and Guinness book have been detailed, by taking into account the existent situation that could have lead to these controversies. I met over hundred people from the industry before I could complete this book. The accompanying DVD has many of these interviews and stands as testimony to incidents in the book. 

You are a Rafi fan. What is it about his voice that makes you want to listen to him?
The ‘Soulfulness’ in his voice is so profound. There is something mesmerising in that melodious voice. He has sung songs of varied genres. Rafi could just set the right tone and draw s listeners into it. Rafi had a tonal range like no other. Music directors created compositions especially for him and lyricists believed their words created magic only when Rafi sung. Truly, his voice is the one that conquers every heart.

Your professional background is quite different from a writer. Are they intertwined?
The researcher in me always dominated over the ‘Rafi fan’ that I am. The logical mind always questioned every data or figure that I came across and the resultant is an analytical approach of Rafi’s illustrious career. As a Rafi fan, I often came across statements like ‘Rafi Sahab’ has sung about 30,000 songs in his career' and then some other source would say 26,000 but logically I found these numbers to be unrealistic. Mathematically, with five major studios, even considering two shifts a day for 365 days (which is humanly impossible), one cannot sing that many songs. This process of authentication & validation of facts was a contribution of professional background. The research & analysis of his vast repertoire itself took two long years and finally the biography was completed in four and half years.

On a last note, why should the readers buy this biography?
I tried to address many aspects of Mohammed Rafi’s life, besides his talent as a singer. This book will help every Rafi fan to know their idol better. Besides, anyone with interest in the evolution of the Indian film industry, playback industry or the Indian music industry at large could find this book worth reading.

Mohammed Rafi: Golden Voice of the Silver Screen

AUTHOR: Sujata Dev

PUBLISHER: Om Books International

PUBLISHED: May 28, 2015

GENRE: Cinema      


·        PRICE: Rs 595 

PAGES: 272 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An idol re-revealed!

Mekhala Sengupta reintroduces actress-cum-filmmaker-cum-social game changer Kanan Devi via her book Kanan Devi: The First Superstar of Indian Cinema, published by HarperCollins Publisher India.

I confess I had heard about Kanan Devi, but not got to the point to truly knowing her or understanding her position in the Indian film industry. This Bengali beauty was one of the early successful singing actors of her generation, filmmaker, social game changer and first lady of Indian cinema. However, there is a more to Kanan Devi. Kanan Devi: The First Superstar of Indian Cinema penned by debut author Mekhala Sengupta & published by HarperCollins Publisher India sets the ball rolling to truly knowing Kanan Devi. 

Kanan Devi is an interesting but rather offbeat topic to write about. Mekhala preferred to reply to this question in a slightly indirect manner. “In the early to mid-eighties, I was a young officer in Mumbai in development banking. I learnt & sang many of Kanan’s hit songs in Hindi at public performances. A group loved pre-playback singing music. I knew absolutely nothing of her extraordinary life. It was only when I mentioned this almost 27 years later to someone in Delhi that the rags to riches story was mentioned. I read a little bit about her and decided her story had to be told. Therefore, the book took shape.” Once Kanan’s actual hardships at that time was revealed, Mekhala just marveled that despite issues, Kanan held onto her beliefs of a better world. “She viewed adversity as a challenge that had to be dealt with. She did not just accept, compromise or crumble. She worked hard & succeeded in her lifetime without a godfather, lineage or resources. This had to be showcased to a new generation.”

Mekhala Sengupta
The term powerhouse equals to Kanan Devi. The book covers that element and features how she influenced others & her image back then. Mekhala reveals, “She was a huge box-office star who appealed to both the intelligentsia & front benchers. Much loved & admired, she symbolized glamour & hope and her voice touched hearts of those who heard her. She started fashion trends and changed fashion. She handled many different characters – first coming across as a feisty girl woman, then a society girl torn between her love for her artist husband and the aspirations of her affluent but non-artistic father, a singer who continued working after her marriage and so many others.” The book helps us appreciate how Kanan brought her own USP to each role, in both the character’s spirit & form it took on screen. 

Celebs have two images – one that we hear from media and the other that we see for ourselves. An author has the privilege to know the real celeb. While researching, Mekhala got some insights of the extraordinary woman. “The first impression was that given Kanan’s origins, how she dealt with adversity & extracted herself out of her grim origins, she showed sheer determination in skilling & tooling herself, never wasting time or giving up hope to make the best of any situation she found herself in. She kept working on herself. There was hard work and sacrifice. She has stated that hers was a childhood without playtime. The fact that she was a powerhouse emerged later on finishing the book, when I looked at her as a modern person would.”

A well-done research work throws in extraordinary facets. Mekhala calls this research ‘a process of discovery’, as it meant countless reading between the lines on what she wrote or said and what she left unsaid (and the reasons behind it). “As a start, we all identify with our parents in a way and we carry their names. Kanan knew nothing of who her biological parents were. There were just foster parents. When do these things happen? I have tried to be a true biographer to bring the facts to light and the sheer scale of accomplishments that Kanan achieved in her lifetime, that she could be introduced just as herself, as Kanan,” Mekhala confesses.
“She viewed adversity as a challenge that had to be dealt with. She did not just accept, compromise or crumble. She worked hard & succeeded in her lifetime without a godfather, lineage or resources. This had to be showcased to a new generation.”
The one aspect, which stuck Mekhala the most as a woman, has to be Kanan’s steely resolution, decisiveness & determination. “These are the phrases that come to mind about Kanan. Typically, women dither or get self-sabotaged with emotions hijacking mental states, disempowering them, while men successfully can compartmentalize their emotions away to address the tasks. Kanan maintained very high standards of excellence and kept working towards improving her knowledge and skills base.” 

Indians, I feel, do not give due credit to most who probably are not on the constant popularity wave. Mekhala wants to share unlike opinion on this. “Due credit? Popularity wave? What are these terms speaking? If we define look at a condition where people relate to another and want to emulate them, the popularity wave terms becomes clear. In an analogy, good food comes from good ingredients, which is put together in a way so that it appeals. The fact is that a good story is a good story. An inspiring story or a charismatic person always remains so because of the particular energy & passion they bring in their situation. It is a question of putting their quest in life in their generation in the context of the current generation. In generic terms, a struggle is a struggle in whichever period you put this in.”

Mekhala’s own journey is something extraordinary. The former banker & financier studied at studied at Lady Shri Ram College (Economics Honours), Moore School of Business, Columbia (Finance & International Trade) and London Business School (Investment Management). Her musical foray includes studying Dhrupad under Dagar Brothers. Mekhala prefers calling herself straightforward rather than unusual. “I am not publicity shy but do not crave it either. About my life journey, I have made some serious money in past avatars and have taken some serious knocks as well. Life’s canvas has also taught me that it is vital to have passion and energy in life as also some detachment. Your life is yours alone. It is important to know yourself and to understand what motivates you and then follow your dreams and not live life as dreamt by another for you. And humility & compassion are needed to stop being a self-centred megalomaniac.” Clear-cut she definitely is!

"Typically, women dither or get self-sabotaged with emotions hijacking mental states, disempowering them, while men successfully can compartmentalize their emotions away to address the tasks. Kanan maintained very high standards of excellence and kept working towards improving her knowledge and skills base."

A true author worth his pen has his or her list of favourite books or literature. Mekhala confesses to admiring imagery & humour in literature. “I have read George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Lawrence Durrell and Gerald Durrell, Alastair Mclean, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Tagore, Mustafa Ali, Premchand, Sarat Chandra, a good deal of science fiction and vast accounts of mythology & folklore from different parts of the world. I have also read a lot of non–fiction, in terms of books on management books and brain entrainment.”

Kanan Devi admirers will surely pick up Kanan Devi: The First Superstar of Indian Cinema. But it is a mission for reintroducing Kanan Devi to an even younger audience. Mekhala feels the readers will discover a woman whose life was filled with hard work & struggle that she achieved success without any godfather, lineage, resources or affirmative action. “She had to be ruthless as a street fighter as the situation needed, but retained her compassion & humility where it was needed. Kanan rewrote her life story and was a true self-made woman. This story & message had to be showcased to a new generation and what I plan to achieve.” It is time we get acquainted with a true heroine of reel & real life.

AUTHOR: Mekhala Sengupta
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers India

PUBLISHED: October, 2015
      GENRE: Cinema                                 
      LANGUAGE: English 
      PRICE: Rs 350  
P    AGES: 228 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pune Event Listings

Check out the events happening all over Pune & select the ones that suit your mood

La Terrazza at Hyatt Regency Pune launches a Saturday Night Buffet. Post launch, avail the buffet every Saturday. Have an antipasti bar, pizzas, pastas, bacon & zucchini fritters, soups and desserts. For holiday cheer & inaugural offer, avail a special 50 % discount on November 27.
WHERE: La Terrazza, Hyatt Regency Pune
WHEN: November 27th 2015
PRICING (PER PERSON): Rs 1050 + Taxes (Only Food)
FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL: +91 20 66451618

Hyatt Pune Kalyani Nagar gives the Sunday brunch a makeover with the ‘Baan Tao Brunch’. Enjoy
Asian food with a variety of dim sums & salads, a sushi bar, Asian grills, Thai curries, Chinese wok, Asian desserts and more spread across seven live counters. Pair it with Mojitos, Martinis & Margaritas.
WHERE: Baan Tao, Hyatt Pune Kalyani Nagar
TIME: 12.30-3.30 PM 
PRICING: Rs 899 + Taxes (Food Only); Non Alcoholic Brunch: Rs 1199 + Taxes; Alcoholic Brunch: Rs 1699 + Taxes; Champagne Brunch: Rs 1999 + Taxes
FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL: + 91 7798889653, +91 20 41411234

Passionate musicians’ group AntariX is a six-piece band with two vocalists, two guitarists, bassist, keyboard player & a drummer. Their music is a union of varied influences from metal to Indian classical. Catch them perform live at BottleRock – Restaurant & Lounge.  
WHERE: Bottlerock - Restro & Lounge, Sus-Pashan Road 
WHEN: November 27, 2015 
TIMING: Gates Open at 7.00 PM 

Visit Art2Day for a 10 session art workshop on watercolor/acrylic painting for busy professionals to
learn basics from the famous art master Milind Mulick. Conducted twice a week on weekends, learn various techniques of painting & drawing. It is specially designed compact courses for anybody & everybody
WHERE: Art2Day Gallery, 1048 Shukrawar Peth, Near Hirabaug Chowk, Tilak Road, Above Hotel Malhar
WHEN: From November 28, 2015
TIMING: Saturday 4-6 PM & Sunday 10.30-12.30 PM
FOR ADMISSION & INFORMATION, CALL:  24452706, 7276000027 or email art2daypune@gmail.com 

Pune’s Classic Rock Lounge, WYNKK invites all party folks for party with DJ Abhishek Mantri who will play his own personal classic rock & retro playlist. Jam, head bang and get your nerves jumping old-fashioned way with some classy retro & rock.

WHERE: Symphony C, Ashok Nagar, Range Hills Road, Shivajinagar
WHEN: November 27, 2015
TIMING: Sunset Onwards
FOR INFORMATION, CALL: +91 7770010897/8  

Tilting Art Gallery at ISHANYA has come up with a scintillating art show, “The Accruals” which displays colorful paintings & sculptures depicting tangible & abstract art. Get a glimpse of national group show of some astounding art pieces depicting diversity of theme & style. 
WHEN: Till December 8th 2015
WHERE: Ishanya, Tilting Art Gallery, Opp. Golf Course, Off Airport Road
CALL: 020 4000 4026 or 9850091771

For events listings, email details & photos to sapnasarfarejournalist@gmail.com. The listings page appears every Wednesday/Thursday.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Something Italian

Dezio in lush green Kalyani Nagar is a welcome respite, courtesy its Italian food offerings and different level sitting arrangements for different occasions

Something Italian always gets me going. Pune is already a fan of Dario’s Italian offering. His more recent offering is Dezio, located in the verdant location of Kalyani Nagar. Here’s ticking a yes for picking out a perfect spot for a relaxed Italian eatery. It screams of casualness.

The moment you enter the premises, relaxed atmosphere sets in with relaxed sitting arrangements. Those who enjoy chatting with friends & family & eating food outdoors will find it perfect.
Step inside the ground plus two-floor eatery complete with open terrace space, each serve different purpose. Ground floor has a lounge space to relax, order your favourite poison and something to suit the drink. Alternatively, shift to the first floor formal dining area. The look is more French with jazz paintings and music. The space looks more relaxed even for a formal dinner and can be used to enjoy a formal meal with family or even your guests of any sort. This area would be called the best of the lot for a great eating and sitting experience. A private entertainment area is on the next floor that can booked for private parties and includes film screening too. Last but not the least; you can visit the terrace, which is the Rooftop Tapas area complete with a fantastic bar and a view to kill. Here, it is all about chilling with friends or colleagues sipping on your drinks, eating tapas food while soaking in the view. The only worry here would be during rains unless they find suitable covering option already. In addition, it is not something for a large crowd unless you make reservations.

Dezio offers a decent basket of Italian chow for your hungry tummy. To be precise, it is the Sicilian version seen here, with a good combination of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The rooftop area consists of tapas food, for a good time with your booze. The thinly sliced Tuna Carpaccio was a great & fresh option, while the Creamy Chicken, Thyme and Mushroom Vol Au Vents were just melt-in-your-mouth delectable with no one ingredient overwhelming the other. There was nothing much to speak about the Crispy Cheese and Bacon Potato Croquette & Poached Egg and Parma Ham Croquette, though it was not per se. The Grilled Lemon Basa Fillet with a Lemon Butter Reduction had a nicely cooked fresh Basa fillet complimented by the delicate flavours.
Head for the fine dining section which has its own menu. The Carpaccio Di Bietola or sliced beetroot with homemade cheese, rucola & caramelised walnuts with a balsamic dressing, came out as an amazing combination to win even hardcore beetroot haters. I thought the Caltagirone Pizza, which had fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parma ham, rucola, Parmesan cheese, was just like any other well-done authentic pizza worth its money. It was not too cheesy or had overflowing tomato sauce. Crispy base and the right amount of delectable Parma ham made it pretty good option. The Risotto Boscaiolo and Gnocchi Con Pancetta or homemade gnocchi with potato & carrot with a bacon, cherry tomato, basil & sage cream sauce, were well cooked but I could not connect with it.
What added the finishing touch to a rather balanced meal was the dessert. The Trio Of Tarts with Tangy Lemon, Yoghurt & Salted Caramel Chocolate were delicately flavoured and just made me want more of it. In fact, whatever meal you order, you have to include the tarts to it. Another good suggestion would be to try out the wine section, which is well selected.
On a few moments, one seems to notice drinks being not being up to the mark but quick service meant the issues were rectified immediately and to good effect.

Service is a mix between attentive servers who occasionally need to be reminded of orders. Well-informed servers made their level best to attend to your orders and questions.
You can safely consider going to Dezio more than once a week as the pricing can be found easy on the pocket. The eatery offer deals which might interest foodies.'

For critical Puneri foodies, Dezio would be a welcome option, if you like Italian food at a reasonable budget. If looking for desi Italian, I would not suggest this place. However, for any occasion, both formal dining or just chilling with friends, family or colleagues, Dezio is a neat offering. Some pleasantries & lot of good food are a must, indeed!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pune Event Listings

Check out the events happening all over Pune & select the ones that suit your mood

This Durga Pooja, Hyatt Pune Kalyani Nagar brings Bengali cuisine with flavours like Bhajja Beguni Pyaazi, Chingri Macher Malai Curry, Macher Paturi, Kosha Mangsho,  Dhokar Dalna, Aloo Posto,  Mishti pulao, and desserts like Date Jaggery Rice Kheer, Coconut Stuffed Pancakes, Cheese Jalebis and Mishti Doi.
WHEN: 12th October till 23rd October 2015  
WHERE: Eighty Eight, Hyatt Pune Kalyani Nagar     
TIMING: 7:30 pm till 11:30 pm
PRICING: Buffet (988+ Taxes) and A La Carte Pricing


Pune-based band Chutzpah plays original songs & covers in every genre & style. The band includes Shivam Shankar (Vocals & Guitar) and Parag Bhide (Percussion). Catch the talented band perform live at BottleRock – Restaurant & Lounge, this Friday night.
WHEN: October 9, 2015 
WHERE: Bottlerock - Restro & Lounge, Sus-Pashan Road 
TIMING: 7.00 PM 

ISHANYA Art and Culture Club present ‘Autumn Winds’, a fascinating concert by renowned Santoor Maestro Rahul Sharma. Be also amazed with the compelling opening act by Pune- based semi-classical vocalist Avantika Sinha with Mukta Raste from Mumbai on the tabla.   
WHEN: October 11, 2015
WHERE: ISHANYA Amphitheatre, Ishanya, Opp. Golf course, Off Airport Road, Yerwada
TIMING: 6:00 pm onwards
FOR BOOKING: Call 020 4000 4045 OR log on www.bookmyshow.com for online bookings
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: www.ishanya.com/iacc

Get ready for perfect Sundays with all-new Sunday Brunches at Evviva Sky Lounge. Over
progressive and house tracks by the DJ, get fine food & drinks including salads, cheeses & sandwiches, dim sums, grilled meats, seafood platters, Burmese Khow Suey to Nasi Goreng, Nawabi main courses to dessert buffet.
WHERE: Evviva Sky Lounge, Level 8, Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre, Bund Garden Road
PRICINGBrunch: Rs. 1099 + Taxes; With Beer: Rs. 1399 + Taxes; With alcohol: Rs 1699 + Taxes
TIMINGS: 12.30 PM - 4.30 PM
FOR RESERVATIONS, CONTACT: +91 9545480732 / 8793151913

Courtyard By Marriott Pune Chakan brings authentic taste of South India at MoMo Café. Dig into the
Puttu and Kadala Curry, Malabar Parottas and Water Buffalo Roast, Hyderabadi Haleem, etc. Complete your experience with desserts like Ilaneer payasam and Ada pradhaman, sip on a cup of filter kaapi.  
When: Till October 9, 2015
WHERE:  MoMo Café, Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan
TIMING: 7.00 PM till 10.45 PM
PRICING: Rs 850 + Taxes
FOR RESERVATIONS, CONTACT: +91 21 3566 6666 or Visit www.courtyardchakan.com

Satguru’s, an exquisite Art Gallery is organizing a paintings exhibition inspired by famous temples & holy shrines of India. Visitors get a visual treat of serene places of India by artists like Nagendra Kumar, Sanjay Chakraborty, Ratneswar Roy, Sanjeev Mandal, etc. 
WHEN: October 11 - 20. 2015
WHERE: 362 Satguru Center , Bund Garden Road
TIMING: (10:30 – 8:30 pm) 
CONTACT: 020-64011943 or visit www.satgurus.com

Hotel JW Marriott’s Paasha, Pune brings a night filled with foot tapping Progressive lounge and
Deep House music by renowned lounge DJ Ravin, with the mélange of cocktails and exquisite food. The best part is no entry fee, though reservations recommended.
WHEN: October 9, 2015, 
WHERE: Paasha, JW Marriott, Senapati Bapat Road
TIMING: 9 PM Onwards
ENTRY FEE: None; Reservations Recommended

Hope for the Children Foundation brings its first ‘Fashion Show’ with a social venture by the foundation called ‘Udaan Couture’ this Friday. The event begins with a special performance of singer Cynthia Furtado followed by the fashion Show under the music of Abhishek Mantri, show director Sandeep Dharma and Emcee Chaitanya Rathi.
WHEN: October 9, 2015
WHERE:  Flying Saucer, Viman Nagar
TO ATTEND:  RSVP Caroline at +91 9850 316 783 or at caroline@hopeforthechildrenfdn.org

For events listings, email details & photos to sapnasarfarejournalist@gmail.com. The listings page appears every Wednesday/Thursday.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pune Event Listings

Check out the events happening all over Pune & select the ones that suit your mood

After the success of two open Air Live Music Concert, Phoenix Marketcity Pune, in association with Alive India, hosts renowned singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya. Music-lovers can groove to hit Bollywood numbers from all genres with the famous artist.

WHEN:  October 2, 2015
WHERE: Courtyard, Phoenix Marketcity (Pune), Nagar Road, Vimannagar
TIMING:  6.30 PM Onwards   

The Korean Association of Pune brings the second Annual Indo-Korean Cultural Festival to promote Indo- Korean culture via entertainment & food. See Korean culture through cultural performances. Exciting prizes like round trip ticket to Korea to be won through lucky draw.
WHEN: October 3, 2015
WHERE: Raga Lawn, Koregaon Park  
TIMING: 2 PM – 9 PM 

Sample the delights of Oktoberfest at Phoenix Marketcity Courtyard. Celebrate food, music, contests,
merchandise & beer. Get the best of German culture, food and music with brands & breweries like TJ’s, Effingut, Gateway, Flambos, Malaka spice, Yo China, The Beer Café, Irish house, Toss, Punjab Grill, etc.
WHEN:  October 3-4, 2015
WHERE: Courtyard, Phoenix Marketcity (Pune), Nagar Road, Vimannagar
TIMING:  4.30 PM Onwards   
PHOTO CREDIT: www.y102reading.com

Be ready to feast on some authentic Marwari food at Hyatt Regency Pune with their Marwari Food Festival. You can get tailor-made authentic Marwari dishes like Farshan, Ker Sangri, Dal Batti Churma, Mangodi Doodhi Na Muthiya, Live Jalebi, Malpua and more. What fun!
WHEN: Till October 11, 2015
WHERE: Hyatt Regency Pune, Nagar Road
PRICE: Rs. 950 + Taxes (Lunch Buffet); Rs. 1,200 + Taxes (Dinner Buffet)

For events listings, email details & photos to sapnasarfarejournalist@gmail.com. The listings page appears every Wednesday/Thursday.  


Friday, September 25, 2015

Pune Event Listings

Check out the events happening all over Pune; select the ones that suit your mood

It’s burger & beer time at Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre. As the world celebrates Oktoberfest, every burger gets you a beer complimentary! Tuck into juicy burgers like Grilled Asian Burger, Prawn Tempura Burger, BBQ Cottage Cheese Burger, Spicy Mexican Bean Burger, Tenderloin Burger and more. 

WHEN:  September 29 – October 12, 2015
WHERE: MoMo Cafe, Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre, Bund Garden Road
PRICE: INR 425 plus taxes and above
CALL: +91 20 67248250 

It’s Oktoberfest time at Four Points by Sheraton Pune. Sip on Erdinger beer and relish a Oktoberfest dishes like Chicken Bratwurst, Potato Pancake with Cheese & Chives, Beer Roast Chicken, and Oktoberfest Strude! Get a selection of international beers at Panash, The Eatery, Best Brews and Alfresco Beyond the Eatery.  
WHEN: September 26 – October 4, 2015
 WHERE: Four Points by Sheraton Pune 
CALL: 7709006688 / 02030931031

Be ready to visit Seasonal Tastes at The Westin Pune Koregaon Park as they bring the eclectic flavours from around the Tigris River, mainly Turkey, Syria & Iran. Dig into the zingy flavours of Mediterranean cuisine & its delicacies until October 11. Be there to enjoy a truly epicurean dining experience. 

WHEN: Till October 11, 2015
WHERE: Seasonal Tastes, Westin Pune Koregaon Park
FOR RESERVATION, CALL: 9158882124 or email Taste.westinpune@westin.com 


Head to Alto Vino – the Italian restaurant at JW Marriott Hotel Pune for its ‘Italian Grills Festival’. Feast on grilled delicacies with the finest collection of wines. Starters include Prosciutto Di Parma, Focaccia Al Rosmarino , Carne Like Costine Di Molale, Poletto Alla Birra and Pesce like Salmone Scozzese and Spigola Chilena. Also choose from the A la Carte menu by Italian Expat Chef Christian Huber.
WHEN: Till September 27, 2015
WHERE: Alto Vino, JW Marriott Hotel Pune, SB Road
TIMING: 7.30 PM Onwards
FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL:  91 20 66833333

For events listings, email details & photos to sapnasarfarejournalist@gmail.com 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pune Event Listings

Check out the events happening all over Pune; select the ones that suit your mood

The city has started celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi’. At Khandani Rajdhani, they are serving unlimited Modaks like Ukadiche Modak; Mawa Modak along with their thali to those who come to dine on the 10th day (Visarjan). Relish these Modaks along with Rajdhani’s signature thali dishes!

WHEN: September 27, 2015
WHERE: Khandani Rajdhani

Hyatt Pune Kalyani Nagar returns with Baking Master Class. Chef Parag Kandarkar & team will share secrets of baking morning bakery treats. They will reveal how to create fresh croissants, Danish pastries, hard rolls and soft rolls to pair with your morning coffee, or any continental main courses.
WHEN: September 19, 2015
WHERE: Eighty Eight, Hyatt Pune Kalyani Nagar
PRICING: Rs. 1000 All Inclusive 
FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL: +91 7798889653 / 20 4141 1234 

Pune Expat Club will conduct a unique Ganesh Festival walk for its members. It is open to other
expats in the city too. Get to cover all major Ganpati mandals in city area with five experienced guides who will share information about the ancient city area/Ganesh Festival.
WHEN: September 22, 2015
WHERE: From Shaniwar Wada to Vishrambaug Wada
TIMING: Starts at 5 PM & Ends at 8 PM
FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL: +91 8390900602 / 9881337405 / 020 41315002

Be ready as Funskool India Ltd has organised an exciting Rummikub National Championship across 6 cities in India. Winner heads to participate in the Rummikub World Championship in Berlin, Germany in November 2015. Participation is open to all.
WHEN: September 19, 2015
WHERE: Crossword Book Store, Phoenix Marketcity, Viman Nagar
Age: 7 Yrs & above
TIMING:  3 PM Onwards
FOR INFORMATION, CALL MR. SHISHIR: 020 66033050 / 9619814587 / 8983350003

Catch Pune-based band Fiddlecraft at BottleRock – Restaurant & Lounge this Friday. Known to experiment in various genres, from blues to electronic music, the band includes Gaurav Kadu (vocals), Narayanan (percussion), Atul Massey (base guitar) & Akshay More (lead guitar).
WHEN: September 18, 2015 
WHERE: Bottlerock - Restro & Lounge, Sus-Pashan Road 
TIMING: Gates Open at 7 PM 

For events listings, email details & photos to sapnasarfarejournalist@gmail.com. The listings page appears every Wednesday/Thursday.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Guppy Pop Up at Olive Bristo

Head to Pune’s Olive Bristo for Guppy Pop Up – an unusual food offering which is the interpretation of Japanese cuisines & flavours created by Chef Vikram Khatri.

Guppy Signature Pork Belly

Trust Olive Bristo in Pune to come up with a food twist with a difference. After a successful run in its Mumbai outlet, Guppy Pop Up – an unusual food offering – comes to the Pune Olive Bistro. Brand Olive owned by AD Singh has always been on the forefront of interesting food offering. Guppy Pop Up seems no different. However, a word of caution – if you want to try Japanese food with a twist or already love the cuisine, coming to Olive Bistro is an interesting option.

Chicken Karaage
Created by well-known chef, Chef Vikram Khatri, Guppy Pop Up is his interpretation of Japanese cuisines and flavours along with the elements of cooking – harmony, tradition, wisdom and balance. It is his take on contemporary Japanese food. So expect some tradition with modern drama.

Some interesting starts were Avocado, Cucumber & Cream Cheese Rolls that though mild, might interest the ones who prefer such tastes. There is the California Rolls, which again will find takers in the mild tastes. One can really gobble Chicken Karaage, which can safely be called Japanese style bhajis. With mildly flavoured coating, it is scrumptious and can be eaten with some interested dips served. Do try the Chilli Garlic, which is soybean, served in the said flavouring in a similar fashion as if you would eat boiled peas with its outer covering on. It can be addictive and goes well with the drinks. 

Chilli Garlic
A different version of steamed soybeans is Edamame Sea Salt (sea salts coating) which again is tempting. The Tiger Prawn Tempura particularly tempts those looking for authentic Japanese flavours with light batter and neatly fried. I found the Spicy Tuna Roll to be just about okay and taste more like ordinary Tuna Roll. An interesting entrée dish was Prawn Gyoza, which are pan-fried Japanese dumplings. Well-cooked prawns in a light coating just makes you want to eat it forever. The Japanese Vegetable Roll, which is on the lines of Sushi, is an acquired taste. However, the winner here happens to be Guppy Signature Pork Belly, which is succulent pork belly in a special sauce. You just cannot stop at once.

I loved the delicate texture & flavour of Garlic Fried Rice, which one could eat just like that. All
Chashu Ramen Shoyu

vegetarians could coolly eat the Crisp Vegetable Harumaki, which are Japanese style spring rolls. Try the Chashu Ramen Shoyu – one of the commonest types of clear ramen soup flavoured with soy sauce, which comes with slices of pork (Chashu). In the rains, this would be the perfect option, as it is filling and mildly flavoured. One could also opt for Miso Soup made from softened Miso paste & dashi. Also, try out Teriyaki Glazed Tofu & Asparagus, Rock Corn Tempura, Grilled Chicken Breast, Grilled Asparagus & Rocket Salad, Exotic Teppanyaki Vegetables and Exotic Mushroom & Asparagus Gyoza.

If in the temper to up your mood, try the special cocktails for this occasion – Tatami Cocktail, Sakura Martini, Gary Gary Kun, British Invasion, Wasabi Mary and Bamboo Leaf Martini. The last option is probably the best one to go Japanese. For your sweet tooth, you can try Warm Carrot Cake, Macaroon, Brownie or Insanity Cake Slice.
Visit Olive Bristo Pune for The Guppy pop up, until October 30, 2015.

Wasabi Mary

WHERE: Olive Bistro, Poona Club, Bund Garden Road 
WHEN: Till October 30, 2015
Timings: 7 PM – 11 PM
For Reservations, Call: 9730068533 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pune Event Listings

Check out the events happening all over Pune & select the ones that suit your mood


Get to hear the band Empty Café – fusion of two cultures & genres of music. It includes Gandhaar Amin on Indian bamboo flute & vocals and Vinay Kaushal on guitars & vocals. Striving to create a new image for ‘fusion music’, catch the talented band at Bottlerock - Restro & Lounge for Friday Night Live. 

WHERE: Bottlerock - Restro & Lounge, Sus-Pashan Road 
WHEN: Friday, 11th September, 2015 
TIMING: Gates Open : 7:00 PM 

Witness an exhibition of traditional & modern fusion of artwork only at Satguru’s. Catch an exhibition of Ganesh Idols & Sculptures. Some impeccable exhibited work include Sanket Mochan throne Ganesha made out of brass & precious stones, Moon Ganesha Collection and the Signature Collection Ganesha.   

WHERE: Satguru’s Art Gallery, 362 Satguru Center , Bund Garden Road 
WHEN: Till September 16, 2015

Go all Mexican with delights from the land of tequila at Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Chakan. Treat your taste buds to the flavours of authentic Mexican cuisine. Try delicacies like tacos, cornbread, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, nachos and salsa and more, along with some delicious margaritas.

WHERE: MoMo Cafe, Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan
WHEN: Till September 11, 2015
PRICE: INR 850+taxes
CONTACT: 9923753744

Go ahead & relish a week of sizzling platters at Best Brews by Four Points by Sheraton Pune. Enjoy sizzlers with great ambience, along with selection of local & international beers. Sample delicious sizzlers like Chicken, Tenderloin, Seafood plus, Cottage Cheese, Shashlik & Veg Medallion with varied sauces. This is coupled with unlimited entertainment! 

WHEN: Till September 12
WHERE: Best Brews, Four Points by Sheraton, Pune
TIMING: From 8 PM onwards
FOR RESERVATIONS, CONTACT: 7066846813, 7709006688

Set your weekend to enjoyment mode with live band performance at Phoenix Marketcity Pune. Groove to popular music numbers of all genres with Balalaika - The Metal Core Band and FUZE. BALALAIKA is an experimental Hindi rock band, while Fuze form a beautiful mélange of music on similar note. 

WHERE: East Court, Phoenix Marketcity (Pune), Nagar Road
WHEN: Balalaika - The Metal Core Band – September 12, 2015
              Fuze – September 13, 205
TIMING: 6 PM Onwards 

Be ready to go for a unique sofa carnival at Housl!fe at Ishanya. It displays 100+ sofa designs and
400+ fabric variety. The main attraction will be sofas & recliner collection from designer brands. Also, get the exclusive opportunity to consult team of experts on sofa & fabric aspects.

WHERE: Arcade 3, housl!fe, Ishanya, Opp. Golf Course, Off Airport Road, Yerwada
WHEN: September 12-26, 2015
TIMING: 11 AM onwards
CONTACT: 40004001

Phoenix Marketcity Pune organizes a unique sculpture exhibition – a beauty fest titled B Me!! (Beautiful ME) that displays people’s eternal craving to look beautiful. Check out sculptures by artist Loknath Sinha and one by Artist Rai David. 

WHERE: Phoenix Marketcity (Pune), Nagar Road, Vimannagar
WHEN: Friday to Sunday – till 13th September, 2015
TIMING: 11.30 AM – 10 PM 

 Catch up with friends over international beers & special cocktails. Head this September & October to enjoy major sporting events screened at the Best Brews Lounge Bar, Four Points by Sheraton Pune. Relish promotional drinks like Smoked Cocktails, Herb Infused Cocktails, Hot Cocktails, International Flavored Beer, etc!

·         Common Wealth Games (Samoa)
DATE: September 5-12, 2015
PROMOTION: Smoked Cocktails
PRICE: Rs. 399 

·         Rugby (England)
DATE: September 18-October 31, 2015
PROMOTION: Herb Infused Cocktails
PRICE: Rs. 499 

·         Cycling (Road Championship, USA)
DATE: September 19-27
PROMOTION: Hot Cocktails
PRICE: Rs. 699 

·         Australian Football League (Grand Finals, Australia)
DATE: October 3, 2015
PROMOTION: Whisky Sour Week
PRICE: Rs. 399 
·         6th CISM Summer Military World games (South Korea)
DATE: October 1-11, 2015  
PROMOTION: International Flavored Beer
PRICE: Rs. 499 

·         Gymnastics World Championship (Artistic, UK)
DATE: October 23-November 1, 2015
PROMOTION: Flavored Daiquiri Week
PRICE: Rs. 499 
CONTACT: 7709006688, 7066846813