This spring we got the opportunity to get Todh Teri’s go-to restaurants and cafes in his native Pune. For those who don’t know this Indian native is the master behind reworking Indian cinematic sounds onto the modern dance floor; infusing disco, cabaret and Bollywood sounds with house, acid and funk. Find his latest compilation India Gets Physical here out now on Get Physical Music.
Pune is a sprawling city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. It was once the base of the Peshwas (prime ministers) of the Maratha Empire, which lasted from 1674 to 1818. It’s known for the grand Aga Khan Palace, built in 1892 and now a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, whose ashes are preserved in the garden. The 8th-century Pataleshwar Cave Temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Besides that, there is an amazing food culture, which is known across the state, might I add the whole country. Pune has a rich history of culinary culture, inspired by its population of mixed religions. The city is known for its typical maharashtrian food, especially breakfast, “Misal Pav” which you can get in nearly every corner of the inner city. It consists of sprouts, green peas, chickpeas and chilli gravy served with soft brioche-like mini-buns. It’s super spicy but still full of extravagant flavors.
Pune also has sizeable Parsi* population hence they have a massive influence on the food culture as well.
Here are some of my fav spots, where I have been a regular since my teenage years.
Vohuman Cafe (Dhole Patil Road)
Best known for their double cheese omelette with butter toast and chai, or “Bun Maska” (Soft brioche buns loaded with butter) they take their butter very seriously ! It’s cheap and delicious.
George Restaurant (East Street)
I don’t think that there is anything not worth eating on the menu. But if you want to pick, then go for their slow cooked butter chicken and muttor biryani (spicy rice dish with tender goat meat) also a lot of mouthwatering vegetarian options.
Dorabjee & Sons (Dastu Meher Road)
A must visit on Sunday for the traditional “Dhansak” (lamb cooked with lentils) served with saffron rice and “Patrani Machhi” (fish in banana leaf) and don’t forget to start the meal with a mutton or chicken cutlet, which will literally melt in your mouth and wash it all down with Ardeshir’s raspberry soda (a local soft drink). It is the oldest Parsi restaurant in Pune, established in 1878. Their menu includes all the pure and authentic Parsi food items. They still preserve their different menus from the bygone era, from the year 1940 – where currency exchanges were in the Annas and not in Rupees.
Bagban (East Street)
Looking for authentic muslim cuisine, this is the place to be. Don’t go on the looks, comfort or ratings, it is all about the food here. “Daalcha” typical lamb dish served on Fridays other than that order blindly..not for the faint of heart!!! also, “Raan” (slow cooked leg of lamb) if there are more than 5 people eating. Yes, it’s a meat lover’s heaven!
Vaishali (FC Road)
Pure vegetarian! South Indian food heaven. Located south of the city (deccan) near the famous Fergusson College. They serve a number of different “Dosa” (thin / crisp rice flour + split lentils pancake with different fillings) served with spicy “Sambar” (yellow lentil broth with tamarind and tomatoes) and coconut chutney, also other south indian specialities like “Uttapam” (thick rice flour pancake with onions/cheese/green chillies/tomato) “Medu Vada” (savory lentil doughnut). It’s and all day dining experience.
Teri Rajput Dairy (Koregaon Park)
It is a dairy farm where you can buy in store made milk products like cottage cheese, curd etc, but they also serve typical north Indian breakfast: “Aloo Paratha” (whole wheat bread stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes / paneer**) “Chole Bhature” (spicy chickpea gravy with fluffy fried bread) and their “Samosa” (whole wheat fried dumplings stuffed with veggies / potatoes) is to die for, wash it down with a glass of chilled “Lassi” (indian yogurt shake).
*Parsi, also spelled Parsee, member of a group of followers in India of the Persian prophet Zoroaster. The Parsis, whose name means “Persians”, are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by the Muslims.
** Paneer is a fresh cheese common in the Indian subcontinent. It is an unaged, non-melting farmers cheese made by curdling milk with a vegetable-derived acid, such as lemon juice.