I love Pune for so many reasons. It’s a fun city, great weather and I’ve got lots of friends and wonderful readers here who are always happy to meet. The thing I like most about the city is that it’s got some great places to eat at. Tiny lil nooks, oldie goldie favourites and some new fancy pants places as well. There’s always something for everyone. A bit like Mumbai in that respect, but far lighter on my wallet. While I enjoy revisiting old favourites, it’s always great to explore and see what’s new. On a recent trip there, I found myself dining at not one but three newbies ( well some new in general and some new for me ) and had a great time at all. While I’ll get to all of them I had to start with the one that took me by surprise when I was least expecting it.
This time I spent 4 hectic days in the city running all over while nursing the worst cold of my life. I was in no mood to stuff my face or make polite conversation with chefs or anything for that matter. Grumbling, groaning and moaning I pulled myself out of bed to make my lunch date at this new place in Viman Nagar called The Flying Saucer – Sky Bar. I don’t know what it is with restaurant owners and naming their outlets but a long time ago, I learnt to stop asking why.
I wasn’t in a mood to eat lackluster food ( or so I thought ) but I felt it would be rude to flake out last minute and more importantly I was meeting up with Sheena a blogger I’d been interacting with but hadn’t had the chance to meet. I’m so glad I made my lunch date because not only is Sheena the coolest cat in town but this flying saucer and it’s chef might just be my new favourites!
The place is located at the terrace level of a rather commercial looking building. As I walk in, it’s dark with brown leather interiors a sprawwwwwllinggg bar, thumping music and dance area and looks to me like a typical lounge even in the middle of the afternoon. Mildly off putting at first because there is just two tables and us but after a while I just didn’t care. The real kicker is the level above this which is their rooftop dining area ( only open at night ) with a stunning view of the city. It took my breath away in the day I can only image how lovely it would be at night.
We settle in a booth by the window, we’re joined by another friend and three ladies chatting away over some great food turned out to be one of the highlights of my stay.
I sampled just one drink their Whiskey sour ( no egg ) which I loved but I ended up focusing more on their food. The menu is a mix and match, it’s got a fair amount of bar nibbles, some hot filling tandoori items which is perfect for cool pune weather specially after a couple of beers or cocktails and some very interesting salads and mains along with spectacular dessert.
The mezze platter has all the usual suspects and served with crisp pita. Each one delicious and an auspicious start to our meal.
The bbq platter is extremely impressive because most of the time I avoid order a platter because I feel they really skimp out. They just add one or two things of each and it’s a small platter. This one was quite a feast. Mutton sheek and the Chicken tikka were my favourite. Both extremely soft and wonderful to eat.
The chipotle prawns are possibly the best thing on their menu. The prawns are not over cooked ( for once ) and while you might think this is a crazy spicy dish, it’s not, it’s the kind of spice you’re happy to take. They are superb and I’d go back to pune just to eat this again.
The Chicken popcorn is interesting. It’s the perfect bar nibble, fried popcorn like balls with chicken but it’s served with this soy honey glaze like dipping sauce which it lip smacking. I ended up saving that sauce and eating it with m other food.
The Asian noodle salad is a cold salad and perfect for something light if you’re not in the mood for heavy tandoori or even the prawns. I used a bit of that chicken popcorn dipping sauce to toss into my noodle salad and felt it was even more flavourful.
There are a lot of interesting mains on their menu but truth be told who had place to try everything? Very grudgingly we sampled their massaman curry with burnt garlic rice. It’s an enjoyable curry but I think I enjoyed their chicken tikka, mezze and prawns so much that I don’t think i was quite in the frame of mind to really critique the curry. I found no fault but no wow either unlike the previous dishes.
I thought we were done. I thought we’d reached out peak. Three women with healthy appetites were going to call it quits. That is of course till they cajoled us into trying dessert and thank god we did. first up is Spanish churros with chocolate sauce. I don’t care much for this I’d eat it and it’s ok but not my personal favourite. They however attacked it.
I had the pleasure of eating one of the finest banofee desserts served in a jar ( mildly inconvenient ) and despite being a heavy dessert I would have taken my time and wiped it clean. Toffee caramel and bananas – I’m hungry again !
I think the piece de resistance by Chef Sagar is his bizarre dessert of ice cream and eggplant. I turned my nose up in disgust just reading this because let me tell you my dear readers – I DETEST EGGPLANT/AUBERGINE/BAINGAN or whatever you want to call it. The dessert came and looks like a mountain of goo. Just massive scoops of ice cream placed on discs of batter fried eggplant stacked on top of each other with hot chocolate sauce drizzled all over and decorated with candied nuts.
They must have thought I was mad because I keep looking at it, studying it and wondering how I was going to eat it. I was so intrigued – why would you put eggplant in a dessert ?? I’m so glad he did because it’s the only way I want to eat this vegetable now. What he’s done is simply batter fried the sliced eggplant and coated is with icing sugar. It ends up tasting like sweetened fritters and the cool texture from the ice cream is the perfect contrast. So you break a bit of the eggplant and take a bit of ice cream and it’s like Christmas in your mouth. Both Sheena and I thought it was genius and I don’t know if anyone else has thought of this but it really works.
The Flying Saucer Sky Bar is an outlet of the popular restaurant and lounge in Delhi but I’ve never been there. I will now post this meal. It’s ideal for a night out and I’m told the place gets packed so please call and make a reservation. Kids are allowed in the afternoon but I’m not too sure at night.
I’m so glad I did this. Not only did Sheena and I have a great time bonding over our blogs and life in general ( pls check out her blog is awesome sauce !! ) but we enjoyed our meal. Stay tuned for more Pune restaurant updates!