Since arriving in Pune I’ve had a lot of restaurant meals, but these were mostly hotels. Get back from work, a bit tired, a bit disoriented, the easy thing to do is just head downstairs and eat right there.
But Pune has a thriving food and nightlife culture, and tonight I thought I’d go sample some of it. First destination, ABC Farms, just a short walk from where I live in Koregaon Park. This is kind of a lane or a compound with 5-6 different restaurants and clubs. I arrived a bit after 8 – still early by Pune standards. I strolled over to a place called Shisha. There were sounds of jazz coming from inside and while a few couples here and there were having dinner there were plenty of free tables.
The menu featured many Persian dishes, but I decided to order from the Indian menu: Fish Masala, Dal Makhani (a Punjabi dish)and plain Naan, plus a G & T, as Horace Rumpole would say, to fortify myself.
Pretty good. The fish was fresh and the spice was rich but let the fish flavor come through. The dal was made with not just lentils but also kidney beans; with a healthy dash of cumin it was surprisingly like chili, though sin carne, not con carne. With a Kingfisher pint added on, the tally came to a 1100 Rs., a bargain compared to your typical business hotel hereabouts.
As I mentioned, Shisha features jazz, and it seemed all the places in ABC Farms had music. As I arrived, Dire Straits Walk of Life was in the air. Western music is definitely a premium here, coffee shops, gyms, stores all play it. As I started my walk home a solo guitarist at another club was turning out a journeyman Like A Rolling Stone. No real message there, unless its that nowadays your dal and masala come with a side of Western ear candy.
The verdict on ABC Farms: Easy-going, good food, music in the air. Definitely will be back.