‘Iontach Irish Beoir’ @ TJ Brew Works

Welcome to TJ Brew Works, where four beer fests are organized every year – Belgian, Irish, American and the OktoberFest. Considering the success and appreciation received for the Belgian Fest, we were all excited once the Irish Beers were on tap. An exclusive beer tasting session was organized for The B Team.

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TJs is a place which boasts amazing ambience, both inside and outdoor. The ideal place to sit would be the open area which guarantees amazing breeze while chugging down some of their finest beers.

The agenda for the night was of course to start of with the beers, followed by tasting some of the fares from the brand new Irish Menu. Ms. Ashwini, the brewster and Mr. Wency Pereira, the head Chef, both briefed us on what was about to be served for the night.

The Beers…

TJs will have two beers on tap for the Irish Fest(apart from their regular beers)- the Devil’s Dark BC(Belgian Chocolate) and the Irish Ale-in.

Basically, The Devil’s Dark BC is made with Dark Chocolate and Coffee. Generally, the Irish Stouts have rich chocolate profile. However in the BC, the bitterness is obtained from coffee. There is a thick and rich foam that gives out flavors predominantly. The beer finishes off dry, with understated hoppiness.

One version of Beer history says the Irish were the pioneers in brewing and initally it was all real ales. Routing back to History, Irish Ale-in is targeted to be a typical Irish ale beer with a prominent aroma of hops. A generous amount of late hop addition gives out pleasant floral hints.

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Irish Ale-in

The Food…

 

The menu was curated by none other then Wency himself. He used to be in Ireland, and who better to form a menu on Irish food then ?

Chicken Braised with Irish Beer: As the name suggest, chicken chunks were braised in the Irish Ale-in beer itself. The dish itself was yummm, but we enjoyed more when we started to drink the gravy alone, it was simply mouth watering and of course, a must have from their new menu.

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Dublin Coddle: Casserole of sausages, bacon, carrots, onions, mushrooms, bottle gourd and zucchini served with garlic bread loaves and prime veggies. Except for the fact that large slices of bacon instead of the finely chopped ones would have tasted better, this one is indeed yet another must try.

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Fish Cobbler: Two fillets of fish topped with cheese sauce served with parsley rice and veggies. The cheese sauce was tad too salty, but the rice had along with the fillet was manageable.

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Ballymaloe: Traditional Veg Stew. Barley, sweet corn, carrot, zucchini, onions and simmered in tomato puree, this one tasted pretty much out of the box and it was indeed a traditional dish. Very very good options for veggies too. The best part I went for was the oven roasted potatoes served along the dish. It was a steal.

Cheesecake and the Banana Walnut tarts were the options for dessert in the menu. The chef was too keen in presenting the tart and we never hesitated. This one finished in seconds. I mean literally, in seconds.

Sautéed bananas I presume, served with crispy walnut, bound together by melting caramel and served with a bowl of vanilla ice cream, did we reach heaven already ??

And of course you know where TJs is…. Yes, you are right – East Block, Amanora Town Centre.

Keep Chugging. Keep Chowing.

 

 

 

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Secret Chulha Pop Up ft. Sharad Badge

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Secret Chulha Pop Ups are no more a secret now. Puneites are now pretty much aware of the Pop ups happening almost every month. The main vision of the Pop ups is to introduce to a dish that no one has probably had before. It could either be a local cuisine, a global cuisine that are less known to the world or even a secret recipe of a home chef, grandma’s recipe and what not.

The concept of Secret Chulha Pop up and Conversations was started in October 2015 by the couple, Ms. Richa Choudhary and Mr. Sandy Singh. All the pop ups except one happened at Prem’s,the other one at Euriska.

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Sandy Singh & Pablo @ TSC

The March edition of the pop up featured none other than the renowned chef, Mr. Sharadchandra Bagde. Mr. Sharad, who is the backbone of the Team Marinare, is pretty much known to people across Pune. He provides catering services and his Biriyani, innovative desserts etc has always been a talking point. He is never shy to try out any new cuisine.

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Sri Lankan was the finalized cuisine for the 4th Secret Chulha Pop up. Sharad heard about Sri Lankan cuisine from a friend and has ever since been curious about it. He even attended a few cooking lessons, and got help from the internet as well. Then started the trial and error method. It took all these processes to finally get the Sri Lankan dishes onto our table.

6th March, 2016

Two slots of community dining were planned, the first one at 7:30 pm, followed by 9:30 pm. We managed to get into the 7:30 slot and was glad to see all the tables were occupied by then and we managed to squeeze in. A job well begun is half done. Yes indeed.


Sri Lankan Fish Cutlets were the perfect start to the evening. Amazingly prepared cutlets with fish, finely mashed potatoes and the secret curry powder. I just couldn’t stop eating this one. Elu Maas was Mutton Chops, Seer Sothi ( fish in yellow curry), Kukulu Musamma (Chicken slow cooked in coastal curry) and Jafna Prawns rice were the Non Veg options.


The main challenge faced by Sharad was to limit the level of spices to meet the Pune taste buds expectations. However, I personally feel that the dishes with the usual spice levels used in Sri Lanka, could have gathered much more appreciation for the dishes, than what it actually got.


Kaju Mulava(cashew seared in spring curry leaves), Sri Lankan Veg cutlets, Wattaka Curry (Pumpkin curry cooked in roasted curry powder and coconut) and beetroot curry were the Veg fares. Sri Lankan Yellow rice was served throughout with the curries, and the Secret Colombo curry with boiled eggs went well with the rice. The Coffee Biscuit pudding was exceptionally delightful that I requested for another helping( which of course I got in the end).

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Coffee Biscuit Pudding

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The Bloggers along with Sharad(Center)

The next pop up is scheduled to be on the 10th of April and the cuisine is Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu (Phew… did I get it right?). Its gonna be a Seafood dominated cuisine and yes, see you all there.

Images Courtesy: Divyanshu Kumar Mishra.

Check out his blogs @ https://mybonappetite.wordpress.com/

Keep Chugging, Keep Chowing.

Madness Redefined @ Donkey’s Arse

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I bet that the whole of Pune knew that some madness was somewhere around the corner soon. The publicity boasted by the place was pretty much that they had huge hoardings almost all major areas of the city. And was it all worth it ??? Well absolutely, duh. They have 3 different levels of restaurants, aimed exclusively for different audience. Ground floor is the Social Clinic. First of its kind resto in Pune which is absolutely Hospital themed. From chairs to tables to staff’s attire, this in no way can be doubted for a resto :p. On the first floor they have Donkey’s Arse. Well you read that right. The second floor is for all the Superhero kids we have out there, the Superheroes.

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The grand launch party of Donkey’s Arse was attended by celebrities, famous Punekars, and of course, me and my blogger friends too !! Just when entering the 7th lane of KP, one could easily have found out that there was a party going at the end of the lane, as the light works were amazing and was spotted from way back. The moment I reached the venue, I knew the party quotient was way too high. The place was well lit, and the view from outside itself gives a good picture of how Donkey’s Arse was gonna be ( not literally :p). Started the journey by getting clicked by their official photographers 😉 followed by a red carpet walk, ahhhh !!! All thanks to Carpe Diem.

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Spice it up @ Cinnamon Spice

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A bloggers table is what brought all the foodie friends under one roof, except that Cinnamon Spice doesn’t have a roof 🙂 Cinnamon Spice is one of six restaurants under Seasons Apartment Hotels and even though all the other 5 are on the same building, Cinnamon Spice is just adjacent to the Apartment.

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Cinnamon Spice is a Bollywood themed restaurant. Amazing efforts have gone in to make the ambiance and theme a notch above. Film Posters, vintage cars, daaru on cycle, and even the beer coasters have famous movie dialogues on it.

The staff were all set and Mr. Ugrasen Singh was all smiles, took us to our table made us all feel comfortable.

Blue Sky [Pineapple Juice, Blue Curacao, Coco Syrup, Ice Cream], Mango Delight [Mango Juice, Pineapple Crush, Ice Cream], Cherry Blossom [Cranberry Juice, Strawberry Crush, Black Currant Crush, Lime Juice] and Fruity Twister [Black Currant Crush, Guava Juice, Pomegranate Syrup] were the options for the Mocktails in the set menu. I tried the Mango Delight and the Cherry Blossom, and both of them were exceptionally good.

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Lollapalooza -Grand 3 day launch

Lollapalooza is actually an annual music festival featuring popular alternative rock, metal, EDM, punk rock, hip hop bands and artists. In Pune, Lollapalooza is one of the latest and hottest lounges in the town. Situated in the roof top of Vision Galleria in Pimple Saudagar, the place boasts an indoor as well as a tiny outdoor seating.

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The Grand Launch of Lollapalooza happened over three days, the first weekend of February.

Day 1 – DJ Prerna Singh

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The much awaited launch of the lounge was finally here. The party started around 8 pm and the crowd slowly started to pour in. The host for all the days, Anushka Mitra officially started off the event and in no time, the opening DJs were all over the place. The Bartenders for launch, Gagan Raj and Anuj Negi from Flairology, were effortless with their flaring skills and took the audience on their amusing acts.

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Free cocktails for ladies. You heard that right. The cocktails were free for ladies, courtesy the launch party. The guys too had their booze at a pretty nominal price. Beers, Mojitos, Margaritas, Martinis were a few among the many available drinks for the night. Food was also pretty nominal for the launch. Chicken Wings and Sichuan Chicken were the go-to-food for Chug N Chow. Even though the service was pretty slow ( expected considering the huge number turnout) the food was served fresh and hot.

DJ Prerna came in after a while and by the time, the crowd was already on their feet. Call it the Prerna Effect, few people who were hesitant to hit the floor initially, swayed to the dance floor once Prerna hit the console.They had amazing card magic performance from Mr. Vivek as well.

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Beer chugging competition were also held. Rather a Beer relay, with 4 members in a team, a mug of beer had to be finished in turn. The fastest team to finish the 4 mugs wins. Guess who won the challenge?? Of course its the team in which Chug n Chow was a part of. Thanks to the awesome goodies and T shirts from Lollapalooza as gifts !!

The official headcount was 200+ and the party went on till midnight.

Day 2 – DJ Abishek Mantri

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Picantos -Buena Comida Mexicana

“Hola” !! The staffs at Picantos never fail to greet their customers by saying the Mexican version of ‘Hello’ with a biiig smile, thus bringing smile to our faces as well. It comes as no surprise that such a tradition, trend rather, is maintained throughout the outlets of Picantos; thanks to Ms. Shruti and Ms. Uma who runs the place out of sheer passion.

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The outlet at Viman Nagar is not hard to find at all. A good cosy place with ample seating indoor and outdoor. The decors is precisely maintained to bring a touch of Mexican, which indeed turned out to be successful. Mexican hats, posters, pictures and what not.

After an unbelievable traffic @ Viman Nagar, Chug N Chow, along with other bloggers reached here to try out dishes from their new menu.

Watermelon Gazpacho: This is the first time ever; I was trying a ‘cold soup’. Yes you heard it right. This is basically a summer drink. The taste of tomato was prominent throughout the drink but kept watermelon out of the limelight as its taste was hardly felt. The Gazpacho is their big experiment as it is a cold soup.

Pineapple Salsa Golgappe: The name pretty much explains the dish. We got our local golgappes in a Mexican preparation. Jalapeño, pineapple and salsa sauce were used. Just as we expected, this one turned out to be a real treat for all of us with perfect balance of Jalapeño-pineapple-salsa.

Dragon Fly: A drink made of litchi and spices. Sounds good? I don’t care. It tasted brilliant. An amazing drink made by the combination of Litchi, lemons and paprika. Definitely one of the must try from their new menu and its sure to make you go ‘wow’.

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Effingut Brewerkz meets Beer Enthusiasts

Sometime in January….

Its comes as no surprise if the pioneers of Microbreweries goes beyond boundaries to spread awareness or promote craft beers. One such gesture is happening in one of the top microbreweries in Pune.

Effingut Brewerkz, situated in the serene 6th Lane of Koregaon Park, is pretty much known to every soul in Pune, if not other places. They are going to host something which has never happened in Pune before. Top ‘Beer Enthusiasts’ from Pune, are joining hands with Effingut Brewerkz, to brew a new craft beer, a unique blend.

Mr. Manu Gulati, the man behind Effingut Brewerks, is never hesitant to try out combinations and he thinks out of the box more often than not, the result is which one can see (drink) flowing out of their taps. The collaboration too comes as no surprise, such is the dedication he has shown towards his passion. Our Beer Gurus too are no newbies, and are much experienced with their brewing skills.  The Beer Enthusiasts, Mr. Manu included, go by the name ‘HOPS’ echoing their love for the bitter stuff. Take that for a name !!

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Planning was one of the most interesting phases of the venture. With all the enthusiasts suggesting one recipe or the other, the fun quotient was way too high. Someone started off by suggesting Jaggery to brew something unique, whereas someone came up with the idea of using barrel aged/oak chips , to give woody notes with the jaggery. Dark style beers, dark versions of the Märzen or OktoberFest Bier were also considered. Another interesting idea was to use lemongrass wheat or kaffir lime.

While considering ideas, one of them came forward suggesting that some of the brews narrowed down were something similar to what Effingut had on their tap. Even sourcing ingredients was one of the concerns raised. But Manu was so single minded in making the enthusiasts feel at ease and said that sky is the limit, and asked them not to worry about sourcing the ingredients.

An enthusiast suggested that they better go ahead with a pretty much simpler beer so that it becomes likable among all craft lovers equally. This was rubbished by another brewer, “Simple is too simple. What’s the fun with that”. Seems like they had an amazing time. By the time everyone suggested, a unique brew was to be shortlisted amongst 6 contenders.

Dark Oak Aged Ale with malty ( biscuity) and jaggery flavors, Lemongrass Belgian Wit with sweet lime/kaffir lime, Cream Blonde, Ratnagiri Mango Amber, Baker Brown Ale with coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla pods and a brown ale base, Mocha Brown Ale with vanilla, and American Wheat with any available seasonal fruit. HOPS had to vote to decide which one to finalize, and the tie between Dark Ale and Lemongrass Belgian Wit came as no surprise.

Considering the availability of ingredients, demand of the customers,pallet of Indian Beer drinkers etc, they went ahead and zeroed in on the Dark Ale.Each member had to cast a vote including Mr. Manu Gulati and Mr. Mukteshwar, head brewer at Effingut.

The release of HOPS Effin gud, is the one which everyone, Mr.Manu, the Beer Enthusiasts and even the general public, are looking forward to with high hop(e)s, for this could mark the beginning of a revolution.  As Manu Gulati always says: “Long Live Craft Beers”.

15th February, Monday – EffingGud on tap

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The grand launch day of the grand new brew. We, the bloggers, were there much before the official time, as usual.  Glad to see the ever efficient Carpe Diem, gathering an amazing bunch of food bloggers as well as folks from press.

A wooden barrel, hops, and jaggery were neatly arranged on a table near the bar. It was time for the launch, and it was upto the enthusiasts to thump down the tap onto the barrel. The first of the mugs were served to the deserved enthusiasts, for their hard work. Everyone ecstatic.Just like the Hops and Manu, we all were equally excited.

By the time we rushed to the barrel, the beers were all chugged down, and so we had to go to the bar to get a mug. Alas!! Ladies and Gentleman, there you go, the product of a revolution. The Effin गुड़. A perfect blend of Jaggery and Hops, not making it too sweet, not too hoppy, a balanced feel, which surely will be well received.

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The HOPS with their Beer. Something they can be really proud of!

Thanks to Effingut, amazing array of starters were served to go with the beer. Potato wedges, Buffalo Chicken Strips, Paneer, Channa what not. Everything equally went along with the beer.

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The crowd was huuuge. Representatives from the Press, ‘HOPS’, PEO, media, and us, the Blogging fraternity,occupied half of Effingut and created an amazing Party feel. We all went back home with some amazing memories, new friends, and of course, amazing beers gulped down 😉

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The BTeam along with the Hops, enjoying the Effin Gud !

All cheers to Effingut Brewerkz, Mr. Manu Gulati, Mr. Mukti and the members of HOPS, for crossing boundaries, and coming up with an idea which was unheard off. Together we shall lift the Craft Beer industry to a new level in India. A dream which is not far off.

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Mr. Manu and Mr. Mukteshwar

Photos Courtesy: Effingut Brewerkz & Aaron Gerad D’Sa

Team HOPS: Ameya Kale, Manu Misra, Sapan Maniyar, Sameer Madan, Heramb Arjunwadkar, Saurabh Pstwardhan, Shaun Fanthome, Salil Jogelkar

Keep Chugging, Keep Chowing