One can clearly see that our city is under a ‘regional specials’ attack. The more regional, the better it caters to our taste buds that crave for something different yet delicious. In our pursuit to find some hatke food in Pune, we came across a small place called I’m Lion in Bavdhan. The young owner came up with this unusual name for the restaurant which mostly serves non-vegetarian food with a speciality in Goan cuisine. The tagline is simple – strictly non-veg. Thus, the name, for the people here want you to feel like the king of the jungle would after eating a good non-vegetarian meal.
Located in Bavdhan on NDA-Pashan Road near DSK Raanwara, the best way to locate this place is to find it in the same complex as Axis Bank. A small place, a chance to eat non-veg food, Goan style dishes with a home-cook food feel and a relaxed afternoon to chat with a pal, the chance to miss such an offer is slim. So, I grabbed the opportunity and looked forward to a wonderful meal.
It is tiny but definitely not a shack. You will have to crane a bit to find it. Thankfully, you will find I’m Lion surrounded by assorted shops. To our surprise, it turns out to be small but neatly kept. The place is divided in two levels. Although it might look a bit congested with two tables on the ground level, it looked like a place where good food mattered. We met the very young owner Amey Madkaikar who helped us order. When we arrived, all we saw was two office-goers who had come for lunch and they seemed happy with what they were eating. However, it is crowded in the evening and on weekends.
Food & Drinks
The menu card is smaller than your regular restaurants, focussing on the dishes they specialise in. Goan non-veg recipes provided by the owner’s mother are their speciality. We ended up ordering a Chicken Cafreal (Rs 150), Prawns Meal Combo (Rs 200) and Surmai Meal Combo (Rs 250). While the common factor between the combos was prawn curry, rice, solkadi, three chappatis, lime and onions, the former had fried prawns and the latter, fried surmai. The well-cooked Chicken Cafreal had the right amount of coriander leaves. The kick you got from the coriander was refreshing but not too overwhelming. The fresh fried prawns had the perfect spicy flour coating. The fresh surmai was shallow-fried and had the usual rice flour coating over it. Both the fried versions complimented the chappatis. The prawn curry was authentically Goan but needed a little more number of prawns.
The only hitch came in the form of three large chappatis and a whole bowl of rice in the prawns meal. Considering the curry to go with the rice and the prawns great by themselves, it becomes a problem to finish off the chappatis. But the rice, solkadi and chappatis are well-made. Within the limited sweet options, we tried the Chocolate Mudpie (Rs 150). The desserts are provided by a lady in the vicinity. It had a freshly baked pie base and the chocolate filling was sweet but not overdone. The white chocolate topping aced the trick.
Since it was noon time and had only a few customers, the owner served the meal to us. The preparation took minimal time and the food looked fresh. It was good to hear suggestions on what to eat and also hear that the owner’s mother frequently dropped in from Mumbai to check on the standards.
I’m Lion is exactly what its tagline says. The amount of non-veg served here is both soul and stomach appeasing. It has a certain freshness to its preparation and taste. The best part is the cost where a simple combo meal costs maximum Rs. 400, that too a pomfret. Whatever your budget be for a good non-veg grub, this place comes up trumps! As they rightly say, size pe mat jao.
Address: I’m Lion, Navkar Avenue, Shop No. U. 10, S.No. 5, NDA Pashan Road, DSK Raanwara Lane, Bavdhan, Pune 411021 Timings: 12 Noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm; Thursday Closed Facilties: Free Home Delivery within Bavdhan on minimum order of Rs 250