Kheema is a quintessential part of an Indian meat lover’s palate. Although Kheema, or mincemeat, is typically a lamb/mutton based dish, hard core meat lovers will agree that Beef Kheema is the best variant! Pune has a lot of restaurants that offer street style Beef Kheema so here’s the lowdown for the Kheema-loving Punekars…
Diamond Queen, Camp
Price: Rs. 110
Diamond Queen is one of the most famous Irani joints in Pune, which is frequented by regulars for decades now. Located near MG Road/East Street, Diamond Queen, or DQ as its popularly known, dishes out a unique variation of the Beef Kheema Fry. It is slightly dry for some people’s liking, but all is well when you eat it with a butter naan (which is also very good here). Served with an egg and some tomatoes, this Beef Kheema can be had for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Shifa Restaurant, Nana Peth
Price: Rs. 55
This is a hidden gem only known to those who’ve ventured in the by lanes of Nana Peth. It’s located right opposite Chand Tara Masjid near Apollo Theatre and has been known to serve hungry (and drunk!) folks into the wee hours. The Beef Kheema Fry here is full of spices that gives it the extra oomph and has just the right amount of oil to keep everyone happy. It goes well with the Malabar Parathas or the extra-large Tandoori Rotis they serve. While you’re there, also try out their Beef Chilly and Bheja Fry.
Café Zam Zam, Kondhwa
Price: Rs. 60
Not many Punekars drive down to Kondhwa for food (unless you stay there of course), but this is one place you have to visit. Probably the best Beef Kheema in town; it is way spicier than others. One spoonful of this Kheema can elevate yours senses to the hilt – yes, it is that good! Have it with Malabar Parathas and order some Seekh Kebabs while you’re at it.
Nayab, Shivaji Market
Price: Rs. 55
What originally used to be a cycle repair shop a few decades ago, is now a quick-fix tea joint for people visiting Shivaji market. While their tea is more popular, their Beef Kheema is also delicious. Onions, tomatoes and loads of spices are generously mixed with the Kheema, which is always served piping hot. Their Malabar Parathas are slightly disappointing unless they’re being made fresh so look at other options.
Madinah, Poona College Road
Price: Rs. 60
Madinah has to have one of the largest food menus I’ve seen. Their kitchen isn’t that big but they probably serve over a thousand items. Even Beef Kheema has several recipes but I found the simple Beef Kheema Fry to be the best. The Kheema here is pretty mild and the quantity is better than most places. The Tawa Ghosht is slightly spicy and so, is a perfect side dish for the Kheema.
While I’ve listed down the top five Beef Kheema joints, there are several others like Majestic (Camp), Radio (Shivaji Market), Aaina (Camp), Metro (Pune Station), which serve Beef Kheema. Although these places used to serve excellent Kheema until a few years ago, my recent visits didn’t do it for me! How about you?