This week, we go back to that great Puneri repository of gastronomical delights called Camp. We uncover some smaller hidden gems and some big old timers, which deserve a place on our glorious list! Here goes…
Taboot Street, the not-so-busy cousin of Main Street is home to the elusive Baramati Thali. Absolutely no frills here if you are looking for ambience but this is the place to be if a killer Mutton Thali is what you seek. The Chicken Masala is spectacular, especially when coupled with hot bhakris. We’ve heard great things about the Mutton Khichda and Mutton Dalcha, which are their Wednesday and Friday specials, respectively.
Pune Zarthosti Seva Mandal
Looking for a cheap quick bite while you shop in Camp? On Main Street is a tiny take away shop, perpetually crowded and full of wonderful little treats at knockdown prices. Their Chicken roll variants, mushroom quiche and chilled tangy orange are immensely popular.
Mahalaxmi Khaman Dhokla
The best Khaman Dhokla in Pune by far! Served with one of Pune’s best chutney’s too! In a lane off Main Street just opposite Wonderland, you will invariably run into a crowd stuffing their mouths with the softest of Dhoklas and a spicy Kachi Dabeli. If I were you I’d rush to Camp and do the same right about now. Their chaat is pretty good too!
Cake N’ Counter
Like a lot of other East Punekars, I refuse to celebrate my birthday sans a Choco-walnut cake from the king of all cakeries, Cake N’ Counter. Run by an elderly Christian couple in the lane next to T-Oaks connecting East Street to Main, Cake N’ Counter has long attained a legendary status. Apart from the Choco-walnut, their Pineapple cake and rum-soaked Christmas special plum cakes are to die for.
The road next to SGS mall is now lined with multiple paan shops owing to the success of one that has been there for years. The shop furthest away from SGS mall is the oldest and still serves the best Mitha Paan of the lot and is the perfect place to head to after that heavy meal in Camp. Well there’s always room for a paan! Or two.
Just around the corner from the array of paan shops is Camp’s own little chowpatty or khau galli. Unless you are hygiene obsessed, take your pick from the numerous pav bhaaji, Desi Chinese and Indian food stalls. This chowpatty also houses the Cane Yard Sugarcane Juice Bar, which used to be a major landmark in Camp and has been around for years. If you were from Wadia’s, you would remember walking down all the way to Camp for a jumbo glass of chilled sugarcane juice!
Known for its North Indian menu, Mona Food is a small family diner, which serves the most famous Chole Bhature this side of town. The ambience is nice and cozy too. It’s situated bang in the middle of Main Street, Camp.
Every evening, the intersection of Sachapir and Taboot Street lights up with numerous A-1 sandwich stalls and the odd pizza and juice stall. Living up to their name, these A-1 sandwiches are spread with butter, spicy green chutney, full of vegetables and topped with shredded cheese and ketchup. Total comfort food.
The Place – Touché The Sizzler
Pune has the Parsis to thank for a lot of things. The Place is one of them. This Parsi-owned eatery introduced sizzlers to Pune in the seventies and remains a favourite of sizzler lovers all over town. Getting a table here on weekends is a task of herculean proportions and the queue on the footpath outside can get intimidating. Once inside though, the whiff from the sizzlers takes over and you enter hot plate wonderland. Their seafood and pork sizzlers are particularly popular.