Pune gets third time lucky with ‘Baraza Bar & Bites’, which is Chef Irfan Pabaney & Rachel Goenka’s latest escapade in Pune post Sassy Spoon & Sassy Teaspoon!
Amidst the rising pub culture & all the bar buzz in the city, what makes ‘Baraza Bar & Bites’ disparate?
Baraza is a snazzy Bar and those ‘Bites’ aren’t just Bites! No place glorifies finger food like Baraza does. This isn’t a Brewery but they do know how to ‘Mix’! A few prodigious drinks by Mixologist Pranav Mody steal the show at Baraza, once again. I’m stunned at how he digs out interesting combinations for teetotalers as well.
The Baraza Ambience
The word ‘Baraza’ sounds exotic and is derived from East African terminology which refers to a meeting place. Located at Ishanya Mall, Baraza is an island themed bar which instantly stands out in terms of ambience. The Portugese and Spanish inspiration is clearly manifested in the décor. If you want to see what ‘Rich’ looks like, you have to check out the ritzy wooden interiors and the artsy tile work. The lightings define vintage and are instant head turners.
The open area houses a Volkswagen Mobile Bar (functional on weekends) and wooden decks for seating! And with that tranquilizing breeze in the evenings, Baraza pretty much resembles a posh shack by the shore.
The Baraza Extravaganza
The pricing if not exorbitant is not value for money either. So when in the mood to splurge, you know where to head. With some gigs and live performances in the kitty, Baraza has the potential to be the next hot spot.
Paan Banarsi Wala (Mocktail)
Virgin Berry Khata Slush (Mocktail)
Pull Apart Bread (Vegetarian)
Rava Paniyarram (Vegetarian)
American Corn Tempura (Vegetarian)
Slow cooked raan, garlic, coriander naan
Stir fried crispy fish
Ghee Roast Chicken
Churros with chocolate sauce and snicker chunk icecream
Flourless chocolate cake with basil pinenut icecream and salted caramel
The Baraza Bar
Enough has been said already about Mixologist Pranav Mody’s adroitness with absolutely any form of gulp-able liquid. Baraza is home to a select range of imported spirits, offbeat cocktails, some unique shooters and the very popular flavored beers.
For the record, Baraza will be offering the highest number of draught and craft beers on tap for the first time in Pune from which 4 each are patents of Effingut and Independence Brewing Company.
With such a flamboyant array of drinks, here’s a little non-alcoholic glug-
- Paan Banarasi Wala
LPL Take: Addictive (5/5)
The combination of beetle leaf, lime, brown sugar and candied gulkand is a very riveting combination. The flavors aren’t too strong yet leave an impression. One sip and its unputdownable.
- Cosmic Bubble
LPL Take: Inviting Picture, lacks taste (2/5)
This candy floss drink with a dash of citrus is mere eye candy. An interesting melt before your eyes dynamics which isn’t too satisfactory on taste parameters.
- Cilantro & Ginger Mojito- Cilantro, Ginger, Lemon Brown Sugar
LPL Take: A rejuvenating drink (3/5)
The Virgin Mojito feel more or less, with heaps of cilantro (coriander) lining the rim. A ‘safe bet’ recommended for anyone who isn’t an avid experiment-er.
- Mandarin & Mint- Malta orange, Mint & Lime
LPL Take: Piquant (4/5)
Very perky and tangy flavor. I’m a sucker for oranges and this drink is a big punch of Vitamin C. Its full on flavor and worthy of being prescribed medically for instant rejuvenation. #HighlyRecommended
- Virgin Berry Khata Slush
LPL Take: Wow Drink (5/5)
A more icy take on the very berry khata served at Sassy Spoon. The same great mix of flavors but with crushed ice! Being a victim of pagophagia since ages, I’m just not complaining.
- Coffee Cooler- Cold Brew Coffee, Citrus Mix, Zest
LPL Take: Kickass Strong (3/5)
The strongest mocktail I’ve ever sipped on, thanks to the espresso content. Very powerful for teetotaler standards and slightly bitter-ish.
The ‘Big Bite’ At Baraza
You know you’re going to be spoilt when Carpe Diem extends an invite! And with Chef Irfan Pabaney as your host, it’s obvious to lose count of what all you’ve gorged on!
The menu is a mix of Indian and Asian cuisines and some noteworthy fusion combos. The vegetarian fare at Baraza is exceptional and this is delightful news for my friends from the greener side. Quite a few dishes left an impact and fared better than their non vegetarian counterparts. Here’s a glimpse of my glutton-ic experience –
1. Pull apart bread (5/5)
A new addition to the garlic bread family. A dense loaf of freshly baked bread stuffed with mozzarella and cheddar cheese with strong pesto flavors. A recommended item for anyone to nibble on, irrespective of their degree of hunger. A wow item on the menu.
- Rava paniyarram (4/5)
Paniyaram is the idli-look alike from the South. Composed of black lentils and rice with some curry leaf tadka – it is appetizing to the core. Served with dollops of Kerala chutney and ghee, it’s a definite try on the menu.
- Stir fried crispy fish, corn and a dollop of sour cream (4/5)
A majority seafood combinations that work for me have an oriental touch to it. The subtle flavors that is lent to seafood in the stir frying process is always a hit. The corn at the bottom is equally delicious making this a fab combination. A heavenly taste for fish lovers.
- American corn tempura with chilli, spinach (4/5)
A delightful presentation and a taste which surpasses this look. Recommended for vegetarians and non vegetarians alike. A crispy touch to corn kernels topped with heaps of sriracha mayo will make you go want to munch on and on.
- Ghee Roast Chicken (4/5)
A surprisingly delicious and authentic version of the Ghee Roast. The true flavors of Manglorean spices are evident in the aroma as well as flavors. Served with some kulchas on the side, you order for Mains is set.
- Slow cooked Raan, Garlic & Coriander Naan
Stuffed Naans is another speciality at Baraza. We tried two variants and definitely the minced lamb or keema stuffing stood out for us. A mandatory order for meat lovers.
Some other noteworthy mentions would be the ‘Sabudana Wada stuffed with Cheese and Chicken’ – Baraza takes ‘fast food’ to another level with this mind baffling combination. The wada doesn’t taste like the traditional wada anymore with all the cheese n chicken infusion. A unique dish but flavors definitely seem slightly jumbled.
The ‘Kolhapuri Chicken Tacos’ are a simple yet delicious offering. Spiced chicken served with raita on the side is a flavorful dish balanced on all parameters.
The ‘Stir Fried Pepper Lamb served in a crispy noodle basket’ had a more oriental approach and was a decent attempt. The lamb was slightly supple, I could prefer a softer version of the meat.
The ’Two way Mushroom slider’ is another bar snack which you may have tried elsewhere. The wada pav look alike with no new or unique flavors.
The ‘Tawa seared Fish Tikka with raw mango chutney’ is a likeable dish with a slightly higher spice content. If you can do hot, you should try this!
There’s no two ways about it when we are talking desserts and the brand is owned by ‘The Sassy Duo’. Sheer brilliance is the word!
Some Drool Worthy Desserts to get you high!
Boozy Brownie & Classic Banoffee Pie with Baileys Ice cream
1. Churros with chocolate sauce and snicker chunk icecream
The softest version of the dough pastry that I’ve tried lately. My favorite from the night and worthy of every inch that you may gain from that dripping chocolate sauce. #LPLFavorite
- Flourless chocolate cake with basil pinenut icecream and salted caramel
The combination of pinenut with basil is enchanting. The cake is rich & dense and the ice cream is luscious. The dessert perfectly fits into the quintessential ‘melt in the mouth’ definition. Highly recommended.
- Nutella creme brulee with pistachio and almond biscotti
A very finely made Crème Brulee with the top caramel layer being bang on flavor and served with some Biscotti on the side. Those Italian nutty bars didn’t go too well as a combination, better off for presentations purposes.
Disclaimer: This Review is based on a complimentary invite extended by Carpe Diem on behalf of Baraza Bar & Bites. A special mention to Svetlana Savant for being a lively and humble host. The opinion expressed in the review is entirely my own and in no manner influenced by any party.