Recently, I had the pleasure of witnessing history in its full glory by not just seeing, but also tasting it.
Pune, like Bombay, has a rich history attached to it. If you are a history plus photography plus food geek like me then this place is a treat for all your senses.
So I happen to walk into one of these vintage places accidentally after asking locals for a clean hygienic place to eat. I often ask locals, supplementing it with Zomato, to decide where to eat. With too many options of tasty culinary delights everywhere, it only makes sense to get the most bang for your buck.
I loved the below-mentioned places for their balance of: vintage looks + hygienic tasty food + not expensive.
So, the first one and my favourite most is: Badshahi Boarding house, Tilak Road, Pune.
This is a 78Yr old establishment. It was started as a boarding house or lodge and had an in-house restaurant. The crazy part is that after almost eight decades it is still functioning the same way. Generally, students or anybody can rent out their austere accommodation for a pocket-friendly price if you stay at least a month. I couldn’t try that but I did enjoy their piping hot meals in the old-fashioned eating house. It’s rs.100 a meal. They only serve vegetarian food. You can order more servings at no extra cost.
What I got blown away was the look of the place. It has been preserved for so many years and is still in functioning order. Wood architecture, stone walls, high roof, airy, clean and efficient, no-nonsense atmosphere.
They don’t have separate tables. They have a few long tables where everyone sits. I see it as a reflection of an era where community bonding was highly valued and common eateries, festivals, theatres served as means for people to gather and socialise. In this time-warped place not much has changed. It was a delight to see all kinds of people, old, young, fashionable, old-fashioned, non-fashioned, men and women, children all sharing the same table and eating space.
Mind you, they don’t give you a spoon.
One is expected to known
how to eat with their hands.
Next up on my list is the ironically named “New Pune Boarding House“. It is in fact even older than Badshahi.
New Poona boarding house is another one living happily in the old school charm. It is 93 years old now and still going strong. It also serves vegetarian only meals. Priced at rs. 160 per meal it is slightly expensive. Waiting time is often 30 minutes during lunch hours. Food is hot and tasty. Like the previous one, here also there are big tables to accomadate at least 4 people on each table.
In fact, by the end of the meal I had already become friends with the remaining three strangers on my table. One of them was much more ‘ dedicated foodie’ than our generation could ever be. He could tell about the chef from the kind of rice he had chosen for the meal. Also, where else in Pune can one find the same grain of rice being served. It was really interesting to hear his stories and analysis.
The gentleman who runs the place also allowed me to click pictures. It was unlike Badshahi, where the manager was rather bugged by me.
I like some warm not so sweet tea once in a while. But if I am in Budhwarpeth on an early morning stroll then I make sure I pay a visit to this heritagge tea center called Yewale tea house.
Yewale tea house is not really old but has an old school charm to it. It actually started in 1960s or 70s as a small tea stall by a 16 yr old boy called Dashrath Yewale from Purandhar, which eventually over generations blossomed into a popular tea house. Now the family wishes to convert it into a brand with national and international outlets.
The tea is balanced in its taste and every cup is just as good. They have intentionally standardized the procedure of tea making so that all their future branches will have the same taste.
All in all, I loved spending time at these places. In fact I went to Badshahi a couple of times more and loved every moment of it.
More places you would like to suggest ? Yes please…!
Thanks for dropping by.