More often than not, I get caught in a limbo-Eat or Spend? Whilst I strive to live the life of a quintessential person from Sadashiv Peth, my desire to indulge in all sorts of foodstuffs (provided they are vegetarian), forces me to loosen up my strings. And now a days, with the over hyped prices in hotels, and me being an extremely frugal person, I tend not to go out for what they term as "Hotelling".
However, this "not eating junk food" again contradicts the idea of being a Sadashiv Pethi. We people just love our Maharashtrian Snacks. I mean Sadashiv Peth and its adjacent areas are full of famous eating places. The only plus point is that the price is not too exorbitant. Secondly, you get to meet a LOT of people at these places. This list includes people you met at the Jagatik Chitpavan Sammelan, other social events such as Sawai Gandharwa, Class friends, School friends, people from your Singing/Harmonium/Drawing classes, and although a majority of them have moved out, Sadashiv Peth still has plenty of them good looking girls which you get to see! These are, really, wonderful places to socialize.
Today I was thinking of all these places which have been real favourites of mine, located not more than 7 minutes of a bike-ride/walk from my house (Datar wada, Opposite Godbole Hospital). I have made a list of the following places as a guided tour, with a map. The list does not include expensive places like CCD, Vaishali, where every wannabe wants to hang out. It includes places which totally convey the Puneri Flavour to the fullest. Be it with their witty, sarcastic and sometimes insulting notices, or the tastes that they leave lingering in your mouths. Anyway, here is my all time favourite list:
We start our journey from 1342 Sadashiv Peth- My house, and end it at the same place. The journey, as just as a walk without the food will last for about 30 minutes max, while it’s a 10 minute ride on the bike. We would approximately take a triangular route as described below.
We step out from 1342 Sadashiv Peth. This place has over the years been a fortress standing a test of time. Built in 1920's, it’s one of the oldest structures in the lane that is still standing (the other of course includes Sahasrabuddhe Datta Mandir). So, out we go and start moving towards Bharat Natya Mandir. Bharat is well known for the drama staging of Purshottam and Firodiya Karandaks and is one the favourite places for culturally inclined youth. In the adjacent area, you find two very good places-
Jabreshwar Bhuvan- One of the favourite 5 am tapri. Located opposite Bharat Natya Mandir. The tea and Pohe are real good. I used to go there very frequently in the first year after JVK class. Really crowded in the morning hours with Students/Paying guests etc all lining up for breakfast.
Murlidhar Bhuvan- Located next to Bharat Natya Mandir. Awesome Breakfast- Onion Uttappa, Upma etc. Always full. You can get a parcel from here. There is also a Chat counter which is good. A good place for travellers, as there is place to sit and relax. Rates slightly on the higher side to go every week.
Now, we take a short detour from the planned path. Turn right from Jabreshwar, heading towards PeruGate. On your left, you will see a shop called Sai Ba. It serves a variety of Bhel, and trust me, it never disappoints. One of the few good places in Peth, where you can indulge in Choupaty Bhel, Oli Bhel, Suki Bhel, Sheng Dane, Tikhat Dane, Farsan etc.
After filling ourselves up at Sai Ba, we turn back, and head towards Tilak Road. At traffic light, cross Tilak road and enter Badshahi cha Bol(Also known as Bharat Gayan Samaj Path). Park your vehicle, and enter the hotel on the corner- Badshahi Boarding.
Badshahi Boarding- While you get dosas and uttapas, some unconventional dishes include Deep Fried Potato Toast, Danyachya Kutacha Ladoo, Upvasachi Misal and believe it or not- Kharvas and Piyush.. The Upvasachi Misal is one of its kind, and is simply fabulous, though it is available only on Saturdays, and a few selected days. Only those willing to experiment and those who have a liking for unconventional dishes should go here.
We come out of Badshahi Boarding, and start moving on Tilak Road, in the Direction of SP college. At the traffic light at SP college, we have two options- either turn right and head towards neelayam, or turn left and head towards Khajina Vihir. We take the former, and head towards Neelayam. A short dash along the road leads us to a wonderful little canteen, fondly called as SS(not the Nazi crazy brigade) by us SPMites, which is our next destination.
SS Canteen- I dont know the name of this shop (Phadkyanchya Canteen), but it is located behind SP college. It is called SS which stands for Self Service, as here you bring your own food to the table. I have been going to this place for ages (Ever since school) and their vadaa pav, kokam sarbat and sadha dosa are just too good.
We take another U turn, turn right at the traffic light, and immediately turn left to go towards Khajina Vihir(After Grahak Peth). At the Chauk, is arguably one of the finest Sugarcane juice centre in Pune- Shailesh Raswanti Gruha. Shailesh Rasvanti Gruha- A sugarcane juice shop, which you cannot say no to. 2 Jumbo glasses are always on the menu, every time you visit. And a 5rs per Jumbo glass always makes it worthwile!
We quench our thirst at Shailesh, head back out to Tilak Road again, and procees forward. Our next stop is also on Tilak Road, and is arguably one of the better places to have Pav Bhaji at. Yes, at the corner before Kaka Halwai, we have Girija Pav Bhaji. Girija serves incredible Paav Bhaji, and the place is more often than not, always packed. The taste it leaves behind is just wonderful. Infact it is so good, that it is considered a crime if you go to Girija and NOT eat Paav Bhaaji. It is The place to have PB near the Sadashiv Peth area( the best in Pune ,I would say, is Relax.)
We fill ourselves up at Girija, head out back on the Main Road. We reach Abhinav Kala Mandir, and take a left turn to proceed on our food journey. We storm past Ganaraj Hotel, which although otherwise good, is as of now, no use to us! We reach the famed Chitale Bandhu Sweet Shop near Shanipaar. We buy ourselves half a kilo of Bakarwadi and Amba Barfi for later. But now, we have important work to do. We cross Bajirao Road, and enter Tulshi Baag. Here, the famous SriKrishna Misal, which serves Punes finest misal can be found. I was introduced to this place by Kedar and Anupam. THE best misal in Pune(according to me). Spicy levels vary. But again, its a must have.
We rejoin Bajirao Road, and turn left at the next set of traffic light, onto the shopping District of Pune- Lakshmi Road. Travel down Lakshmi road till you Reach the Chauk near Rajaram Mandal, and then take a right turn(i.e At Vijay Talkies) go straight, from behind Modi ganpati, come out near Kabir Baag on Kelkar road, turn right, and head towards Kesari Vadaa. Opposite to Kesri Vadaa, we find Prabha Vishranti Gruha, which serves one of the spiciest Batata Vadas and Chutney in Pune. Ignore the spice, because the taste lasts for a long time, and you really want to eat here time and again!
Come out of Prabha Vishranti Gruha and follow the main road towards Ramanbaag. At Ramanbaag Chauk, take a right turn to again head towards Lakshmi Road.A short distance ahead, you come to a narrow lane on the right, called as Munjaba cha Bol. Here, on the corner, is another popular Misal Store- the Bedekar Misal store. A good place for a newbie. Non spicy, Koknasthi Misal. Altough now a days, we hardly go over there, its a good place to bring Misal home from, especially for the family.(It tends to be non spicy).
Park you vehicles at Bedekar Misal itself, and take a short walk on to Lakshmi Road to Shagun Chauk, and on the right, is another really cool sugarcane serving place called the Cool Cane. It serves 10 varieties of Sugarcane juice (adulterated with herbs and spices- varying from tulsi to Adulsa). For 10 rupees though, its worth the money spent.
We speed down Lakshmi Road once again, fill petrol at Kulkarni Petrol Pump, and come out on Kumthekar road. Take the immediate right and head towards jnana prabodhini. Immediately take a left turn. Here on the corner, you find two of the best hang out places in the City:
Anarse Samose. Opposite Jnana Prabodhini, the 8 Rs(last time I had it) Samosa is totally worth it. Arguably its the chutney which gives the real taste, as the saran inside is plain potato and a little bit of Mirchi. A must go for any one!
Rohit Milks- Can be dubbed as the Durga of Sadashiv Peth. Awesome Cold Coffee and chocolate milk. Most positively, located exactly opposite Anarse Samosewala. So the two are always to be visited in tandem!
Now we head straigh down the road, till we encounter a T junction. we turn right at the T, and go to another fampus place- Shree Upahar Gruha- Take a right turn at Ramesh Dying. First building. Amazing Vadaa Pav, and other fried stuff. The adjacent Bhel shops are also very good!
After a gobsmacking tour around the Peth, its time that we draw curtain to it by having a Puneri Speciality. We come out from Shree Upahar Gruha, turn right, and ignoring all traffic rules, break the one way, and end up at Nimbalkar Talim Chauk. Those who do not know there roads, are releaved that our meanderings through the narrow and crowded lanes of Sadashiv Peth and nearby areas, are over, as we enter a familiar lane. Its the Ultimate place in the locality. This place serves what we can say the real speciality of Pune. Yes- We are now standing outside Sujata Mastani. It serves what we Punekars fondly call "Mastani" and make over the top claims that we can easily finish two of them. The mastani, to the cultural illiterates, is a thickshake(traditionally Mango Flavoured) with a scoop of Mango ice cream in it. (Although flavours have now expanded to Sitafal, and Chocolate, Mango is still the King) This stuff really fills you up. I mean I am almost packed in 1 normal sized mastani. But anyway, we have it.
So after all this fooding, and our stomachs packed, preparing ourselves mentally for the explosions for tomorrow, we head back, take a right turn, go ahead, park the bikes underneath 1342 Sadashiv Peth, a place that I always call home, rush to the 1st floor, and under the full force of the fan, lay down to have a well deserved Siesta!
Since moving to Pashan, I have hardly gone to these awesome places as frequently as I would like to go. Just mentionaing them while writing made my mouth water. Wait one day, I will actually do this Tour!