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Red and white, and the best kind of spice!

Whether it’s the spice from green chillies, the hot tinge from the wasabi on sushi, or the mixed flavours of garam masalas, spicy food gives your taste pallete a whole new experience and well, at least for me, will always be an undeniable part of my favoured food. One of the oldest and best kind of spicy food is the very popular Mahashtrian food – Kolhapuri! And if you are looking for an ultimate Kolhapuri food experience, Shambhavi Kolhapur Darbaar in Pune is one place you must try.

Located in the Sadashiv Peth area of old Pune, this is a tiny place, but is decorated with some interesting artwork of people in traditional Maharastrian wear. You will mostly see the local crowd hitting this place for a wholesome thali meal and if you are lucky, you might just be seated adjacent to a table full of cops. Yes, it’s one of their regular places for lunch!

I went there with a friend for an afternoon meal, and as recommended by him, we got ourselves one Chicken Masala Thali and one Chicken Fry Thali. For a mere 220 bucks a thali, which is dirt cheap compared to, well, any kind of standards, you get an unlimited thali, with one serving of chicken masala/chicken fry, a vati (bowl) of kheema, one vati of pandra rassa (white curry) and tambda rassa (red curry) each, chapati or bhakri, rice and salad. The first look of the thali itself was very impressive and the moment I saw it, I couldn’t wait to try it. The tambda rassa was my most favourite since it was the spiciest with a whole lot of flavour in every bite. Both the chicken masala and chicken fry left me drooling, but I liked the chicken masala better. Just squeeze a slice of lemon on its top and it’ll give you the best taste, leaving you with a runny nose, and that, for me, is a spicy food win!

Once we were done with the chapatis, the waiter brought in the rice. One thing that I really liked is that they served the rice in a small serving dish, instead of giving a wholesome proportion, like most restaurants do. This gives you the choice of having that and then calling for more and helps avoids wastage to a great extent. Garnished with caramelized onions and coriander, the yellow-and-white coloured rice looked beautiful and was so tasty that you could have it just like that, even without the curry. And with the curry on top, it was just heavenly.

If you are from Pune, and you still haven’t tried this, shame on you. I was ashamed myself, for missing out on it for all these years, but well, hey, I don’t have to be anymore. And if you have a friend or relative visiting, or simply someone who wants to explore the local food in Pune, this is one place, which definitely won’t disappoint.

This article was originally published on The Punekar.

Karishma Rajan

The founder of The First Fork, Karishma likes to live in the moment and take life as it comes. Originally from aamchi Pune, she is swalp Bangalorean at heart and loves the Mumbaiya energy! Biking adventures, good food and inappropriate humour are things that get her going and she fantasises about going hitchhiking around the galaxy one day.