Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, Pune gets a perfect getaway spot to unwind after a long day or to relax on a weekend, a unique one of a kind island-themed bar and lounge experience, Baraza Bars & Bites.
This concept is the third brand by Rachel Goenka and Chef Irfan Pabaney, the owners and founders of The Sassy Spoon and Sassy Teaspoon, which recently opened its doors to Pune.
Pune is the first location for Baraza and is located in Ishanya Mall at Yerwada.
The concept of Baraza embodies an island or beach like feel to it coupled with a homely taverna like atmosphere. The idea and thought behind the design of Baraza was to create a ‘destination’ that immediately transports you to another place. The place channels in the relaxed and laid-back vibe of Goan shacks, Spanish tavernas and Portuguese botecos. Influences from these places can be seen in the interiors as well as the al fresco area with the tall trees and palm foliage to give an island-like feel.
The bright and colourful external wall frescos are inspired from the tiled facades of houses in Portugal and are reminiscent of the colourful houses dotting the streets in Fontainhas, Panjim. Elements like the country-tiled ceiling, eaves board, the wrought iron grills and beautifully patterned tiles or the azulejos, have been incorporated in the design and the walls serve as displays for collectibles and curios.
The 224 seater space, sprawling across 5,670 sq. ft. is divided seamlessly across the indoor and outdoor area with the azulejos running across the length of the indoor area. The outdoor area has a verandah that overlooks a beautiful tropical garden, picnic benches, a canoe that functions as a table and a Volkswagen Bar, under streamers of carnival lights, serve up a happy ambience. The vintage furniture and light elements add to the overall mood of the space.
The cuisine at Baraza is a creative mix of Indian, Asian and Bar Snacks, with food that compliments the drinks and comprises of comfort food and bar bites which one can nibble whilst drinking. Some unique appetizers include Boneless chicken lollipop with sambal sauce, Stir Fried Pepper Lamb in noodle basket, Pull apart bread with pesto, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Some of the delish sliders would include BBQ Pulled Pork with raw mango, Mushroom done two ways topped with cheese, Goan Style Roast Tenderloin and kimchi. Baraza will also serve veg & non-veg rolls, Asian bowls, biryanis and desserts.
The bar menu at Baraza is an interesting mix of its signature drinks such as The Baraza Mule, Punch Buggy, the flavoured beers especially Lemongrass, Juicy Fruit, Soul Kadi , Brew Baraza and the Big Daddy cocktails, like Big Daddy LIIT, Fire Island, Big Baraza Bang which are half litre drinks with 150 ml of spirits. Some of the unique shooters include Nutty Professor & Caribbean Sunrise. Moreover, Baraza will be offering the highest number of draught & craft beers on tap for the first time in Pune and 8 different craft beers of which 4 beers are from Independence Brewing Co & 4 beers are from Effingut.
Baraza will have interesting properties each day of the week, with live performances, renowned DJs playing at the venue once a month and an in-house DJ spinning the console to different genres of music, to cater to everyone.
Baraza will focus on The B Life Non Stop, which is Eat, Drink, Party, Repeat, to keep up with the energetic, buzzing yet relaxed vibe of the place, for anyone who wants to unwind, catch up with friends, party or just have a good time.
I was Invited for the Food and Drink Tasting event along with fellow foodies. We were introduced to Chef Irfan Pabaney, owner and head chef Baraza and Pranav Mody, Mixologist at Baraza.
Willy Wonka- Willy Wonka was a fictional character in Roald Dahl‘s 1964 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, its sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. They had a fictional Chocolate bar by the name Wonka Bar where the Willy had secretly stored the Golden Tickets. This was just a co-relation with the drink.
Although this was an excellent combo of Whisky and Milk Chocolate Martini and its a treat for the Whisky lovers but with a twist. It was Smooth yet hard to taste. I bet this will take you to the next level of the Cocktails.
Citrus Bomber- Rum Fresh Citrus Fruits: It was a refreshing drink overall with the strong presence of citrus fruits and Rum’s warmth added the illusion effect to the drink. I would call it as slow poison as it gave the effects little later after the drinking.
Double Trouble- This is the pure version of Hard Coffee with some twirl of Vanilla Vodka, Coffee Liqueur, Cream, Espresso Shot. Perfect Drink to order after a long day.
Flavoured Beers: (All are Must have)
Kingfisher Khatta- Kala Khatta was so strong that Beer’s taste was was almost untraceable. Felt like having a Full glass of Kala Khatta with crushed ice.
Kingfisher Passion Fruit- This was another refreshing drink, nice lemony yellow in colour, Taste wise: it had good presence to beer taste to it. It had Passion fruit puree and infused with beer. Excellent cooler in the summers.
Further some Mocktails were served:
Paan Banarasi Wala- Very ingeniously served, Paan Flavour juice with a dash of lime and loaded with crushed Ice, and nice spoonful of Gulkand on top of it. Beetle leaf added the contrast to the overall appearance of the drink.
Cosmic Bubble- This was the most talked about drink… Candy floss was placed on the edges of the Glass and then the Citrus mix was poured on to the Floss and which later got dissolved into the glass. This was just apart from all the drinks which were served.
Cilantro & Ginger Mojito and Mandarin & Mint– Both these drinks are perfect for the summer thirst quenchers. fresh ingredients used like Ginger Malta orange, Mint & Lime.
Pink Apple Lemonade- This was the most unique combination of Apple, Mint, Lemon, Fizz very close to girl thing!!
Coffee Cooler- This is one more drink from the menu offered for the coffee lovers. Basic ingredient is Cold Brew Coffee, Citrus Flavour.
Virgin Berry Khata Slush: One of the signature Drink from the team Baraza. It will give a mix feeling of brain freeze and khatta tingling taste in your first sip.
Sides and Mains:
Pull apart bread with pesto, mozzarella & cheddar cheese: Big Block of bread loaf with 2 types of cheese with pesto flavour, although the Cheese could have been more. Pesto flavouring can also be increased.
Rava paniyarram with Keral chutney, ghee & curry leaf tadka: Freshly ground spices in the Keral Chutney made this dish more aromatic and tasty. Rava Paniyaram were well cooked and the South indian dishes can’t be completed without the Curry Leaf Tadka. #MustHave
Three cheese & chutney naan with chat masala: The main ingredient was Cheese was very less which was informed to the chef as well. So can’t really comment on this.
American corn tempura with chilli, spinach & Sriracha mayo: Very similar to the corn fitters just to the addition of Spinach and Sriracha Mayo which changed the taste to next level. I personally found this dish bit oily which can always be reduced. With a first bit it had nice crunchy and tempting to have more taste. It is good to go with Beers.
SLIDER- Mushroom dine two ways topped with cheese: One bite sliders were well cooked and taste wise it was good. The crunchiness was intact and this is good to go with the any cocktails.
Boozy brownie with homemade vanilla ice-cream: This is one of the amazing dessert I have had. On a hot pan the Brownie top with Ice-Cream and drizzled with some Chocolate sauce, now the fun part comes lit alcohol is poured over the Ice-Cream and brownie which creates flammable pan and it gives subtle flavour of both the brownie and the alcohol mixed chocolate sauce. #MustHave
Nutella creme brûlée with pistacho and almond biscotti: Mouth melting Creme Brûlée, Crème brûlée is usually served in individual ramekins. Discs of caramel may be prepared separately and put on top just before serving, or the caramel may be formed directly on top of the custard, immediately before serving. To do this, sugar is sprinkled onto the custard, then caramelized under a salamander broiler or with a butane torch. Perfect in Taste. Being little extra sweet tooth more sweet could have been good. #Musthave
Classic banoffee pie with baileys ice-cream (Eggless): Not much fanboy of Banofee so I gave it a skip.
Churros with chocolate sauce and snicker chunk ice-cream: Nice big chunky pieces of Churros served with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream. Generally Churros are thin and long but these were big fat and soft churros. #MustHave
Flourless chocolate cake with basil pine nut ice-cream and salted caramel: It was Soft not too sweet, I like the Basil Pine nut Ice cream more then anything. It was just super tasty.
Overall, Baraza is an eclectic space that offers diverse experiences under one roof. It is a fresh take on the old-world charm, that is bound to induce nostalgia, yet is modern at the same time.
I personally thank you Chef Irfan and Mixologist Pranav and the rest of the Team Baraza for hosting us.
A big Shout out to Svetlana from Carpe Diem for the invitation.