Taareef, a restaurant located at Aundh in Pune is one of those places which I frequent a lot. I remember one particular instance when I had convinced some of my friends to try the place for dinner. I insisted on this Mughlai type restaurant knowing that they were amongst those for whom spicy meant just chilly. And that’s the only taste they required in the food. By the time we entered the restaurant and were ordering my favourite Mutton Paya Shorba, I was somehow feeling that I am on for a lot of verbal abuse from this lot.
You known how honest friends are when they have to point out your bad choice. Fast forward forty five minutes, we had already savored the shorba, chicken tandoori, kebabs, mutton biryani and my friends were asking if it would seem awkward ordering for some more shorba after the main course. I had to talk them out of it, because a loud group like ours had already garnered a lot of attention from people on the other tables.
That was a few years back. The last time I visited Taareef, I thought I should write a review of the restaurant. Now Taareef does not have a lot of tables. It has a limited seating arrangement and on weekends a huge queue outside. In Pune, I realize people’s favourite pastime on weekends is to stand in queues outside restaurants.
This time I visited Taareef on a Monday when there would be relatively lesser crowd. The place has not changed. The ambience reminds me of the soap Alif Laila; of course in a good way. I like the typical heavy copper glasses and plate on which the food is served.
Every restaurant in Pune has onions served readily on the table (when onions are cheap of course), but somehow I like the pink small onions served here a lot. They just look so lovely that I don’t feel like eating them. But that is till the starter is served, post which I munch them along with the kebabs.
This time I thought of not trying the mutton paya shorba. I decided on trying something way different and unimaginable that people who know me wouldn’t expect me to do; a VEGETARIAN shorba. I finalized on a tomato dhanya shorba. I have to give it that it looked quite appealing. However, it was actually a let down for me because it tasted just like an ordinary tomato soup.
So for the starter, I thought I will stick to my usual. Chicken reshmi kebab was served and it looked beautiful as always. With every bite, the well cooked chicken in cream just melts in your mouth. Somehow the owner of the place takes pride in the chicken tandoori prepared at the restaurant. He mentioned that to us during one of our visits. But I personally feel, this chicken reshmi kebab is what he ought to be proud of.
Meat is filling and all the pieces of reshmi kebab in my stomach did not allow me to try a chicken dish and nan like I had thought of. So, I decided on going for some chicken biryani. I was once again not disappointed. Beautifully cooked chicken in aromatic rice with the right flavor. It was all good, but this time I felt that in certain morsels, the food was slightly salty. But overall a scrumptious biryani as usual.
It was another delightful experience at Taareef. I had no way to accommodate a dessert after this. However, there is always the magai paan that is served as a mouth freshener instead of fried and sweetened fennel seeds.
I think it’s small things like this, that makes me frequent this place and why I suggest it so eagerly to anyone who discusses with me about food in Pune.