Sunday, May 28, 2017

Asanjo - On a world Tour..

Asanjo - Ours!!

Good Food has a calling they say..Its always that call which pulls you towards the meal..It's a pull that makes you eat fav it fate, luck or just coincidence it leads to food stuff...I had a similar calling out of blue one day when a friend called up for a weekend plan and being foodie as iam I just couldn't say no to him. 

 As they have a saying in Hindi "Agar kis cheez ko dil se chaho (Good Food and Experience) to kainaat usse milaneki saajish karti Hai" and such place was not Few kms or stations (yes we Mumbaikars calculate distance between local railway stations) but a couple of hundred kms away in another city so aptly the cultural capital of Maharashtra - Pune (a perfect location to have authentic food truest to it's core). Pune tithe Kai une was the location then (For Tasty Khana will travel everywhere anywhere and anyday).

As we tryed to dig in much into the history of this place we came to know this was Place founded in food love (Always a good sign!!) by 4 IT professionals who have a passion for food decide in Goa that they wanna open a food place with a super food consultant and a super Chef K M Saif. Luckily for us we found 2 of the founders and Lively Saif at the restaurant (Yes you can find him around his fab food). 
 After the sapping journey..We three Me my wife and Mihir were ushered in to this vibrant joie de vivre place by Saif & the service staff. This place is refreshing cool as compared to the makeshift run of the mill area nearby (read McDonald's and Mall's). Two storeyed place with seating on ground as well as mezzanine level this place gave me a feel that this is my place something I rarely relate to (incidentally I was later informed Asanjo means Ours in Kutchi).

We were welcomed with few refreshing drinks as a he heat outside is killer..We were soaking in vibrant colours and ambience till then..

World tour was on my mind for sure with food here..

Dusky Damsel a refreshing drink a palate refresher made of black currant crush, grape juice, lemon juice, black salt white pepper, served in a cocktail glass.
Dusky Damsel
Followed by SWEET SOUR & SPICY PUNCH, fresh pineapple, fresh coriander, jalapeno, pineapple juice, sour mix , blended with ice.. (The drink which I can have one two many without wife objecting and my favorite).
Sweet Sour & Spicy Punch
KIWI MARGARITA which is frozen kiwi , sour mix, ice cubes, topped with fresh kiwi!! So recommended for punekars.
A whole array of dishes followed the refreshing drinks (which made us even hungrier).
First dish i was transported to Indonesia and it was Indonesian inspired Sambal Baby Potato..Sambal is incidentally an indonesian chilli and In this dish its tossed in sambal sauce which is called sambal oelek
SAMBAL BABY POTATO (Baby Potato in Sambal Sauce) baby potatoes with skin, tossed with onion , garlic, bell pepper in spicy sambal sauce (such a perfect dish to have at start).
Second dish served took me to by lanes of Barcelona where in a quant bar I was having tapas over few was Spanish Inspired but a signature Saif style dish (Papas refers to Potato And NOT Baauji as you may think :p)
Sambal Baby Potatoes
PAPAS ALA SAIF (Potato Saif Style) fried potato discs, covered with mildly spiced yellow pepper cheese sauce(Lovely if you ask me),  We were also served a non veg version topped with boiled egg circles and olives with same yellow sauce.
Papas ala Saif

Next we were taken to Land of Greece with a Mediterranean touch..(touché) Prawns served with quit essential Greek Feta cheese (incidentally imported from all way Greece)
GARIDES SAGANAKI (Prawns with Cheese): prawns tossed in olive oil with onion, garlic, tomatoes, fresh dill, black pepper, feta cheese. (Prawns served with feta cheese is the real lovers rejoice)
Garides Saganaki
Next to be served were kebabs 😍 imagines the countryside of Greece..With sea to one side and mountains to other..
GREEK VEG SOUVLAKI_ Greek vegetarian kebab, cottage cheese cubes, mushroom, bell peppers, zucchini, marinated with olive oil, garlic, feta, yogurt , greek herbs n spices, served with dill yogurt dip (A dip which does make you want more)..Yeh Dil maange more..
Another dish and we were transported to this Ancient land of Iran..I always wanted to eat the food from this region).
JUJEH KEBAB: Iranian chicken kebab (My first Iranian dish which was so succulent I can't believe it), marinated with olive oil, garlic, saffron, yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, lime juice, served with mast o khiar ( yogurt n cucumber & mint dip again a palate teaser).
Jujeh Kebab
We were served BLUSHING CAIPIROSHKA_ muddled lime n mint, crushed ice topped with carnberry juice ( a cold yet refreshing drink)
Blushing Caprioshka
Then we were served something that made me want a Beer.. Something so cool and healthy I can eat this all day. We were transported to a beautiful country of Mexico with the Nachos with a healthy twist)
Nachos With Cheese Balls
NACHOS WITH CHEESE BALLS - spinach flavoured tortillas(yes spinach flavoured and green coloured?, topped with cheese sauce, pico de gallo (you will love it) bell peppers, mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan cheese & mini spinach cheese balls (ones which melt in mouth..Ohh beer I missed you so!)
Saif seemed to have felt it and voila next drink was sent..Aptly called SPICY SENORITA a fiery green chili, tabasco, black pepper, lemon juice, honey , tomato juice , orange juice, served in an old fashion tango glass garnished with slit green chili and lemon slice (I adored it almost).
Spicy Senorita
Next nachos were to heart melting..But hey we weren't in Mexico but taken half way over the Pacific to Korea (With A twist of adding authentic Korean spice with Mexican nachos). Nachos and korean whats the link but it gelled superbly KOREAN CHICKEN NACHOS_ beetroot flavoured tortillas topped with gochujang spiced chicken strips, gochujang spiced cheese sauce, julienne bell peppers, cheddar, mozzarella & parmesan cheese, black olives , coriander, green onion, served with tomato salsa (spicy Salsa)..
Korean Chicken Nachos
We were transported to Balkans (Another region which I haven't explored food wise) with the next dish. Cevapcici pronunciation che_vap_chi_chi . Its an dish commonly found in balkan region and is basically kebab of minced lamb n beef but here its made with minced chicken n lamb, these are finger kebab like the sausages. You get tthis kebab by different names somewhere its called cavapi ( chevapi) somewhere kjebchinja pronunciation kebap_ cheena n somewhere Cevapcici ( che_vap_ chi_chi). Usually served in bosnia, croatia, Macedonia.(So much brief to banta Hai for a yummy stuff yet unknown to me)
CEVAPCICI minced chicken & lamb finger kebab, mixed with sauteed onion, garlic, all spice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano, served with TARATUR ( yogurt, cucumber dip mixed cayenne pepper & walnut, FRIES, SHOPSKA SALAD, LUTI PEPPERKI oven roasted chili mixed with olive oil, parsley, garlic & lemon juice)..Hey I always wanted to go to Balkans (almost was jerked back by wifey to Pune).
Sensing we needed our taste buds to Experience Love making we were served something we wouldn't normally try or order..from the land of human evolution Africa and beautiful country of Ethiopia a drink which is perfectly good for cold climate or common cold (Perfect for Pune's Winter as i could pin it) with its concoction of whole spices and tea. Ethiopian black hot tea Laced with good stuff aka cinnamon, cardomom, clove, lemon juice, and sweetened with honey.
Ethiopian Black Tea
Now going all the way to the Northern African country of Tunisia from where the dish using Harissa ( a famous tunesian red pepper paste) was served.

Harissa Minced Chicken Skewers
This is recommended for all guys HARISSA MINCED CHICKEN SKEWERS minced grilled chicken finger kebab, mixed with harissa, green onion, cilantro, sauteed onion n garlic, served with harissa mayo (Minced skewers are usually simple to make yet many restos get it screwed up..Asanjo chefs were spot on with this!).

This was continental European preparation which you would like to try:
Fish Cake 
FISH CAKE WITH ROCKET , CAPERS IN LIME DRESSING, SERVED WITH HORSERADISH MUSTARD MAYO:- Grilled mashed basa(a lovely fish) mixed with sauteed onion, garlic, parsley, black pepper , paprika, shaped into cake & crumb fried . Served on a bed of lettuce salad, with capers, harseradish mustard mayo. topped with rocket lettuce (Now a perfect material to have with friends over a long well done).
Amazing experience
After such a powerful meal(yes it's almost a meal in itself) we were served main course (we had space for it somehow amazingly).
Now for an really exotic experience we were flown in to Costa Rica. Gallo pinto _ gayo pinto .(as pronounced) Is a costa rican beans and rice which Generally they serve with pinto beans here it's with a Saif twist.
VEG GALLO PINTO A Costa Rican dish (country I so wanna visit..No just for chupakabra but also for beaches and food), it had costa rican beans & rice served with mango salsa(the yummiest mango salsa I had till date and asked for extra salsa), grilled cottage cheese steak, red pepper sauce & dill yogurt (I did take dill yoghurt recipe from saif). Vegetarians yeh nahi khaya to Kya khaya (Not joking one bit abt it)
Veg Gallo Pinto
Non veg Main course was a lovely dish from princely country of Jordan ( another of my must visit country) Mansaf is a jordanian chicken and yogurt curry basically.
MANSAF jordanian chicken & yogurt stew cooked with onion, garlic, chicken stock, turmeric, cumin, parsley, cinnamon, served with saffron rice cooked in chicken stock with cinnamon & cardomom (the rice was fragrant and yummy with chicken and spices) the rice is topped with roasted / fried almond garnished with parsley! This dish is so succulent and such flavorful you want more (I was stopped by the desserts which were coming from asking more of this dish!).
Being a person with a big sweet tooth I would Expected nothing less than feast considering the stuff served to me. We were almost given foodgasm :
Chocolate Chip cookie milkshake which was customized by Saif to be served with Donut (Filled with Vanilla Icecream) is chocolate milkshake in glass rimmed with peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Such yummy stuff!
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL MILK SHAKE : it contains milk, vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, peanut brittle, chocolate sauce, pretzel, whipped cream, topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, peanut brittle, pretzel with m.n.m's , chocolate swirl, garnished with chicilate ganache, peanut butter, m.n.m.'s & peanut butter cups (Such a yummy filling drink I couldn't ask anything more. Being so full I had to sit for 10 mins till I could move).
The love service staff showed was awesome with the interaction over each dish explained by Saif (was second to none).
A world tour indeed happened for us through the meal that too in Aundh, Pune (Pune ata ithe jevan une navhe!). Recommend this place for the guys who want to try global cuisine kept authentic at all levels!!

Here is our Journey Across the world..
Video by Priyank Mody

You can visit Asanjo At.. P.s. Recently it was published in Times Food Section for Pune too..

Asanjo, Central Ave, Nilanjali Society, Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411006

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