Baraza Bar and Bites – Island Themed Restaurant — Reviewed!

Can you imagine of a place in the city which is quaint yet vibrant and lively. One such place is Baraza Bar and Bites. The Island themed bar and lounge is the third brand by Rachel Goenka and Chef Irfan Pabaney after The Sassy Spoon and The Sassy Tea Spoon. You can read about The Sassy Spoon here. Pune is the first choice for Baraza. Located on the ground floor in the Ishanya Mall, Yerwada, Baraza Bar and Bites is quite popular hangout place amongst youngsters.

As you enter the place, you will see the dim lights, quirky interiors, frames, colored sofas, high chairs, bar area, DJ area, brick wall design, bottles chandeliers and the printed ceramic tiles. Baraza has indoor as well as outdoor seating option. Outdoor is more buzzing with the live screenings and also the tall trees and palm foliage gives the place an island feel. It also has a verandah, a canoe that functions as a table and a Volkswagen Bar, under streamers of carnival lights, serve up a happy ambience.
As the name suggests, the cuisine is inspired with the bar snacks, which pair best with drinks. Some unique dishes include Pull apart bread with pesto, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, 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 flavored beers especially Lemongrass, Juicy Fruit, Soul Kadi , Brew Baraza and the Big Daddy cocktails, like Big Daddy LIIT, and Fire Island.

I was pretty excited to try the dinner here. Starting with the drinks, I had Paan Banarasi wala. Sounds fun! Usually we have paan post heavy meal as mouth freshener but this mocktail was a stunner. So refreshing and distinctive from usuals. It was a perfect concoction of betel leaves, sugar, lemon and gulkand. Highly Recommended!

Next was the Virgin Berry Khatta Slush. Almost similar to the Very Berry Khatta at The Sassy Spoon. Mixoligist Pranav Mody is a magician with his drinks and for non-alcoholics like me, this drink is a blessing. Berries, lemon, fizz and syrup made it the most favourite of the evening.

After hearing so many good things about the Pull Apart Bread with pesto, I was really eager to try that. And trust me, it is a crowd pleaser. Loads of cheese, soft bread and flavourful pesto make the dish hit. I could not resist myself eating it. Highly Recommended!

I crave for Tofu, so, had to order The Crispy Fried Tofu. Crunchy from outside and soft from inside, the tofu was perfectly cooked and sauteed nicely in the sauce with a hint of ginger and garlic. Loved it.

From the main course, Burmese Khow Suey was my pick but unfortunately the dish could not do the justice to the flavours. Quite bland, I would say. With the heavy heart, had to leave the dish.

Was really curious to try desserts. Classic Banoffie Pie with caramel was sinful. Filled the mouth with burst of textures and flavours. Crunchy biscuit crumb base with whipped cream, sweet banana slices and caramel surely lifted the mood. A not to be missed dessert. Highly Recommended!
Churros with Chocolate Sauce and Snickers Ice-cream was next on the plate. Very very crunchy and light churros, just melt in mouth were just perfect for the desserts and paired well with the chocolate sauce. The overall combo of churros, chocolate sauce and snicker was mind blowing. Highly Recommended!

Overall, Baraza is an all embracing space that offers diverse experiences under one roof. Go, chill, enjoy, relax at the beautiful island themed restaurant.

Baraza Bars & Bites Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Stay at Mercure Hotels, Lavasa – Relaxed Weekends! — Reviewed!

Couple of weeks back, I made an impromptu plan to go for a long drive. But where? Had been to places around Pune, several times, so thought of going some fun destination for a perfect weekend. Just then Lavasa clicked in my mind and I knew the place is awesome for summer getaways. Water sports, Nature trails, Adventure sports can be experienced. 

Of around one and a half hours of smooth drive with bit traffic, scenic landscapes and an adorable company, we reached the Lavasa entrance at around 5 pm on the Saturday evening. The entry fees is Rs.500 and in return some complimentary vouchers are provided which can be redeemed at the restaurants or for the activities. Just after the entrance, starts the beautiful road to the hotel. I am sure, the place looks heaven in monsoons. Waterfront, European style structure is surely eye-catching. Within half and hour, we reached Mercure. As of now, there are around 4 hotels in Lavasa and I chose Mercure (Accor Group) for my stay.

Located in the scenic Sahayadri Hills, the hotel is surrounded by hills which makes it a distinctive destination for not only business or leisure trip but also for a small weekend getaway. No Valet is available so we drove through the basement parking and returned to the reception for the check-in. The process was smooth and within few minutes, our room keys were allocated. Ms.Pamela was there to welcome us.

The Hotel has 130 guest rooms (96 standard, 31 superior rooms, 2 family rooms and 1 accessibility room). Rooms rates are changed everyday but it varies from Rs.3500+  to 6000+ .We stayed at the Standard Room which was pretty spacious with...
  • Wifi
  • LCD
  • Electronic Safe
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • 24 hrs in-room dining
  • Couch
I was happy to see the small balcony with the sliding door through which I could enjoy the pretty landscape. Our room had welcome drinks like Jaljeera, Aam Panna and Chaas along with the chocolates and sweets. Such a sweet gesture. Post clicking some amazing photos, we went to take a tour of the Lavasa International Convention Centre, which was around a km. Huge property with 16 breakaway halls for marriages, ceremonies, business meeting. The main hall at the convention level can accommodate around 1000 guests in a plenary session.

Evening was spent roaming in and around the hotel. After a chit chat with the staff we had a lovely dinner at Celebration, their all day dining, multi-cuisine restaurant. My complete review about our dining experience at the celebration can be read in my previous post. Mercure also have Zen Bar which offers cocktails and mocktails to cater multiple preferences for the patrons.

We wanted to explore the unique flora and fauna around the hotel but had limited time in hand. Other activities near the Mercure hotel includes...
  • Lakeshore Watersports
  • X-Thrill Adventure Sports
  • Kids Pool Area
  • Splash Pad
One thing that I found bit unusual was the location of leisure services. The Swimming Pool, Spa, Beauty Salon, Fitness Centre, Tennis Court, Library etc is located in Dasvino town which is around 1 kms away from the hotel. All these amenities are common for the patrons from all the hotels in Lavasa. I did not have enough time in hand, so had to skip all those activities. Some things are kept for the next visit! :)

Overall, a fantastic and comfortable stay. I wish I could stay longer but then the routine has to go on. My next trip is pending by then. Go and enjoy at Mercure Lavasa with your family and I am sure you will not regret. Also, they are currently running Mango festival, which is not to be missed!