It’s been 5 years that I shifted to Pune from Hyderabad and yet all the varied cuisines and fine dines haven’t been able to impress me as much as the food I have had during my days in Hyderabad. When I came to know about the ‘The Andhra Yatra’ food festival that is going on at 1000 Oaks, I sprang up in no time and despite being over 25 km away, I battled the Thursday evening traffic to be on time and get mesmerized. 1000 oaks have been impressing Puneites for last 22 plus years and now it was my turn to get enthralled. The place is located at a prime location on M.G Road and sports a big lavish alfresco area in addition to the cozy plush interiors that hosts around 12 tables. It also has a very classy bar inside that stock some of the best beers in town, along with some fine spirits.
We had a small tour of the place along with Mr Sanjeet Lamba the owner who has been running the show for 2 decades and then we settled down for a lavish food filled evening. 100 oaks is known to host food festivals every six months or so and after a long gap of almost two years the Andhra food was back on the plates under the title of ‘The Andhra Yatra’. Mr Sanjeet had got some experts from the culinary world that are currently based out of Chennai and Hyderabad and are known to be serving huge corporates such as Sodexo.
We started the evening with some papad and rassam. The rassam was Imli or tamarind flavoured and Sanjeet wanted that every time a guest visits; he be presented with a different flavour of rassam. The rassam was very well balanced and led to a perfect spicy, aromatic and flavorful start of the evening.
Chepa Vepudu (Fish fry)
We started off with Chepa Vepudu (Rs 700) which is fish fry coated in rava. We got to savour a kingfish which was shallow fried and dusted with rava to give that just enough crispyness. The best part was that the fish was cooked so perfectly that the fillet was cooked evenly till the very end. The edges were perfectly crisp and you could simply gorge on these little king fish fillets without worrying about bone or removing any skin. #Perfect
Chepa Vepudu (Fish fry)
Miriyala Royyalu (Rs700) or the pepper prawns came in next. They were huge, biteable and firm prawns in a spicy marinade. The prawns were what they would like to call medium spicy and they were just that for my palate. #LovedThem #MustTry
Miriyala Royyalu (Pepper Prawns)
I don’t like brinjals but Gutti Vankaya Iguru (370) was simply born to change my perception about brinjals. Trust me I am not exaggerating when I say they were heavenly. In fact they were my 2nd favourite dish for the night. The Andhra tradition was done perfect justice by this recipe and the Chef just got a signature dish up his sleeve with this one. #HighlyRecommended
Kodi Gudla Koora
Next we had Kodi Gudla Koora (350) or the egg curry. A spicy egg curry preparation using a fried, boiled egg in a thick tomato gravy; this dish was simply meant to be on the menu, for if I hadn’t been eating it here; I was supposed to have a similar egg curry at home made by yet another wonderful chef – my wife Reema. Is that what you call the ‘Food is in the air’? 😉
Naatu Kodi Pulusu
How can an authentic Andhra meal be complete without the famous Naatu Kodi Pulusu or the country style chicken curry? The chicken used is a wild countryside fowl (Gavran Komdi) and the generous use of spices and onions makes it a spicy dish that is an integral part of every Andhra meal. The chicken impressed us in a jiffy and we weren’t really ready to spoil that lingering taste by eating anything else afterwards. #MustHave
The Kobbari Annam (290) or Coconut Yellow Rice was cooked using coconut milk and garnished with coconut, cashews and coriander. Rice being staple for the region different rice preparations are eaten along with curries. The curries, more often than not are spicy and oily in nature and as such the rice is kept as mild as possible to complement and complete the dish in apt way.
We were already full eating all those dishes but still went on to have one sweet dish to complete the meal in style. This time we got a bowl of Korra Payasam (250) which is basically a preparation made using millets. The millets are cooked in milk base and garnished with dry fruits. Since payasam is also offered as prasadam in temple it also incorporates a very unique ingredient – Karpur or Camphor. We didn’t appreciate the use of camphor in the kheer but otherwise it was a good way to end your meal on a sweet note.
Chef Prasanna and his team who will be here serving Andhra delicacies for lunch and dinner till 22nd of the month have just one thing on mind; to introduce the Pune foodies to authentic Andhra cuisine and leave them spellbound. The kind of efforts being taken and the finesse with which the recipes are being recreated I am left with no doubt that the food festival is going to be a grand success. Here’s wishing the team at 1000 Oaks all the very best.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed are my own and from the single or multiple experiences that I have had with the food joint. While you are free to disagree with the opinion below; please respect the originality and fairness of the content. The taste and experience might differ from the one portrayed for varied reasons like the Chef and staff that serves you, Ingredients used and other factors that change from time to time. The opinion/ review is purely based on my experience and there is no biased, favoured or commercial angle to it. At times, I might have used a few references from the freely available information on the internet to draw a correct more accurate picture but the sole intent of the is review is to give back a piece of my experience to the foodie community.)