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Veggie delights at Horn OK Please!
Vijay Chachra | June 06, 2007 15:17 IST
Get Ahead reader Vijay Chachra is a regular at the popular restaurant Horn OK Please in Pune. Here's what he has to say about the place:
Pune City is a delight for people who love to try out different cuisines, and by cuisines I don't mean just the exotic foods to be sampled in five star restaurants, but also the variety which can be sampled at roadside stalls.
To begin with, Fergusson College Road is one such haven in Pune where you can sample a host of different cusines. But given the chance, I always recommend Horn OK Please, an all-vegetarian Punjabi dhaba at the fag end of FC Road near Good Luck Chowk, in the Deccan Gymkhana area.
Amongst its many alluring features, HOP's down-to-earth ambience takes top spot. If you visit on weekends, 99 times out of 100 you will be required to wait for a table. You can spend these 15 to 20 minutes on the coir khatiya just outside the eatery -- alongside is a truck tyre, and a yellow-and white milestone which declares ' Horn-OK-Please 0 km, Jalandhar 120 km'.
Once inside, you will come face-to-face with even more accessories that remind one of the traditional Punjabi dhabas found aplenty along Indian highways. The earthy, rustic decor and dim lighting are best experienced by a personal visit, rather than by my descriptions. Enhancing the effect are the wooden tables and chairs, and copper utensils, which remind me of meals at my grandparents' home -- back then, copper dishes, known for their positive effects on health, were the order of the day. Best of all, there are sign boards hung on every wall, with popular trucking slogans -- one such sign says 'Buri nazar waale, tera munh kaala'! Everything is done keeping in mind the traditional highway dhaba; believe me, there is hardly anything which the proprietors have missed in replicating that appeal.
Now, coming to the food, the menu is another feather in the cap of HOP. It goes something like this:
The first page of the menu displays the appetizers available, appropriately classified as 'First Gear' (this is truly a trucker's paradise!). The likes of Makkai Kebob, Paneer Malai Kebob, and Tandoori Mushrooms feature here, alongside appetizing drinks like Jaljeera, butter milk etc. My suggestion is to go for the Makkai Kebobs and Jaljeera and then prepare for 'Top Gear' (the main course). On an average each starter will cost you around Rs 70 to 80, and is more than sufficient for two people.
Main dishes include Palak Paneer (highly recommended), Veg Kadai, and the like, to be accompanied by rotis or then parathas -- the Methi and Pudina parathas are particularly appealing. Dishes like Mushroom Korma, prepared in a delectable red gravy, will cost you about Rs 80, and dal accompaniments like Dal Saat Nizam will set you back by around Rs 55.
Third Gear lists rice dishes to bring your meal to a close, such as Veg Biryani and Jeera Rice. I ran out of steam before my engine reached third gear, but I'm assuming these dishes are as good as everything else I sampled from the menu.
Desserts like kulfi, vanilla ice cream, and halwa are the perfect way to bring a meal at Horn OK Please to a close. My recommendation is to go for the kulfi -- it's amazingly tasty, and won't leave you feeling heavy after a big meal. The cute earthen pots holding the Matka Kulfi will cost you Rs 45 each, and will easily suffice for two.
Now comes a pleasant surprise -- if you and your partner's engines manage to run through all four of the menu's 'gears', you will end up paying somewhere around Rs 300 between the two of you. My guess is that the proprietors have kept the food reasonably priced despite the restuarant's popularity, because they want to keep the college crowd coming in. The location on Fergusson College Road calls for such strategy, as high prices will only drive young patrons to other nearby eating joints, of which there is no shortage.
The only disappointing facet of eating at Horn OK Please (if at all you can call it disappointing) is that it only offers vegetarian fare. So for those whose idea of dining out includes hard drinks and non vegetarian food, I'd suggest you steer clear of the place!
Open hours: Daily 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm
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