Rassa Roadies, Tilak Road.
Rassa Roadies had been on my wishlist for the longest time ever since I read great reviews for their Kalyani Nagar outlet. Unfortunately, the Kalyani Nagar restaurant shut down and I was not able to try their much talked about rassa. Then I came to know that they had opened on Tilak Road and finally ended up here for lunch last Sunday.
Location of this restaurant is little tricky to find for those unfamiliar with the lanes of the Peth areas. It is located in the lane adjoining Navi Peth Vitthal Mandir, the same lane where Bhoj Thali restaurant is located. Do not bother taking your four-wheeler to this area, please take your two-wheelers or simply take an autorickshaw to get here.
The set-up is pretty basic; a few tables on the ground floor and about 7-8 tables on the mezzanine. They have Maharashtra themed paintings on the walls, keeping up with the theme that the food is centered around. Cleanliness is properly maintained and the open kitchen on the ground floor reassures diners about hygiene standards.
We had opted for a Pithla-Bhakri thali, Akkha Masoor Thali, Saoji Chicken Thali and a Kolhapuri Mutton Thali for our lunch. Since some elements were common in all thalis, I am simplay listing out the highlights of the individual elements.
PITHLA: Standard fare, luscious, not really spicy.
AKKHA MASOOR: The lentils were well cooked, not too soft and the gravy base was decent.
THECHA: Surprisingly, they served a nice red-chilly and garlic thecha instead of the hirva thecha which most restaurants serve. Nicely prepared.
KANDA BHAJI: Served with the akkha masoor thali, these khekda bhajis were a little underseasoned and not crispy enough.
PANDHRA RASSA: Awesome!!! They serve this unlimited with both the saoji and kolhapuri thalis and it was really mild but flavorful, coconut based meat broth. As good as it should be.
TAMBDA RASSA: Again served unlimited with the Saoji and Kolhapuri Thalis. Although their version was ok, it was a little oily for my liking and I have had better are other places in Pune.
SAOJI CHICKEN: Saoji preparations basically belong to the Vidarbha region, have a kala masala base and traditionally they are extremely spicy. This is where I felt Rassa Roadies was a let-down, their Saoji chicken curry has been overly adapted to suit the Puneri tastebuds, but it loses authenticity in the bargain. I had also specifically asked our server not to tone down the spice level in my curry, I prefer it spicy, but it still came quite bland. Also, one piece of chicken was still quite pink.
EGG MASALA: Comes with the chicken thalis, was quite good.
KOLHAPURI MUTTON CURRY: The mutton was well cooked, but I have the same issue here as with the Saoji Curry, that of compromise with authenticity. For me, benchmark Kolhapuri mutton is that served in Opal or Woodlands in Kolhapur and Rassa Roadies does not come close. A bit more balance of spices is needed.
KHEEMA: Nicely prepared and good thing that it hadn’t dried out.
BHAKRI: Jowar Bhakris were really soft, hot and nice, huge in size.
RICE: Steamed rice had gone a little cold, but it was good.
SOL KADHI: We washed down our meal with nice and refreshing sol kadhis. They got this one perfect by not making it too tangy or too garlicky.
Service: Service does their jobs well, are quite efficient with the orders. But they could be trained a little better with their knowledge of the dishes served and making recommendations.
Prices are fairly reasonable. Where do you get a Veg thali for about 100Rs and a Non-Veg Thali for about Rs. 200 these days in a decent, hygienic restaurant? Very VFM that way.
A little disappointed with the Rassa itself, but will not rule out another visit to try out the sea-food preparations.