As promised, I am back with the second (and last) part of my Pondicherry tales. This one is dedicated to food, and food only. Serious drooling guaranteed because Pondicherry has some seriously kickass eating joints.
Recommended by a friend on social media, Café Xtasi turned out to be the most popular pizza joint in all of Pondicherry. I decided to check out the place for a quick bite. The quick bite obviously turned into a meal when we saw the entire range of pizzas available: there’s so much variety, we wanted everything! We settled for one regular each (the meat overloads) and BOY OH BOY. Mind was blown. Thin, crispy crusts loaded with cheese and meat and more cheese made this the best pizza I’ve eaten in my LIFE. And we ended up finishing an entire pizza each (even though the size screams two)
We drowned down the pizzas with Iced Teas which were fabulous too :)
You might wonder why we say you need to check out a gelato parlor. Walk in to this humble little shop on Promenade and you will know what we mean. To begin with, the flavours are beyond your imagination. And there are SO MANY OPTIONS! I’d suggest you try whatever you like, the stuff is genuine, fresh and super duper perfect on a hot evening while you take a walk down Promenade.
Almost everyone asked us to visit Villa Shanti when we landed in Pondicherry. We obviously had to check out the hype. We unfortunately ended up expecting too much and had a very average experience here. Plain white walls with plants dominating the décor make this a beautiful place no doubt, but that’s about it.
Even though the candlelit dinner with some potent Cosmopolitan and Prawn Masala was a pleasant experience, we decided to leave after the starters and check out another place for dinner.
Bay of Buddha
Located at the top of Hidesign hotel at the Promenade, this sea-facing rooftop lounge had quite a soothing effect that immediately made us want to retire for the night (or maybe it was that extremely potent Cosmopolitan from Villa Shanti?) We quite liked this place in terms of ambiance and food, though the service was extremely slow. One plate of Nasi Goreng (with sea food) was enough for 2 of us, and was one of the best preparations I have ever tasted. Loved the mix of flavours and was even overjoyed to see how they hadn’t kept it too bland :D We decided we’d come back and eat some more of their Oriental dishes the next day.
Indian Kaffe Express
INDIAN KAFFE EXPRESS WAS DA BOMB! And our minds were blown to such an extent that we came back for breakfast the next day. AND had it as an option for dinner if in case we didn’t get a reservation in one of the fancier heritage hotels. It was really heartbreaking to say goodbye to the food here. Our reco-
PANCAKES. EAT THE GODDAMN PANCAKES. One plate serves you 2 humongous, fluffy pancakes (probably bigger than your face) Best pancakes I’ve eaten in my life.
Chicken Omelet – a regular omelet, but with chicken stuffed in between the folds. We expected boiled chicken cubes to be cooked with the eggs, but got a blast of flavours instead. Try it to know what I’m talking about.
Waffles- Once you’ve eaten the pancakes, try the banana caramel waffles. Heaven in your mouth.
French Toast stuffed with paneer – It’s a regular French toast made of 2 HUGE slices of bread, but with a tasty surprise; there’s paneer cooked with tomatoes, onions, chilli and coriander stuffed between the slices! We had this on both the days we ate breakfast here. A true gem that we stumbled upon :)
Bread & Chocolates
On the approach road to Auroville, Breads & Chocolate is a little bakery-cum-café run by an English woman. We stopped by for a bite, and quite liked the vibe. With minimum décor and limited tables, the ambiance was quite refreshing. The place has also been kept spotlessly clean (shoes are to be removed before entering) We ate a humongous cinnamon roll, and it felt good to know it was as authentic as an English cinnamon roll could get :)
Auroville bakery is your old school bakery where you walk in to find a gazillion types of breads and cakes and patties behind a huge glass counter. We picked up an orange cake with sugar icing….one bite and you’re reminded of a grandmother baking cakes in a tiny, warm kitchen somewhere in an English countryside :)
After hearing a lot of good reviews about Le Cafe, I was honestly a little disappointed to see this restaurant at the Promenade. Being situated right next to the rocky beach does little to the ambiance, and the food here is pretty okay. We ordered a plate of grilled chicken and for what we got, it seemed a little towards the expensive side. Tasty, but the quantity needs to be reworked on. The rooftop is great though where you get the view of the entire ocean in front of you. But sadly this section is open only for those who wish to enjoy south Indian specialties like idlis, dosas, etc.
This heritage hotel used to be the home of the mayor of Pondicherry during the French rule. And you’ll be happy to know that the old world charm of this place has still been maintained. We walked in on a rainy night so unfortunately the outer dining section was closed. Inside was a formal sitting arrangement with wooden tables arranged neatly around the room, and wine cellars stocked with the finest wines adorned the walls. We took a table by the French window and went through the menu while an old French man played the violin. I remember making a comment about the ambiance being the perfect setup for a proposal…*sigh* It was beautiful. We ordered a plate of Poricha Kozhi(chicken cooked in a mix of Pondicherry spices) and Spaghetti Beef Bolognese , and both turned out to be ultra fab. Just what we needed to end the night :) The cost for 2 was only 1400 bucks.
Our last meal at Pondicherry was at Carte Blanche, a restaurant unit of Neemrana Hotels , another heritage hotel. Once again, as we sat down for lunch, we felt like we had time traveled to a place somewhere along the French coastline as we sat under a dense green cover and enjoyed a meal of seafood curry and rice, ratatouille and some beers in the courtyard. It broke our hearts to leave this gorgeous place, and we miss it till date. If we get a chance to go back for only one meal to Pondicherry, this is where it’s going to be.