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As fans of Irfan Pabaney and Rachel Goenka’s Sassy Spoon in Mumbai, a trip to Pune gave me a chance to check out their Yerwada offering. Baraza is in a furniture mall in Yerwada – not the best sounding location when you put it like that, but the complex does house a host of F&B offerings, including gig venue Blue Frog, so late in the evening, the space transforms into a buzzing, hip venue.

I’m glad to report that pretty much everything I tried was top-notch. Thankfully, the menu doesn’t aim to be experimental and fuse cuisines with mixed results like many places do these days. Kolhapuri chicken tacos are wonderfully soft, loaded with beautifully spiced and cooked chicken, lachha onions and some raita. American corn tempura is teamed perfectly with sriracha mayo.

A variety of stuffed naans also show up – Goa sausage is interestingly teamed with water chestnuts, but really it’s the raan-stuffed naan that stands out with its burst of flavour. The Baraza chicken tikka is a revelation. It is tender, loaded with cheese and served with a very, very well made green chutney – were tempted to order seconds of the dish. Our final order is a lamb seekh kabab that isn’t outstanding, but a little hit of scarmoza does give it a nice smokiness that we enjoy.

By night, there’s an outdoor bar operated from inside a converted van, the music pumps up and the crowd is downing beers by the liter. They might hop to the next spot after a round or two, but we’re pretty happy to stay put at a place that checks all the right boxes.

What we like: The food

What we don’t like: Outdoor seating susceptible to lots of wind and rain

MW verdict: 4/5

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Shweta Mehta Sen

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