Thursday, September 04, 2008

Eatouts in Pondicherry

[Please read this post as an addendum to my earlier post: Give Time a Break: Pondicherry. That is a detailed one and more generic account of the trip, with more photographs.]

This is the final post in the series of posts on Pondicherry, and talks about various restaurants and eateries I could visit on the way and in Pondicherry.

Ghar Dhaba is a dhaba sans the rustic ambiance and an ideal place for breakfast. Around 70 kms and one hour out of Bangalore, placed by a BPCL petrol bunk, this is the only place to have proper breakfast while going to Pondicherry. Its speciality is South Indian food the Tamil way, but they have quite a few North Indian dishes too. I went for the mini-breakfast tray which was quite filling. It is a part of the Adyar Anand Bhavan chain, or A2B as popularly known, which has outlets in Chennai, Bangalore, Pondicherry, and Delhi too.

Salt and Pepper was the first restaurant we went in Pondicherry. Suggested by the receptionist at Ginger Hotel and branded as a '24-hour AC Executive restaurant', this was an utter disappointment. The ambiance and service was pretty third class, and the food was inpalatable, despite the fact that we were eating at 4:30 pm, having not eaten anything after the breakfast at 7:30 am, and driven all the way from Bangalore.

Le Café is a nice cafe midway on the Goubert Avenue with a breathtaking view of the expansive Bay of Bengal. You can sit on the ground floor or on the terrace or in the lawn, and hear the waves hitting the rocks and enjoy the cool breeze and hot coffee and snacks. The building the cafe is housed in was the Pondicherry harbor office during the French time. We had coffee in the evening and breakfast the next morning. There were quite a few local French people enjoying a lazy breakfast there with a book in hand.

Aruvi, the bar at the three-star Hotel Mass is just a normal bar that cuts you off from Pondicherry. That is why I am so against people visiting pubs and counting that as the 'liveliness' of a place. If you want to dilate your pupils in the darkness and shut your ears in the loud music of a pub/bar, why do you need to travel; Bangalore already has lot of them. We had anyways gone there because some of the others had wanted to, had some drinks and snacks, and skipped dinner.

Rendezvous Café Restaurant on Rue Suffren was a good-looking rooftop restaurant recommended by many people. However, this place was a disappointment too. First, it was quite expensive, not value for money basically. Two, the service was extremely bad. They were slow like anything. I had to shell out Rs 200 for a plate of boiled spaghetti and a bowl of tomato mushroom sauce, and had to wait for over an hour. I could have cooked better pasta in less than half the time. But yes, heard that seafood is quite good there, and there were quite a many French customers.

Baker Street on Bussy Street was the best part of the trip, after the drive, of course. This place was totally French, from the decor to the cuisines to the people, the furniture, tiles, crockery, everything. Though when we asked for something spicy and veg and were told they did not have anything. We, however, tried almost all pastries and eclairs. Floating island, Mille-feuilles (thousand leaves), fruit and chocolate éclairs were a few among the delicious delicacies we tried. A must visit for all Pondicherry tourists. We reached Bussy Street by chance when we strolled past MG Road in search of some souvenir. We were initially reluctant to enter because of the bad experience at Rendezvous that afternoon, but I am glad I was able to pursuade the others. I can still feel the taste in my mouth as I write this 10 days later. Unfortunately my camera battery had given up and I could not take any pictures of the lovely place. [Photo copyright: Neel]

Risque is one of the restaurants at the five star Hotel Promenade on Goubert Avenue. We tried North Indian cuisine for our last meal, and it was delicious and authentic. The ambiance was great, with a swimming pool by the side and the sea at an audible distance, and good crowd. This place was cheaper and faster and much better than the Rendezvous we had eaten at the same afternoon.

Hotel Auro Usha at Tiruvannamalai was again a chance find. We were considering very local roadside eateries for breakfast on the return journey when we discovered this place unexpectedly in front of some Ashram. Very good continental breakfast is served here, and we could see many foreigners eating out here. We had two dishes each, which was more than filling for the entire drive back to Bangalore.

Had I got some more time, I would have visited more restaurants and tried out some more authentic French cuisine. Maybe the next time when I visit Pondicherry...

Related posts:
         Give Time a Break: Pondicherry
         Bangalore to Pondicherry in an Alto

25 comments:

Roli said...

now as you have given a lot of description and that too in simple and very elaborately, any one wants to go to Pondicherry can go through your blog and plan out everything... from traveling to eating places...can do sawanriya too....:)

ashes said...

Roli:

Yes, that is my intention. Anyone who wants to visit Pondicherry can use my blog to plan things out.

Hey but you were pretty fast this time. I just published my half-baked post for testing something and you put a comment!

Cuckoo said...

Hmmmm.... Koi pooche ya na pooche at least I am going to ask you before going there. :)

And in that photo ? :)
So serious & frowning :P

BTW, here is the link.
http://www.blogbharti.com/cuckoo/travel/puducherry-looks-bright/

ashes said...

Cuckoo:

Thanks for the reference on blogbharti.

Re that photo, I am not serious but pensive, and not at all frowning.

KPB said...

We loved Baker Street and ended up going there thrice in a 2-3 days stay last weekend. All thanks to your wonderful set of blogs on your Pondicherry trip. I have been disappointed with Rendezvous in the past so I was really glad that our taste matched so well.

Very detailed and convenient driving directions as well - the last two times I had driven on this route, we had missed the "right" turn after Krishnagiri and ended up on NH 46 for longer than intended instead of turning onto NH66.

Keep writing!

ashes said...

KPB:

Am glad that my blog was so helpful to you.

Amiya Shrivastava said...

Alright! Again an informative article...

From this article I can conclude that you are a good photographer too and I can infer that you are an above average cook..(Although, I knew it beforehand ;) )

I completely agree that we should explore uniqueness of places we visit rather than revisiting commonplace spots which are available everywhere.

ashes said...

Amiya:

I couldn't stop grinning at your sense of humour: From this article I can infer that you are a good cook, though I knew it beforehand :) :)

Shyam Srinivas K said...

I like to introduce myself as Shyam, Webmaster of www.pondicherry.net.in. I am an IT professional who love my native city, Pondicherry. Over the years I have entertained and helped many visitors to our city. It's been fun. However, one common feedback I have received from many of them has been that there is a lack of structured information about Pondicherry on the web.

So I decided to create a website with all the information that we believe a visitor might want. I realized that as we have lived here for more than two decades and have entertained so many guests, over time I have come up with a list of places that people seem to like. So I threw in a personal touch and came up with a list of places that we think will make you return to our city, and hopefully to this website.

If you have a chance please visit www.pondicherry.net.in

I would be really thankful if you can visit the site and provide me your valuable suggestions and feedbacks about the site.


Thanks and Regards,
Shyam
Email : shyam@pondicherry.net.in
Website : www.pondicherry.net.in

Anonymous said...

Of great help!! Thank you so much! Cheers! :)

Salt & Pepper Restaurant said...

Hi,

Its unfortunate that you had a bad experience at our restaurant during 2008.

Its long time now! We had restructured and got to our basics to strengthen the taste.

If you happen to visit again, we welcome you back to our Restaurant. While the ambience is still being worked out, you will really like the taste now!!

This is the only best Family Restaurant without Bar @ Pondicherry!

Cheers,
Salt & Pepper

ashes said...

Anon:

Glad to be of help.

ashes said...

Salt & Pepper:

I am glad that you took the feedback. Will sure visit you the next time I go to Pondicherry. Let me know your contact info (via email, if you do not want to make it public here), and will get in touch once I am there.

Anonymous said...

Salt & Pepper:

email: Saltandpepper24hrs@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

iam happy to be in pondicherry

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anjali gupta said...

Nice post. The place is pretty laid back and has some fine restaurants serving passably good French cuisine. When it comes to accommodation, most of the hotels in Pondicherry cater to a vast variety of travellers, meeting the demands of budget, mid budget and luxury seekers.

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