We heard so much about Pune’s second micro-brewery’s fun ambiance and great food that expectations were brimming. But passing through a mall, which is still a work-in-progress, (read climbing up escalators) lowered the excitement a bit. We walked into TJ’s Brewworks and chose to sit in the air-conditioned indoors done simply in wooden tones. We felt the outside seating separated by huge, sliding glass doors will be beautiful once the weather is kinder. TJ’s begins by offering you four (three on the day we visited) types of beers in testers the moment you settle down.
We had a Dark Devil (black beer), a blonde (regular lager) and a pilsner. While the blonde tasted like an Indian popular draught, the pilsner had a distinct but light flavour. We settled for the denseness of the dark roasted barley — the Devil’s Dark (Rs 150). Served chilled in a tall glass, it isn’t an intense beer in the international sense at all, just a flavourful and smooth one that cools you off. Our Beer-battered Vegetables (Rs 120), though a slightly small portion, had a crisp exterior with a soft heart. We especially loved the broccoli.
This place seems to want people to drink a lot and nibble a lot. The menu therefore includes popular choices — from Butter Chicken and Parathas to Singapore Noodles and Thai Curry. All the dishes are pre-plated and meant for one. We tried to search for unusuals or specials in the menu and opted for a Prawn Thermidor (Rs 350). This came with a bowl of prawns in a white sauce. Though nicely herbed and with al dente prawns, the sauce was far too watery.
It was so thin that when we spooned it on to the little mound of rice that came with the dish, it disappeared into its whiteness. Still, overall, a subtle taste.
Our Beef Chilli with Noodles (Rs 250) was far from the Kerala specialty but the noodles were a nice twist. As for beef, the dry coat was spicy and the meat chewy, though in a good way. The noodles too were well-done and spiced. For the dish to be wholesome, we would have liked a little more noodles.
Since the portions aren’t really too big, we went for another helping. This time we chose Indian. The Chicken Nizami (Rs 250) came with a paratha and a cashew-based, yellow gravy that satiated our hunger pangs.
The music played here really contributes to making the ambiance appealing. A blend of Hip-Hop and Retro with some fun new numbers thrown in adds to the cool vibe of the place. TJ’s is the kind of place where you should go with a gang of friends, drink beer from the tap and just let the fun and conversations flow. This isn’t about being a restaurant; this one is about the high that relaxation and laughter brings. With their very moderate pricing for beer and food, TJ’s is sure to up the fun quotient for Pune.
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