It’s the end of February already. Already! I could ask where the month went but I know the answer to that question. February went by in a daze of travel and my brother’s wedding in Sydney (more on that in a later blog), Valentine’s day mania at the cafe, and planning for and executing our pop up cafes at Dezio in Kalyani Nagar and The Pawsh Salon in Baner. To those not in the know i.e. not from Pune, Kalyani Nagar and Baner are different neighbourhoods in the city where it was a delight to set up shop for an evening and meet our Instagram and Facebook followers and fans from all over Pune.
We even managed to squeeze in a visit to a brand new restaurant that opened up in Baner recently (maybe a month old now) called The Flying Duck. Apart from the fact that the name intrigued us, I had read some glowing reviews from a few friends and acquaintances who’s tastes I share.
The Flying Duck is situated along the Baner-Pashan Link road and it took us a good 30 minutes or so to get there in afternoon traffic but it was worth the effort. For those of you who live closer or around the area, drop what you are doing and get there as soon as you can.
Done up modestly with simple black and white benches and largely outdoor seating, the real appeal of Flying Duck is the unusual menu. Below is a pic of the most interesting page of the menu in my opinion. Keeping in mind the serious dearth of places in Pune offering pork, expectations were already high. The quail and duck though highly recommended were not up our alley that day but we hear good things about them.
With a little help from the friendly owner, we quickly ordered our soups and mains. While the wait was a bit on the longer side for the soups, we were suitably rewarded for our patience with the complexity of flavours and the hearty warmth of both our choices.
For mains, I opted for two starters while Sunil pounced on the smoked pork with bamboo shoots. My grilled Thai chicken arrived in a jiffy but the fish took a long time to make an appearance unfortunately. The smoked pork was unusual – it felt more like smoked ham chunks cooked in sauce. In addition, the pork was slightly too fatty and overcooked – points we bought to the owner’s attention and were promised to be attended to immediately. The pickled bamboo shoots (a nod to the North Eastern heritage of the owners?) was a nice touch but in terms of taste, my grilled chicken starter was the star of the show after the duck soup.
We had also ordered the Ghost Chilly Chicken as a takeaway to try back home. After several warnings about the spiciness of the dish (the chillies in question are rated by the Guinness Book as the world’s spiciest), we proceeded with caution and doused each flaming spoonful with a portion of buttered rice.
Flying Duck has a limited but varied menu with the usual Pan-Asian suspects such as Hakka noodles and Khowsuey. But it also has items like Vietnamese Cold Noodle Soup (can’t wait to try it out especially in this heat!) and Laksa done Assamese style with mackerel. The prices are moderate, the portions are generous and the food is unusual. While the wait time was on the longer side, we hope that this is just early teething troubles and that the team will get their act together in time. With food as fresh and appealing as this, one can afford to be generous with one’s patience.
Visit Flying Duck at Shop No 6, The Capital, Baner – Pashan Link Rd, Baner, Pune, Maharashtra 411045.
Timings: 11 AM to 3:30 PM, 7 PM to 11 PM and CLOSED ON TUESDAYS