There’s something about Missal Pav that leaves an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to savour its spicy, flavorful delight. My love affair with this iconic Maharashtrian dish began decades ago in Kolhapur, where I first experienced the fiery magic of Missal Pav during one of my Cricket tours. Over the years, I’ve ventured far and wide, searching for that perfect blend of flavours that reminds me of my first bite in Kolhapur.
While my current city of Hyderabad offers its own culinary treasures, Missal Pav gems are relatively rare here. However, a few hidden treasures like MyBoli and Bambai Tapri have managed to capture the essence of this delectable dish.
A few weeks back I was in Pune and my friend decided to take me to a different Missal Pav place, a place that has been serving Missal Pav for over 100 years and is the oldest Missal Pav place in Pune. I will talk about this hidden gem Vaidya Upahar Gruh in this blog post.
Vaidya Upahar Gruh, nestled amidst the bustling lanes of Budhwar Peth, is a true hidden treasure, that can be easily overlooked in the midst of the lively streets. To find it, you must keep a keen eye, for it hides within the vibrant neighbourhood.
The interiors are a living testament to yesteryears, with weathered windows and furniture that tell a tale about the past. In this cosy space, a tiny open kitchen takes centre stage, where loaves of bread and piping-hot Missal are prepared with love and expertise. With just a handful of tables, the place exudes an intimate charm that’s hard to replicate.
It’s a family affair, now run by the fifth generation of its founder. Ask for extra pav and listen to the owner yell “don slaaiiceee…” (Two slices in Marathi) Overall, I’d say the old charm of the Vaidya Upahar Gruh is unmatched and magical.
Vaidya Upahar Gruh’s Different Missal
Before I dive into my Missal Pav experience at Vaidya Upahar Gruh, let me talk about the anatomy of Missal. A classic Missal consists of a flavorful medley of dal, and a fiery, spicy soup called “tarri.” The magic of Missal lies in the diversity of days and the intensity of its tarri, which varies from place to place. Some serve it with a fiery red hue, while others opt for a rich, dark brown colour, each dependent on the masala blend and spice level.
However, Vaidya Upahar Gruh has a different take by presenting a Missal Pav that stands out in both appearance and taste. First and foremost, its unique green colour is a visual treat, a rarity in the world of Missal. But what truly sets it apart is its unexpected sweetness. Yes, you read that right – this Missal is sweet, a delightful departure from its spicier counterparts.
The tarri, which is usually fiery, is crafted with a gentle sweetness derived from coconut milk. It’s said to carry a hint of Konkani influence, infusing the dish with the delightful flavour of sweet coconut. The result is a Missal Pav that’s different, daring, and utterly worth trying. Served with a generous helping of farsan and slices of bread, this sweet twist on a classic is nothing short of heavenly.
Apart from these, you will find Batata Vada, Kanda Pohe and Ussal. The Ussal here is also different. It’s made from peas and again made in Coconut milk giving it the sweet flavour. It’s a sweet counterpart of the Nimona that we eat in North India.
Window Into The Past
Vaidya Upahar Gruh is more than just a restaurant; it’s a window into the past, a bridge to the traditions that continue to shape the present. It’s a place where time stands still, and the flavours tell a story that spans generations. My visit to this iconic eatery was not just a culinary journey; it was a tribute to the enduring love for Missal Pav and a reminder that innovation can coexist with age-old traditions.
If you are visiting Pune, make sure you don’t miss Vaidya Upahar Gruh. It’s a taste of history, a slice of tradition, and an unforgettable culinary experience that will leave your taste buds craving more. In the world of Missal Pav, this place truly stands as a testament to the saying, “Old is gold,” and I can’t wait to revisit this unique, century-old establishment in the heart of Pune.