With overseas travel halted owing to the pandemic, I found myself exploring parts of my own city, either by foot or by short city drives. In all these small ‘escapades’, I discovered certain places that made me realise that despite being born and raised in Pune for nearly eighteen years, there is so much that is overlooked in the hustle of daily commute. Some of my quarantine discoveries include a Christmas Market, a charity exhibition in a really cool cafe, shops selling hair accessories, walking plazas hidden away in the midst of crowd and mainly restaurants and food joints.
The discovery of new eateries led me to a sort of a research project where I listed some of the most famous food joints in the city, both old and new and I decided to visit all these places and bring forth Pune’s culinary treasury through the blog.
In this post, Imma tell ya about the first restaurant of the said food research, namely ‘The Maggi Hotspot.’ But before I go to the restaurant itself, I’m going to tell you a bit about India’s official favourite meal, aka Maggi Noodles™.
Alright, time for a wee bit of history.
The Maggi brand was introduced in India in the year 1983 and ever since then, it holds a special place in the heart of all Indians. As time passed, the brand grew to new heights in the country and today, we’ve got infinite flavours of the instant noodle with new recipes coming out every single day, right from the most simple to the most exotic.
The beauty of Maggi is in its simplicity. As you can see, the packet itself says ‘2 -minute noodles’ and this metaphor sums up the reason for its popularity. In fact, in India, there is a huge population of people who cannot cook for nuts but the only thing they can prepare is Maggi and that is the only consolation anyone ever needs. After all, it’s literally adding noodles and tastemaker into boiling water and Voila! Michelin-level food at your fingertips. Besides, Maggi is the best comfort food ever. It’s suitable for all occasions right from a treat after winning an award to the healing food when one is in the depths of despair, Maggi’s got everyone covered.
Interestingly, the year in which Maggi came to India is also the year in which the country won the Cricket World Cup for the first time ever, another feat that remains immortalised in every Indian heart forever.
Maggi hotspots are tiny booths across the country, selling India’s beloved Maggi noodles in a variety of flavours. Recently, Pune got its first Maggi Hotspot at the time of quarantine so without further ado, onwards we go.
This tiny little joint is located in the Camp area of Pune, in a long line of eateries and toy shops and finally leading to the city’s street shopping hub. It is located in one of the most lively areas of Pune and though it seems small, it does run rather well, despite being brand new.
This is the menu with over 25 varieties of Maggi and beverages. The pasta mentioned in the menu is the Maggi: Pazzta which is an instant pasta launched by the Maggi brand. This is also available in multiple flavours.
My favourites here would be the ‘Chilli Butter Garlic Maggi’, the ‘Cheese Oregano Maggi’ and the ‘Vegetable Maggi’. Besides these, I think all the flavours would be really fun to try out as Maggi is a very versatile dish that tastes good with almost any garnishing.
Notice how I said ‘almost’.
The menu also includes some rather exotic and bizarre flavours such as ‘Mumbai Bhel Maggi’ and ‘Chocolate Maggi’. The former is based on ‘bhel’ which is a very famous street food item in the city of Mumbai, made of sprouted beans, tamarind sauce and a lot of spicy garnishing. I may be willing to try this one sometime but the ‘Chocolate Maggi’ is something I will not be eating anytime soon(possibly ever). I have no idea who came up with that one as the combination of chocolate with Maggi does not fit into my wildest imaginations. However, I am really curious for someone to be brave enough to try this concoction and let me know how it is. Who knows, maybe there are people that like this enough for it to be on a menu.
I like how the beverages include simple Milk along with its many varieties of drink. Imagine taking a kid to the Maggi hotspot and leaving with a glass of milk. That would be the epitome of evil.
This is the shop counter that includes sweets and canned drinks, all products of Nestlé. I bought a KitKat bar and a lemon ice tea known as ‘Nestea’ both of which were absolute wins. Counters such as this one always get me excited and I get the urge to buy literally everything off it. I can probably add that to my bucket list:)
This joint also delivers its food straight to the doorstep through food delivery services such as Zomato. However, I recommend going to the place and enjoying the meal as Maggi is best enjoyed steaming hot. Takeaway is the best option to prevent overcrowding as the booth is too tiny to sit in if one visits at rush hour but if you’re there at an empty time, you’ll have the bliss of enjoying your meal in this little wee restaurant:)
This is the decor in the joint. I really like how the designers have turned such a tiny place into a very refreshing and colourful eatery.:))
I didn’t get a chance to ring the bell as there was a queue outside. Next time, I will make sure to make my satisfaction heard as the place has excellent service, despite being run single-handedly by the keeper. Despite the mounting rush, the keeper is very polite to each and every customer and does not get impatient if there is a dilemma in the customer’s choice.
Despite the pandemic, this joint has been running business pretty smoothly with hand sanitisers placed at the door and all the people wearing masks and following guidelines, besides maintaining cleanliness in all spheres. This is rather commendable for a tiny joint in the middle of Pune’s liveliest streets.
These are the boxes in which the Maggi noodles are served for takeaway. They are made of hard paper and are biodegradable and the forks provided are reusable as one can wash them after eating and keep them for future use. I really like the effort towards minimising plastic waste, besides, the joint has a bin outside it to prevent littering on a literal jam-packed street.
The only drawback of this place is the size. The booth can hold a maximum of three people at a time which often leads to queuing outside, extending out on the road. This tends to cause some shenanigans with the traffic and can be a nuisance to pedestrians. However, the crowd is fully dependent on the time and if one visits early in the day, considering it opens at seven am, or at an odd hour in the afternoon, there will be more peace to enjoy the meal.
Overall, I feel that this joint is really a unique place for anyone travelling or living in Pune and is definitely a place I can keep going to frequently.
And that is a wrap!
Until Next Time,