Once an insignificant fringe village of Baner towards north west of Pune has become a upscale and upmarket since last 10-12 years. The main road which starts from Pune University intersection stretches all the way up to Pune Bengaluru bypass road. This road is dotted with IT/ITeS/Software companies-startups and established alike. And because of that it has earned the reputation of being silicon alley of Pune. This also has helped the area to become a hotbed for foodies due to variety of restaurants which have sprung up on either side of landmark and milestone Hotel Mahabaleshwar on the main road.
Way Down South is one such, on the far end. As the name suggests it is south Indian restaurant. And there is no dearth of them in the city. Why am I talking of another south Indian restaurant on this blog? The reason is that is not the usual Udupi restaurant. I have been there 3 times now to this place. This time around I thought of finally putting some words for them here.
It is a compact and crammed place. The menu is on the card as well as on one of the walls as well which is hand-written. The difference between this joint and other Udupi style restaurants is that it more of specialty south Indian restaurant with main focus on coastal Karnataka food. Coastal Karnataka is also called as Karavali which consists of Uttara Kannada(North Canara) and Dakshin Kannada(South Canara) districts. I remember traveling through these districts during my coastal Karnataka trip long time back. The Gauda Saraswata Bramhin(GSB) people are common here. This coastal area is also referred as Konkan due to its Kannada/Tulu influenced Konkani language.
I don’t exactly remember what I had there during my maiden visit. I had bread dosa the second time, I remember. It is literally made of the usual bread to my surprise as the way we make it at home does not have bread in it. We use rava instead, is made usually when we have butter milk made at home. The rava is mixed and let ferment overnight before making them. But I like the one at Way Down South.
The third visit was this weekend. I had a long pending bucket list for the visit to this area. A visit to Someshwar Temple in Someshwar Wadi area, a visit to ancient cave temple called Baneshwar, a visit to famous misal pav joint Khasbag Misal, and Way Down South. This all along with a mandatory visit to D-Mart for provisioning for living! It was a too ambitious plan for me and my wife. Out of these I had desperately wanted to visit Baneshwar cave temple and Khasbaug Misal in Baner, but I could do the rest but these two. The cave temple of Baneshwar is little unknown cave temple in this area, I had missed multiple opportunities to visit it during field trips conducted during my Indology course. I wanted to visit the Someshwar temple because, Mula river runs from its back side. And it was in better shape when I had visited few years ago. I wanted to check the status now, and to my disappointment, it had deteriorated further. It almost resembled to a waste water drainage with hyacinth on it.
Anyways, coming back to the restaurant. This time we had Appam, Dharwad Doddak and Surnoli, and all ended with a filter coffee. The menu is dominated by Karavali food. You will find usual suspects of idli, wada, dosa. But their specialty seems GSB food. You will find all types of unusual dosas which are common in Karavali area such as Chitrapur Pollo, Kundapur Pollo, Gava Pitti Pollo, Doddak and Chitlampudi dosa(which is Andhra Pradesh item). As you can see most of these are named after towns in these two districts. The stuff we ate this time, Appam is a Kerala dish and we make it at home. We wanted to have it for quite some time along with Aviyal(the famous Kerala curry). But to our disappointment, Appam was rather sour. The Surnoli was good. This light yellow colored fluffy dosa is rather on sweet side. The Doddak is another GSB specialty, which are dosas made with usual ingredients but with added grated cucumbers. The Doddak which we went for was called Dharwad Doddak. It was not on the main menu. It was on the wall and we went for it. It was made more in the style of hand flattened Thalipith as one gets in Maharashtra, but the ingredients were completely different and were of Doddak. Unfortunately, I could not take photos, but I suppose you should be able to get them on Zomato.
Every time I go to this place, it reminds me of my trip to, as said earlier, to coastal Karnataka, where that Konkani language still fresh in my ear, and also many delicacies we had during our trip that time, including some the dosas this restaurant has. As I write this blog, on Way Down South, it is important to mention that this is not the only specialty south Indian restaurant in the city. There are couple more which I had tried in the past-Dakshinayan in Deccan Gymkhana area, Soul Curry near Wakad, South Indies on Aundh road. All of the serve variety of Andhra, Tamil, Kerala, Karnataka specialties with varying degrees of emphasis on one or more. Out of which I remember Dakshinayan distinctly as the staff was all dressed in black colored shirt and lungi(similar to one which is worn during Ayappa temple pilgrimage in Kerala). More about them later. Till then enjoy!