Maadjaapaahit is a brand new establishment nestled inside the Pride Hotel on University Road, Pune. The name is derived from the Madjapahit Empire, which was one of the last major empires of the region, ruling from the late 13th century till the end of the 15th century AD, and is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
Decked up in red and gold, the decor and ambiance of the restaurant transports one to the world of rich, cultural & exotic lands of Indonesia.
Indonesian cuisine is one of the most vibrant, diverse and colorful cuisines in the world comprising of intense flavor. Maadjaapahit boasts of a diverse menu, showcasing delicacies from the regions of Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei Singapore, Philippines and East Timor. #baconbaba was fortunate enough to be invited to an exclusive tasting.
We started off with a Singapore Laksa and a Tom Yum (spicy) soup. The Tom Yum gave me quite a spice hit, filled with bird chillies, but was jam packed with the flavor of lemongrass and a generous amount of chicken pieces. The Singapore Laksa was a rich, delicious coconut milk based sea-food soup, brimming with prawns, fish cakes, egg and chicken.
For the next course, we got a couple of vegetarian appetizers. Lumpia – a Filipino style fried spring roll – excellent, crisp outer crust, served with a sesame tomato sauce. Tahu Sumbat – Malaysian grilled tofu stuffed with vegetables with a chilli sauce – tofu lovers will really dig this dish. But then, tofu… meh. We also tried the Potstickers – East Timor style pan seared dumplings (vegetarian). While I couldn’t really figure out the “seared” part, the coating of the dumpling was one of the thinnest I’ve seen in Pune, leading to the veggies really shining.
Among the non-veg starters, the Fried Carrot Cake really stands out. The name is misleading – its actually a Singaporean recipe made with a fresh and preserved radish based flour cake with eggs – excellent texture, surprising to the palate.
The Murtabak – a Malaysian chicken stuffed pancake has been a favorite of mine. This version was no less than any other served in the city. Delicious to the core!
We were also served the Sate Kambing, an Indonesian lamb satay with a peanut sauce. While the sauce was yummy, the lamb was tough.
We were getting pretty full already, and so moved on to the mains. And man, we were in for a pleasurable surprise! Here came the Chilli Crab – a hard shell crab cooked in a semi thick Singaporean style. It was a tomato-basil based sauce, but had a definite spice hit to it. This will be a hit with the spice-loving Puneris!
We also tried the Malay Chicken Curry – a coconut based chicken curry. Rich, delicious with chopped red chillies and fresh bay leaves, this was served with steamed rice.
By now we were full to our gills, but this one vegetarian dish caught out eye. So we asked for a small portion of the Pumpkin Rice. This is a recipe from Papua New Guinea (an island off the coast of New Zealand). Rice tossed with pumpkin, green peas, coconut milk and spring onion, this was one of the best ‘fried rice’ dishes I have ever had! The sweetness of the pumpkin and coconut milk blended so beautifully with the rice, it took my chilli crab sauce to the next level! Absolute delicious, #MustTry !
As we were ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘aaah-ing’ from the spice hit of the chili crab on our lips, the chef sent out a sampling of his 3 best desserts.
Getuk Lindri – Sweet potato and coconut rolls drizzled with honey – this is what sugar free dreams are made of! Tasting surprisingly similar to our local ‘copra paak’, this sugar free dessert is a must try here! Dadar Gulung is another Indonesian dessert we tried – beautiful green colored rice pancake rolls stuffed with coconut and sugar – yummy to the core! Apam Balik is a Malaysian rice flour pancake with creamed corn stuffing. I am not such a fan of corn, so I would give this one a pass.
Overall, the entire experience was absolutely phenomenal. I can only think of a couple of other restaurants in Pune serving such an exotic variety of South East Asian cuisine. With a surprisingly competitively priced menu, Maadjaapaahit is a fantastic entrant into the Pune food scene!
#baconbaba khush hua!
Ps: #baconbaba would like to thank the management of Maadjaapaahit for inviting my family and me for this food tasting. The Usual Disclaimer applies.