Once fondly known as the ‘Oxford of The East’, Pune is a city that effortlessly blends the old and the
new and is often considered a laid-back, cooler (quite literally) counterpart to its more frenzied
other, Mumbai. While this term references Pune’s reputation as a student favourite, the city weaves
this thread of tradition and modernity seamlessly with its cultural heritage of old peths, forts, and
monuments alongside college campuses, cutting chai & its famed airport in Viman Nagar.
Incidentally, Viman Nagar is also where Social is about to land (Phoenix Market City to be precise)
with India’s 19th and Pune’s very first encounter with work meets play.
Riyaaz Amlani, C.E.O. & MD Impresario Handmade Restaurants (parent company of Social) says,
“Pune has been very kind to us over the years, and we are thrilled to bring the Social experience to
this city with a renewed commitment to creating a hotbed of creativity and creating a space that
thrives on synergy for young entrepreneurs and inspired minds. The energy here is palpable and as
always we will continue to challenge norms across the board, including food and drinks.”
While it may be inside a sprawling mall, Pune’s very first Social is uniquely its own – right from the
entrance itself which is designed to disorient you from the ordered cacophony of its mall location by
leading you through a crate-lined tunnel reminiscent of the city’s old market lanes straight into a
zone of hustle, bustle and good times!
The ode to Pune’s journey is further carried on by the interiors that immediately evoke the winding
lanes of old Poona with its vintage black and white photo frames depicting the history of the local
people in an unbroken timeline – with one wall bearing the red oil paint of the city’s post office, now
little used but still well-loved; while postcards, old-school newspapers and pages picked from
discarded school books further add to this overall sepia tinged afterglow.
The city’s burgeoning student population and its effect on the future of Pune can be seen via an
amphitheatre which takes centre-stage, with a ‘कड़क’ neon signage serving as a backdrop, inspired
no doubt by the campus love affair with cutting chai; while the community tables serve as another
common space for people to combine work with networking, while the uniquely Social telephone
booths bring about a welcome respite from all the action.
THE WORKSPACE has a trampoline? Yes, it does.
A suspended trampoline to help you zone out, work out of and host your brainstorming sessions
promising a space that is buzzing with ideas, Viman Nagar Social has everything an office has and a
lot more. In the last few years, Social has redefined cafe and co-working spaces by marrying the two
together to create a path-breaking urban hangout that is now unparalleled in Bengaluru, Mumbai,
Chandigarh and Delhi. Social stitches a maze of different environments, all of which seamlessly come
together to create the iconic ‘work meets play’ concept that Social has become synonymous with.
Co-working in Pune is a revolution of sorts aimed at promoting openness, accessibility, cross-
pollination of ideas to give rise to an inspired community. Social is a concept; an initiative that
provides a legit physical space for inspired minds to hang together, work together and obviously
party together, and Pune is about to experience that first hand.
FOOD & DRINKS
Then of course, there’s the food. Social offers “fun-dining” comfort fare that is satisfying and
wholesome with their own unique twists. Over one year of R&D has gone in to creating the menu
and the results are delightfully left of normal. Everything is served with a generous helping of the
unexpected. The menu delivers street food that is unpretentious and fun, presented in a quirky and
unconventional style. It is about departures from routines and deviations from the norm. The menu
at Viman Nagar Social combines ingredients, cultures and presentation styles from around the world
to open up your taste horizons and let your mind make connections that you wouldn’t ordinarily
make. Here’s where street food from the world gets as much spotlight as a gourmet meal. The menu
also features some brand new additions such as the (dare to share) Pizza Menu boasting the
sumptuously named 4 Cheese, Sausage Masala and Chicken Tikka & Cheddar pizza(s), alongside a
delectable selection of all-star #munchies such as the Butter Garlic Chili Momo and the Mutton
Seekh Kabab. What makes the food even more interesting is how it’s served – depending on what
you order, it could arrive on enamel plates and even wooden spiked boards. Everything has a
repurposed, DIY feel.
The drinks menu at times looks and feels like it’s something straight out of a science fiction
laboratory as the cocktails are definitely the biggest draw at Social. The menu incorporates Social
Signatures (our twist on classic cocktails) like Deconstructed Moscow Mule, Coke & Cane, Cosmo-
Explosion, Thai Maalish amongst many others with intriguing names and promising zest. Social’s
infamous and most loved #LLIIT’s (Longest Long Island Iced Tea) that are definite crowd pleasers are
on the menu as well. The idea is to make drinking fun and Social again and be rest assured you will
not be affected by the #damages.
The exterior walls are done in a very distinct way as shown in the picture above. The red lights at the entrance are sure a crowd pleaser and a center of attraction for all the selfie lovers to get clicked.
The Vibe this place has is awesome. It has an energy and a sense of relaxation. The interiors are done in a very relaxed looking Cafe, however, it is a very well thought and smartly done ambiance
1 . Veg Tandoori Momos: The Vegetarian Momos over here did not manage to impress my taste buds. The taste was very mediocre; typically boiled veggie wrapped inside a momo, whereas the momo aspect was very less to enjoy.
2. Tandoori Chicken Momos: These were medium spicy, delicious momos the place served. The stuffing was nicely wrapped inside a covering of tandoori masala. A satisfying item from their munchies menu for sure.
3. Mutton Baida Roti: Had a lot of expectations from this one, however it turned out to be nicely cooked but bland stuffing item which is not able to justify its presence. The stuffing should have been tastier with a bit of more spices.
4. Loaded Nachos: A typically filled bowl of nachos and all the other regular friends of nachos. You name it, it’s present. Jalapeno, cheese, liquid cheese, beans!
5. Jalapeno Poppers: I felt again to be very basic and without much of a taste factor. The crispy covering and filling was nicely put, but the taste somehow did not match up to the artistic presentation of the item.
6. Chooza 69: Weird name, twisted item, output enjoyable. The chicken lollipop had a nice bath in curry leaves marination and completely drenched with aromatic flavors from the south. A beautiful strong on flavor item from the menu, worth having here at Social.
7. Butter Garlic Prawns: The portion size! whoaa ! The prawns were brilliant and delectable. The butter garlic taste was not as strong as I had expected, yet was able to enjoy.
8. Beer Lamb Burger: Top-notch stuff. The buns super fresh, soft and just perfect. The stuffing was on point. Everything inside the burger was for a reason and did its job to perfection. Would recommend this one without a doubt. The fries and cheese served alongside were tempting too!
9. Khow Suey: This was the item which surprised me. Typically khow-suey is served with a rich coconut gravy with condiments and egg noodles. The different element here was the addition of schezuan sauce to this condiments and the red spicy chicken chunks served on top of the noodles. The coconut curry was very mild in terms of richness of flavors and the creamy texture which most of the places in Pune serve. A bit of disappointment for me, however, it might be their take on this classic dish.
10. Awesomasos: I loved the creative name of this item, and requested them to get one portion of this. It’s a small crispy samosa with piping hot, cheesy, mushroom inside it. Tasty and nice option to try from their veg section for starters.
The desserts include the wonderful chocolaty desserts which included the sticky toffee pudding, chocolate chutzpah, chocolate fondant, chocolate blood bath.
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