Address: Shop No. 37, Patil Complex, Spicer College – Aundh Road, Ambedkar Chowk, Khadki, Pune, Maharashtra 411020, India
Time: 12 Noon to 3 PM, 6 PM to 9:30 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 500
Facilities: No Alcohol Available, Outdoor Seating
The Smiley House is back after a brief hiatus in a new location with some old (and new) Vietnamese dishes.
Smiley House, Khadki, Pune: DECOR
A minuscule outlet located next to an ATM, there are about eight tables. Wooden tables, comfortable chairs — the vibe here is very reminiscent of the small Asian kitchens that dot the hill stations, especially in the Northern parts of the country.
Smiley House, Khadki, Pune: FOOD
If you have space for just one dish — order the Pho. Fragrant, subtle and served steaming, the bowl of noodle soup here is a flavor punch. Available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian (meat and chicken) options, you can choose between a small or a big bowl.
Our meat pho arrived with slices of well-cooked meat and flat rice noodles swimming in clear flavorful broth punctuated with black pepper and spring onions. While purists might scoff at the idea of a vegetarian pho; the slightly spiced-up broth with tofu, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and beans and garlic served here is pretty decent. Another hot seller here is the Summer Roll served with a spicy soy dipping sauce. Rice paper wrappers rolled around julienned vegetables like carrots, cucumber, coriander leaves, lemon grass and rice noodles, this one is a burst of freshness. You can also choose to add prawns or pork to your rolls. Of the starters, the Sweet Potato Cheese Stick — crumb-fried rolls of mashed sweet potato with a cheesy center — lacked seasoning or should have been served with a punchy dipping sauce. The Fish Sauce Chicken Wings, though umami-sh in flavour, were dry and chewy.
There are plenty of mains apart from the Pho — the dish of the day is usually a good bet. Our pork stew with tender meat and rice was comforting.They also have a few vegan and gluten free options, of which the Black Pepper Tofu — fried tofu, mushrooms in soy and pepper sauce served with a side of rice could have done with less salt. Of the desserts, the Banana Coconut Ice Cream — frozen chunks of tender coconut cream with banana sliced and toasted peanuts, needed some thawing before bringing to the table. The Vietnamese Iced Coffee — a strong coffee-based beverage made with condensed milk, on the other hand, is pretty good.
Smiley House, Khadki, Pune: PLUS AND MINUS
One of the best spots in town for a steaming bowl of pho. The kitchen is run by siblings who make limited batches of food, and they usually run out of their hot sellers (appetizers and desserts), so it is recommended you get there early.The last order for dinner is taken at 9 pm.