Restaurant Review: Dorje and the Bell
Updated: Jul 31
Dorje and the Bell
Food: 4 | Service: 3 | Décor: 3
Located on the DP Road in Pimple Nilakh, Dorje and the Bell serves a mix of Tibetan and Pan-Asian cuisines. The unique name comes from the dorje (vajra) and the bell instruments used by Tibetan monks that symbolize wisdom and method.
The restaurant was started in 2017 by three women Ashwini Narayan, Renuka Shinde and Jyotsna Rai, who set-up the place themselves from scratch, right from creating the wooden furniture and the décor elements used to setting up the kitchen and curating the menu. The seating is mostly in the covered space outside a shop which houses the kitchen. Small décor elements like potted plants, bird houses, prayer wheels, hanging bells, DIY lampshades and our absolute favorite stone tic-tac-toe boards on each table, help make the space homely and personal.
The menu is limited and features a mix of Tibetan, Korean, Chinese and fast food dishes. The recipes of the Tibetan food served come from Jyotsna and her grandmother who hail from Sikkim. In fact they plan to add some select North Eastern dishes to the menu soon.
We started with the unique Mushroom and Cheese Shabale or Tibetan Pies. These delicious pies were stuffed perfectly with a mince mushroom and cheese filling, fried perfectly till brown and served with a spicy sauce. We followed this with the Cripsy Veg Fretter Open Bao Sandwich. The soft baos filled with crispy corn-potato fritters topped with capsicum and onions and served with a spiced mayo was a great flavor combination. But two fritters in one bao were slightly disproportionate and messy to eat. We accompanied our starters with the refreshing Basil Ginger Ale and a unique and tasty Guava Mojito.
There are only a few restaurants in the city which serve Thukpa or Tibetan noodle soup. Dorje and the Bell has a few variants of it and we picked the Grill Tofu Thukpa. Served piping hot, the thukpa was hearty and delightfully mild in flavor. The grilled yet soft tofu and the vegetables added a different element to the dish. As described on the menu, a bowl of thukpa is light on the stomach, but heavy on satisfaction. Our server recommended that we try the Ramen which is a Japanese noodle soup. We tasted the Chicken Ramen which was a bowl of noodle soup served with grilled chicken, some greens and a fried egg. With all the elements, this was a meal in itself. The broth, though flavourful, was overpowered by the runny yolk of the fried egg. I would have preferred the egg to be sift-boiled and not half-fried. Of course this is a personal preference and can be customized by letting the server know.
For desserts, my obvious pick was the Caramel Custard. Made in-house without any premixes, the custard was smooth and creamy and the consistency was perfect. Adding a dash of coffee flavor was a stroke of genius. We ended up gobbling three portions. Greed made us order the Brownies with Ice-cream. The freshly baked brownies were gooey, warm and loaded walnuts. Both the desserts were the perfect end to a delightful meal.
PLUS & MINUS
The limited and unique menu at Dorje and the Bell works well and the food served is homely and delicious. We would love to see some more Tibetan dishes beyond the Thukpa and Shabale. Though the space exudes warmth, some décor elements seem a bit worn out need some sprucing up and updating.
Must Try Dishes: Mushroom cheese Shabale, Grill Tofu thukpa, Ramen Noodle Bowl, Caramel custard, Brownies with ice cream
Meal for Two: Rs. 600
Address: Suyog Shree Society, Shop No.3, New DP Rd, Vishal Nagar, Pimple Nilakh, Pimpri-Chinchwad - 411027
Timings: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM | Thursday Closed
Photo Courtesy: Dorje and the Bell
This review was first published in Pune Times on 25 October 2019.