Mastani is a Pune icon. The combination of ice cream, cream, milk and flavours is not unique, but the name sure is. Its omnipresent and Pune’s version of an ice cream shake. The first few versions of drink I had were quite disappointing, including the very famous Sujata Cold Drink House in Sadashiv peth. The drink at Sujata was decent but not outstanding.
After a lot of exploring, I was able to find an old joint called Gujjar Cold Drink House. The place had magical old world charm. Colonial-style posters and staff bustling around, efficiently serving orders and customers very focused on scooping out remnants of the bottom of their glasses. The place is located in one of the bylanes of the infamous Budhwar Peth.
Gujjar Cold Drink House make their own ice cream and syrups and the menu is a combination their various homemade ice cream and syrups, with a bit of fresh milk added. Their most popular drink is the Bajirao Mastani. Which’s a combination of orange and pineapple syrup and ice cream. It’s super tasty and a must have if you’re trying it for the first time. They have a vast ice cream menu and various combinations, including the dry fruit ones. All of them winning combinations.
I then had a chat with the owner BM Gujjar about the drink’s history. The place was started by his grandfather in 1933. The drink was then called ice cream cold drink. The place became popular and customers started calling the drink ‘Mast’ like Mastani. The drink was renamed in the 90’s and the flavour Bajirao Mastani was introduced. The love story of Peshwa Bajirao 1 and his lover and consort Mastani is well captured in both books and movies. Bajirao 1 was a Peshwa or Prime Minister of the Maratha empire under Chattrapati Sahuji. He was a brahmin and Mastani a muslim, which lead to a lot of opposition. Mastani wasn’t just a beautiful woman. She was also an able horse rider and Bajirao’s advisor and accompanied him on many of his campaigns. Their love story’s one of those classics dotting the sands of time.
And the ice cream cold drink at Gujjar Cold Drink House is a fitting tribute to this beautiful love story. Here’s the link to the Youtube video I shot many years ago with the owner of Mastani.
Happy hunting and chowder-on.