Sunday, December 12, 2004

Hyderabad - Pickles

SD Road

Pickles is a 24 hour coffee shop located within Hotel Baseraa on Sarojini Devi Road in Secunderabad. This is also part of the Ohris group.

The best part about Pickles are its buffets. Ranging between 150-250, they are true value for money. The weekday lunch buffet is amazing as is the midnight biryani buffet.

Pickles gets its name from the following custom:
While you are having your meal the waiter will come around with a pickle trolley which has around 15-20 different varieties of pickles ranging from the spicy to the sweet. Punjabi, andhra, north eastern.. you can try as many as you want and as much as you want.

Their a la carte menu too is good. With the sandwiches and Indian shepherds pie being highly recommended.

Also, if you like a nice chilled beer with your lunch, you can get it here. Pickles has a licence to serve alcohol.

Hyderbadi Cuisine - A Gourmet's Paradise

The City of minars, domes, modern buildings, and pearls is also known for its tasty cuisine with its ancient tradition. Though the glittering days of courts and courtiers of Hyderabad are over the twincities are still famous for its Nawabi cuisine.

Hyderabadi cuisine is a distinct dialogue in food based on the traditional method of combining sour and the sweet, the hot and the salty. One of the India's finest foods, the biryani is closely associated with Hyderabadi cooking. The kitchens of the Nizams served the rulers well and combined the Muslim influence of the Mughal court with the predominantly Hindu subculture, to cook up a cuisine that is the ultimate in the fine dining. So much so that even brinjal take the form of baghare.

Many restaurant and cafes offer these succulent dishes at the taster's choice. Tasting the Hyderabadi cuisine is an exquisite experience and its a gastronomic adventure that is distinct and selective. It is not wise to close on without mentioning the common man's all time drink - 'Hyderabadi Chai alias Irani Tea'.

The must try of all in Hyderabadi cuisine is the Ghosth Dum Biryani or the Kucte Ghosth ki Biryani - well done Basmati rice cooked with succelent pieces of meat laced with saffron and pure ghee, fresh out of the clay handi and Haleem. The Biryani is aromatic flavoured with saffron. It is presented with great flair in the clay pot itself to the eaters.

The Shikampuri Kebab ( Lamb minced Kebabs stuffed with yoghurt and onion) or the Chind tikka ( two sheek kebabs) served with a boti in between). For vegetarians - the Hera Kebab (spinach mixed with red gram and laced lightly with spices and cream). The succulent also, the Kebabs of potatoes with lot of vegetables and dry fruits.

For those who love fish is the mahi Dum Anari - fish filled rolled in pomegranate and cooked in pomegranate sauce and cooked on steam

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Dublin - Hyderabad

Dublin - Welcompub
ITC Kakatiya Sheraton & Towers
Hyderabad - 16
040 2340 0132 *2502

ITC trumpets their pub as : The Original Irish Pub, which offers an exciting array of drinks & cocktails.

Located in the basement, the décor is reminiscent of the Irish pubs in the US, but since Ive never been to Ireland, I cannot comment on the genuine authenticity of the décor. There's a pool table near one entrance where you can while away some time, if you so wish.

The crowd here is very mixed. You have some expat crowd, couple of sons of rich businessmen, some junta that troops in after or in the middle of attending functions in other parts of the Kakatiya. I guess the only uniting factor of this crowd would be that they are **Moneyed**

Which brings me to an important question - "Just what the Heck was 'I' doing there ?" Waiting for a friend who was on a Company Business Account, is a good reason and I thank the company in question for sponsoring our evening.

We ordered a Margarita Pitcher for 700 bucks. Decent amount of alcohol in the pitcher, though the glasses were oversalted. It’s a small Pitcher, so just about filled 4 margarita glasses. Don’t go expecting beer pitcher quantities. BOB is 150. MOB is 125. Pitcher is 425. + Taxes of course... They served Potato chips with tomato sauce dip and roasted peanuts complimentary on every table and you can keep ordering refills of this. Harder stuff is about 250 per 30 ml unless you are considering the higher premium brands. Mocktails / Cocktails are in the 250+ / 275+ range. We have no idea what the snacks cost. You will see why as you read further.

Music is fairly good for most part of the time. They usually have a live band with North Eastern women doing the normal song and dance routine and they are fairly good at it. But the kind of music played keeps varying based on who's requesting what and whether it’s the live band or a DJ.

The service absolutely sucks. Unless you have a fair skinned foreigner, who speaks accented English sitting at your table. When the 3 of us intially reached there, it took 20 minutes before a waiter brought us the menu. Drinks took another 30 minutes to arrive, once the order was placed. The waiter then took, over 40 minutes to revert when we asked him for the snacks menu. By the time he reverted to us, he said the kitchen was closed ! ! ! When an Amercian friend walked in and came over to our table to say hi, the same waiter who had waited for the kitchen to close before even getting us the snacks menu, mysteriously conjured up an extra chair, before the new arrival even turned around and requested one. Barely were the words "Fosters" out of his mouth and a well iced bottle materialised in his hand. We then told our American friend to ask for a water pitcher and lo & behold, it was placed in the centre of our table with a flourish and a dose of TLC. (We had been pleading for a pitcher of water for the last 4 hours and the waiter insisted he did not have a pitcher in the pub, inspite of serving us the Margaritas out of a pitcher)

Don’t visit unless you are a fair skinned foreigner, a high roller who is well known by the waiters, or have been sucked into attending a formal function at the Kakatiya, where no alcohol is being served, and you absolutely have to have your evening fortification, no matter how long it takes !

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bangalore : Smirnoff amateur bartending workshop - Nov 27th / 28th

From: []

Do you keep awake at night thinking of:
- Is shaken better than stirred?
- What's the perfect drink for my next party?
- Is a Martini a drink or a brand?
- Does alcohol freeze?

Then you're in the right place at The Smirnoff Amateur Bartending Master

We have two workshops in Bangalore on the 27th and 28th of November. The
one on the 27th is the Smirnoff Mini Tastemaker Session and the one on
the 28th is the Smirnoff Regular Tastemaker Session. Take your pick.
Details below or online at


27th November : Smirnoff Mini Tastemaker Session
Time: 2- 5 pm
Venue: F-Bar, Le Meridien Hotel, 28 Sankey Road
Session taken by: Shatbhi Basu


Individual: Rs. 750/-
Group of 4 and more: Rs. 600/- per person
Your fee includes:
·The chance to make and sample upto 5 drinks
·A chance to learn from and interact with India's best beverage trainers
·High tea
·4 Smirnoff Twist miniatures (Citrus, Vanilla, Orange and Raspberry
flavoured vodka)
·3 Monin Bar syrup miniatures
·1 Smirnoff shot glass
·Handout & Certificate

28th November: Smirnoff Regular Tastemaker Session
Time: 12 - 6 pm
Venue: F-Bar, Le Meridien Hotel, 28 Sankey Road
Session taken by: Shatbhi Basu


Individual: Rs. 1250/-
Group of 4 and more: Rs. 1000/- per person

Your fee includes:
·The chance to make and sample upto 10 drinks
·A chance to learn and interact with India's best beverage trainers
·4 Smirnoff Twist miniatures (Citrus, Vanilla, Orange and Raspberry
flavoured vodka)
.1 Smirnoff shot glass
·3 Monin Bar syrup miniatures
·Handout & Certificate

Do the math!

Log on to for more details and online
registration. Mail us at if you want any
clarifications and give us your phone number also if you want us to call
you - else call Vikram in Delhi @ 0 9810108644. Our seats fill up fast,
so register at the earliest.

We have also introduced online payment via a secure payment gateway.

Please forward this mail to friends who may be interested. You don't
drink alone, so why learn to bartend solo!


Vikram Achanta

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Chinese Pavilion, Hyderabad

040 - 5578 5680 / 5578 5681

Located opp the Jalagam Vengalrao park in the same building as Zedds
(with the giant backlit "Z") on Banjara Hills Road no. 1.

I had heard a lot about this place too and when Nanking was too full up
and the waiting lines were too long, decided to try our Chinese Pavilion
as I was really hungry and in the mood for Chinese and not dressed for
Mainland China.

Chinese Pavilion is located in the basement of the building but has a
cute open feel to it because of the mirrored walls. Its well lit up and
the entrance is very welcoming. Service was very good and polite right
from the valets to the doorman to the manager to the waiters.

This is the first restaurant that Ive been to where the menu advises you
to order one course at a time so you eat as much as you can and donÂ’t
over order and waste food at the end. It also advises you to rely on the
waiter for recommendations. Both of which we adhered to. Though we ended
up eating more than normal in the bargain. The food was that good.

The fried wontons at 140/- were light and crispy and especially
delicious with the sweet n sour green sauce. The soups in the range of
65/- were tasty and quite authentic. The Crispy lamb was 155/- and
innovative in its use of sesame seeds. The Pan fried noodles 100/- in a
white sauce were so tasty that no extra sauces needed to be added. The
manager recommended that we finish with a brownie Sundae 110/- which was
quite good, especially the brownie part of it. But for that money, Id
still prefer to drive up to Ohri's and have the "Awful Awful"

Good place, will definitely put it down among my favorites for repeat
visits in Hyderabad.

Y2K Tandoori, Hyderabad

Located at the crossroads of Ameerpet, Khairatabad opposite where the
new PVR mall is opening up, this isnt a place you would normally think
of eating from. But given the feedback we received regarding this place,
we decided to give it a try and have been hooked ever since.

The Tandoori items are available only post 7pm but the rest of the
delicacies are served through the day. Right now, haleem is being sold
too, in both Mutton and chicken variations. They are really yummy, one
of the better haleem offerrings in the city. Make sure to advise them to
add extra fried onions, it improves the taste and texture dramatically.

They have a free home delivery system for orders above 150/- Hence Ive
never really sat down at their restaurant which they say is air
conditioned, but all Ive seen on my way past is a sales counter.

Must try's here are the chicken biryani - delicately flavored. The
pepper chicken - chinese style but packs a punch. Rumali roti's- really
soft and stay soft even after a couple of hours. Now I know where to
pick up rumalis for my dinner parties. Haleem- available only during

Having come in from Delhi, the kebab offerrings werent really
impressive, but pretty decent for Hyderabad standards.

Haleem costs 40/- for a whole plate. Chicken biryani is 70/- and
rumali's are 6 each to give you an idea that this place's food is worth
it for the odd night when u donÂ’t feel like cooking and are too tired to
go out.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Cinnabar Redd, Hyderabad

Located below Fusion 9 on Banjara Hills, Road No 1.

Restaurant and the attached bar are totally done up in Red silk, so the feel is quite regal and luxurious. Very cute tables in black wood, and cutlery in White ceramic. All in all a very comfy decor.

The restaurant offers Teppinyaki, Japanese, Thai and Chinese Food.

Afternoon set menu for 200 bucks allows u to chose a starter, soup, main course, rice or noodles and dessert from the Teppinyaki, Chinese or Thai menus. Desserts are of Anne Lise so they are of the same high standards that you can consistently expect from her. Date pancakes are worth trying out. and the Teppinyaki is a novel consept for Hyderabad.

Quite tasty but portions are limited and small. So Ohris Far East is a much better option for the same amount.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Food at the ITC Kakatiya at the Hyderabad Times Party

You can check out my other
for a review of the party but this is the place to review the
food, the only bright spot of the party.

The bar was well equipped with Chivas, Bacardi, Smirnoff & Old Monk, but
no cocktails were being served at all, which immediately brought the
Hyderabad Times (HT) party down in my esteem. Whats a good party if you
cant have good bartenders mixing up some fancy cocktails.

But the food more than made up for all the other lackings of the party.
Kakataiya's food in Hyderabad has to rank among the best.

There were buffet tables for salad, Haleem(veg option on offer too),
Hyderabadi cuisine, Oriental cuisine, Lebanese cuisine, Frontier &
Awadhi cuisine, an Indian Grill section apart from the desserts.

The Salad table had only vegetarian salads, so that was totally missable
unless you were one of those on a Navaratri Fast.

The Haleem table had veg and mutton options. And you could add the
garnishings of crispy fried onions, chopped dhaniya & pudina leaves and
lemon to your hearts content. The haleem was tasty but it was more of a
mincey consistency than a fluffly paste. So it ended up being more of a
mince gravy than a haleem feel to it.

Ok, before I go further, let me apologise to the vegetarians that I
cannot review the veg stuff at all. Given the variety of non-veg food on
offer, I did not even venture to waste time on eating the non-meat

The Hyderabadi cuisine had 2 types of non veg biryanis chicken and
mutton. The mutton was better. The chicken korma and the salans were
good accompaniments.

The oriental table had some amazing lamb meat balls in garlic sauce. The
phad thai was below par but the ginger rice and the thai red chicken
curry were outstanding.

The lebaneese table had the most amazing chicken shawrmas with all the
accompaniments that you can think of. The rice stuffed veggies were good
and the biryani here was much better than either the hyderabadi ones. It
was a mix of chicken, lamb and egg. Delicious !!!!

The Frontier cuisine had some good kebabs. The dal bukhara was not upto
Delhi's standards but good for Hyderabad standards.

The chicken khurchan in the grill section was good but the fish chops
were out of this world.

Desserts were an amalagam of stuff. Most commendable were the jelebis
and gulab jamuns.

So the best stuff would have to be the fish chops, the shawrma, the lebanese biryani and the thai red chicken curry with ginger rice.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Ohris Far East, Hyderabad

Ohri's Far East
Banjara Hills

Part of the famous Ohri's chain. These guys deserve the acclaim for their high standards in quality and taste.

The Lunch buffet here is true value for money. For 200 bucks you can have your choice of soup, starter, main side dish, rice/noodles and dessert. Complimentary pepsi or beer on the side. There are 4 choices each in veg and non-veg options and numerous permutations combinations in the rice and noodles.

the best part is you can order as much of each item as you want. And we normally end up skipping soup and carbohydrates. Having 2-3 plates of each starter and main side dish. and the dessert.

Food is excellent. Definitely worth eating here. and if u arent satisfied with the honey noodle dessert here, just go down and freak on the "awful awful"

If u r inclined to look at the decor dont miss the open kitchen, the wonderfully intricate chinese ship carving and the bonsai plants.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Blue Nile, Hyderabad

Blue Nile
Raj Bhavan Road

Opened about 2 weeks back.

Its located behind Spice republic, so u enter spice republic, pass the loos and then enter blue nile.

the decor is quite cool. aquamarine, blue n purple diffused hidden lighting gives the appearance of a new york lounge bar. Kenny g playing in the background.

was hoping for a good selection of food and then saw the ubiquitious "we serve 5 cuisines" When will hyderbadi restaurateurs learn to concentrate on one type of cuisine but master that properly ?

decided to go in for the buffet at 200 bucks + tax. This was an absolutely disastrous move.

the buffet was an amalgam of indian, chinese what have you. its a wonder they didnt try to work in the mexican thai cuisine too. guess there werent any leftovers....

in the salad selection, other than the pate and roast pepper salad, nothing was worth a second bite.

the food had chinese side dishes with no rice or noodles that would complement those items, instead there was indian pulao, naand and plain rice.
the fish was hard the chicken n mutton full of bones.

the gulab jamuns at desserts were disastrous too. the kheer was edible and there were some fruit salads that i could not muster the courage to try.

only hope that he setlles down decently and improves the food quality like what hapenned with their sister restaurant spice republic.

but as of now, for my money, Id rather go to Ohris Far East on Banjara hills

Thursday, October 07, 2004

10 Downing Street, Hyderabad

Ten Downing street
Lifestyle Complex
040 5562 0015, 5562 9323

Ten Downing Street, has its regulars. And the owners and the loyalists have an all round sense of contentment. This is my kind of place. TDS is frequented by working professionals who want to unwind after a hard days work. Couple of call center parties do come here, then after awhile realise its not really their kinda place and drift away and restore the ambience to normal. This is a place you can go to when your boss has $@!~%d you over and TDS will welcome you & your tired, weary, minds and bodies.

The Décor is kind of like what an English study is pictured to be in the movies. Warm wooden panelling including on the floors. There's a small library at one corner which partly has genuine books and partly pasted prints of book spines. Some cool curios can be seen in some of the cabinets too. The central bar table where the bar tender mixes the cocktails is a good place to sit. The most coveted seating though is the slightly worn leather sofas just at the entrance.

BOB is 125 onwards. Their draught is quite good. A mug is 100, a pitcher is around 400. 60 ml hard liquor is 160 bucks. Accompanying mixer is 40 bucks. Heard a rumor that they don’t sell small pegs. Cocktails are rs 250 onwards. Tried the Whiskey Sour and the Screaming orgasm which would have been better with more alcohol content and less ice. But good never the less. The bloody mary was appreciated though.

No complimentary snacks, but some of his food is really good. Especially the meat balls. Definitely try this. The shepherds pie is out of this world, as is the pasta. The cook for the continental stuff is great but not so for the others. The chinese snacks are average. Thai curry to be avoided at all costs.

In the noons there's a total VFM offer. For 150 bucks you get a beer, a main course, soup and desert. This includes the shepherds pie option.

DJ Black Jack totally rocks. He knows what the regulars want him to play and he sticks to it. Look out for him on Tuesdays for sure. Wednesdays is Ladies night. Ladies get beer, hard spirits and a choice of 3 cocktails absolutely free from 8-10pm. Thursdays is Karaoke night and theres some pretty good talent around. Sometimes you get a guest DJ who wants to play out his collection, but the crowd always manages to bring the DJ back on track.

If you are in the 25-45 age group and looking for a chilled out place to relax, look no further. Teeny boppers who have started addressing me as aunty/maam, please avoid this place. Ive found my sanctuary in Hyderabad, please don’t attempt to disturb it.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Smokin' Joes, Hyderabad

5563 4442, 5563 4443
No Pork

Yummy, yummy, yummy.

The best pizzas that are home delivered. Pizza hut is best for in-house, but for home delivery nothing to beat smokin joes.

Try the Chicken bonanza, napolitana, mexicana and the smokin joes special. These r my favourites.

7" - rs80-135
10" - 120 - 200
12" - 160 -280
they also offer 4 non veg 6" for 240 and 4 veg 6" for 190
U can get special bases like thin crusts and whole wheat at no extra charge. Total VFM.

The cheese and sauce base is juicy and makes the pizza that much tastier. Toppings are really generous. Most pizza places have the sum total of your toppings as x, so whther u have 3 or 10 toppings on your pizza, the total toppings will be x, whereas with smokin' joes, u actually get x*no. of toppings. so that makes for a loaded pizza.

they have stuffed crusts too. My advice would be avoid the stuffed crusts, It turns the crust hard at the sides and since yr base gets turned inwards, it lessens surface area of the base and hence toppings get decreased in this scenario.

Their chilli corn cheese toast is cheesy n yummy. Heard good reports of the pasta but havent tried it yet, nor the dessert.

Good treat, on the days u dont wanna cook n just order in or u just have to have something cheesy. For hyderabad, this is the best dose of cheese u can get after the shepherds pie at TDS.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Lautre, Hyderabad

Life Style Building
Bob : 0.75

Decided to assemble at Lautre before hitting 10 Downing where it sometimes gets too crowded to locate your friends. Didn’t stay here too long so can just about list the pros and cons :

Pros :
Excellent food. The oriental prawns are amazing for their size and the price. Music is soft rock sometimes graduating to hard rock. It isn't crowded.

Cons :
It has no crowd !!!
The seating is like a mess hall with better seats and dimmed lights.
The tables are soooo HUGE.

So this is what I surmised. Well, I mentioned before, we didn’t spend too much time here... Actually the poor owner just can't seem to strike the right balance. He seems confused as to whether he wants to serve gourmet food, have a relaxed lounge or a rocking pub. If he improves the lighting a bit, I think this place could become one of the best lounges around in the true sense of the word. A place you can relax with good food in your tracks or sweats.

Getting to the rates, they are quite reasonably priced. But after partying in Delhi, the whole of Hyderabad seems reasonably priced. BOB is 75 to 120 depending on the brand. Rum is 65 for Old Monk and 75 for Bacardi 30ml. The cocktails range from 175 to 250. Food is very reasonably priced. They serve an afternoon buffet for 150/- which also doesn’t have too many takers. But it's better to order a la carte than try the buffet which is not always excellent or so I heard.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Underdeck, Hyderabad

Under Deck
Taj Banjara
Rd No. 1
Banjara Hills
Hyderabad - 500 034
Ph : 040 5566 9999

The whole place is designed to give you a nautical feel. As you descend the stairs and even before you enter the pub, the flooring is covered with the same metal plates that the deck of a ship is. A few well placed lifebuoys and other props at the entrance just emphasise the name. The inside of the pub has a nice rich wooden panelling all over. This pub is a little on the smaller side but the décor is really cool if you are looking for a place with a difference. Although I can tell you that none of the ships that I have been on has interiors anything like this pub but then again, who cares ?

They have a live band playing there quite often. Music is normally good recognisable, lyrical music. Not the trance, house rubbish you get at the so called "hapenning" places. They have karaoke nites sometimes and the junta that comes up to sing is normally really good. Lots of firang and expat crowd here. Mostly the people put up @ the hotel. But the atmosphere is quite chilled and relaxed. Jeans and t-shirt is more than acceptable here as are sandals for the guys. So banish the thought of a stuffy 5 star pub.

Rates are ok. BOB is 100 to 160 depending on size and brand. Cocktails are classified into the 275 / 295 and 325 categories. Didn't try any, so wouldn't comment. Old Monk is 125 and Bacardi is 150. Prices go upto 2500 for a peg of blue label. Complementary popcorn and nuts are served in good quantities with the drinks. Their snacks are quite yummy too.

The staff dressed in white with sailor scarves is very polite and obliging altho its sometimes difficult to catch their eye once the crowd increases.

Decent place especially for winding down at the end of a weekend on Sunday nite, or even mid week relaxation.


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