Friday, February 25, 2005

Abhiruchi - Hyderabad

Near Paradise Circle
2789 6565

The absolute best Andhra Thali in town. Priced about 50/- its unlimited papads, fried chillies, rasam, sambhar, curd, 3 veg dishes, dhal palak, rice & roti are an absolute steal. The crowning glory, is their melted ghee which is the closest I have come to tasting ambrosia. Its supplied in unlimited quantities & enhances the flavor of everything.

This place is normallty crowded every afternoon & evening, but believe me, its more than worth the wait.

If you would like to add some non-vegetarian dishes to your meal, just ask for the chicken roast. A very well sauteed chicken in an amazingly spicy, yet not too spicy masala for about 75/-. The chicken liver fry at 45/- is a must try, if you want to add iron to your meal :)

And for someone not interested in a thali, just order the chicken biryani for 60/-. Its the andhra pulao variety & I personally favor it over the Paradise variety.

Don't look for ambience & comfy seating. Its just manageable. The decor would rank about 2.5, but the food would rank a 4.8 on a 5 point scale. Service is 4.

They also deliver around the vicinity for orders above 300/-. Call 2789 6565 for placing an order.

Coco's - Hyderabad

Plot No 217
2nd Floor
Road No 2
Banjara Hills
Hyderabad 500 034
Ph : 2354 0600

Located opposite the KBR park, a lot has been written about the wonderful view from Coco's. Honestly, there's hardly anything that you can see once you reach there.

Its located on the terrace of the building which also houses, Shikaar, Tex Mex & Sundowner. The set up is neat. Its partly open air & the weather in Feb is ideal for this seating, late evenings. The seating is on bamboo based furniture & theres an artificial gravel kind of flooring in one section. The other section has more formalised tables which are more comfortable for eating. But if you want to relax & enjoy your drink, head to the bamboo section.

Music is played softly in the background. Theres an outstanding picture window behind th bar, which is lit from the outside, so you can see these tree branches, wherever you are seated.

This is the only open air, drinking hole, that I know of in Hyderabad. Crowd mix is between family types & friends catching up. Service is a little slow & you have to keep asking them for things like chutney, sauce & lime to go with the snacks you order. But the sheepish grin your request is accepted with, makes it kind of ok. Complimentary peanuts come with each round of drinks. BOB is around 120. Pint is 80. Cocktails in the 200 range. Mocktails a little lower. We stuck to beer.

Their kebabs are excellent. Definitely try the reshmi kebab. Or, if you are really hungry, order the kebab platter for 450/-. With 12 varieties of kebabs, 2 naans & dhal, its very worth it. They have a live grill section, on the rooftop itself, but we weren't in the mood. Anyone else try the grills @ Coco's ??? The Spinach stuffed mushrooms for 80/-, were a little bland & seemed like they had been defrosted just before frying. So, do stick to the kebabs. They do offer some items that are passable for dinner, but would advise dinner somewhere else.

All in all, it’s a nice place to catch a drink if you want a change from a noisy pub on a Sunday evening or if there's a little kid among the group that’s meeting up. But just stick to the kebabs.

Tex Mex - Hyderabad

Tex Mex
Plot No 217
2nd Floor
Road No 2
Banjara Hills
Hyderabad 500 034
Ph : 2354 0600

Located on the ground floor of Coco's, the decor is still stuck on Shikaar & so is the menu.

There are a couple of mexican items on the menu. Oops let me rephrase that. There are a couple of mexican names on the menu. If Ruby Tuesday ever saw what they serve here as Potato skins (110)..............

Tried the sopa de tortilla (60) which wasnt too bad & some chicken wings (100) that were only slightly better than what dominoes delivers & then we headed elsewhere to continue dinner.

It wasnt that the food was bad or not tasty. It just wasnt mexican. It was indian food with mexican names, not even a semblance of a cross cultural fusion. Plain & simple Indian, with a distinct leaning to punjabi cuisine. If you are looking for real tex mex food, take a trip to Bangalore & eat at the joint off commercial street. I cant remember the name right now, but the food there is fabulous, the one at forum mall in Bangalore cant compare to that mexican joint. can anyone help me with the name ?????

also heard theres a great mexican joint in chennai.....

When in delhi, head to ruby tuesday. Potato skins & a chocolate tall boy & you are ready to sleep like a baby.

OK im digressing all over the place, so will stop right here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Noodle Bar / Bombay Blues - Hyderabad

Noodle Bar / Bombay Blues
Hyderabad central
Punjagutta cross road

Tried out Bombay Blues and the food there was quite lousy. The sizzler, the nachos although world famous where quite bad. Bombay Blues is a place, I would not ever go back & eat at esp given that my expereince at Bombay Blues in Bangalore too was quite bad. Although friends who have eaten at the original bombay blues in its city of origin - bombay- found the expereince there quite good.

So, was initially hesitant to even try out Noodle Bar given that its run by the same company & they all share the same kitchen along with Copper Chimmney or so I presume. But the chinese soup @ bombay blues had been the only good dish, so in the interests of culinary discovery, decided to risk it. And, I'm really glad I did. I now eat at Noodle Bar at least once in 15 days.

The seating is oriental minimalistic, so if you have a back problem, then wait for one of the side tables to get free. Otherwise just seat yourself at the first available table.

Start out with the chicken steamed wanton with mushroom (149/-) The flavor is light & delicate. If you like your meals heavily spiced, then avoid this item. The Thai minced chicken salad (95) is pure meat decorated with 12 slivers of capsicum, so if you are looking for a dose of veggies in your salad, this ones not for you. But if you are looking for a light single item, this can serve as main course.

If you are in the mood for only soup, as I normally am, in the middle of winter, head straight for the broths. The half portions are an entire meal for people with a slightly healthy appetite. I'd love to see someone who can complete the full broth. If you can finish a full broth at one setting, then I might sponsor your broth : ) Try from the tom yum (thai spicy) the Miso (Japanese with soya) or the black pepper one. Priced about 75 for the half & 150 for full. The half can actually be split into 2 and it would still be more than other chinese restaurants serve in a soup.

you can even try out your own special combination (225). They hand you a paper with varieties of noodles, herbs, sauces, vegetables & meat. You chose, what you would like in your dish & the chef will rustle it up for you. Gives an entirely new twist to normal requests (like hold the tomato, or extra spicy please)

The sizzling chicken chilly (149) is also an entire meal with rice served along side. This is the best of the sizzlers that they serve in my book. The thai red chicken curry (159) is wonderful & coming from the southern coast, its comfort food for me. I have this when I'm missing mom's & grandmoms cooking & am too lazy to rustle it up myself. The rice is a little less given the quantity of gravy. (unlike ohris on the 3rd floor which gives too little gravy for the amount of rice in the dish) But you can order extra rice (39) and split the dish between 2 people, if you have had heavy starters.

One of my favorite restaurants in Hyderabad. The waiters now give me great service, but it could be a perk of being one of the regulars. Because if I remember right, service in the beginning wasnt too great.

A word of caution, if you are looking for Indian chinese then this isnt the place for you, head to Nanking...... (another of my favorites + he's got the new brighter space just opposite the original nanking, now if only v can do something about the taxi guy in that lane who blocks all the parking spaces.....)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Minerva Coffee Shop - Hyderabad

Minerva Coffee Shop
Amrutha Mall
2341 5910, 2340 4635

A vegetarian restaurant thats open trhough the day for snacks & sundry items.

Seating is plush. The restaurant has a wide open feel to it, which tends to suprise given its location. The bathrooms are in the process of being done up, so hopefully, they will improve soon.

Their lunch thali, is supposed to be good, but havent tasted it yet. The dosas (around 30/-) are amazing. Definitely try the dynamite chilli ginger chutney that goes with the dosas. The idlis are soft & fluffy, the vadas (26/-) crisp & comforting in a way.

If you go at lunch time, apart from south India snacks, you can also order from the Chinese section which includes items like Baby corn and black pepper (90/-)

They have a range of drinks including lassi (33) Ice cream sodas & milkshakes.

Nice place to catch up on evening tea, mid morning coffee or a late lunch.

Food 3.8, Service 3.8, Decor 3.5

Big Byte Bakery - Hyderabad

Big Byte Bakery
Sri Nagar Colony
2374 2471, 2373 7209

Big Byte is one of the better bakeries in Hyderabad. Not as good as Bakers Inn, but somewhere close. What a neo-hyderabadi must realise is that, bakeries in Hyderabad also serve as coffee shops. They are a progression of the Irani chai centres. So theres normally a large seating area and a lot of animated conversations happenning simultaneously at varius tables.

Big Byte is normally filled with a lot of college students who keep the atmosphere bright & peppy. They serve the normal savouries & sweets & also things like pizzas & burgers that are served fresh & hot. Pizzas (veg & non veg) range from 45-65 with an extra 10 for extra cheese. Burgers are in the 20-35 range. Sandwiches & cutlets (very tasty) are really reasonable at less than 15. Rolls are about 20 each.

There are also special snacks like chicken 65 (20/cup) tandoori chicken (25/piece) chicken drumstick (18/piece) chicken pie (12/piece) Do try the Chicken spring roll(20/-) thats is more indianised than the ones you get a chinese restaurants. The portions are small, but what else can you expect for these unbeatable prices. You can have your puffs hot at 10-15 bucks each & the pastry is really crisp/soft in thin layers.

Theres also a wide variety of pastries available. You can even order cakes by weight, ranging from 120/kg for a plain sponge cake to a chocolate chips n nuts for 300/kg. You can even have customised birthday cakes.

The food is tasty & great for end of the month days when the budget is tight because it is filling. They also do home deliveries for orders above 150/- call the above numbers for details.


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