Monday, February 24, 2014
All right this one is about Mexican Cuisine. Well, after a series of food outing involving Indian, Thai, Korean and Pizza’s, I was finding it suffocating to think what else I can have. I wanted a change. A change that would involve having something new, not curries, and not stir fry’s.
Well, it was a Saturday and we came over to Broadway for a movie. After the movie, we took a walk on the Glebe Point Road and were fascinated by the great and relaxing environment. I was with my mother and brother and I loved Glebe. Not too crowded like Newtown. Quite peaceful and relaxing. There was a good mix of cuisines, Turkish, Vietnamese, Pub Food and Indian and Nepalese.
We were in the mood for Mexican and there were two options. The Flying Fajita Sisters and the Baja Cantina. Lucky for me, there were discounts from the entertainment book. A quick look into a few Urban spoon blogs and I some how was very confused about where to eat. In one of the blogs, I got more favorable reviews for Baja Cantina and decided to go for it. Well let me tell you, right from in the vening when I went past, it was just full. Buzzing with all the activity and noise and chitter. We arrived half an hour later, once we made up our mind. When we came over, we were told there was only an option in the open air Beer Garden at the rear of the restaurant. The inside seating was all reserved. Now with a great evening which it was and with a slight breeze, sitting outside was quite the thing to do.
The interiors of the restaurant are very colorful. Two adjacent shops which have been joined and with bright orange and red walls, topped with streotyped Mexican show pieces like the Mexican bull fighting caps and wooden carvings. The music matched the ambience with light tunes on the guitars. As we walked across through the restaurant in to a thin corridor pastthe kitchen and the washrooms into the back garden, trust me I loved the ambience. Wooden cottages, and small minibar along with a another portion with green grass and a little garden. The ambience just one my heart. I was suspecting that a beer garden may not be appropriate for sitting with my mum and brother, but, this was just great. Not too lound, a few families enoying the sangria or the margherita’s .
As we settled in we had a waiter coming over and serving the menu. Now the menu had quite a few options in terms of starters etc. Let me just say what we begun with. For the starters, we ordered the Baja’s Famous Nacho’s. Now normally it includes corn ships with black beans and avocado and sour cream, but there were options for adding chicken or other meat with a few more dollars. We settled for the chicken Nachos. The second starters we ordered is the salt and pepper calamari variant. For main course we settled for the fajita’s.
Well to be honest we were not superbly hungry initially, but the walk around glebe and the waiting time after the order did induce hunger in us. While it worked out for us, but yes the wait time can be quite long at times when its quite full.
Now once the food started getting served, it all came together. The main course and the appetisers. I wished the appetizers came before the starters. The salt and pepper calamari served was hot a fresh and served with rocket leaves and a dip, which I suspect was aioli. The calamari was good, fresh and crunchy. It was a bit too chewy and may be that the way calamari is. I liked it, but nothing out of the world. Next time would I order it? May be no.
The next was the Baja’s famous Nacho’s with shredded Chicken. Now this one was heavenly. Out of world. Warm corn chips and with a generous serving of molten cheese, grilled chicken. With two large dollops of avocado and sour cream, each swig of nacho chips with cheese, beans, chicken and topped with sour cream was heavenly. In fact this was the best dish of the evening. The salsa and the hot jalapeno’s added to the heat. And if you want more, just ask them for the bottled hot sauce. Too good and highly recommended. And caution, the Just one starter is good enough to share for two. For one, it could be the only dish.
My overall take was that it was great food and ambience. Mexican food is great, although I wish it was a bit hotter, but we could do that with the sauces. I loved this place. Great value for money. Two starters and one main course, that left us struggling to finish and costing just $50, was superb.
All in all, I loved it.
Would I recommend? Yes. Would I go there again? For sure.
43~45 Glebe Point Road
Call 9571 1199 ~ open every day from 6pm.
Saturdays open from 12pm for lunch
Saturday, February 8, 2014
All right this one is about Abhi’s Indian Restaurant. It all started with my 32nd birthday. After a long day at work, I returned back. Originally I planned on going to this restaurant called Aki’s at Woollomoolo. Coming from city to Strathfield and then going back to Wooloomooloo, did put me off a bit, especially since I seemed to be high in spirits and that my mom and brother were not too keen to walk. So I did a quick look up and decided to give a try to Abhi’s, which is another restaurant at North Strathfield. Both Abhi’s and Aki’s belong to the same chain. Apparently Abhi’s has been around for 24 years, and this is where Chef Mahadevan started off. Of course in years to come, he did open Aki’s about 10 years ago at a more prime location at Finger Bay in the city.
Now I had heard of Abhi for quite a few years, but since it was quite off the public transport network, never really venture to the side of North Strathfield. But this year, to celebrate the big day and after getting sloshed with a few shots, I reckon there was no way I could go to Woolomoolo. Also, I checked up the entertainment book and it had a discount. Read the reviews and looked nice. So we took a cab from Strathfield station and got here. Now quite a little restaurant from the outside, as we stepped in, it was just full of people. We were asked if there was a reservation and we said no. Then we had to wait for 10 -15 minutes, before we got a seat. Well, the interiors look small, yet cozy and elegant with the dim lighting and the different and amazing silver wall paper with the black exotic design on it.
As we settled and looked into the menu, what I liked in the menu was that there were just too many dishes. A few select and that what makes the selection easier. We decided to go for the non-veg platter for starters. This had the lamb chops, the seekh kebab and the chicken Tikka. For the main course, we asked the waiter for the recommendations and the good ones, but somehow I got a feel that the waiter wasn’t too interested. A bit of a put off, when the person serving you says everything is good at our place, please order. A bit arrogant I suppose. But nonetheless, he told us Madras Prawn Vendakai was a good dish, which was quite popular and presented in master chef. The second dish we ordered was the Patiala goat curry. This was accompanied by the various breads.
Now once we did the order, it took long for the dishes to arrive. I mean quite a wait and we were really hungry. I did look around to see if I could see any waiter and ask him where my food is. But you know, what, there is also the art these guys have, to not look at customers. At the hindsight, I look back and think Aki's had a far better service. This one’s service while prompt could be a more friendly and responsive. But nonetheless, it’s not a deal breaker.
Let’s come to the food. The Mixed Tandoori Platter looked great as it was served. The food. Well the chicken tikka's were good. I mean in line with what I would expect from a fine dining. Good chicken Tikka's. Recommended. The Hariyali chops were the lamb chops. I liked them. They were tasty, but not out of the world. For people who like lamb, they should go for it. I liked the well cut pieces and with a little bit of fat on top of it. The seekh kebab, was about average. I wish it was juicier. A bit coarse in texture and a bit too much like run of the mill restaurants.
Next come to the Patiala Goat Curry. This was the Punjabi style slow cooked goat. It was dark brown gravy topped with coriander and ginger strands and cherry tomatoes. The taste was yum. It was well spiced. Very delicious. The beauty of this dish lied in the fact that the goat meat pieces were very soft and tender. And each piece was delectably selected, with a bit of fat with each piece which made it so soft and juicy. I loved the flavors. Beautiful. And you know what, it tasted like Punjabi north Indian curry.
Next the Madras Prawn Vendakai. Now this was a strange dish for me. To start off with, it was king prawns with okra. Now in the Indian style of cooking, that is not very regular, so I had my apprehensions. But when I tasted it, I liked it. It was really tasty. I mean, let me elaborate. It had an orange-ish smooth gravy, with a distinct south Indian flavor. The prawns were large and creamy. The okra went well with it as well. I loved this dish and would recommend it highly.
The breads were great and perfectly baked. The garlic naan and the butter rotis were really good. We ordered a portion of the Kashmiri Pilau. This was supposed to be with dried fruits and nuts, and to be honest, just about ok.
For desserts, we ordered the Gulab Jamun. Now I didn’t really expect much, to be honest, but this was amazing again. They served two Gulab Jamuns, served in sugar syrup topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a wafer of sesame. Awesome. The Gulab Jamun was warm and soft. They didn’t seem to be out of a ready to cook box or something, so very good I’d say and recommended again.
All in all, I had a real good experience. Really great and would highly recommend. Yes, it is fine dining so do expect the prices to be on the higher side. Average starter is about $18. The platter cost about $ 26. The main course ranged between $ 20-$30. The vegetarian curries are below $20.
Meal for two would cost about $100.
163 Concord Road,
North Strathfield NSW 2137
T (02) 9743 3061
F (02) 9743 6517
Lunch: Sun to Friday from 12 Noon
Dinner: All nights from 6 PM
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
All right this one is about Aki’s at Woolloomoolo. Now, many years back, in one of my travels from Delhi to Sydney, I had heard one British lady travelling to Australia and talking to a Malaysian lady and stating that the best Indian restaurant in Sydney is one at Woolloomoolo called Aki’s. Talk about a multicultural scenario. But as I heard Aki’s, I wondered, which one this was. Being the food connoisseur, I was surprised that I hadn’t been aware of this one. Now to me, there were two points. Either the British lady dint know anything and that Aki’s was another cheap restaurant or that she didn’t know about Zaffraan or Nilgiri’s, the ones which I thought were best.
Now I did look it up once and saw that it was in Woolloomoolo and I had no clue and I gave up. Now many years later, a few dynamics changed. I had become a food blogger and started reading reviews. I got the entertainment book and saw this same restaurant in the fine dining section. As I looked up the map, I realized, I had been to this part of the city a few years back with one of my friends. Of course when I went last was a very memorable and blissful day, which was very special because I went with one of my best friends. For those who know Sydney, after Circular Quay, there is the Opera House and the Botanical garden. Right beyond the botanical garden, there is the navy base with all the submarines. Right next to it is the wharf with loads of restaurants. There is also the Blue, which to my surprise was a Taj Hotel property.
Anyways, enough of foreplay. Lets get to the real stuff. Now it’s a Saturday evening and I am walking from St James and I call them and decide to make a reservation. Apparently, even when I am asking for a reservation for an hour later, I am told that they are fully booked out for an outside seating, They say that they can try for indoors and ask me to come. So, to start with, please do make a reservation.
As I reach the restaurant, it’s a beautiful Saturday. Evening 7:30, the wharf is full of people as if there is a party. We come into Aki’s and settle down our corner seat. The interiors are descent. It has a silver designed wallpaper on the corner. The restaurant is quite full. Very soon we are greeted and the menu is placed. The menu is not too diverse. I like this. Unlike restaurants which offer everything and then its so confusing to choose.
|Crab with Iddiappam|
In the main course, there is a lot of confusion and difficult decisions to be made. The railway goat curry is already decided. The decision is between the seafood rezalla or the chicken curry. We decide for the Karaikudi Kozi Curry.
Well to begin with after ordering, we waited for some time before the starters appeared. Now I had done my research and I was told that the crab with iddiapam is the specialty. At the time of ordering IO had ordered for an extra portion, as we were three people dining and the usual plate offers two servings. As it came through I can definitely tell you that it looked gorgeous and very different. After a very long time, I had the feeling that I was having something new. It’s basically the signature dish here. Its basically got portion of vermicelli which is also called as hoppers in Sri Lankan cuisine. Now apparently if you go into any regular Sri Lankan restaurant, they serve hoppers with a creamy sauce. The hoppers are like small net mesh, more like a mat. On top of the hoppers were a mixture of blue swimmer crabs, cooked with black mustard and tomatoes and turmeric. Now as I took a spoonful, the taste is very mild. You top it with the creamy little sauce and its yum. I mean its got a mix of mild tastes and creamy tastes and with some Indian spices. I’d definitely recommend this dish. Quite different.
The next was the namkeen squids, which is basically the aki‘s version of the salt and pepper squid. Its again not too spiced, but lovely dish. Squids dusted with spiced flour, lightly pan fried and topped with ginger strands. It is served with a sweet tamarind or imli chutney and a red chilli. Now, this dish was my favorite among the starters. Very delicious. The fried squid was not over cooked and so the squid was soft, and with the flour batter, which was quite light and fluffy. The squids with the sweet chutney and the ginger was a riot of taste. And finally when the red chilli which I thought was for garnish, was the hidden revolutionary, cos it was so hot and re-energized the taste buds.
The chicken malai tikkas were great. Relatively more spiced, but not spicy. Very well marinated tender chicken morsel and grilled. Served with a green chutney, which wasn’t too sweet. I loved chicken and l loved the tikkas, although I would have thought the malai tikkas would have been with cream and without the turmeric, if I were in India. But very good again. I cant coplaina nd this was yum as well.
|Chicken Malai Tikkas|
Next coming to the main course, there was the koraikudi kozhi curry. Now this was the dish of the evening. It came on a wooden board with a small steel pan with the curry and a big semi spherical rice flour pancake which is called as the appam. Man, this was the dish. Now I have had various variants of the south Indian chicken but this dish hit the spot. It was creamy, spicy and quite exotic to be honest. It had the distinct flavor of a south indian cuisine with the curry leaves and with cashew and poppy seeds, it gave a wonderful texture to the curry. A beautiful dish and very highly recommended. Specially with the appam.
Moving next to the railway goat curry, it was well presented in a thick brown curry topped with garnished coriander and ginger strands. Now the curry was very very good again. Being a strict connoisseur of goat meat, I usually look out for perfect cut goat, goat meat which is soft, tender, juicy bones and well cut and cooked with the gravy. Now in this case of the dish, all this seemed to match to be honest. Very beautifully cut portion of goat meat, with a little bit of fat and really juicy meat. So all in all it did pass the test. The only thing which was a bit minor is the smell. I mean I am from India and I usually have goat meat there and usually I don’t like lamb because it is more chewy and it has a smell to it. Now I know for the lamb lovers they might say that it’s the fragrance of the lamb. Now in this case, the curry, meat everything was great, but there was very slight smell, which did seems to bother me just a little bit. But nonetheless, loved this dish as well. In fact that night I could finish it and did a take away. Next morning, when I heated it up, the aroma and the fragrance was intoxicating and out of the world. So full marks from my side on the goat curry as well. The breads were fresh and crisp.
The service was spot on. It was quite busy but the service was impeccable. The young guy attending to us turned out to be the son of the master chef and the restaurant is his namesake- Aki. He was quite chatty and we did discuss at depths about the Indian cuisine in Sydney and how there are so many variations.
All in all a great evening and a great place. Would I visit again? Most definitely yes. Would I recommend? Very much. Price- Well it is on the pricier side, considering its fine dining and with a great location. Average starter cost is about $20. Average Main course is about $34 approx. So a meal for two can range from $ 80-140.
Aki’s Fine Dining Cuisine
1/6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
T: (02) 93324600
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
All right this one is about burgers. Now again, I go back to India and speak about how any burger patties are made out to be of mince meat. So typically when I crave for a burger, I expect a lamb patty, fresh toasted buns, some mayonnaise, some mustard and a lot of chips. The beauty of it in India is that even for a chicken burger, its is made out of a minced chicken with slight spices. The especial usage of minced chicken in the patty makes it more juicy and tasty.
Now I have been in Sydney for quite a few years and love the fact that there is a burger option that has chicken in it, but usually it’s the entire chicken breast portion. Either crumb fried or just simply grilled. Now, it started with the basics- Macca’s and Hungry Jacks, followed by Oporto’s and red rooster. Now the beauty of Australia is that even if you step put to any other joint, which is not a part of the big chains, they still love their burgers. Each joint has a different twist to it. Some can be as basic as Asians cooking burgers out of a schnitzel with basics mayo etc, to all the way of gourmet burgers with caramelized onions, aioli, mushrooms, avocado along with meat.
Well this one is about Charlie and Co. Burgers. The context- after a long day of shopping around on Boxing day sale, I head over to the food court- food at five. There is Charlie and Co. Burgers which has its own enclosure and a wide array of burgers. A long line of people waiting to order burgers. Of course, majority of the items on the menu are beef burgers- wagyu patty, which I think are probably premium quality meats. There is an option of fish burger, a veggie burger and also the Roadside chicken burger. There is also a summer menu which features a special beef burger and a Charlie’s chilli Chicken.
As I stand in the line, I can peek across the glass wall looking into the chicken where they are methodically getting the meat patty’s onto a flame and grilling it, with juices dripping down. At this instance I am just a bit regretting that I could have had beef. But no regrets, I have a bigger task to decide between the two burgers.
The Summer Special Charlie’s Chilli Chicken burger features a grilled chicken breast, brie, lettuce, tomato, avocado, chilli jam and charlie’s smoked paprika mayo. Well that sounds yum and this is what I decide to try. On the contrary the roadside chicken burger is herb, crumb fried burger. I decide for the chilli chicken burger. I order it with chips. In chips I have the option of simple Sea Salt Fries, or the Parmesan and truffle fries. I decide for the truffle Fries. And to wash it down is a simple coke. The ketchup and mustard sauce have to be paid for as extra.
Now lets come to the food. The burger served looks awesome. A big fresh bun with sesame topped. A bite, and you can get the lettuce and rocket along with tomato and the chicken. A few more bites and you get the smoked paprika mayo along with the chicken. The Parmesan and truffle fries are good.
Overall, I find the burger to be descent. I mean with the avocado and the smoked mayo and the fresh tomato and lettuce is great. Quite filling as well, to be honest. However, it is the grilled chicken which I personally find a bit bland. I wish it was better tasting and more juicy. I mean I know in Australia perhaps people are used to it, but for me, although everything was awesome in the burger in terms of ingredients, but the main component – the chicken was too bland and tasteless. I mean I was tempted to open the burger and put in salt and pepper as well. But nonetheless, not bad. I did like it. Perhaps let me put it another way. I might go there again, if I have a chance or if I am in the vicinity, to try out the other burger, so its not bad. But would I go there to finish my carving for a juicy burger? Perhaps no. Would I go there specially. Most probably No.
Overall, the burgers cost about $14-$16. The fries cost $8. The sauces cost extra, $1 each, which I find quite expensive. There is no concept of a meal, so everything is ordered separately. The overall meal costs me $30, which to me expensive for a burger, even a gourmet one. I mean I would not mind paying, but not for the burger I ate.
Overall Verdict: Average burger, a bit on the higher side from a price perspective.
CHARLIE & CO. –
LEVEL 5, WESTFIELD SYDNEY,
CNR MARKET & CASTLEREAGH ST,
(02) 8072 7777
Monday, January 20, 2014
All right, this one is about hot dogs. Something so tantalizing. I mean if you think about it, its just about a hot dog and a bun. But if you fall in love with it, think about the juicy sausage, just perfectly cooked, and topped on a roll with spicy sauce, mustard, cheese. I mean, as I was growing up in India, there were two things. Firstly all those American movies which feature the quick hot dog shops and takeaways on the streets of New York.
Secondly the craze for fast food and American food in India which we went through in India as kids, as India transitioned in the 80’s and 90’s from the closed economy to an semi open economy.
|The Vegetarian Toulouse(front) - Chicken & Rocket(rear)|
In India, the beauty of it is that since its predominantly a nation which loves chicken and goat, you can get version of juicy chicken sausages or mutton sausages. But when you come abroad, the true sausage is all about meat- beef and or pork. Well, in Sydney, one of my favorite joints to have hot dogs is the Snag Stand. Located in the food court in the Westfield Mall, the hot dogs are really great and popular. Contrary to the American version of just a sausage and some sauce, the Snag Stand really gives you interesting gourmet hot dogs.
These are delicious hand crafted hot dogs, with a gourmet and boutique look.
|The Greek Lamb and Rosemary Hot Dog|
Well if you ask me, whenever I have a craving for hot dogs, this is the place. There are lot of interesting variants. For the review today, I’ll cover the three that I could possibly try- the chicken hot dog, the lamb one and the vegetarian one.
The Chicken and Rocket hot dog, has a fresh poppy roll. There is a delicious and juicy chicken sausage. It is topped with rocket leaves, pesto, aioli. There is delicious level of fresh grated or shaved parmesan cheese along with fresh tomatoes. One bite and it is heaven. For me it the best one.
The next one in the line is the Greek hot dog. The greek hot dog has the grilled lamb sausage. It is served on a toasted poppy seed roll. In terms of toppings, fresh tomato and onions. What makes it interesting is that there is crumbled feta cheese and mayonnaise. The sausage is bit tougher than the chicken one, which is extremely juicy. The lamb sausage has a smoky flavor, a bit chewy and yet with the typical lamb flavor. Pretty darn good again.
The last option is the vegetarian one. Well, this one is interesting one. On one of the Tuesdays, when I am a vegetarian by choice and I was out on Christmas eve, I was starving and looking out for a veg option. Pleasantly surprised to find a veg option, in fact there were four. The Veg Nacho Libre, Toulouse Vegetarian, the spicy veggie chorizo, and the beetroot horseradish. Well, the Veg Nacho Libre had run out and I presume that’s probably the more popular one.
The Veg Toulouse was not that bad. I mean, it had a veggie potato and sage sausage. There was rosemary and mushrooms, and aioli. The garlic favored mayonnaise went pretty well. To be honest, if I didn’t have to a vegetarian, I would probably not have it again, as sausages have to have some meat in it. The veg hot dog did taste descent, but its not what I crave for to be honest.
Also, when you order a meal, go for the chips which are claimed to be from 100% tassy potatoes.
Level 5, 188 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
Telephone: (02) 9221 9600
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
All right, This one is about Niro's Jaipur. Well, close to 14 years back, I did venture into this restaurant with my father. After getting admission into engineering, my father took me out for a lunch to Niro's. At that point, I probably didn't know that I would fall in love with this place for ever. In the years to come, visits with friends, girl friend and family. I have looked out for an excuse to be here.
Niro's, located at Panch Batti, is the perfect spot for a great meal followed by a movie at Raj Mandir. In the last 14 years, I have been to Niros a number of times. The decor is great. It has that charm of the old bygone British era. Its got the old world charm some how in the ambience, the service, the dresses of the people serving.
There is usually a rush and there is waiting at times. Looking into the menu, there is quite a variety across Indian, Continental and Chinese. Well, for me Niro' is about Continental. Ever since I have been coming here, the dish for me, that I love and crave for and can have any time is the Chicken Ala Kiev. Well, to be honest as a kid rowing up in the 80s and 90s, India was going through the metamorphosis and opening up to the outside world. Indian food was of course readily available. What I really wanted and craved for is continental dishes. Usually there were select few restaurants in Delhi and other cities where you could have great continental food.
At Niro's, I had the Chicken Ala Kiev for the first time. To describe the dish, when it is served, you see a cylindrical crumb fried dish, served with fries and boiled veggies- beans and carrots. Now, as you pick up the fork and knife, it easily glides into the crumb fried only to uncover a chicken minced cylinder shaped dish which is topped with golden crumb fried. The chicken mince is delicious and delicate. Soft and juicy, it is exotic. As you move on to the next bite you can savor the juices of the soft chicken mince. But when you dive the knife for the third time for a cut, you are in for a surprise. Apparently, the crumb fried chicken mince has a hidden interior cavity filled with butter and herbs. The butter is neatly sealed inside this cavity of chicken mince and as you cut it for the third time, all the molten butter flows out. This dish in my humble opinion is the most heavenly dish I have ever had. Highly Recommended.
In the years that went by, I have stayed abroad and tried the chicken Ala Kiev at various places in Australia and Netherlands, but trust me, nothing like what I have had at Niro's. Now perhaps the Niro's version might be customized but to me it is the best. I was sad to discover that the chicken ala kiev served at various places here and even the readyto cook were sadly a disappointment here in Australia.
Other things that I have tried here is the cream of chicken soup and the fried fish with Tartare sauce, each immaculate and perfect. I guess, the way continental is made in India and served, has its own unique taste. The fish is beautiful and golden crumb fried and served with chips and tartare sauce. Now again, this is something that I have not seen in Australia. Over here, it is ieither grilled or beer battered. But the one served at Nir's is again exotic and tasty, and very Indian Continental I'd say
In the Indian, i have had the Rajputana Laal Maans here at Niro's andthat was also descent. But for me, Niros is only about Continental. Highly recommended from me if you are in Jaipur.
Niros Restaurant, Mirza Ismail Road,
Jaipur 302-001 Rajasthan (India)
Jaipur 302-001 Rajasthan (India)
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
All right. This one is destination review for Hyderabad. Hyderabad is one of those cities, which I forayed into many years back. After completing engineering, just like the giant leap for mankind, after man stepped on the moon, in a very similar manner, it was my big step from north India to down south. When I went there for my MBA for the first time, I was a brash arrogant Delhi-ite. Arrogant I ventured in south India making fun that everything is written in circles and it’s all about Idli dosa’s. But as I settled in the city for two years, by the time I left the city, I was in head over heels in love with this city. There was a charm in the city which was subtle, relaxed and yet cultured. Hyderabad was the place where even a CEO can be seen walking down the street in simple chappal’s. High thinking and simple living. The beautiful harmony and mix of telugu and muslim population co-existing together. The amazing weather along with the exception of the months of summer. The long drawn accented Hyderabadi lingo and the amazing food. From the walled city near Charminar, to the metropolitan areas of Begumpet, the elite Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills. A very economical city for living and eating. For foodies, it is a dream place to be.
Lets start with the various joints in Hyderabad.
The most famous and aspect of Hyderabad, which everyone knows is the Biryani. Biryani is served in almost all the corners of the town. Haleem which is made during ramzaan. Chicken 65 the spicy starter unique to Hyderabad.
Biryani, Haleem & Curries
- Paradise Biryani: Secunderabad- Famous for all tourists and great Biryani, this place is huge and the biryani is great.
- Hyderabad House: A chain of restaurants with multiple locations. Studying at ICFAI, the closest for us was the one at Road number 3, near the Masjid. One thing which is unbelievable is the appetite for rice for Telegu people. I recall seeing two people finishing of a jumbo plate, which for us would have been sufficient for three to four people.
- Hyderabad Restaurant, Yusufguda: I remember driving down on bikes to this place for either Dine Ins or for take away before our big parties. If you are in Srinagar Colony near the ATM’s, there is this road perpendicular to the ATM’s. Drive thorough straight and you shall join the main road of Yusufguda. At a big intersection, on your left you shall see the Hyderabad Restaurant. Like any Hyderbadi joint, you have a shop for chai, paan, beedi right outside. As you enter the shop, there is a general area, more like the regular Hyderabadi cafes and then there is the AC section behind. Great food. For each of our parties, we used to order two jumbo packs, which used to be 3-4 kgs of Biryani each and about Rs. 180/-.
- Bawarchi: has one of the best and Authentic Biryani’s.
- Midnight Biryani @ Hotel Green Park: If you are looking for a bit of standard place with ambience and great food, Hotel Green Park was our destination. A buffet for about Rs 200/- at any time in the night.
Shahdab: In the old city, near Chaarminar, opposite to Medina Hotel. The mecca for authentic muslim food. The right setup, walled city, great food and Shadaab. They take you the firstfloor, where they make you sit in the iislamic way on baithaks on the floor, with low rise tables. The curries and haleems are great.
A few other eateries, where we used to visit as students for almost daily eating was Hotel Banjara Darbar and Hotel Bashar. Two joints at Punjagutta, right near the police station and opposite to Hyderbad Central. Late night eat outs, after parties etc. This has been the hub for us. There is probably nothing to boast other than great economical food for students and very spicy food.
Another one was Dhuandaar Dhabha As you move from Punjagutta to Nagarjuna Circle and further on Road Number 1. This had some real spicy curries and tandoori items. Last I read, it is now closed permanently.
At Tolichowki, there was a big restaurant complex, which we used to visit once in a while. From Banjara Hills it was a bit far, so we used to go for special occasions. There are a number of restaurants lined up and it is the mecca for Non Veg food. Siddiqui’s, one of the popular joints, which serves, roasted chicken, tikka’s, pathar ka gosht, and Biryani. Dirt Cheap food and amazing quality. Must visit. There was also four seasons here, which was descent, although Siddiqui’s Kebab Center was our favorite. They had also opened up Arabian Nights near Yashoda Hospital on Raj Bhavan Road. Highly recommended.
Bade Mian Kebab@ Somajigauda: Its at this mall at the intersection of the road from Rajbhavan Road, Begumpet and Punjagutta.
Well, in Hyderabad there are a few places for fish.
Fishland in Ameerpet is pretty good. Very Busy and a large menu of diverse variety of fish items.
Club 8 Hyderabad at Begumpet makes the best chilli and garlic prawns. Id die to go there again just to have their prawn starters.
Hyderabad is a city best known for its lunch buffets. 6 years back when I was there, and I recall, it was dirt cheap and great food. For as low as Rs 100/- and high as Rs 250/- you would find an awesome and lavish spread of food. This was all across the city.
The best ones I recall
Angeethi’s: OMG, this was one of the best North Indian food I found at Hyderabad. Serving, chicken, mutton Biryani, Fish fry and various other non veg items, this used to be a paradise for north indian food. I recall the buffet used to be Rs 135/- per head
Zafraan exotica: Road number 12 in Banjara Hills, this one had a roof top and a great buffet again, and the view of the city was great.
Zafraan, Somajigowda: Another one which also served seafood in the buffet. Again pretty good.
Ohri’s: Ohri is a brand famous in Hyderbad. They have multiple location. One was in Road Number 12, which had muti level dining. There is Ohri’s food court on the ground floor and open till late in the night with the buffet. We would often come over for coffees and ice creams as students. There was Chinese restaurant Far East, which was pretty good as well. On the top floor, I recall there was an African interior based restaurant called Serengeti which provided again a good view of the city.
Ohri’s Jeeva: A vegetarian buffet option on Raj Bhawan Road, next to Yashoda Hospital. Not really my favorite as it was vegetarian, but nonetheless a very popular option for veggies.
Kaboora @Begumpet. One of the first outings for our MBA batch and we wrecked havoc on their buffet. Very good food and memories.
Pizza Corner@ Road No.3, during Ramzaan used to have unlimited Pizza’s offer. For something like Rs 150/- approx. they have unlimited pizza slices for Mutton keema pizza.
Well Well, What do I say? Sigh. Hyderabad has cafes all across the cities. The concept and culture of confectionary still exists and is very high in the city. Walk in for a quick grub. Patties, Puff, Pastries. Veg, Egg, Chicken, Mutton Puff’s. The burgers are pretty cute and old style. I mean it reminds me of the home made burgers we used to have kids. They still make a chicken or mutton sabji and make a burger out of it. Dirt cheap cafes, great value for food. A few of them I remember
- - Midtown Bakery at Punjagutta Circle
- Mountain Bakery on Road number 3 near the Masjid
- Big Byte @ Srinagar Colony
- Karachi Bakery, famous for its fruit biscuits.
- Almond House on Road number 3, Banjara Hills. Awesome Almond biscuits. The cheese and mushroom puff is highly recommended.
Roll Call: A small little eatery on Nagarjuna Circle which makes the most awesome Calcutta rolls in Hyderabad. It was right outside our ICFAI Hyderabad campus.
North Indian Fare
As North Indian’s, I did miss my hari chutney, sirke waale pyaaz and butter chicken. That led us to all the search for authentic north Indian joints.
Angeethi as I mentioned previously was one of the best joints for buffet.
- Shahji Ka Dhabha @ Lakdi ka Pull: Just after you cross the pull, on your right there is a petrol pump, and then Shahji ka Dhabha. A small little eatery but great north indian non veg food. Must have. I remember days when it was raining, and we would end up here for the tandorri chicken and the butther chicken
- Sher-E-Punjab: Another little dhabha on Punjagutta. Just as you take a left to go towards Ameerpet, this dhabha is on the right, great north Indian food. Last update is that it is closed now.
- Needs Restaurant at Begumpet (street behind Lifestyle, beyond St.Francis)- the most awesome parantha’s and lassi. North Indian fare is good. A small eatery in a flat, with the personalized touch.
- Tiwari Sweets: On the intersection of the road from punjagutta, khairtabad and the road towards Imax. This place has great samosa’s and sweets. Come to this place on a Sunday morning for their poori Subji and you will fal in love with it.
The golgappa’s at the Jubilee Hills Check post is famous. The beauty about chaat in South india is that they call it chats and instead of the boiled potato, they give matar chaat in the golgapps with the water.
Gokul Chaat at Koti is another classic hangout place. The menu is simple. Pav Bhaji, Pani Puri, Samosa Ragda, Bhel Puri and Cold Dahi Samosa. All items less than Rs 50/- and really great chaat.
Chutneys: An amazing place which just serves dosa’s and variants of chutneys. The specialty is the number of chutneys served over here. Owned by the Telegu film star Nagarjuna, this place has a long line to get in every evening and all the snazziest of cars being parked. Not too expensive, and great food. Located at Nagarjuna Circle
A variety of Andhra Mess and Tiffins adorn the streets of Hyderabad. Just walk in and for as less Rs 10/- you can have a Andhra meal. The Andhra specialities also include the variants of rice. Lemon/ Tomato Rice etc.
A few places are just for their amazing ambience.
Durgam Chevru: On the high tech city, there is a big lake, also referred to as the secret lake. When you come in from the high tech city side, there is the entrance to Durgam Chevru and small Andhra Pradesh Tourism café which serves snacks. Chicken 65, French fries, Pakoda’s. The menu is limited, but the location is just great. On a day after it has rained, it is just perfect.
Our Place: On Road No 10, Banjara Hills, this place has a garden based restaurant with great ambience.
Eat Street: overlooking the Hussain Sagar lake, this is a place for its location. A food court is there with some options. I can’t recall anything too awesome about the food, but worth the location.
Continental and International Cuisine
Fusion 9 & Deli 9: A very good place for international cuisine. Pasta’s Pizza’s, Mediterranean, Salami’s & Sausages. The sandwiches and soups are a must. They have a weekend bunch which is really awesome and very refreshing.
Little Italy: I recall Little Italy opening up initially in Banjara Hills, Road No 1. Great pasta’s and Ice Tea. I have heard this has now moved to Jubilee Hills.
Indi Joe A beautiful lunch buffet with continental spread based out at the city center mall.