Archive for Awesome

Hard Rock Cafe

Place: Hard Rock Cafe
Location: GVK One, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: American
Meal: Dinner (with friends)

I’ve been wanting to visit this place for a long time, but the lack of company and/or an occasion kept me from it. It was one of my friend’s birthday last weekend, and I dragged everyone to Hard Rock Cafe. I was kinda skeptical if whether these guys would like the place, but thankfully, they did. The place was partly full when we dropped in around 8:30, but got packed as time passed by. We found a booth in the restaurant part of the cafe (the other being the bar section). The ambience and decor were very good, and it felt like I was in a real American cafe. The loud blaring music made sure no one was dozing. 😛

We took our time with the menu, and decided to start with a Veg Jumbo Combo, which included Santa Fe Spring Rolls, Onion Rings, Potato Skins and Tomato Bruschetta with four different sauces. The meat-eating friends ordered for Tupelo Chicken Tenders. We also ordered a drink each, and I asked for a Mango Cooler.

The drinks were served first, and I liked mine. It was a mix of Mango and Orange juices. Soon, the Jumbo Combo was served, and it was huge and every well presented. The Santa Fe Spring Rolls were heavenly and one of the best rolls I’ve had in recent times. Cheesy and crispy, they were yum. The Onions rings were alright, a little too oily, and the Bruschetta was pretty decent. The Potato Skins again were excellent. They were cheesy and perfectly baked. I’m not a big fan of salads, but the accompanying one tasted delicious.

For the main course, I ordered a HRC Veggie Burger with caramelized onions and mushrooms. Other guys ordered for Caribbean Black Bean Burger, Grilled Fillet Steak and Grilled Chicken With Lemon Caper Sauce.

It took a while for the main course to be served, probably because of the steak. When the food finally arrived, it was quite a sight. My burger looked super huge, and I was in for an absolute treat. It turned out to be scrumptious. I struggled to take it all in into my mouth and kinda made a mess of it before I finished, but it was worth all the mess. I only wish they went light on the caramelized onions, for it made it a little too sweet.

I had a taste of the  Black Bean Burger, and it tasted pretty good as well. Unlike mine, which was served with a salad, this one came with crunchy Fries. The other guys were happy with their Chicken and Steak as well. I happened to taste the Mashed Potato which came with the steak, and it was again, heavenly. It was definitely the best Mashed Potato I’ve had in my life. Wow!!

We were pretty much stuffed, but I wanted to try their Chocolate Mousse. But the guy suggested we go for Chocolate Cake instead, which could be shared.

And the cake turned out to be luscious, moist and fudgy. It tasted even better with the Vanilla ice-cream. Yummy!!

Overall, an excellent meal. The food was finger licking good, and so was the atmosphere. I loved the music they played, the ambience, and their service. The only thing I didn’t like was the amount on the bill :P. It was expected to be an expensive affair, but to be honest, it was worth it. It was a perfect way to celebrate my friend’s birthday. I’m definitely going back soon to get another taste of their Spring Rolls and Burger!!

Food: 9.5/10
Drinks: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Ambience: 9.5/10
Meal for 4: Rs. 5059/- (Taxes: Rs. 1164/-)

Verdict: 9/10

English Vinglish

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Oh yes. It is an absolute must watch for everyone. The script connects with almost every household in India, and that’s what makes the film work. The script is very well executed by first time director Gauri Shinde. There a smile on your face pretty much throughout the film. Do I even need to get started on Sridevi?? She is exceptionally brilliant, and carries the film on her shoulders all the way.

And with Sridevi in the film, does it really matter if its worth your time and money?? 😛

Ab toh Laddu khilana hi padega!! 😀

Verdict: 9/10

Barfi

Acting: 10/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 9/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Absolutely!! It is one of the best film I’ve watched in recent times. Simple yet heart-wrenching, it is a movie which makes you feel good. While the direction and screenplay are very good, Ranbir and Priyanka out perform each other. You’ll walk out of the theater with a smile on your face, pakka!! 🙂

Verdict: 9.5/10

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight has finally risen, and he does it with a bang!! The Dark Knight Rises is nothing short of spectacular, and is a perfect ending to the franchise. It ain’t a perfect film by any means, but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome!!

Christopher Nolan’s films are all different for none of his movies concentrate on action alone. There’s drama, a lot of dialogues, and on most occasions a convoluted story (Memento, Inception, etc.). This one ain’t so difficult to understand though, its plain simple (Story by Nolan and David Goyer). Batman returns to Gotham city after a 8 year exile to fight mighty Bane, a protegé of Ra’s al Gul, who proves too tough for him to handle. He falls, and Gotham needs him to rise one more time. Nolan puts all of this to screen with ease. The characters are very well sketched, and well-connected. The action sequences are very well choreographed, and the IMAX is used perfectly. But, the film is definitely too long, and at times, the screenplay (Nolan and Jonathan Nolan) is weak. The build up to the climax is huge, but I thought the punch was missing. I expected a better finish to Bane, but was hugely disappointed. That apart, the direction is perfect, and Nolan has a winner at hand.

On the acting front, Christian Bale has been Nolan’s dark horse. He is a delight to watch on-screen. His performance as the defeated Bruce Wayne is intense and commendable. Anne Hathway is hot as Cat Woman. Bane/Tom Hardy was the best to come across Batman (after Joker/Heath Ledger though). I just wish he got a better finish. Micheal Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are at their usual best, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is very impressive. Marion Cotillard surprises in her small yet vital role.

Music by Hans Zimmer is brilliant. The background score, especially in the episode where Wayne rises, gives you goose bumps. Cinematography by Wally Pfister is very good and editing by Lee Smith is alright. For a film of this magnitude, I was very disappointed with the graphics though. They seemed very patchy throughout the film.

Overall, an entertaining film. To call it an epic might be going a little overboard, but its close nevertheless. Nolan continues with his fine work and gives a perfect end to the Batman Trilogy (end or a new beginning remains to be seen, thanks to Robin).

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Do I even need to answer that question?? It’s the biggest movie of the year, and if you still need an answer, hell yeah. It might not be the best of Nolan’s work, but it’s a perfect finish to the series (I hope this ain’t the end!!)

Verdict: 9/10

Eega

I lost interest in Eega once the movie’s release got postponed from March. It’s been a week since the movie released, but I had no urge to watch it and have been skeptical on its success. I finally did last night, and it was proved wrong. Kudos Mr. Rajamouli, for you have changed taken Telugu cinema to a different level altogether.

Eega starts off with a father narrating a bed-time story to his daughter. This gives the director, Rajamouli, the freedom to play along with the story of the movie, and fantasize it as much as possible. I thought this was brilliant concept, for  you know it’s a bed time story. However, Rajamouli tried to make the movie as realistic as possible. Except for the tantric episode, the rest of the story is flawless. The story is simple, and the execution is very neat. The love story is brilliantly shot, and an abrupt end caused to the romance makes you connect with the fly, feel his pain. The following revenge episode is perfect, and you cheer for the fly as if he’s your kith or kin. It is very difficult to be able to execute a story so perfectly such that it connects, but Rajamouli does it with ease. The screenplay could have been a little better, but I really got no complaints about it.

In Sudeep, Rajamouli he had a brilliant actor, who adds life to the film. The fly graphics could be good or bad, but the actor acting with the fly needs to set the tempo of the film, and Sudeep just does that. He is a versatile actor. Nani shines in his brief but important role. In 20 minutes, he had the responsibility of connecting with the audience, and he did. Samantha is alright as damsel in distress. She could have been a little more expressive at times though. There is not much of a cast otherwise.

Music by Keeravani is an asset to the film. The title track is used very effectively, and the back ground score is very good. It would have been nice if the entire “Nene Naanine” song were used. Cinematography by Senthil Kumar perfect.  and editing by K. V. Rao is neat. Except for Eega’s birth episode, the graphic work for the rest of the film is of top-notch quality. Production values are pretty decent.

Overall, an entertaining watch. It might not be a perfect film, but it seriously doesn’t matter for Rajamouli takes Telugu films to a different level. He is a director with guts, and proud to have him among us. It’s a much watch film for every Telugu film lover. Leave your inhibitions behind, and go watch it. Am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Yes. It’s worth every penny you spend. Don’t miss it!!

Verdict: 8.5/10 + 0.5 for Rajamouli

Couldn’t help but capture this on my way back home from the movie. Maybe he has a story too 😛

Shanbhag

Place: Shanbhag
Location: Basheerbhag, under the flyover
Cuisine: North-Indian
Meal: Dinner (with bro)

Dropped into Shanbhag last week with my brother for dinner. As already stated in my last review, this is one of my favorite restaurants in town, and their Ghee Rice is the best. The place was a little more crowded than the last time around, and we made ourselves comfy in a corner.

We planned to order a couple of curries and Ghee Rice, but ended up ordered their North-Indian Thali, which came with Tomato Soup, Paneer Butter Masala, Gobi Masala, Rajma, Dal, Pulao, Rice (all unlimited), 2 Roti or 8 Poori’s, Raitha, Curd, Gulab Jamoon and Ice-cream. It had a been a long time since we last had one here.

The Tomato Soup was served along with Masala Papad. Their soup is usually very good, and today was no different. It had a nice sweet and sour tomatoey taste to it.

The Thali was served pretty soon, and of the curries, the Paneer Butter Masala was the best. The paneer was very fresh, and almost melt in my mouth, while the gravy was just yum. The Gobi Masala was equally good, while the Rajma was alright. The Dal was tasty as well. All the curries were served as per our requirement. The Roti was soft and good.

The Pulao had a nice flavor and tasted pretty good. I could feel the ghee in it.

Overall, an awesome meal. For a North-Indian Thali, it didn’t have the unnecessary Rasam, Sambar and other South-Indian stuff. The curries were yum, and the pulao was decent. For the price, it was actually worth every penny. The service was very good, and reminded me of Rajdhani, for they were pampering us to eat more. The ambiance is decent, but the tables are placed pretty closed to each other, which made it quite uncomfortable. But otherwise, nice service, great price, and more importantly, awesome food!

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 228/- (Rs. 114/- per Thali)

Verdict: 9/10

Update on 20/05/2014: Thali now costs Rs. 160/-

Blue Diamond

Place: Blue Diamond
Location: Next to L.B. Stadium, Basheerbhag
Cuisine: Chinese
Meal: Dinner (with bro)

Me and my bro decided to drive down to Shanbhag for a meal last week, but instead, dropped in at Blue Diamond, which we’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. The place was dimly lit and had a nice ambiance. It was pretty empty when we entered, but got full as the night progressed.

They don’t have much choice in their vegetarian section. We started off with Veg. Cantonese Soup and Veg. Spring Rolls. For the main course, we ordered American Chopsuey, Fried Rice and Hong Kong Vegetable.

The Soup was served in few minutes. It was spicy, yummy and full of fresh vegetables. One of the best soup’s I’ve had in recent times.

In about 10 minutes, the Spring Rolls were served along with spicy Chilly Garlic sauce. They were crunchy and tasted delectable. The quantity served was also very good.

It didn’t take much long for the main course to be served. The American Chopsuey tasted luscious, not too sweet, just perfect. I would have preferred the noodles to be a little more crunchy, but otherwise, it tasted awesome.

The Hong Kong Vegetable was very different from the one we had at Chung Hua. It had Manchurian Balls and lots of vegetables. The veggies gave it a nice flavor and the Manchurian balls were yum. A delicious dish. The Fried Rice was equally good. It needed some more salt though.

Overall, an excellent meal. Every dish served was delicious and the quantity served was very good. The service was friendly, and all the dishes were priced to be easy on the pocket. I can’t think of any other (good) restaurant which serves the amount of Fried Rice they did for 75 bucks. It’s a must visit place for any Chinese food lover. I have a new favorite Chinese restaurant in town!!

Food: 9/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 483/-

Verdict: 9/10

PS: We so fell in love with this place that we visited it again in a week’s time and had the same food all over again. Except for the Honk Kong Vegetable being a little oily, the rest of the food was just the same, perfect!!

Viva Italia

Place: Viva Italia
Location: Ground floor, White House, Next to Lifestyle Building, Begumpet
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Dinner (with couple of friends)

I’ve been to my favorite pizza place in town quite often since I wrote the last review in April. This time around, dropped in with my friends (I’ve been meaning to drag these guys here for a while now and finally succeeded). We dropped in for dinner, and were cordially greeted by the co-owner. We made ourselves comfortable at one of the three laid out benches.

I ordered my regular Garden Pizza and my other friend ordered a Pepperoni Pizza. My third friend, who happens to be very choosy about his food, asked for a Veg Club Sandwich without cheese and with less mayonnaise. We also ordered some Garlic bread.

The Garlic Bread was served in about 10 minutes. The bread was very good and the garlic sauce on top was yummy. We asked for some pizza sauce to dip the bread in, and with it the bread tasted even better. We loved it so much, that we ordered for a second portion.

The Club Sandwich was served next. My friend was very happy with it for it was just as he requested it to be.

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It took unusually long time for the pizza to be served, but it was totally worth the wait. Crispy thin crust pizza with cheese melting in your mouth, amazing!! I actually thought the pizza was better than the last time I had it. My friend loved his Pepperoni pizza as well.

To finish things off, we ordered a Death By Chocolate from Sweet Chill. It was chocolaty, yes, but wasn’t as good as we expected it to be. There was a lot of cherry under the ice cream, which kinda ruined the taste.

Overall, except for the desert, a yummy meal. I’ve already stated this to be my favorite pizza in town, and it didn’t disappoint. If you still haven’t, go try it now!!

PS: I did mention in my last review that this is a very small place. It is no fancy Italian dine-in restaurant, but just a kiosk in the White House building. So don’t walk in having these huge expectations about the ambiance. They serve good food, and that’s what matters, doesn’t it?

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 628/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

Urban Asia

Place: Urban Asia
Location: Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Chinese
Meal: Dinner (with amma and bro)

Thanks to Zomato’s voucher, we made an impromptu visit to Urban Asia on a Friday night. Walking in, the place looked quite similar to Via Milano located above. The decor had an Asian touch, and the ambiance was pretty neat. We were quite lucky to have found the last table for it got full after we walked in. We were seated at a table for four in the center of the restaurant.

Their menu looked quite huge. After a lot of thought, we decided to try their Vegetable Sushi and Crispy Corn Chilly Pepper for starters, Three Flavored Hakka Noodles, Butter Garlic Fried Rice and Mushroom in Pepper Sauce for the main course. Once the order was placed, Kimchi salad (which was very good, crunchy) and a bowl full of cut carrots and cucumber were served.

The sushi was served in about 15 minutes. It was presented very well and served along with garlic and yummy sushi sauce. I’ve never had sushi before, but absolutely loved the ones served here. Crunchy and fresh, they tasted heavenly along with the sauce. Yum!

The Crispy Corn tasted pretty good. The corn basket was crunchy and was equally good.

After about 15 minutes, the main course was served. The Three Flavored Noodles, the flavors being Chilly, Ginger and Vinegar, was very good.

I’ve been craving to have some good Fried Rice for a while now and the one here was just what I needed. The butter and garlic taste was very prominent, and the rice was very well cooked. Loved it!

The Mushrooms in pepper sauce was tasteful as well. The mushrooms were fresh and the pepper sauce was quite tangy.

Overall, an excellent meal. The portions of food served was very good and we finished everything we ordered (literally cleaned the plates up). The food is nothing extraordinary, but tasty enough to satisfy your palate. The service was pretty good as well. The prices are a little on the higher end, but the ambiance and the yummy food  had them justified. If you love Chinese food, this is one place you should definitely dine at.

Food: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance:9/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 1277/-

Verdict: 9/10

Rajdhani

Place: Rajdhani
Location: First Floor, Uptown Banjara, Opp. TV9, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Rajasthani, Gujarati
Meal: Dinner (with bro)

Rajdhani used to be one of my favorite restaurants while I lived in Mumbai. Their food was finger licking good, and the service impeccable. Though their restaurant in Hyderabad opened a while ago, I was hesitant to go for I was apprehensive on whether the food and service here would live up to the Mumbai standards. My brother visited this place a couple of weeks ago and said quite a few good things about it. So here I was to check it out myself.

Walking in, the place had a traditional touch, and the ambiance was good. Being a weekday, the place was pretty much empty. We sat down at a table for four. Like with De Thali, the thalis was pre-arranged on the table. Once we were seated, the service started.

They had a Mango festival all through the month of May, so most of the food had mango in it. This day, they had Aam ka Panna as the welcome drink, Punneri Misal, Khapoli Wada and Dal Bati Churma for starters, Lilla Kinda Pitlo, Paneer Hariyali, Batata Raswala and Ragada Vatana for Vegetables, Spicy and Sweet Dal, and Kadhi, Pulkas, Poori, Biscuit Bakri, Mithi Paratha, Kichidi, Biryani, Aam Ki Lungi, and for deserts, Aam Ka Ras and Fruit Custurd. Uff!!

The Aam Ka Panna had the perfect sweet and sour taste. The Punneri Missal was more of a mixture, Dal Bati Churma was very good, and the Khapoli Wada was excellent. I ended up having almost 3 or 4 Wadas. Off the subjis, my favorite was the Pitlo. It was besan (gram flour) curry, cooked to perfection. The paneer was so so, aloo curry decent and vatana alright. The Pulka was a little too dry for my taste, but the Pooris were awesome. Both the Dal’s were yummy, while the Kadhi was decent.

The Kichidi was rich and awesome. The Biryani was simple, with not much masala, but was equally yummy.

Both the deserts were just awesome. The Aam Ka Panna was not to sweet, and the custard was thick. Heavenly!!

Overall, an excellent meal. I should say that the thali was much better than what I remember from Mumbai. The service was exceptional, and all the waiters were courteous. Compared to De Thali, the place is expensive by about 70 bucks, but the difference is totally worth it. But just like the former place, it’s not a restaurant you can visit often.

Dig into the Khandani Rajdhani Thali soon!! Do check out their daily menu online before dropping in 🙂

Food: 9/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 274/- (all-inclusive)

Verdict: 9/10