Archive for Buffet

Little Italy

Place: Little Italy
Location: BK Towers, Opp. Cyber Pearl, Hitech City
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Lunch

I’ve been wanting to drop into Little Italy at Hitech City for a long time but never found the right occasion. I didn’t need an excuse on my Birthday, and finally, here I was. This restaurant looked much more brighter than the one in Jubilee Hills, and I settled down in a corner all by myself.

They had a decent buffet spread with a salads, breads, and a variety of sauces. This was in addition to the soup, a couple of starters, a small pizza, pasta, and the complimentary drinks being served on the table. They also had a live crepe counter apart from the regular desserts.

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For soup, they had Zuppa Di Cipolle, a clear soup with spring onions and croutons. This turned out to be decent and was a good start to the meal.

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Tacos were served next which were amazingly yummy. They definitely were among the best part of the meal.

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Baby-corn Fritters turned out to be disappointing for they lacked flavour and tasted very bland. There was also Fungi Trifolati, which was delicious.

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Almost everything on the buffet spread tasted good.

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I asked for a Sicilian Pizza, which turned out to be great. The Pasta Barbaresca was equally delicious.

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The crepe, and the deserts were decent enough.

Overall, it turned out to be a pretty good meal. While the buffet had options, it was nothing spectacular, and I think I’d prefer À-la-carte next time around. Nevertheless, the buffet is a worthwhile meal.

Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 640/-

Verdict: 8/10

AB’s

Place: AB’s – Absolute Barbecues
Location: Opp. Madhapur Police Station, Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Global
Meal: Lunch

Here’s another restaurant with raving reviews I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. I’ve been told that this place is always busy, especially over the weekends, so I called in on Friday to reserve a table for lunch either for Saturday or Sunday. I was turned down for they were already full. I again called in on Saturday morning and was told the same, but they suggested to try walking in. Taking my chances, I reached AB’s a little after they opened for the day, and was seated in a jiffy at a table for two in between the buffet and the wish grill without any hassle. Surprisingly, the place was full by then itself. The interiors of the restaurant were good, and I was pretty impressed with the overall ambiance of the place.

The initial few minutes were lull, and it took a while for someone to attend to me. After about ten minutes, the griller was placed on my table, and everything was in place for a long meal.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Crispy Corn

First came Crispy Corn. Though they tasted good, I would have preferred them to be hot and more crispy.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Stuffed Mushroom, Cuban Cottage Cheese, and Cuban Grilled Veggies

Then came the grills: Stuffed Mushroom in Tamarillo Sauce, Mama’s Caribbean Cottage Cheese and Cuban Grilled Vegetables. The grilled veggies mostly had peppers with corn on the cob, which tasted decent. The paneer was really soft and tasted yum along with the condiments, especially the mango and chilli sauces.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Yummy Condiments

But the best of the lot happened to be Stuffed Mushrooms. They were perfectly grilled and had the right amount of seasoning to make them delicious. I’ve said this often, but these were some of the best I’ve had in recent while. Yum!!

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Blue Curacao

While I hogged on 3-4 skewers of paneer and mushrooms, I was offered a choice of complimentary drink as part of their first anniversary. I chose Blue Curacao Mocktail which turned out to be pretty good.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Falafel in Pita Bread

Then came Falafel with Humus in Pita Pocket. This was a disappointment as the Falafel turned out to be hard, and the pita too wasn’t great. I informed the floor chef about the same, and he got me a hotter one, which turned out to be better, but still not the best.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

American Cheesy Potatoes

Next, the final starter of the day’s menu was served: American Cheesy Potato. These turned out to be more or less the same as what I had at Aao Khao a couple of weeks ago; aloo tikkis with spicy cheesy sauce. While the sauce was good, the tikkis weren’t really up to the mark for they were pretty hard and undercooked.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Grilled Pineapple

Apart from the five listed starters, there also happened to be Grilled Pineapple which turned out to be toothsome!

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Honey Chilly Fries

Post my feedback about the Falafel and Potatoes, the floor chef offered to serve me some off the menu starters. First came in Honey Chilly Potato Fries which turned out to be pretty good. However, I would have preferred them to be more crispy and spicy.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Crispy Cheese Rolls

Finally, he served me some Crispy Cheese Rolls which turned out to be really good. The paper-thin crust almost melt in my mouth with every bite; yummy!

I hadn’t even started on the main course, but was almost stuffed. After a small break, I headed out to the wish-grill.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Wish-grill Veggies

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Wish-grill Sauces

At first, I had no clue on what exactly I was supposed to do, but soon understood that I had to choose from the choice of vegetables, rice or noodles, and pick a sauce for them to be tossed/grilled with. I choose some veggies with noodles and Szechuan Basil sauce (which in itself was delectable). I was given a paper coupon, and a few moments later, the dish was served on my table.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Wish-grill

This looked really good, and tasted equally yum. The chef had added some more veggies apart from my choice, but I didn’t really care for it turned out to be a delicious dish! If I weren’t stuffed, I would have liked to try another combination with a different sauce.

After two hours of munching, it was time to head to the buffet. Ironically, I just had a taste everything for my tummy wouldn’t take any more food for the day.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Salad Counter

Though the salad counter looked good, I decided to skip it.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Taco Twist Soup

The Taco Twist Soup looked and sounded good, so decided to give it a shot. It actually tasted very different from regular soups, in a good way.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Buffet Offerings

They had Lahori Paneer, Vegetable Jalfrezi, Corn ka Bharta, Kala Dum Aloo, Rasgulle ki Sabzi and Dal Makhni as part of their Indian offerings. The Paneer tasted very good while the rest were decent. Worth mention is the Rasgulle ki Sabzi which had yummy Rasgullas in a creamy sauce; not what you expect, but it actually turned out to be a pretty good experiment. The Dal also turned out to be delicious. They also had Biryani which was, like in any buffet, mediocre. They had Thai Green Curry which was too thin and lacked flavour. The Butter Naan served along was soft and good.

I couldn’t eat any more, I was done. But wait, I still had to taste the desserts. Why god, why!? 😛

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Desserts

They again had a huge offering and I decided to have a taste of everything; all of them turned out to be succulent.

 AB's - Absolute Barbecues Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Black-forest Ice-cream

And I ended my laborious meal with a Black Forest ice-cream which was made with loads of nuts; yummilicious!

After three hours, I was done eating. No wonder it’s so difficult to find a table at this place for everyone would just settle down for hours. I ate to my heart’s content after a long time, and how much did it cost? 560 bucks? That’s it, seriously? This is probably the best value for money meal I’ve come across in a long time in Hyderabad. Add to that some personalized service, and you’re in for some pampering. Yes, not all items were great but who cares when most of their huge offering are excellent. It’s a meal worth every penny. Give it a shot if you haven’t yet, and make sure you walk in with a good appetite.

Food: 9/10
Service: 9.5/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 559/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

PS: While lunch is priced 559 bucks AI on all days, dinner is slightly more expensive. And ya, they don’t accept tips. 🙂

A’la Liberty

Place: A’la Liberty
Location: Road No. 12, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Buffet
Meal: Lunch (with amma and dad)

On a Sunday afternoon, I finally dropped in to A’la Liberty for their buffet lunch. To make sure we didn’t have to wait, I called in early and reserved a table for 2:00 PM. When we walked in, we were directed to a table which was still being cleaned up. Eventually, we were put across another one right next to the buffet spread. Ambiance wise, I thought the place was too crowded in every sense. Apart from being packed, the tables were placed very close to each other, to an extent that I had to couch every time someone from the next table had to get up. Unimpressed by the ambiance, I was hoping the food and service to make it up.

Once we were seated, even before we had settled in, the waiters started serving a couple of starters into one of our plates. This was very odd for the food left on the servers dish after serving the adjacent table was being dumped into my dad’s plate while the other two plates on the table were left empty. So while dad started his meal, me and amma were left waiting.

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Sweet Corn Soup

While hoping for the starters, we were served instead with two bowls of Sweet Corn Soup (while there were three people at the table). Argh! The soup tasted pretty bland and was forgettable. It’s another story on the number of times I had to ask the waiter for a pepper shaker before I was handed one.

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Starters

Finally, after almost 15 minutes since my dad was served, I had the some starters on my plate. They had Dragon Rolls, Yogurt Paneer, Beetroot Chop and Pudina Aloo. The rolls were crispy and pretty good while the baby potatoes were average. The Beetroot Chop was the best of the lot, crunchy with a nice flavor. The paneer was also pretty good, for it was very fresh and had a tangy taste. Decent starters, but nothing out of the world. I was told that their starters are the best part of the meal, but I wasn’t really impressed.

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Pani Puri

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Dahi Papdi

After finishing with the starters, I walked towards the spread to check out whats on offering. While they had covered most cuisines, it wasn’t exorbitant either. I started with some Pani Puri and Dahi Papdi, and both of them turned out to be good. I actually loved the Dahi Papdi.

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Mini Pizza

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Italian offerings

On Italian front, apart from the Mini Pizza, they had Baked Vegetables and a live pasta counter. First serving of the pizza was thick and soggy while the second turned out to be good. I asked for some pasta in white sauce, which turned out to be alright. I thought the sauce was too thin, and adding a couple of vegetables could have made it better. There was very little of the Baked Vegetables left in the bowl on the spread, most of it dry. I was apprehensive of its taste, but it turned out to be delicious, way better than the pizza or the pasta.

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Chinese offerings

Next I headed out to try their Chinese offerings – Noodles, Fried Rice and Dumplings in Manchurian sauce. But for the Manchurian sauce being a little sour, the rest tasted decent.

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Indian offerings

Heading towards the Indian section, they had Paneer Makhni, Nargisi Kofta, Veg. CHatpat, Jaipuri Bhendi and Dal Makhni. They also had Kadi Pakodi which I didn’t taste. All the curries tasted good along with the Butter Naan and Kulcha served along. The kofta was the best of the lot, with the gravy being thick, creamy and yummy. The paneer also tasted very good.

I had a taste of the Biryani which like in any other buffet turned out to be mediocre.

A'la Liberty Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Desserts

For desserts, they had Badam Moong Dal Halwa, Angoori Gulab Jamoon, Mango Malai Marvel, Blueberry Cheesecake, Truffle Pudding and Cupcakes on offer apart from cut fruits and four flavors of ice-creams. But for the cup cakes, everything else turned out t be delicious. I loved the Mango Custard and the Cheesecake the best (though it wasn’t the best cheesecake, it tasted yum).

Overall, an average meal. While most of the food was good, I thought there was still scope for improvement. However, I was very very unhappy with the service and ambiance of the place. I do understand that the place is packed on most occasions and it gets difficult to manage, but lack of basic courtesy by servers and stewards is unacceptable. Apart from the dumping of food on one of the three plates at the table, when I asked a waiter to get me some Naan, I was indifferently asked to instruct the waiter at my table instead. How was I supposed to keep tabs on who was responsible for my table when there were at least five people attending to us in the hour we sat there?

And add to that a fish market kinda ambiance. There were quite a few customers standing and eating their food at the buffet itself instead of moving to their tables. This continued for really long, to a point where I had someone standing over my head and eating desserts (for I was seated right next to the spread). Irritated, I had to complaint to the manager before he made them move to their tables.

Small details make a big difference, and such details were not attended to at A’la Liberty. The food wasn’t out of the world good wither for me to disregard the other major flaws. I doubt if I’d ever venture back to this place again (I’d rather prefer a more reasonable spread at Ohri’s Jiva Imperia).

Food: 8/10
Service: 5/10
Ambiance: 5.5/10
Buffet for 1: Rs. 460/-

Verdict: 6.5/10

Bikanervala

Place: Bikanervala
Location: Road No. 1, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Indian, Buffet
Meal: Dinner (with amma and dad)

On Mother’s day, and my brother’s birthday, I decided to take amma and dad for dinner at my brother’s favorite restaurant in town, Kailash Parbat. Unfortunately though, after reaching Jubilee Hills, we realized that the place has been closed for a while. We then decided to finally give A’la Liberty a try. We reached there about 9:00 PM, and were surprised to find the restaurant totally packed, with an approximate waiting time of 90 minutes. Given that we were all hungry, we finally moved to Bikanervala, which had a minimal waiting time.

We decided to sit upstairs at the restaurant, which has better ambiance and is less crowded than the snack section downstairs. After waiting for about 10 minutes, we were seated at a table for five, right next to the buffet spread. Though we had initially planned on going for à la carte, I was tempted by the wide spread, so I alone opted for the buffet. Amma and dad ordered a Nargisi Kofta along with Masala Kulcha and Methi Paratha.

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The food was served in about 10-15 minutes. The Nargisi Kofta looked really good, and tasted yum. The kofta ball was soft, full of paneer and nuts, while the gravy was thick and rich, with a nice spicy flavor to it. The Methi Paratha was alright while the Masala Kulcha was very good, with tons of butter on it. These guys also ordered an Aloo Paratha later on, and apparently, this wasn’t that good compared to the Kulcha.

Talking about the buffet which I hogged on, on this Sunday evening, they were serving Tomato Shorba and Sweet Corn Soup, along with Paneer Tikka, Baby Corn Honey Chilli (or something of that sort), and Veg Tikki/Kebab as starters. I opted for the shorba, and was immediately served the soup along with the starters.

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The shorba was thin and didn’t taste great. I’ve had better Tomato Shorbas in my life. Of the starters, the paneer was very fresh and tasted good, while the baby corn needed more spice to be flavorful. The kebabs were just alright.

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I also had some Dahi Papdi before indulging in the main course, which was pretty good.

Apart from the regular make you own salads and Indian snacks (such as fryums, papad and Dhokla), for main course, they had Lahori Paneer, Paneer Korma, Bharwa Mushroom, Chiya Kofta, Veg. Jalfrezi, Kadi Pakoda, and their special Punjabi Chole on the Indian front (apart from Dal and Dal Makhni). There were different variety of breads to choose from, and I had a Tandoori Roti and Paneer Kulcha.

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Except for the mushroom and Chole, all other curries were just alright and forgettable. The Paneer Korma (white gravy) was infact very bland. The mushroom on the other hand was amazingly good. They were stuffed with paneer and other spices, and cooked just perfect. I would have preferred them to be less greasy, but maybe it was the ghee which made them taste so good. The Chole was authentic and yum. Of the breads, the Paneer Kulcha was very good, while the Tandoori Roti was decent.

I had a small serving of the Dum Biryani, which like in any other buffets, tasted terrible.

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On International front, they served Pasta Oliva, Chow Mein and Mixed Vegetables in Coriander Sauce. I The pasta was very dry, and again, was just decent. The Noodles were pretty good, but the accompanying oriental gravy wasn’t upto the mark.

Not being entirely satisfied with the buffet till this point, I divulged into their desserts. They had Moong Dal Halwa, Malpua, Motichur Laddu, a couple of Bengali sweets, fresh fruits and three flavours of ice creams.

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The Malpua and Moong Dal Halwa were very palatable, and the Laddu too was very good, while the Bengali sweets could have been better. The ice creams were alright. I was actually hoping for more on the dessert front, and was not entirely satisfied. It would have been nice if they had more variety.

Overall, I actually regret not going for the à la carte along with amma and dad, for I really didn’t enjoy the buffet so much. Except for a couple of Indian curries and desserts, the rest of the items were plain average. For 600 bucks, I expect much more than average. The à la carte dish tasted way better than any curry on the buffet (I know this is expected, but still). I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be coming back for the buffet, especially when there are tons of other places which offer such average dishes with much more variety for lesser price. Give it a try for their à la carte, or their snacks, and that’s about it.

Food: 7/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 599/- (Buffet)
Meal for 2: Rs. 649/- (À la carte)

Verdict: 7/10

Indijoe

Place: Indijoe
Location: City Center, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Indian, Continental
Meal: Lunch

Indijoe used to be one of my favorite restaurants in town about 6 years ago, but for some reason, stopped visiting it after a point. On a weekday, I finally came back to this place for their buffet. At around 2:00 PM, the place was packed. There were a bunch of guys (waiters) standing at the door, but none of them were interested on my entry, so I had to look for myself and find a table. Things were exactly the same as I remember them from the last time I was here, most of them in indecorous condition. The seat cushion was a little ripped, and in general, the place felt gloomy.

The soup and starters were not being served at the table, so I went ahead and got some for myself. On the veg front, there was Vegetable Broth Soup and for starters, there were Crispy Fried Okra, Potato Chilly Garlic Fries, Banana Fritters, Veg. Tikkies, Cabbage Bhel and Nachos with Salsa sauce apart from the non-veg counterparts.

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The soup was plain, had no real flavor and was boring. Of the starters, except for the Potato Chilly Garlic fries and the Cabbage Bhel, nothing else was memorable. The Fries had good flavor to them, while I thought the Bhel was pretty creative. The Banana Fritters were a bit soggy and oily, while the Okra and Tikki were decent.

Next I tried the Baked Spinach with Corn and Mushroom, and Mixed Pepper Polenta. I took another serving of the Fries, Bhel and the Tikkis. They had a live counter serving Omelettes as well, but didn’t try them.

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The Polenta had dried up, so I more or less got only the dcheese. It tasted alright. The Baked Spinach and Mushroom was creamy and good. It could have done with a little more flavor though.

Indijoe Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

On the Indian front, they had Kadai Paneer and Dal Makhni. I served myself some, got back to the table and asked for some Naan, Roti or whatever, and to my surprise they weren’t serving any. When I asked how come, I was told that it’s a Continental restaurant, and they don’t serve bread with Indian curries. I was asked to eat the curries with white rice or Fried rice. Weird I tell you. I instead went and got myself some white rice with Thai Green Curry, which was pretty decent. I tasted the Paneer and Dal by themselves, and thought they were good. If only they had roti!

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Next I got some Chinese food for myself – Noodles and Fried Rice with Vegetables in Hot Garlic Sauce. The Noodles tasted pretty good, while the Fried rice was so so.

Indijoe Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

On the dessert front, they had some good stuff – Orange Cheese Cake, Vanilla Pastry, Apricot Cake, Black Forest Pastry, Rice Kheer, and a Chocolate Fountain apart from Strawberry and Vanilla ice-cream. I loved the Cheese Cake and the Pastry, while the Vanilla Pastry was decent. The Apricot cake was not that great. I didn’t try the Kheer. Ice-cream with the Chocolate sauce tasted yum.

Overall, an average meal. The desserts were impressive, but everything else was just decent. Them not having bread for the Indian curries and reasoning that it was a Continental restaurant was the highlight of the entire meal. The service was mediocre; I wasn’t served with the complimentary soft drink until I half way through. Ambiance, as already mentioned, needs to be taken care off. The place was too loud as well. Give it a shot, but for the price you pay, there are many other places which serve a better buffet.

Food: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 382/-

Verdict: 7/10

Via Milano

Place: Via Milano
Location: Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Lunch (with family)

I last visited this place on my birthday, and loved their food (review). The ambience was perfect, and I thought their concept of Executive Lunch was very thoughtful. So when I saw a Snapdeal offering their buffet at half the price, I took the deal right away and dropped in at the restaurant for lunch with my family. The place was crowded, maybe because of the snapdeal, but we were lucky enough to find a table for four in a corner. The general atmosphere in the restaurant this time around was messy, and everything seemed out of sorts.

Their Executive Lunch concept is now replaced with a Buffet with a fixed main course menu. The salads and starters are part of the buffet spread, while the drinks and the main course are served from the kitchen. They also have a live pasta counter. The buffet menu is fixed, and the same everyday.

Courtesy: Via Milano and Snapdeal

For drinks, I asked for a Virgin Mojito while the rest of my family ordered cocktails. We asked for some bread and headed off to get some starters from the spread. To our surprise, the entire spread, except for the desserts, was exhausted. We stood there for the food to arrive, and a couple of Veg. Starters were refilled. We filled our plated with the Potato Croquettes and Panzirottis and returned to our table. The Croquettes were a little too oily for my taste, but the Panzirottis were awesome. They melt in my mouth, and thanks to lack of other food, I must have had atleast a dozen of them. Yum!!

We waited and waited for food to arrive at the spread. A couple of Non Veg Starters were added, but everything else was still empty. Finally, we got a taste of the Brochette. They tasted alright. Twenty minutes down the lane, the bread was served on the table after constant reminders, followed by our drinks. The bread was very good, and the dips were equally good. My Virgin Mojito was perfect.

We ordered for a portion each of the three Veg main course items they served: Lasagna, Potato Cake and Eggplant Roll. I then headed off to the Live Pasta counter. Since the place was packed, and also since most of the food on the spread was exhausted, almost everyone thronged to this counter, where a couple of Chefs were struggling to keep up with the crowd. After waiting for almost 20 minutes, I got a chance to get my pasta made. I had creamy Farfalle pasta with loads of cheese and vegetables.

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Though made in a hurry, the pasta was very good. It was creamy and cheesy, just the way I wanted it to be.

It had been more than an hour since we walked into the place, and about 40 minutes since we asked for the main course, and that’s when the food was finally served. It was probably because of me getting worked up that I realized that the place was really hot. When I pointed this out, the air-conditioning in the part of the restaurant we were sitting in was turned on. It was a packed house, and they were trying to save on their power bill!! 😀

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The Potato Cake looked very colorful, but he smashed potato underneath the vegetables was bland, and too much carrot gave it a sweet taste. It was alright.

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The Lasagna was cheesy and decent. My family liked it, but I’ve had better lasagna.

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The Eggplant Rolls were the best of the lot. They were very well cooked and stuffed with broccoli. Delicious!

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Now that I’d got the Managers attention, desserts were served at the table. They had Chocolate Mousse Cake, Lemon Cake and Strawberry Cheese Cake. All of them were excellent and I loved the Mousse cake the most. We also had Cashew and Raisin, and Chocolate Gelato, both of which were equally good.

Overall, a so so experience. The food was great, but the service and the general ambience were a total letdown. This place felt exquisite the last time I was here, but this time was like a fish market. The change from the Executive Lunch to the Buffet was a welcome, for it added more value to money, but I believe doing it without having proper resources caused them a letdown. With the Snapdeal, they just asked for more trouble. The exclusivity of the restaurant was lost, and it turned out to be like any other buffet place in town. Thankfully, the on-floor Manager took a note of our grievances, and promised to work on them.

If you haven’t yet, visit this place for their awesome Italian fare, but don’t hope for the best of service or ambience (for the moment atleast!!).

Food: 9/10
Service: 7/10
Ambience: 6/10
Buffet for 1: Rs. 578/- (Rs. 299 via Snapdeal)

Verdict: 7.5/10

Ice n Spice

Place: Ice n Spice – Hotel Inner Circle
Location: Behind RKS Saboo Motors, Raj Bhavan Road
Cuisine: Buffet
Meal: Lunch (with family)

My brother wanted to eat out on a Tuesday afternoon, and so he pulled me out of work to join my family for lunch at Inner Circle. Ice ‘n Spice, located on the first floor of the hotel, is a small restaurant, but brightly lit with abundant natural light. We sat at a table for four in the center of the restaurant.

I noticed that their buffet spread was comparatively smaller than ones at other places. They had Manchow Soup, Sheekampuri Kabab and Babycorn Manchuria for starters, Paneer Dhaniya Kali Mirch, Haryali Veg and Achaari Aloo, Pulao and Mirchi Ka Salan, Veg Soft Noodles, Veg Chow sauce, Dal, Sambar, Ivy Gourd (dondakaya) fry and Curd Rice. For deserts, they had Thai Coconut Barfi, Mutter Kheer and Vanilla Ice-cream.

Once we settled down, the soup and starters were served on the table. The Manchow soup had no proper flavor and was just alright. Of the starters, the kababs were a little under cooked, but the Baby-corn Manchuria was excellent. Crispy baby-corn tossed in sweet and sour sauce, yum! I loved them so much , that I kept munching on them till the end of the meal.

On the Indian front, the Paneer Dhaniya Kali Mirch was very good. I was expecting it to be spicy, but it wasn’t so, and the paneer was soft and fresh. The Hariyali Veg was more of mixed vegetables in spinach gravy. It tasted alright. Achaari Aloo was spicy, tasty and best of the lot. Naan and Roti were served on table, and were pretty decent.

Their Pulao turned out to be very good. It had a very nice flavor and tasted delicious with the Mirchi Ka Salan.

The Noodles were spicy and very good, while the Chow sauce was a little too bland.

I didn’t taste the Dal, Sambar and Curd Rice, but amma said they were good.

On the desert front, the Coconut Barfi was good, not too sweet, just perfect. The experimental Mutter Kheer was very very good. Creamy and luscious!

Overall, a decent buffet. Though the spread was quite small, all the items on it tasted good. The service was pretty decent, and I liked the ambiance. It would greatly help if they could increase the number of items on their spread (maybe add another soup, starter and couple deserts). Nevertheless, for 260 bucks, it’s quite a meal!!

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Buffet for 1: Rs. 258/-

Verdict: 8/10

All Seasons

Place: All Seasons
Location: 2nd Floor, SBR Gateway, Opposite Motorola, Hitech City
Cuisine: Buffet
Meal: Lunch (with couple of friends)

Wanting to try out the new place next to her office, my friend invited me and another friend for lunch at All Seasons. She called and reserved a table for 3, so though it was packed when we walked in, we didn’t have to wait. The restaurant was brightly lit and had the buffet spread on one side. We were given a table in one corner of the place, which looked cozy and comfy, but was very uncomfortable once we sat down. There were fluffy cushions placed against a wall, which felt awkward. Also, the table was too small, so when I pulled it closer, it was inconvenient for my friend on the other side.

The soup and starters were not served on the table, so we helped ourselves. There was one veg and one non-veg soup, a couple of veg and non-veg starters.

The Veg Manchow soup was alright. It was thick and had a decent flavor. Of the starters, the Crispy Vegetables were good, but the Corn Tikkis were horrible. They were dripping oil and were very hard. My friend neither liked the non-veg soup nor the starters. The Chicken was apparently very hard. So more or less, the soup and starters were a disappointment. But the best part of the meal was yet to come.

For the main course, they had Gobi Masala and Mixed Vegetable and two non-veg curries, Veg Noodles with Vegetables in Hot Garlic sauce, Veg Biryani and Mutton Biryani. They also had Dal and White Rice.

It was a real surprise that there was no Paneer curry on the spread. In fact, there was no Paneer dish on the entire buffet. Wonder what the chef was thinking. When it came to the veg curries, both were horrendous. The Mixed Vegetable was at least edible, but the Gobi was horrible. It had huge chunks of raw Gobi, and the masala had a strong cinnamon flavor. I was told that the non-veg curries weren’t anything better. The Naan and the bread were served on the buffet as well, in a casserole which was empty on most occasions. I luckily got the last piece of Butter Naan, which was alright.

Thankfully, the Noodles and the Hot Garlic sauce were decent. Nothing great, but much better compared to the other food around. The Biryani again was pathetic. It was dried up rice with a few vegetables seasoned with tons of oil. Inedible!!

After a disastrous meal, we were hoping the deserts to fill our tummies. Luckily, except for the Gulab Jamoon which was very hard, the rest were good. The Kurbani Ka Meetha was fresh, Gajar Ka Halwa decent, and the fourth desert, which I believe was some kind of souffle, was the best of the lot. There were fresh-cut Watermelon pieces as well.

The best part of the entire buffet was the regular Strawberry Ice-cream (which I normally don’t like). After surviving their buffet, this seemed like heaven. Thank god that it was out of the box, for otherwise they probably would have ruined it as well.

Overall, an awful meal. To add to the terrible food, the service was atrocious. The salad plate on the buffet was empty so I asked the waiter for some onion. He said something which wasn’t audible. I asked him again and he did the same, this time more like a mumble. Wanting to hear what he had to say, I went next to him and asked again, and he irritably said go get it from the buffet. I was like LMAO!! The table wasn’t cleared after we were done with the plates either. We had a Snapdeal coupon and mentioned this right at the start of the meal. In spite of this, this is how our bill was presented.

Wow!! To beat this, there was a large group sitting at the next table, who ordered from the a-la-carte menu. Almost 20 minutes after they place the order, the waiter came and informed them that their kitchen is closed, and they are not serving a-la-carte. They were then asked to go for the buffet. One of them asked if she could at least get a Curd Rice, and he informed her that they would charge her for the buffet even for the Curd Rice. It was hilarious to see all this happen.

Though the purpose of the meal wasn’t met, thanks to all these moments, we ended up having a good time. We royally cursed our friend for making us a part of this disastrous meal. Unless you wanna take revenge on someone you don’t like, stay away from this place!!

Food: 4/10
Service: 2/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 299/- + Taxes

Verdict: 4/10

Jalpaan

Place: Jalpaan
Location: 4th Floor, Oasis Center, Somajiguda
Cuisine: Buffet
Meal: Lunch (with bro)

One of my cousins had recently requested me to review this place. For her sake, and wanting to try out a new place, here I was with my brother for lunch on a Sunday. Walking in, the place had plush decor, was dimly lit and had a nice feel to it. We were asked to choose between the buffet or a-la-carte, and we decided to go for the buffet.

We were seated at a table for four, and the soup and starters were served at the table. For soup, they had Tomato Shorba and Sweet Corn Soup. I decided to have the latter while my brother opted for the Shorba.

The Sweet Corn was thick, but was very sweet and even adding tons of pepper didn’t help. The Shorba on the other hand was also sweet, but it also had the right amount of spice. I liked it better than the Sweet Corn.

For Starters, they served Aloo Katliyan, Grilled Cottage Cheese, Sheekh Kabab and something called Crispy Konjee Veg.

The Aloo Katliyan were par-boiled potatoes, sliced and spiced. They were alright, but pretty much bland. The Paneer was tender and very good. It was very well grilled and tasted yum. The Sheekh Kababs were very dry, while the Crispy Konjee turned out to be crispy vegetables which were pretty decent.

On the Indian front, they had Amritsari Masala Paneer, Methi Makai Malai, Veg Kalapuri (I suppose it’s Kohlapuri) and Dal Jalpaan.

The Paneer gravy was very good, but it had huge chunks of raw paneer which had no flavor. The Methi Makai Malai was the best of the lot. It was creamy, and I could tell that the methi used was fresh. Yum. The Kohlapuri was equally good. It had that a nice tangy flavor to it. The Butter Naan served on table was very soft and made the curries taste even better.

On the Italian front, they had Tossed Spaghetti and Penne Arrabiata. The Spaghetti was good and had a nice basil flavor to it, but was a little under-cooked. The Penne on the other hand was horrible. The arrabiata sauce was very thin, and the penne was overcooked.

They had Veg Soft Noodles and Manchuria on the Chinese front. The Noodles were very bland and had absolutely no flavor. The Manchuria was something similar to what I cook at home, burnt. The sauce was decent though. For rice, they had  Methi Chaman Biryani which was pretty alright. I thought it would have tasted better without the sweet corn.

They didn’t have a live counter, but had crispy noodles, Karara Palak Chat and make-yourself Pani Puri on the buffet. The Pakora Chat was decent, Pani Puri horrendous.

For desert, they had Moong Dal Halwa, Kheer, Strawberry Ice-cream and Chocolate sauce. The Halwa and the Kheer were one of the best deserts I’ve had at a buffet. The Halwa was full of ghee, not too sweet, just perfect, while the Kheer was creamy and awesome.

Overall, a decent meal. But apart from the Indian food, which was excellent, the rest was just average. Compared to Jiva Imperia down the road, the spread was quite small, and is also more expensive. The service is decent and the ambiance good. It’s something you can give a shot once, but I still prefer Jivas.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 314/-

Verdict: 7.5/10

Jiva Imperia

Place: Jiva Imperia
Location: White House Building, Begumpet
Cuisine: Buffet
Meal: Dinner (with a couple of friends)

Jivas (I know it’s just Jiva, but I prefer to call it Jivas) has been one of my favorite restaurants in Hyderabad for they serve awesome vegetarian food for a reasonable price. So when they moved to a different location with a change in name, I was really excited to try it out. One night, thanks to my friends, I finally got that opportunity.

The new place was much brighter with white interiors. While I liked the cozy interiors of the old place, this was something refreshing. The buffet area seemed much larger than before, with much more stuff. Once seated, we were asked for our choice of soups: Cream of Mushroom or Chinese Vegetable Soup.

The mushroom soup was creamy and yum. I didn’t want to stuff myself, but couldn’t stop from finishing it either. The vegetable soup was alright, but salty.

They had a large variety of salads, but I didn’t try any.

They used to serve the starters at the table along with the soups at the old place, but here, we had to get them ourselves. Good thing, for they had so much variety. They had Paneer in Three Flavors, Peas Dry Fruit Tikki, Vegetable Shashlik, Spinach and Cheese Croquets, Cabbage Carrot Dimsum, Soyabean Dimsum, Papdi Chat, Bhel Puri, Banana Dosa, Podi Masala Dosa and Peserattu made at the live station. Uff!!

The Paneer was not so fresh and a lil too hard, could have been much better. The Tikki was good, but I couldn’t taste any dry fruits; the Shashlik, alright, very dry; and the Croquets, too oily, no salt, no taste.

The Dimsums, both varieties, were very very good. Perfectly steamed and yummy!! I also loved the hot garlic sauce served alongside.

The Dosas were nothing great. The Banana dosa was a nice experiment and the Masala Dosa (with masala mixed into the batter) was a lil sour. I didn’t try the Peserattu.

For drinks, they had Pineapple juice. It was a sweet concentrate, and the quantity served appalled me (It was served in a Tequila glass). Apart from that, we ordered Cranberry Juice. This time, the quantity was good (it better be for it costed 150 bucks!!), and had cut Strawberry pieces in it. It tasted alright, but I wish it had less ice.

On the buffet, they had Indian, Chinese, Italian and Thai. I started off with the Italian: Lasagna and Fusilli Arrabiata. The Lasagna was cheesy, yummy and one of the best I’ve had in recent times. The Fusilli though was disappointing; over-cooked and without proper flavor.

Next to the Chinese section; they had Vegetables in Lohan Sauce and Drunken Noodles. The sauce was good while the Noodles were bland, nothing drunken about it.

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The Indian section had the usual with some unusual additions: Paneer Makhni, Bhindi Masala, Chowgra, Gawar Ki Phali, Kacche Aam Ki Subzi, Methi Chaman and Dal Panchratan. Butter Naan and Pulkas were served at the table.

The Pannner again was not so fresh, but the gravy was good; the Bhendi was yum, a lil too oily; Chowgra, Gawar and Aam were alright; the Methi Chaman, again, was yum; and the Dal was decent. The Pulkas on the other hand were too dry with lots of dry flour.

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In the rice section, they had Moong Dal Khichdi, Biryani and White Rice. The Khichdi was okay okay, Biryani, as with other buffet places, disappointing. But the white rice with Thai Red Curry was awesome. Loved it.

There was also Chamagadda Pulusu (Sweet potato Dal) and Kothmir Vankaya (Eggplant) on the south Indian front which I didn’t taste. I was so full, that I couldn’t dig into the curd rice and other stuff they had either.

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There were lots of accompaniments to go with the meal.

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Finally, the deserts: Kurbani Ka Meetha, Chum Chum, Dry Fruit Halwa and Pastries apart from 4 flavors of ice-creams.

The Kurbani was perfect and the Chum Chum’s were dry, the Halwa was amazing, and the cakes were decent. The Pista ice-cream with Hershey’s on it (I know that it’s a weird combo) tasted yum.

Overall, a pretty good meal. Not all items were great, but with so many dishes, even half of them being good is reasonable. The pricing was decent for such a lavish buffet. The service was pretty good as well. It’s a perfect place for a family get together. I’d suggest it for anyone who wants to have a good vegetarian meal!

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 1147/- (Buffet: Rs. 299/- per head)

Verdict: 8.5/10

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