Archive for Global Cuisine

Prego Alfresco

Place: Prego Alfresco
Location: Westin, Hitech City
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Global Cuisine
Meal: Dinner

I’ve heard a lot about how good the food is at Westin, especially at Prego, for a long time now, but always felt that the place was too expensive for my liking. When I received an invite to dine at the newly launched restaurant, it was time, finally.

I walked in to the pool side restaurant through the Italian dine-in, and the place looked fabulous. It was perfect weather to dine in the open, and the ambiance was quintessential. As we, a few foodies settled down, the chef came in and gave a brief on what was going to be served for dinner –  their new offering, Mediterranean cuisine.

To go with the cuisine, each table had a Mediterranean platter with Olive Tepanade, Tomato and Parmesan dip, and Mushroom and Truffle Oil dip alongside Za’atar Flatbread and Khaboos.

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Breads and Dips

Both the dips were delicious; the Tomato and Parmesan dip was spicy and just perfect to my liking, while the mushroom dip was creamy and scrumptious. The tepanade too was equally good, but nothing to beat the dips. The breads served along were soft, with the za’atar flatbread being the best of the lot. Yummilicious!

There was a fixed menu for the evening, with no choice for the vegetarians, so I asked for whatever was on the list: Mediterranean Antipasto for starters, Vegetable Timbale for main course, and Phyllo wrap and Bougasta for desserts. Before that, we were served with Amuse Bouche – Roasted Bell pepper pin-wheel with Goat Cheese.

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Amuse Bouche

While this looked good, it didn’t taste any good for I thought it lacked flavour.

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Mediterranean Antipasto

The starters were served soon, and no, this is definitely not what I would have ordered if I had a choice. With Chilli marinated Olives, Caramelized Figs, Pickled Grapes, Tomato Feta salad, Baked Artichokes, and Olive Tapenade on Crunchy Ciabatta, this really wasn’t for me. Nevertheless, it was a different experience to hog on such exotically presented veggies. I thought the Pickled Grapes were the best of the lot while the Ciabatta was a close second.

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Vegetable Timbale

Time for the main course. Vegetable Timbale with Stalk of Lemon Couscous, Chickpeas and Mediterranean vegetables. This didn’t look appetizing at all. The veggies tasted raw and the Couscous was barely alright. The chickpeas turned out to be the saviour in this disappointing dish, for they were the only things which tasted alright. Utter failure altogether.

Firstly, it didn’t taste good, and secondly, the portion served was so little that I wondered if this were starters or main-course. To help fill my tummy, I requested the chef to serve a vegetarian version of the Lamb Moussaka served to the non-vegetarians.

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Veg. Moussaka

This at least looked more palatable than the Timbale, but the result was the same. The eggplant was well cooked, yes, and tasted good with the cheese; but the rest of the vegetable pile with Zucchini and peppers was undercooked and tasted terrible. The sauce too was nothing great. Two strikes!

So disappointed I was with the main course, that I wished to have a slice of Pizza from Prego instead. And voilà, a foodie ordered for a Margarita.

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Margarita

This actually turned out to be something palatable, not just for me but also for a fellow foodie who was struggling to cut through her Lemon Chicken (which apparently didn’t even have a hint of lemon). The pizza was good, but at the same time, nothing exceptional for I could taste the flour in every bite. Good, but not excellent.

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Phyllo Wrap, Walnut Baklava and Bougasta

The desserts, Phyllo Wrap and Bougasta were served with the addition of Walnut Baklava. While decent, they were all too sweet for my linking.

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Blue Curacao Mocktail and Watermelon Juice

I had ordered for a Blue Curacao mocktail while struggling with the main course, and this turned out to be alright.

Bottom line, I was left discontent at the end of my first meal at Westin. But for the breads and dips on the table, none of the other items could tease my taste buds. I had high expectations, but had to return home in utter dismay.

The fact that most of these dishes were priced exorbitantly didn’t make things any better. The Couscous, which wouldn’t even fill a small corner of my tummy was priced at 675 bucks + taxes. Yes, some people might have the appetite to spend lavishly, but even for that, the food needs to taste decent at the least.

As far as I’m concerned, this might actually be my first and last meal at Westin (though I’ve been wanting to visit Prego for a long time and still haven’t) for my experience on this night wasn’t enthralling enough for me to come back.

Food: 6/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. N/A

Verdict: 6.5/10

Dunkin Donuts

Place: Dunkin Donuts
Location: Inorbit Mall, Hitech City
Cuisine: American, Fast-food
Meal: Lunch

No, it’s not Dunkin Donuts. It’s Dunkin Donuts and more 😀

That’s the first line uttered by the marketing manager as we, a few foodies, entered the DD’s first store in Hyderabad for a tasting session. The joint is on the ground floor of Inorbit Mall, facing the lake, and had very lively ambiance. We soon settled down for a chat with the PR team, who gave us a run through of DD culture, their presence in India, and more importantly the reasoning behind why it’s more than just donuts in our beloved country. I found their concept to be brilliant; target the ‘Happily Screwed’ crowd!

Once we were enlightened, it was time to taste the food; food one wouldn’t normally except at DD, food which isn’t regular. First stop, Wicked Wrap; complex, crazy, awsomely wicked.

Wicked Wrap

Veg. Wicked Wrap

And boy, this was wicked. Crunchy nachos, jalapeno patty, spicy chipotle and raw mango sauces on a multi grain tortilla, this was definitely one of the best wraps I’ve tasted. It was truly wicked, with the spice lingering in my mouth for a long time. It hurt so good.

To help gulp the wicked wrap, we were served some Iced Tea.

Dunkin Donuts Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Spiked Iced Tea and Iced Green Tea

Spiked Iced Tea had a cinnamon touch to it, and tasted very different; different good. The Iced Green Tea had a strong green tea flavor, yet was perfect. These really were saviours on my wicked ride.

If you’re not up to taste the wickedness, there’s a Not So Wicked Wrap for the faint hearted.

Next came the Tough Guy Burger, a burger that makes heart breaks 0.223% less heart breaking.

Dunkin Donuts Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Veg. Tough Guy Burger

With the burger bun replaced with a tough bagel loaded with sesame seeds, this was definitely a definitely a tough burger. A delicious patty loaded with elephant yam, cheese and spicy mustard sauce; this was another winner.

Dunkin Donuts Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Crunchy Joe

It was now time to taste Crunchy Joe. With toasted bun stuffed with Indianized black-eye bean curry, this was amazingly delicious. There was crunch in every bite; I absolutely loved it.

I wanted to taste the Naughty Lucy burger before I indulged on the Donuts, and while I wait for it, I asked for a Chocolate Dunkaccino.

Dunkin Donuts Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Dunkaccino

Served with whipped cream, the chocolate shake was almost perfect. I just wish it were thicker.

Dunkin Donuts Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Juicy Lucy Burger

Any finally came my Lucy! With a patty stuffed with molten cheese, eating this couldn’t get more messy than this. But who cares, when you’re in for some pure bliss. Lucy was super-duper cheesy 😀

Time now for the donuts.

Dunkin Donuts Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Dunkin Donuts

I had a bite of almost everything on plate, and they were all yum. Loved the Chocolate ones the best. My usual favourite at DD, Boston Creme was missing today, but the rest made it up for it. Amazing finish to the brilliant meal.

Overall, the most satisfying meal I’ve had in a long long time. Perfect ambiance, great service and awesome food. And to make it more special, DD team gave me a goodie bag with six donuts, a DD mug and coupons for 365 days of donuts! The pricing might be a little on the higher side to dine in often (60 bucks for donuts, 60-200 bucks for the burgers + taxes), but I feel that they are still worth it. Go get your mojo back!!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 1: Rs. N/A

Original Verdict: 9.5/10

Updated Verdict: 8/10

I’ve visited DD twice after writing the review, and the standard have dropped substantially. The service is mediocre, and hygiene has gone for a toss. They will need to pull up their socks in case they wish to sustain in the market!

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Chili’s

Place: Chili’s
Location: Inorbit Mall, Hitech City
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Meal: Dinner

Chili’s used to be one of my favorite joints while I lived in Starkville, USA. Whenever I was bored with the same food, Chili’s Black-bean Burger was the savior. I’ve been wanting to visit the Indian outlet for a long time, and finally, on a Monday evening, here I was for a tasting session. The ambience was almost exactly the same as in the States, and I made myself comfortable at a corner booth.

The chef suggested that I try some of their best sellers, and I obliged. So I started off with a small portion of Texas Cheese Poppers and Fried Quesadilla bites, along with a Virgin Pina Colada.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Texas Cheese Poppers

The Texas Cheese Poppers were served in quick time, along with Chipotle Sour Cream. First impression, they were greasy. They tasted good, with cheese melting in my mouth, but the oil was bothering me. The cheese was oozing out oil as well, so.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Fried Quesadilla Bites

The Fried Quesadilla Bites were served along with Chipotle Ranch, and these turned out to be excellent. With grilled paneer and cheese, this was a definite winner! And the ranch tasted better than the sour cream.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Pina Colada

The Pina Colada arrived soon, and tasted good. The pineapple was pretty dominant.

Next, I wanted to taste their Queso, and so asked for a small portion. I was told that it’s usually served on a skillet, but they made an exception and gave me a bowlfull.

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Queso Dip

While the Queso was good, the chips didn’t catch my fancy. I found them pretty heavy, and would have preferred lighter chips.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Texas Cheese Fries

It was now time for Texas Cheese Fries. Loaded with Terlingua Chili, veggies and tons of cheese, this looked yum. However, on taste front, it was just alright, for I really didn’t enjoy the chili much. Nevertheless, the cheese and fries were yum yum.

For the main course, I asked for a Veggie Bite Burger, and a portion of their Veggie and Cheese Quesadilla. But first, another drink; Blue Pacific.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Blue Pacific

Served in a Martini glass, this tasted very different. Different good.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Veggie Bite Burger

The burger turned out to be decent. The bun was toasted, and the patty was good.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Veggie and Cheese Quesadilla

The Quesadilla, served with Pico de Gallo and sour cream, was again a winner. With tons of mushrooms, home-made cream sauce and cheese, this turned of to be excellent. On the downside, I found the texture of the cream sauce to be too thick; would have preferred it to be lighter.

To finish things off, I asked for the Molten Chocolate Cake. The chef suggested Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie, but I was in no mood for caramel, so.

Chili's Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Molten Chocolate Cake

This turned out to be good; chocolate was oozing with every bite. However, the cake was overbaked, and so, a little too dry.

Overall, a satisfactory meal. Food was decent and drinks were great. Of the starters, the Fried Quesadilla was worth it. The service was impeccable, with the manager Pavan attending to my every need. The chilled out ambiance gives this place a definite edge. They might be priced a little on the higher side in general, but their value meals for lunch and dinner are a steal. Bottomline, nothing exceptional but worth a visit.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 1: N/A

Verdict: 7.5/10

Habanero

Place: Habanero
Location: Above Starbucks, Opposite Trident, Hitech City
Cuisine: Mexican
Meal: Dinner

Was invited to the opening of the new Tex-Mex restaurant in town, so dropped in to give it a shot. The place was very well done and the ambiance was pretty neat. There were few other foodies invited along with me, and we were also seated in the private dining area.

The owner of the brand and the chief chef came in to greet us foodies and make us comfortable. They briefed us on the brand, the variety of food, and the experience one can expect at Habanero.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Varieties of Salsa

Chips were served as we settled down, with three different types of Salsa – Spicy Chilli, Cucumber and Papaya. I liked the chilli sauce but wasn’t really impressed by the other two. The tortilla chips on the other hand turned out to be light and crispy; perfecto!

The veggie crowd soon ordered for a portion of Macho Nachos, Jalapeno Poppers, and Queso Dip.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Macho Nachos

The Nachos came in first and looked quite loaded. Tons of veggies, salsa and sour cream with yummy cheese – perfect way to start the meal. While the chips tasted yum, I would have preferred more cheese topping.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Jalapeno Poppers

The Jalapeno poppers were in next and were served with a flavoured mayonnaise dip. These were good but nothing spectacular; the cheese was there but the jalapeno weren’t ripe, and so the required punch was amiss. Apparently, the restaurant has been facing problem sourcing the right quality jalapeno. They did serve a variation with chopped jalapeno instead of stuffed ones, and this turned out to be more of cheese poppers than jalapeno poppers (not that I was complaining 😛 ).

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Queso Dip

The best of the lot however turned out to be the Queso dip. It was served along with some more chips, and man, it was excellent. Creamy and cheesy, just perfect. We were so in love with it that we ordered for another portion; this again tuned out to be excellent and was finished in a blink. So we now ordered for a third portion; and bam! This now turned out to be the worst dips I’ve ever tasted. The creamy cheesy dip was gone and this one turned out to be some kind of  gooey stuff with absolutely no taste. One of the foodies actually said it tasted like broken cream. Disappointed.

Anyway, while the Queso saga was on, we ordered for more starters; Messy Bean Dip, Zucchini Fritters with Tomatillo Relish and Tostada Salad. I was also tempted to taste the Chilli Cheese Fries, so ordered for the same. But before that came my drink – Softie Colada.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Softie Colada

This turned out to be a refreshing drink; it had a distinct coconut taste, and was as perfect as it could get.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Messy Bean Dip

The Messy Bean Dip arrived again with more chips. This turned out to be good, but I would have preferred it to be a little more spicy. It actually reminded me of the Rajma curry we make at home.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Zucchini Fritters

The Zucchini Fritters tasted very different from the regular stuff, and turned out to be excellent. The Tomatillo sauce (Tomatillo, also called Mexican Tomato, is a kind of gooseberry) had a tangy taste to it and went perfectly well with the zucchini. One of the best dishes of the day!

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Chilli Cheese Fries

The Chilli Cheese Fries turned out to be another version of the Macho Nachos. The cheese sauce was good, but the fries were very soggy. I had to eat this using a spoon and fork, so you can imagine. They weren’t bad, but definitely didn’t suit my palate.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Tostada Salad

The Tostada Salad turned out to be a Tortilla topped with different veggies. The crunchy base actually made this taste good.

While we were munching on the food, the chief chef Dan walked in to make some Pico de Gallo salsa for us. He actually wanted to make Guacamole, but they were out of avocados, so. He started from scratch, and voila, in about 5 minutes, we had another dip to taste.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Pico de Gallo

This turned out to be a very very spicy dip, with the spice hitting the throat after a while. Though I was almost in tears, I enjoyed it.

While we were stuffed, it was now time to taste the main course; Tacos and a Chimichanga.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Tacos

Two stuffed Tacos were served along with Mexican rice, salad and sour cream. While the Tacos were good, the rice turned out to be disastrous. It was uncooked and lacked any kind of flavor.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Chimichanga

The Chimichanga, served with same disgusting rice, turned out to be crunchy and stuffed well. It could have done with a little more cheese stuffing though.

Finally time for desserts. We wanted to have the Molten Mexican Chocolate Cake (stuffed with chili powder) but they were out of it. We wanted to have the Tres Leches Cake, and they were out of it as well. They were actually out of everything but for Churros and Snickers Chimichanga. While I prefered neither, Chimichanga it was, again.

Habanero Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Snickers Chimichanga

And as I guessed, this wasn’t for me. Too sweet for my liking!

Overall, an average meal. While some of the dishes were very good (Queso was exceptional but only the first time around) consistency seemed to be a major issue. Actually, a few days after our gathering, there was another foodie meet here, and most of them complained about the food. Not surprising as we experienced something lack of consistency in a single meal. So that’s something they definitely need to work on.

Food apart, the place has great ambiance, perfect for small parties and get-togethers. On money front, everything seemed reasonable, and I was told that they are cheaper than competition.

So give it a shot. You may expect good food, but nothing exceptional (please don’t curse me if you have a terrible experience 😛 )

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 1: N/A

Verdict: 7.5/10

Olive Bistro

Place: Olive Bistro
Location: Near Ambedkar University, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Lunch (with few foodie friends)

About a month ago, was called upon by a few foodie friends for a tasting session at Olive Bistro. Though I visited the restaurant pretty recently, decided to give it a try for it would give me an opportunity to try more dishes. On a bright afternoon, here I was with six other foodies inide the closed dining section. Ambiance wise, the place looked very bright (for the shades were pulled up), and it actually looked better than during the night-time.

We started off with drinks, and I asked for Peach & Apricot Milkshake. A while later I also ordered for a Litchi Iced Tea.

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Peach & Apricot Milkshake

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Litchi Iced Tea

The milkshake was creamy and the flavour was perfect. While it was a little too sweet for my liking, it was still a great shake. The Litchi Iced Tea was absolutely perfect and one of the best iced tea I’ve ever had.

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Mushroom Soup

Next I asked for the Mushroom Soup. This again was very thick and creamy, and tasted excellent. I loved the strong mushroom flavour.

While other foodie friends ordered a lot of meat starters, I asked for Veg. Pizza Pockets (Panzarotti) and Saffron Arancini.

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Veg. Pizza Pockets

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Saffron Arancini

It is well-known that the service at Olive Bistro is slow, but the fact that it took close to an hour for these to be served was quite disappointing. Furthering adding to my misery (and hunger), neither of them tasted any good; the Pizza Pockets had barely any filling in them with no sight of cheese, while the Arancini stuffing seemed uncooked. I was really hungry and craving for food and that was the only reason I gulped them without any qualms.

Everyone at the table wanted to try The All Veg on a Thin Crust pizza, so.

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

The All Veg Pizza on a Thin Crust

The pizza was served in reasonable time (surprisingly) and was bigger than what was served the last time I was here. While the crust was neat, I was not really satisfied with the pizza for it tasted pretty bland and there was barely any cheese.

For the main course, I ordered Roast Almond & Creamed Spinach Ravioli.

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Roasted Almost & Creamed Spinach Ravioli

For some reason I was expecting this to be served in a creamy sauce, but it was in fact served in a dry tomato sauce. While it tasted alright, the ravioli stuffing was also pretty dry and I could neither taste the almonds nor the creamed spinach. Not the best ravioli.

To finish the meal, on recommendation, I ordered for OB Signature Profiteroles.

Olive Bistro Review by Sasikanth Paturi

OB Signature Profiteroles

While Profiteroles were not something I would have ordered in general (for I would have preferred something more creamy), these tasted pretty good and crunchy.

Overall, while few items tasted good, it wasn’t a great meal altogether. I was more or less disappointed with the starters and the main course items, so it actually a disappointing meal. To add to that, the service was pathetic. If I were paying for the meal (not a tasting session), I would have probably stormed out of the place for such lethargic service. The restaurant might have a huge fan following and tons of regular customers, but it can definitely count me out of that list for I don’t think I’d be coming back to this place in the near future again even if it is a tasting session.

Food: 7/10
Service: 5.5/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 1: N/A

Verdict: 7/10

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. 🙂

Deli 9 (Banjara Hills)

Place: Deli 9
Location: Road No. 1, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Global, Bakery
Meal: Dinner (with couple of friends)

Deli 9 is currently having a Global Burger and Cheesecake Festival, and few of my vegetarian foodie friends suggested that we drop by to give try their veggie offerings. For some reason, I’ve never visited Deli 9 thus far cos I’ve perceived it as a high-priced cafe for the rich folks, an opinion I formed ages ago after one visit to Fusion 9. Back then, this was one of the only expensive deli’s in town, but given that you spend 300-400 for a Burger at any other restaurant in town today, it doesn’t look so bad after all. So here we were at the Banjara Hills outlet which has pretty good ambiance.

While waiting for our fellow foodies to arrive, a couple of us ordered Crusty Garlic Foccacia with Cheese, and four pieces of cheesy garlic bread were served in about 10 minutes.

Deli 9 (Banajara Hills) Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Garlic Foccacia with Cheese

These happened to be the best garlic bread I’ve had in the recent past for the bread was perfectly baked and had the right amount of garlic and cheese. If this was anything to go by, we were in for an amazing meal.

Once everyone arrived, we ordered one each of their veggie offerings for the Burger festival – a Veggie 9 Burger, Japanese Ramen Burger and a Lebanon Chickpeas Burger. It took forever for the burgers to be served but we weren’t really complaining. Each burger was served along with exactly six Potato Wedges. I was hoping some kinda dipping sauce or salad, but there was none.

Deli 9 (Banajara Hills) Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Veggie 9 Burger

The Veggie 9 Burger had a decent patty sandwiched between multi-grain bread, with some lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and a slice of cheese. The patty was good, however, it was kinda dry and didn’t seem really fresh. While it wasn’t the best burger, it wasn’t a bad bet.

Deli 9 (Banajara Hills) Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Japanese Ramen Burger

The Ramen Burger looked puny in comparison with others for the bread was replaced with sautéed noodles, and was served with the same veggie patty. While the combination did taste good, the noodles, though well done, were kinda oily which resulted in an oily after taste.

Deli 9 (Banajara Hills) Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Lebanon Chickpeas Burger

The Chickpea burger had a patty served in between burnt pita bread along with hummus and finely shredded lettuce. Apart from being burnt on one side, the pita bread was really soggy and tasted terrible. The hummus too had no flavour and was more like a chutney. The biggest disappointment of the evening thus far!

And ya, the potato wedges were among the worst ever for they were dripping oil and had no flavour or seasoning – they were deep-fried potato pieces, period.

Now come the best part of our meal – the cheesecakes. They had 9 different offerings but none seemed appealing. We decided to share a Nutella Cheesecake and a Lemon Cheesecake.

Deli 9 (Banajara Hills) Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Nutella Cheesecake

First off, the Nutella Cheesecake didn’t look like a cheesecake. It was more like a gooey brownie and tasted exactly like that. Why call it a cheesecake, I’ll never understand. It was too sweet for my liking (because of the Nutella), and overall an average piece of cake.

Deli 9 (Banajara Hills) Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Lemon Set Cheesecake

The Lemon Cheesecake happened to be a piece of rubber and disgrace on the name of cheesecake.  Hoping that it had gone stale and that was the reason it tasted bad, I informed the waiter about the same. In response, I was told that it was supposed to be like that for it was a set cheesecake. Brilliant. I actually can’t believe that they serve something so terrible for 150 bucks, and have an excuse for it. It was taken back when I complained about the taste; I was hoping for a replacement, but there was none.

A meal which actually started of pretty well turned out to be a disaster with every item. Forget the burgers, if a place serves this kinda cheesecakes during a supposed festival, then there’s something terribly wrong. The Burgers too weren’t anything special and spending 195 bucks for each of them while the regular one was available for  115 is purely our mistake. The service too was exceedingly slow. A meet at the adjacent Karachi Bakery would have been more fruitful (and pocket friendly).

The festival is still on if you’d like to experience it (till October 30). Good luck!

Food: 5.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 1270/-

Verdict: 6/10

Fremmy

Place: Fremmy
Location: Opp. Rainbow Hospital, Road No. 10, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Global
Meal: Lunch (with my cousin)

There was a foodies meet at Fremmy last Sunday and I dropped in with my cousin. I’ve been wanting to try this place for a while now, so here was an opportunity. It’s a small do, with about 5-6 tables, and open kitchen. It actually gives you a feel of walking into a Subway, with a similar concept in store – make your own food.

As part of the meet, there was a special deal where we were to get either a pizza or burrito, a donut and a drink for 200 bucks. We were handed out a piece of paper with all the options for the make yourself pizza or burrito. We chose for a pizza with garlic base, basic veggies and Paneer in Pesto sauce as an additional topping. For the burrito, we asked for Dal Makhni, veggies and Schezwan Paneer. Do note that the burrito served here is very Indianized.

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The burrito was served in about 10 minutes and looked very different from what I expected. I knew it was gonna be served in a bowl (ya, not a roll), but still, the concept of serving rice with separated toppings on top didn’t feel like a burrito. What’s worse, it actually looked very different from the burrito served to other foodies. I expected the toppings to be mixed at the least. On taste front though, it tasted alright. The Dal Makhni wasn’t that great by itself, but with the rice and along with the toppings, was good. My cousin loved the rice.

Because of the huge gathering (thanks to the meet), there was some confusion with our pizza and it took a little longer than expected to be served.

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The thin crust pizza looked like a set of crackers put together, topped with cheese and veggies. And it tasted exactly like a cracker. I absolutely loved the crust for it was very different from any pizza I’ve tasted before. I would have preferred for more base sauce, but it was still a yummy pizza.

We were served with Blue Curacao for the drinks which were good. We bought our Donuts (Almond and Chocolate) home, and they were actually very good, especially the almond donut. It was creamy and yummilicious.

Overall, a decent meal. It looks like the guys are still settling in and it might take a while before they get everything right, but worth a visit for sure. Everything is priced reasonably as well. They need a better exhaust system for the place got stuffy after a while. Give it a shot for their pizza and donuts and lemme know how it goes. 🙂

Food: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 400/- (as part of the deal)

Verdict: 8/10

Cafe Churchill (Mumbai)

Place: Cafe Churchill
Location: Adj. Bata, Colaba, Mumbai
Cuisine: Global, Pizza
Meal: Lunch (with a friend)

Colaba happens to be my favorite part of Bombay for we used to stay around here during amma’s official tours ages ago (when I was in school). I often used to come here whenever I was bored during my stay in the city a couple of years ago, and on one such visit, I discovered a gem of a restaurant hidden behind the bustling street market. It’s a small place with less than ten tables, and has decent ambiance which actually gives you a feeling of walking down an old memory lane. Being a small joint, it’s packed most of the time, and walking in on a weekday afternoon, we initially had to share a table with an elderly couple before we were moved to a table next to the entrance.

An elderly Parsi aunty (one of the owners) handed us the menu, and after long contemplation, we ordered an Olive Pizza and King Papalina Lasagna. I had tasted their French Fries with Cheese long before, and unable to resist my temptation, I later added portion of the same to our order.

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The Fries were served in about ten minutes, looked mouth-watering and tasted absolutely delicious. There was cheese all over, and the fries were perfect. A little ketchup, and yum! The best part though was not just the cheese on the top, but there was cooked cream cheese stuffed on the bottom which was out-of-the-world good. I’m so glad that I couldn’t resist my temptation. Bliss!

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The pizza was served next, and this looked yum again. The thick crust pizza was covered with cheese, black and green olives and lots of oregano. While the pizza base wasn’t really great, the tomato sauce and thick layer of cheese with the oregano made this an excellent pizza.

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We were full by the time King Papalina arrived, but couldn’t resist digging in. Stuffed with tons of marinated mushrooms, loads of cheese and cooked cream cheese between layers of pasta, this was as good as a lasagna could get. Again, yummilicious!

Overall, an excellent meal. But we weren’t done yet. In the past, I’d observe their pastries displayed in a refrigerator near the entrance sell like hotcakes, and today was no different. Though we were heading to Theobroma after the meal, decided to give their famous Blueberry Cheesecake a try.

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Honestly, the cheesecake wasn’t as great as I expected. It was quite heavy and a little too sweet for my liking. However, it was bad by no means. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the rest of the meal.

With friendly service, decent ambiance and prices, and most importantly, delicious food, this place is a must visit for any foodaholic. Zomato calls it a Legendary restaurant, and my meal was truly legendary. Go hog!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 905/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

Relish (Mumbai)

Place: Relish – International Veg Cuisine
Location: Prem Court, Tata Road, Churchgate, Mumbai
Cuisine: Global
Meal: Lunch (with a friend)

I was in Mumbai last week, and my first meal had to be at one of my favorite restaurants ever, Relish. I walked in along with a friend around 2:00 PM, and the place was packed. We were lucky have found ourselves a table in the corner, without having to wait. The ambiance, as mentioned in my previous review, is just perfect – brightly lit with great interiors. We were attended to right away after being seated.

Their Veg Kaukswe (Indonesian curry served on a bed of buttered noodles) is my all time favorite, and so was ordered. My friend never tasted anything Mexican, so we decided to give the Chimichangas a try. The service was quick, and the food was served in about ten minutes.

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The Chimichangas were covered in a thick layer of molten cheese, and served with salsa and guacamole. They were very crispy and perfectly fried, such that I was able to cut into them with my fork easily. The stuffing, mostly containing red beans and onions in tomato base was super yummy, and tasted great along with the molten cheese. The salsa dip tasted alright, while the guacamole was a bit off.

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The Veg Kaukswe looked and tasted exactly the same as it did about 3 years ago. The gravy was thick, had a delicate flavor, and the noodles were oozing butter. I’ve said it before and I’d say it again, this is the best noodle dish I’ve tasted so far in my life. Yummilicious!

Overall, as expected, an excellent meal. The service was good, and the best part was that the meal was actually pocket friendly for the quantity of food served. If you still haven’t tried this place out, you’re definitely missing on something good. Go hog, now!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 528/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

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