Archive for Global Cuisine

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

Ohri’s Banjara

Place: Ohri’s Banjara
Location: Road No. 12, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Indian/Continental
Meal: Dinner (with a friend)

Dropped in at Ohri’s Banjara for dinner the other day with a friend, and it turned out to be a dinner full of surprises. We first walked into Serengeti, but since both of us didn’t have a heavy appetite that evening, decided to munch on something at Eatmor on the ground floor. The place was pretty empty when we walked in around 8:00 PM, but got full as the night progressed.

We wanted to try their Andhra Firecrackers (veg). That apart, I wanted to have something new, so decided to order a portion of Veg. Dumplings. I’ve been craving for good dumplings in the recent past and was looking forward to them. I also ordered for my regular at Ohri’s, the Big Chill.

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The Big Chill was served first, in about 10 minutes. As expected, the drink was very good – chocolaty, with a hint of coffee flavor, and loads of cookies and cream.

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The Andhra Firecrackers were served next. I usually love this dish of theirs, but on this day, the paneer was stale, and therefore, they didn’t taste good. They infact were soggy and uneatable after a point.

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The big surprise though was when the Veg. Dumplings arrived. Traditionally, dumplings are cooked balls of dough, either based out of flour, potatoes or bread (more on dumplings can be found here). But the ones they served looked very different, so I called the waiter and made sure that he got the right order. Though he concurred, the things they served us are usually called Cutlets, which by the way, used to be very good at the erstwhile Havmor (Ohri’s Basheerbagh). I was in no mood to argue with him and decided to dig in. They tasted alright, but were a little spicy, and a couple of them were a little undercooked. My want of having dumplings down the drain!

For the main course, my friend ordered Chole Batura, while I ordered for something called Mushroom and Herbs. It took time for the order to be served, but since we were in no hurry, didn’t bother much about it. The Chole Batura was served first, and it tasted pretty good. My friend was happy with it.

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The second surprise was when the Mushroom and Herbs was served. What I thought would be a main course in fact turned out to be a thick soup. It was creamy, with loads of mushrooms, but had loads of Dill which wasn’t very fresh. This made it inedible in a way (or atleast, I found it inedible). The garlic bread served along also turned out to be very soggy. It was a big disappointment, and I actually stopped eating mid way through.

To finish things off, my friend wanted to order a Bull’s Eye, and so we did.

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It took forever for the dessert to be served. When we dug in, we realized that the brownie was not fresh and it was really difficult to cut through it. We informed  this to the waiter, and he replaced the dessert for us. But again, it was no better, and so we decided to gulp it the way it was. Other than the ice-cream with chocolate sauce, there was nothing good about it.

Overall, a mediocre meal. Except for the Chole Batura, and may be the so-called dumplings/cutlets, everything else tasted poor. To add to this, the bill came to a whopping 1300, thanks to 300 bucks of taxes and service charges. Other than the ambiance and maybe the service, there was nothing worthwhile about our visit, barring the couple of surprises. I don’t think I’ll be going back to this place for a long time, not even for my beloved Big Chill.

Food: 5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 1300/-

Verdict: 6/10

Cinnamon Fusion

Place: Cinnamon Fusion
Location: 3rd Floor, SBR Gateway, Opposite Motorola, Hitech City
Cuisine: Continental
Meal: Dinner (with couple of friends)

After hearing and reading raving reviews about this place, I was here finally on a weekday with a couple of friends for dinner. We were guessing the place to be packed, but to our surprise, it was empty, and we were the only guests when we entered. The interiors of the place were very well done, and the ambience was good. There was a band playing in one corner to an empty restaurant. They were good, but very loud, which started to get annoying after a while.

The place boasts of a lavish buffet on the table – they have a fixed menu from which you get a choice of soup, salad, entrée, pizza, main course and a desert for 579 bucks (same for veg and non-veg). Though the amount of food was tempting, the fixed menu was pretty sad, so we instead opted to order from the menu. The menu looked huge, but the choice was very limited. Surprisingly, without any Indian curries on the menu, they had a page full of breads. When enquired, we were told that they a specialty European restaurant. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Anyways, we ordered a Creme of Mushroom soup, Chilli Paneer Tikka, Stuffed Mushroom Tikka and Till Tilla Zinga (Prawns) for my friend. Instead of the Chilli Paneer Tikka, we actually wanted to order their specialty Paneer Tiranga, but it wasn’t available.

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I was kinda excited about the soup, for it said it would be cream of three kinds of mushroom garnished with smoked milk froth, but it turned out to be very different from my expectations; it was too thin and there were not many mushrooms in it. The quantity served was pretty good, but I would have preferred thicker soup in less quantity than what was served.

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The starters were served pretty soon, and both the vegetarian starters turned out to be good. The paneer was soft, well marinated and grilled. It was a little too spicy, but no complaints for it was supposed to be. The Mushroom Tikka had stuffed mushroom roasted and cooked, and it was yum. My friends Tiger Prawns were a big disappointment thought, for he found them very hard and under-cooked.

It was really tough to order the main course, for there was not much choice. It was either European or Continental, and both had very few vegetarian options. I finally decided to order a pizza and my friend asked for Pan Fried Noodles. My other friend had Grilled Chicken with Pepper sauce.

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The thin crust pizza was served first. I had asked for Mushrooms, Broccoli, Olives and Jalapeno, but they missed the Jalapeno. The pizza was cheesy (just the way I like it), and the base was crispy. There was no tomato base, but I really didn’t care, for it was very good. On the downside, I thought it was too small for 325 bucks.

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The Pan Fried noodles were served with Vegetable broth which tasted delicious. The vegetables were crunchy, and the sauce was yummy, so altogether, it tasted great with the noodles.

My friend was happy with his Grilled Chicken.

Overall, a decent meal. The fact that there was not much on the menu was a disappointment, but otherwise the food was tasty. The service was decent as well. Though the amount of food we ordered was quite minimal, the bill turned out to be the same as what it would have for the fixed menu. Improving their menu and adding more options to their fixed menu would definitely help them. Give it a shot at your leisure, but don’t expect much.

Food: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambience: 9/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 1722/-

Verdict: 7.5/10

Relish (Mumbai)

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

I’ve been meaning to write this review for over 6 months now. Relish was my favorite restaurant while I lived in Mumbai. Located in between Churchgate station and Marine Drive, Relish is a nice fancy restaurant. It’s brightly lit and is full on most occasions (which can make it quite loud). It’s got a huge menu, all vegetarian. From Italian to Mexican, Indian to Lebanese, they’ve got it all. And the best part is that they are all reasonably priced.

I was here with a friend back in December 2011 for lunch. Though I’ve had it before, I wanted to have the Veg Kaukswe (Indonesian curry served on a bed of buttered noodles) again, and also wanted to try their Mushroom Melange fondue (Delicately flavored melted cheese with sautéed mushroom, dipping bread and assorted seasoning). Our appetite was quite limited that afternoon, but we still decided to go for both.

The Kaukswe is the best noodles I’ve had so far in my life. The curry was yummy, has this sweet and sour taste and tastes awesome with the buttered noodles. Season it with the crushed peanut served along, squeeze some lime juice, and it tastes splendid!!

I was having a fondue for the first time in my life and had nothing to compare it with, but I thought this one was excellent. It was just like mentioned, awesome cheese sauce, perfectly sautéed mushroom and crunchy dipping bread. Adding the spices served and some chilly flakes to the cheese sauce made it taste even better. Yum is not the word.

I’ve had their pizza (Spicy Indiana) before and it is perfect. Their German Potatoes, Baked Nachos, Lasagna are all equally good.

Overall, an awesome meal. The quantity of food served was exceptional and we were struggling to finish what we ordered. The service is very good, and their prices include all the taxes (except 5% service charge). This is one restaurant I would suggest to anyone living in or visiting Mumbai. I wish they opened up in Hyderabad.

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 588/-

Verdict: 9.5/10

Sizzling Joe

Place: Sizzling Joe
Location: Food Court, GVK One, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Continental
Meal: Dinner

After watching Hugo with a couple of friends at Inox, we walked into the food court at GVK One for a quick meal. Having heard and read about Sizzling Joe,  I wanted to give it a try. I wasn’t expecting anything great for one of my friend had a horrible experience with them recently. I should have listened to him and stayed way from it. Alas!!

Since there were only three vegetarian sizzler to choose from, it was an easy choice. I picked the Corn Cheese Shaslik sizzler, which was supposed to be soft cottage cheese and corn balls, fried and skewered with onion and capsicum, served on rice loaded with sour garlic sauce. I asked the guy at the counter if I could get it without the capsicum, and he tells me there is no capsicum in this sizzler. Hmmm… The 175 bucks sizzler got billed for Rs. 200 including taxes. Awesome!!

We sat at one of the tables waiting for our food. One of my friend had ordered a Fusilli Pasta in Pesto sauce from these guys, which was served first.

First off, for 150 bucks, the quantity seemed very less. Next, it tasted more like Alfredo sauce than Pesto. And then, it was served cold. My friend thought it was alright, and ate it without complaining.

And then came my sizzler. Again, the quantity seemed very less. The French Fries were soggy, and they were barely any vegetables on the plate. Forget capsicum, there were no onions as well. I started off with the rice on top, covered with the mentioned sour garlic sauce which barely had any taste and was bland. The rice was under-cooked too. And then, to my horror, I see a sharp something sticking out in the rice.

The Cottage Cheese and Corn balls were placed under the rice skewered into two long, sharp toothpicks. There was no way I could get it out of the plate without getting my hands dirty. The balls tasted alright, and the rice tasted better with them, but overall, the experience was horrible. The sizzler was the worst I’ve had so far.

Overall, a horrendous meal. If it were another day, I would have complained about the sizzler to the management, but having enjoyed an awesome movie, I was in no mood to do so tonight. The guy at the counter too seemed like a loser, for he was swearing at someone else while I was placing my order. For the price, the quantity seemed minimal, and the taste was pathetic. It’s one of the worst restaurant experiences.

Stay away!!

Food: 3/10
Service: 4/10
Ambiance: NA
Meal for 1: Rs. 200/-

Verdict: 3/10

My other friend had a South Indian Special Thali from the Gongura counter.

It looked good, and apparently even tasted good. I’m sure it was way better than a Sizzling Joe sizzler!!

100 Degrees

Place: 100 Degrees
Location: Necklace Road, Ranigunj, Secunderabad
Cuisine: Continental
Meal: Dinner (with mom and dad)

After a long long long wait, I finally got to visit my favorite restaurant in the town. I once used to be regular customer of this place, but it’s been a while since I’ve last been here. It’s a place with great ambiance. The closed is section is dimly lit, with a wine cellar feel to it. The atmosphere is really good, but the place can get really loud when it’s packed. They have party rooms and terrace area facing Hussain Sagar. We sat at a corner table on the terrace. The view from up here was pretty good.

I kinda already decided on what I wanted to have, so it didn’t take much long for us to decide on our order. We ordered a Spicy Cottage Cheese Pizza as a starter, Crumbled Melting Cheese Sizzler and Ajwaini Tandoori Paneer Sizzler for the main course, and a Vanilla French Kiss Mocktail as a thirst buster. The guy taking the order was decent, but he seemed to lack enough knowledge on the menu.

We asked our waiter to get us some bread before the meal was served. I asked for warm bread, and two portions of excellent bread was served.

The mocktail was very well presented, and served in about 10 minutes. It was a mix of peach, orange and pineapple juices with cream. It was yum. Mom loved it.

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I’ve been craving to have their pizza for a while now for I think they serve the best pizza in town. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was amazing. Not very thick crust (neither too thin), perfectly baked, and cheese melting in your mouth. Add to that the crunchy veggies and spicy paneer. Heaven!!

We were pretty full by the time we were done with the bread and the pizza, even before our main course was served. We were even contemplating on canceling one of the sizzler, but they were already out.

I’ve already tasted the Crumbled Melting Cheese sizzler once before, and it looked delicious. Like always, though I knew it was gonna be piping hot, I couldn’t stop the temptation and burnt my mouth. It was cheesy and creamy, just the way I like it. The cottage cheese cutlet was well cooked and had a good flavor to it. The barbecue sauce on top, and fried rice served underneath were yummy. Overall, excellent!!

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I ordered the paneer sizzler with an Indian touch for Mom and dad. It was spicy, and had a very authentic taste to it. The huge chunks of paneer were well marinated and cooked, and the gravy was pretty tasty. It kinda felt like having Pulao with Paneer Tikka Masala, with loads of vegetables in between. Again yummy.

Overall, an awesome meal. Right from the bread, everything was great. The ambiance is excellent and service is pretty neat. Only problem with the waiters was that they did not understand English, and so everything had to be translated into Hindi. But they were sweet, and made us feel comfortable. Of all the Ohri’s restaurants in the city, I think this place has the best value for money, for it ain’t as expensive as other restaurants in their chain. The buffet they serve is also pretty decent and reasonably priced. But again, as it is with every Ohri’s restaurant, the tax is exorbitant (200 bucks for a bill of 800).

This place definitely serves the best pizza in town (not the one served with the buffet, please). Go grab a bite soon, and do let me know if there’s anything better than what they serve, cos I’d love to try it 🙂

Food: 9/10*
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 1006/-

Verdict: 9/10*

*With some feedback, and my own prior experiences, I’d like to make a note that this place is pretty inconstant on their food quality. I was served good food on this particular night, and I guess I was lucky. Make sure that you ask the manager for a replacement in case something’s wrong (these guys are pretty good on their customer relations). And please do provide your feedback on your experience in the comments.