Archive for Hyderabad

Serafina

Place: Serafina
Location: SLN Terminus, Gachibowli – Kondapur Road
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Dinner (with wifey)

Serafina is an international chain of Italian restaurants with more than 30 outlets in seven countries, and comes as a new addition to the already packed Italian gourmet space in Hyderabad. Located on the third level of the newly constructed SLN Terminus mall near Kondapur, the restaurant has perfect ambiance for a night with family or friends. I dropped in with wifey for a tasting session a couple of weeks ago, and we settled at a cozy table on the outdoor seating area overseeing the bustling Friday traffic.

Having just returned from a trip from Italy, their menu looked very familiar. There were a number of options to choose from, and the greedy foodie in me wanted to try a bit of everything. So we asked the on-floor manager to bring us small portions of their best offerings.

We were to start with a small portion of the tomato, basil and mozzarella antipasti and their D. Chopra salad, which I read is named as tribute to author Deepak Chopra who happens to be a regular at their NY outlet. While we were waiting for the traditional first course, the bread basket was placed on our table.

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Served along with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar in a grape cruet, their breads very fresh and irresistibly soft. I gulped down three pieces even before I realized so.

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The antipasti and insalate looked very appetizing. The mozzarella was fresh and went along with tomato and basil; and the D. Chopra salad which had mixed greens, pears, cherry tomatoes, corn, asparagus, and walnuts salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing was alright. As appetizing as it looked, these proved that I’m not a ghaas-phoos salad eating guy!

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To go along with our meal, we ordered a Virgin Pina colada and an Orange Mojito. The Pina colada was creamy, coconutty and just perfect, and the Mojito was not bad either. Forget wine, these drinks kept us satisfied.

Ordering the main-course was the tricky part; all of their pizza’s seemed interesting, and I honestly wanted a piece of everything. We finally asked for the Al Porcini pizza, Tagliolini di Portofino and Lasagne. The Manager suggested we also try the Paglia e Fieno pasta, and we obliged.

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They couldn’t do a small version of the pizza, so we got the full size one and it looked yum. The crust was perfectly baked, and the cream sauce was finger licking good. I would have preferred a little more flavouring; thankfully we had oregano and chilli flakes were at our disposal. Good stuff!

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Next came the home-made Tagliolini in pesto sauce and this tasted equally delicious. The pesto sauce was strong and creamy, and the pine nuts added nice crunch.

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The Lasagne was a little disappointing compared to the meal so far, for the sauce was too thin and there was too much eggplant. We couldn’t taste anything but for the eggplant, not even the cheese.

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The recommended Fettuccine pasta didn’t really live up to our expectations either. It was a little too dry and not something I’d try again.

And then, it was time for the desserts; we asked for a Chocolate Mousse while the Manager recommended the Tiramisu.

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The mousse turned out to be excellent; it was as good as it could get. Creamy, chocolaty yet subtle. The white chocolate wafer was yum. Toothsome!

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Their Tiramisu came without liquor, and while it tasted alright, I wasn’t really happy for the mascarpone cheese didn’t really feel perfect. I’ve just tasted the best Tiramisu at its origins, that’s probably the reason why I couldn’t relish this so much.

Overall, a good meal with the pizza and the mousse being clear winners. They could add more variety to their starters for there wasn’t anything more than bread or cheese. While the authenticity is being maintained, I’m guessing not many folks would appreciate it for what finally matters along with the food taste is the pricing. While they are more or less spot-on on the taste front, the exorbitant pricing is something one needs to get used to (a single item on their menu could cost you thousand bucks!). Nevertheless, it definitely deserves a visit; perfect ambiance, courteous service and good food is what awaits you here.

Food: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: N/A (it’s expensive!)

Verdict: 8.5/10

Serafina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mamagoto

Place: Mamagoto
Location: Opp. Audi Showroom, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Chinese
Meal: Dinner (with amma and wifey)

After a long hiatus, I’m back with the review of a tasting session at the newly opened Pan Asian restaurant chain in town – Mamagoto. Located on the ground floor of the same building as Zafraan Exotica, Mamagoto is a vibrant joint which boasts about its bright interiors and loud noise levels. The place was packed on Friday evening when we dropped in, and maybe because of the crowd, it all seemed too crammed. We had to wait for a few minutes before a table was arranged for us, and the on-floor Manager was kind enough to take our order while we were waiting. She helped us choose, and made sure that food was served soon after we settled down at a small table in the center of the restaurant in the ground floor.

For starters, we ordered Water Chestnut Spring Rolls and Old School Gyoza Dumplings. For drinks, I asked for a Chennai Chiller smoothie, wifey ordered a Virgin Sangria, and amma had their innovative Litchi Pop Rock.

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The Chennai Chiller was a refreshing mix of pineapple, coconut, banana and honey, blended with yogurt. I think it was the best drink of the lot. The Litchi Pop Rock turned our to be a flavoured ice-gola, and was equally good. The Orange flavoured Virgin Sangria was alright.

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The Spring rolls were served along with a tangy chilli black bean jam. The rolls were crispy, and excellent. The water chestnut taste was mild, and gave it a special taste. The jam served along was amazingly yummy (wifey never let go of it till the end of our meal!)

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We were expecting the Old School Gyoza aka lightly pan-fried vegetable dumplings with spicy momo sauce to be very spicy, but they were more or less mild. Nevertheless, they tasted very good with the stuffing being delicious.

We asked our waiter for suggestions on the main course, and he recommended we try the Spicy Bangkok Rice Bowl. I wanted to try the Pad Thai, but instead opted for the Chiang Mai Train Station Noodles.

Food was served in about ten minutes, but there seemed to be something fishy for I saw egg on the rice bowl. When enquired if the food served was vegetarian (as I ordered for veggie versions of everything), I was informed it was chicken. Confusion! They apologised, and took the food back.

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A little while later, our food was on the table, and we ensured it was vegetarian. The Spicy Bangkok Rice Bowl turned out to be regular fried rice with garlic flavour to it. Unlike the name, there was nothing spicy about it. However, it tasted pretty good. Nothing great, just good.

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The Chiang Mai Train Station Noodles looked yum, and also tasted yum. This reminded me of the amazingly awesome Kaukswe Noodles you get at Relish in Mumbai. The Coconut milk sauce with burnt onion and garlic was finger licking good. Yummilicious!

To end the meal, I asked for a Chocolate Cheese Cake and, though I’m not a big fan of caramel, picked their home-made Caramel Sponge Cake as the waiter recommended it.

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Again, there was confusion, and the waiter got back to us with their home-made Chocolate Cake instead of the Sponge Cake. I asked him not to replace it as this looked tempting. The accidental Chocolate cake turned out to be delectable; good that I avoided caramel.

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The Chocolate Cheese Cake was a combination of dark and white chocolate, and tasted alright. I would have preferred it to be more light, but no qualms.

Overall, a pretty good meal. All the items served made a mark, with the Chiang Mai Train Station Noodles making a big impression on my palate. The service team seemed a little offbeat, and it looked like the many waiters on floor were the cause of confusion all around. They need to hold fort before something goes haywire. On price front, the place is definitely heavy on the pocket, and the quantity of food served isn’t a plus point. Nevertheless, the ambiance and the food make it a worthy visit once in a while visit. Give it a go, and do tell me what you liked best!

And ya, don’t let the word spicy on their menu fool you 🙂

Food: 9/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 3: N/A

Verdict: 8/10

Mamagoto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Guilt Trip

Place: Guilt Trip
Location: Road No. 9, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Fast-food
Meal: Dinner (with better half)

We wanted to drop into The Gallery Cafe again, but given that those guys were having an off day because of some power issues, we came down to Guilt Trip. While we’ve had desserts here on a couple of occasions before, never sat in for dinner. We settled down in a corner of their brightly lit lower floor lounge. The seating arrangements could have been more comfortable, but I guess they are fine for a small place like this one.

We ordered for a Margarita pizza, Pomodoro Pasta, and a Devils Own.

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Devils Own

The drink was served first, and this tasted alright. While the sugar was alright, I thought there was more coffee than required.

Guilt Trip Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Margarita

An oval-shaped pizza was served soon, and it looked yum. On taste front, while the crust was good, there were more than a couple of burnt edges. There could have added more cheese as well.

Guilt Trip Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Veg. Pomodoro

The Pasta turned out to be the best dish of the night. It was creamy enough, and had perfect seasoning.

To end the meal, we ordered for a Chocolate Mousse.

Guilt Trip Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Chocolate Mousse

Surprisingly, this had more white chocolate than dark chocolate (I’ve never come across a white chocolate mousse before). It tasted alright but it definitely didn’t meet my expectations. In fact, while people swear on this place for their desserts, I’ve never experienced nirvana on any of their stuff. Either my expectations are too high or other people’s tastes are very different from mine.

Overall, a passable meal. With friendly service and decent ambiance, Guilt Trip should be a good hang out joint for teenagers and college folk. Maybe I’ve grown too old to relish such atmosphere.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 663/-

Verdict: 7.5/10

Guilt Trip Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Gallery Cafe

Place: The Gallery Cafe
Location: Road No. 10, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Fast-food
Meal: Dinner (with better half)

At a recent Zomato meetup, heard people talk about this new cafe in town, and eventually decided to drop in on a Friday evening with my better half. Located almost opposite Ofen, The Gallery Cafe is a brightly lit restaurant with some neat interiors. As the name suggests, it’s a small gallery with limited number of tables. There was just one table occupied when we walked in, and we made ourselves comfortable in a corner.

I had already had read through their menu, so ordered for food right away; Cheese Corn Nuggets with Tartar sauce, Grilled Pannini with Cheese, and Spaghetti in Fine Herbs and Cream sauce.

We also ordered for a drink, Double Chocolate Shybby. This was served pretty quickly and tasted yum. Though a little too sweet for my liking, the extra dose of chocolate was much required after a long day.

The Gallery Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Cheese Corn Nuggets

The Nuggets came in soon enough. While the quantity served seemed minimal, they tasted amazingly good thanks to the overload of molten cheese under the crisp coating. They went perfectly well with the Tartar sauce served along.

The Gallery Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Grilled Pannini with Cheese

The Panini was served with Coleslaw and Fries, and tasted equally good. The bread was fresh and the stuffing was near perfect (thanks to the cheese). The Coleslaw tasted decent while the Fries could have been crisp.

The Gallery Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Spaghetti in Fine Herbs and Cheese Sauce

Next came in the extra creamy Spaghetti, and that is exactly what the doctor ordered for. With perfect flavour and seasoning, it turned out to be yummilicious! The toast bread served along could have been better though.

Overall, a sumptuous satisfactory meal. Almost everything tasted perfect, thanks to an overload of cheese. The ambiance is great; you can bring in a book and chill, or work through the day thanks to electricity ports at every table. The service is prompt and the prices too are pocket friendly. Definitely one of the best cafes in town. Give it a shot!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 620

Verdict: 9/10

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Flavours of TMH

Place: Flavour of TMH
Location: Taj Mahal Hotel, Rd. No. 92, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner (with amma and dad)

As mentioned in my previous reviews of Taj Mahal Hotel (Narayanguda; SD Road), amma and dad happen to be fans of TMH. So when we got to know that these guys opened their new branch in Jubilee Hills, there was excitement, which eventually made us drop by for dinner on a weekday. The place looked fancy when compared to the other branches, and pretty busy, mostly because of the large number of stewards and waiters.

They had huge hard-bound menus, and it took us a while to digest their offerings, for almost every item of their South Indian fare was priced exorbitantly. A single cutlet which costs less than 50 bucks at any other TMH in town, was priced at 90 (+taxes). Anyway, I ordered it for amma, apart from the Ghee Karapodi Idli for dad, and Chole Bhature for myself. I also wanted to try one of their continental offerings, so ordered for Cottage Cheese Satay.

While we wait for our food, we had to shift tables for the mats on ours were stinking, thanks to the food stuck onto them which wasn’t cleaned properly. When we informed this to the steward and waiters, all they did was stare at the food stuck onto the mats and smile, instead of cleaning them. When we moved to a different table, they began to treat us as new customers and again came to take our order. Total chaos it was!

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Ghee Karampodi Idli

Once things were sorted, our food came by. Dad seemed to like the idli. I tasted the sambar, and it was pretty decent.

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Veg. Cutlet

The Cutlet came in next, with some chips and the special sauce. The cutlet tasted good, as it should have been. However, the sauce wasn’t up to the mark for it was too thin and lacked expected flavour.

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Chole Bhature

I ordered for Chole Bhature mainly to compare it with what is offered at Chutneys. And it was comparable. While the Bhature was a little thicker than I’d prefer, the chole tasted tangy and yummy. The quantity too was sumptuous.

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Cottage Cheese Satay

The best part of the meal unexpectedly turned out to be the Cottage Cheese Satay. Six large chunks of paneer perfectly marinated in spicy peanut based sauce served with more peanut sauce; yummilicious. The paneer was super fresh and the peanut sauce was finger licking good. In fact, I asked two extra portions of the sauce, it was that yum.

Overall, a good meal. Almost every item tasted good, with the Satay turning out to be the best. On the downside, the service was terrible. They had about 20 people waiting tables, which made the place crowded. And there was absolutely no coordination among these guys. They guy serving water at the next table won’t attend to us cos it wasn’t his table, it was that bad. All this in addition to the inordinate pricing. Yes, the restaurant is in a prime location, but you can’t be unreasonable. The prices of their South Indian fare is almost 15-20% higher than the surrounding Chutneys or Minerva Coffee Shop. And surprisingly, everything else on the menu was reasonable. Bottom line, unless you’re coming in for the North Indian or Continental fare, it’s better to visit the other TMH in town.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 5/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 551/-

Verdict: 7/10

PS: We realized after reaching home that they billed us incorrectly. It was supposed to be around 800 bucks but they billed us only for 551. Again, this shows how incompetent their service was.

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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

Vasanta Bhavan

Place: Vasanta Bhavan
Location: Road No. 14, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner/Lunch (with amma and dad)

Vasanta Bhavan has been a new addition to the vegetarian restaurants serving authentic South Indian dishes. Though it’s been a while since this restaurant opened, it was not till a couple of months ago did we drop in, twice in a month. The restaurant is pretty huge, and well done with a traditional touch to it.

On our first outing, we ordered Pongal, Ghee Dry Fruit Rawa Dosa and Chilli Parotta. We also ordered a portion of Shanghai Rolls. We enquired about the Thali and were told it isn’t served for dinner.

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Shanghai Roll

The Shanghai Rolls were kinda oily and rolled up pretty thick. The stuffing however tasted decent. Not a great start to the meal though.

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Pongal

For 125 bucks, the quantity of Pongal served seemed meagre. On taste front, it was just alright, nothing spectacular.

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Ghee Dry Fruit Rawa

The Rawa Dosa was even more disappointing. It wasn’t roasted properly and there were barely any dry fruits. The Sambar was decent.

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Chilly Parota

The Chilly Parota was served with Raitha, and I had to request the waiter twice to get some korma. Parota tasted alright, but was also a little too spicy for my liking.

Overall, our first meal wasn’t really worthwhile. Nevertheless, wanting to give them another chance, we dropped in again a few days later for lunch. This time we ordered a Sambar Rice, a South Indian and a North Indian thali.

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Pudina Soup

Unlike most North Indian Thali, this one came with Pudina Soup which turned out to be excellent. Amma actually loved it.

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North Indian Thali

The thali had Butter Naan, Paneer Butter Masala, Channa Masala, Mixed Vegetable, Dal, a bowl of Biryani, and sweet. The Naan was soft, and all the curries were delicious, with PBM being the best of the lot. The biryani too was appetizing.

The South Indian thali and the Sambar Rice were also pretty good. While our last experience wasn’t fruitful, this time we were satisfied on food front.

But wait, this wasn’t it. While the service on our first visit was passable, this time it turned out to be atrocious. On a Sunday afternoon, when the restaurant was packed, their air conditioning wasn’t working. We were sweating like crazy, and not one guy was responding when we were enquiring about the situation. Almost every waiter had an attitude, and I happened to lose it when I caught one sneering my dad at the counter. Air conditioning not working is acceptable, but you definitely can’t have people walking carelessly around the restaurant, with a sneering attitude.

The manager offered a discount on the bill when I brought this to his notice, but this ain’t the solution. We came in the second time wanting to give the restaurant another chance, and while the food was good, I don’t think I’m ever coming back to this place; not in the near future at least.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 3/10
Ambience: 7/10
Meal for 3: ~ Rs. 540/-

Verdict: 5/10

Eagle Boys Pizza

Place: Eagle Boys Pizza
Location: Begumpet Circle
Cuisine: Pizza
Meal: Dinner (with my aunt)

Eagle Boys opened in Hyderabad with quite a bang; their one+one offer in the first month of launch made them quite popular in a short period of time. I dropped in one evening during this period, and was pleasantly surprised to get two yum pizzas for 170 bucks. So here I was again a few days ago to try their pizza again.

I ordered for a Cheesy Garlic Scroll, a small Veg Lovers Pizza and a single portion of Veg Duet Pizza with Jalapeños and Pineapple. The moment I placed my order, thanks to the open kitchen, I could see the guy work on my pizzas, from rolling the dough to adding the toppings. I asked the Capsicum on Veg Lovers to be replaced with Olives, and he obliged courteously. I settled down in their brightly lit restaurant while the pizza was put in to the oven.

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But before the pizzas came the Cheesy Garlic Scroll. This was quite a disappointment for it neither had garlic flavour nor enough cheese to make it taste good. Something named Garlic Scroll needs to have garlic, if not excess, at least little of it.

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The Veg Lovers Pizza was served next. With tons of cheese and veggies, and a perfect crust, this turned out to be great. However, I felt that their dough could have done with a little more salt or seasoning.

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I was expecting the Veg Duet to be a plain Jane pizza with minimal toppings (for it was priced like that) but this actually turned out to be better than the other pizza. Along with cheese, jalapeños and pineapple chunks, this also had a layer of cream sauce which made it taste exceptionally good. My aunt liked this better as well. Yummilicious!

Overall, apart from the appetizer, the pizzas were yum. I loved the Duet pizza, and thought it was a steal for the price. While food is good, they need to improve on their service for everything from the order taking to the serving seemed chaotic. Nevertheless, their pizzas a worth a try.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 6/10
Ambience: 7/10
Meal for 2: ~ Rs. 350/-

Verdict: 8/10

Spicy Venue

Place: Spicy Venue
Location: Road No. 10, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Take-away

A couple of days after trying the Mushroom Biryani at Kritunga, it was time to taste the one at the other place I’ve heard a lot about – Spicy Venue. I’ve been to the restaurant once before for lunch, to try their Thali, which is also talked about quite a bit; but I didn’t find it to be anything great.

This time I wasn’t here for the Thali, it was time for some Mushroom Biryani.

Spicy Venue Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Mushroom Biryani

First impression, the quantity served was significantly less than the biryani I had tried a couple of days ago. On taste front, while the mushrooms were good, there was a lot of moisture in the rice. The masala too wasn’t anything great. In comparison, a disappointment; actually even without comparing, it was mediocre.

When I pay 60 bucks more than the other place, I definitely expect something better, or in worst case, something on similar lines. But the Mushroom Biryani at Spicy Venue ticked all the wrong boxes, be it on price, quantity and taste. It just wasn’t worth it.

Food: 7/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 1: Rs. 236/-

Verdict: 6/10

Kritunga Restaurant

Place: Kritunga Restaurant
Location: Lane opposite Huda, Ameerpet
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Take-away

A lot of people have told me about the Mushroom Biryani at Kritunga. I walked into their Panjagutta branch a few months ago, but they were out of Biryani for the day. A few days ago, I walked in to the Ameerpet branch, but had no luck again; but this time, I tried their Mushroom Curry which was absolutely delicious.

So here I was again and this time I got what I wanted.

Kritunga Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Mushroom Biryani

And true to what people said, this Biryani was excellent. The mushrooms were very well cooked in masala gravy. The rice too was perfect. The quantity was good enough for two people.

Overall, loved the Biryani. For 170 bucks, I think it’s totally worth it. I’m told all the Kritunga’s in town serve similar tasting Biryani; so if not at Ameerpet, go try the food at the one near your house.

Food: 9/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 1: Rs. 170/-

Verdict: 9/10

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