Looks like I have a new favourite Chinese restaurant other than Chopsticks. For their prices and quantity, this place is a winner!! Only if they had better variety on the vegetarian side of things. I saw the guy at the next table struggling to finish the fried rice he ordered. A nice family restaurant, and a bargain for my non-vegetarian friends. On the downside, the place was a little to loud. Also, the cutlery they used was quite old. The main restaurant has better interiors than the extension, but is cramped for space.
Month: July 2011
Pizza Den | Restaurant Review
I’ve been wanting to visit this place for a long time now. It used to be a small pizza shop near Secunderabad Club, but later moved to Sindhi Colony. Back then, it served about 12 really good vegetarian pizzas and ice-creams for very reasonable prices, but not anymore. Its not a restaurant, but a road side shop (you have to sit and eat on the road, or in your car).
So, today for dinner, I again drove about 8 kilometers to have their pizza. Ordered a Cream Cheese pizza. As the name suggests, it was a creamy cheesy pizza with onions and special seasoning as topping. 10 minutes of waiting and my pizza was ready. An 8″, delicious looking pizza. It was creamy and cheesy, yes. The crust was really good too, and the pizza almost melt in my mouth. But for 100 bucks, I thought the pizza was really small. It dint fill my tummy!!
To stuff myself better, I ordered a Nutty Hot Chocolate ice-cream. It was good. Instead of the the base being vanilla ice-cream, it was chocolate. Vanilla would have tasted much better.
Overall, I should say I was not so happy about my long drive. Yes, the food was good, but I could get something similar right next to my house for maybe a lower price. Being an on road food place, they dint even have dust-bins around, and so all the paper plates and ice-cream cups were thrown right next to the shop.
I would suggest it for its variety of vegetarian pizzas though. If your driving by, you can probably pick up a pizza to eat in the car. But not worth a special visit, especially if you live far away.
Meal for 1: Rs. 150/-
Swathi Tiffins | Restaurant Review
Place: Swathi Tiffins
Location: Mehdipatnam, behind the bus stand
Cuisine: Tiffins and Indian
Again, a small tiffin center which came up with a restaurant at a later stage. This though, is not a place where in you would like to sit and have a meal. It used to be a decent place about 6 years ago, but lack of maintenance makes it impossible for me to sit and have a meal here anymore.
The food though, is still impeccable. The Butter Naan here, to my knowledge, is the best you get in the city! As a kid, this was the closest place to my house where you got decent food. I used to throng this place very often for its Paneer Butter Masala and Malai Kofta. Both of them are lip-smacking, and their Biryani is excellent too. Also, they are very reasonably priced.
The other day though, I decided to order something different, Kaju Paneer Masala, along with the usual Butter Naan. And it was a decision I would not regret. I have a new favourite. It was delicious!! Unlike other places where they add Kaju just for the heck of adding it, the curry was full of Kaju, and Paneer. A big box full of the curry helped me with lunch and dinner. It was not too spicy, creamy and perfectly cooked.
As mentioned, their Butter Naan is the best in the city. The way they make their Naan is very different. It is full of layers infused with butter in between, something like a parota. Each layer is very thin and perfectly baked. Because of it layers, one Naan is as good as having two.
Overall, for the price I paid, I had a delicious meal on a lazy afternoon, and dinner for the night (No wonder I am putting on weight!!) I would also recommend their Vegetable Biryani. Unlike other places, they serve dum biryani with the curry stuffed in between the rice. If you passing by Mehdipatnam, pick up dinner for your self.
Meal for 1: Rs. 140/-
Sandarshini | Restaurant Review
Location: Masab Tank, towards Banjara Hills Rd. No. 1
Meal: Lunch – Thali
I’ve been visiting Sandarshini since when it opened about 10 years ago. It started off as a tiffin center, but slowly expanded as a restaurant. They have a air-conditioned dine in over the tiffin center. It’s not a hi-fi place, but one where you get decent vegetarian food for reasonable prices.
The other day while I was here for lunch, I ordered a North Indian Thali. Priced at Rs.120/-, I should say it was quite a meal. I’ve had the thali here before, long time ago, and am impressed to say that it was as good as it used to be.
They started off serving Tomato soup and papad. The soup was pretty decent, nothing great. Then came the thali: Butter Naan, Paneer Butter Masala (PBM), Channa Masala, Mixed vegetable, Pulao, Rice, Dal, Rasam, Sambar, Curd, Raitha and Gulab Jamoon. Quite a meal, isn’t it?? And I was surprised to see the size of the Naan. It was humongous. I used to order extra roti on my previous visits, but this time, there was no need for that.
The taste of the three North Indian curries was really good. Naan was soft. The PBM was actually excellent. I was almost full by the time I finished the Naan. The Pulao though was disappointing. The Dal was good, Rasam and Sambar were alright. Gulab Jamoon was a little under cooked. They served Vanilla ice-cream when I was done with the meal. The Jamoon tasted much better with the ice-cream.
Overall, a sumptuous meal at a very reasonable price. Other dishes, especially their Masala dosa happens to be really good as well. If you’re looking for a good tummy filling meal without burning a hole in your pocket, this is the place.
Meal for 1: Rs. 124/-
Olives and Cheese | Restaurant Review
Place: Olives and Cheese
Location: Trimulgherry, a little further from RTA Office, Secunderabad
Update: Restaurant shut down a while ago.
Olives and Cheese is a new Italian restaurant in town. The place is small yet bright. They serve a wide range of Soups, Antipasti, Breads, Pizzas, Pastas, Sandwiches and Salads, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. They have a small desert menu.
I read about this place on Burrp, listed as a cheap fare Italian restaurant, famous for its Pizzas, so here I was. Drove exactly 11 kilometer to taste their pizza. The place was not so full at 9:00 PM, and I settled down in a corner. There was no music playing, probably because of the cricket match on TV.
I ordered a Szechwan Mushroom Delight pizza. I dint want Capsicum on my pizza, so I asked them to replace it with Olives. For a restaurant named Olives and Cheese, they were out of olives. So I asked him to replace it with Babycorn. Unfortunately, they were out of Babycorn too. So finally settled in for Jalapenos. Unable to withstand the temptation, I also ordered a Fettuccine in Alfredo Sauce pasta.
I was hoping for the pizza to come out first, but it was the pasta. It was really cheesy and creamy, just the way I like it. They added Mushrooms, Zucchini and Onions to it. The portion was sumptuous. I was almost full, and was wondering why I ordered a pizza. Pretty good start I should say.
It took a while for the pizza to arrive. This gave me time to make space in my tummy. I asked for a thin crust, but they actually brought a regular crust, which was not so thick after all. It dint matter much cos the crust was really good. The cheese dint seem to be mozzarella, and therefore was breaking way in chunks. But still it was a decent pizza. It wasnt huge, about 8″ in size. I liked the pasta better.
Overall, a pretty decent experience. Its no where close to Little Italy (one of my favorite restaurants in Hyderabad). But for its prices, its worth it. They started turning off the lights and closing down the place while I was in there, at 10:30 PM, which was a turn-off. Anyways, I would definitely go back to this place, even if its a long ride. I would also recommend it to you guys.
Meal for 1: Rs. 238/-
PS: It’s ironical that this place opened just after I left to the US. Back then, I always used to hang out a lot on this road, and there was no good place except for Vacs and McD. Now I see that there are quite a few restaurants here.
Delhi Belly | Movie Review
No, it didn’t take me 20 days to watch Delhi Belly. I watched it on the first day in Mumbai, but unfortunately in Hindi. Three weeks later, I finally get to watch it in the original Hinglish version, and here is my review!
Tashi (Imran Khan), Arup (Vir Das) and Nitin (Kunal Kapur) are three roommates living in a small, filthy apartment in Delhi. Tashi works as a journalist and Nitin is his photographer. Arup works as a cartoonist. Tashi’s air-hostess girlfriend, Sonia (Shenaz Treasury), whom he is forced to marry in a month’s time, requests him to deliver a package for a Russian. Tashi asks Nitin to deliver it for him, and Nitin relays it to Arup. Finally, it does not end up with the person it is supposed to, a gangster named Somayajulu (Vijay Raaz). The consequences form the rest of the story.
Imran Khan does it, finally!! He proves that he can act, and makes sure he plays Tashi’s character to perfection. Vir Das is excellent. He uses his stand-up comedian experience to the fullest. Kunal Kapur was superb in his role as Nitin. It’s not so easy to create neat humor using fart jokes, while underplaying it. But he always gets it right and its never to gross. Shenaz Treasury is alright as the bitchy girlfriend. Poorna Jagannathan is good as Tashi’s other interest. But the show stealers are Vijay Raaz and his sidekick. Vijay Raaz is superb as the gangster. The rest of the cast is alright. Aamir is at his usual best in the end credits.
Have you guys seen Guy Ritchie’s 1998 caper film “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”?? If you answered yes, and if you are intelligent, then you should have known the story of Delhi Belly. It is very difficult to write the story and screenplay for a caper film. Lock, Stock was the first movie of its kind, and had nothing to live up to. After watching it, Ritchie’s next film “Snatch” itself seemed too predictable. It’s the way the genre is. But Akshat Verma (Story and probably Screenplay) does a very good job with the script. He infuses different sub stories into the main plot in a very effective manner, and makes sure its stays Desi. There is not one dull moment in the film. Direction by first-timer Abhinay Deo (Game was actually his second film but released earlier) couldn’t have been better. He sucks out fresh performances from every character. Making proper choices, he could be the next big thing in the industry.
Music by Ram Sampath is excellent. I don’t think I need to talk about “D K Bose”. It’s so in my head that while watching the climax of ZNMD, I was singing this song aloud. The background score is effective, and it is made sure that all the songs of the album are there in the movie (My friend suggested that the bg was similar to Lock, Stock.. Hmmm). Dialogues by Akshat Verma are mind-blowing. The slang used by today’s youth is all there. I’ve seen both versions of the movie, in Hindi and the original Hinglish. Dialogues in the original are much more witty than the Hindi one (Few of the literal translations into Hindi sound gross). Editing by Huzefa Lokhandwala is good. With a run time of 96 minutes, the film seemed perfect. Cinematography by Jason West is of top-notch quality. Jim Furgele, Ronnie Screwvala and Kiran Rao should be really appreciated for having the guts to produce such a different film. But it is Aamir Khan who makes the film work. If it were not for him, Delhi Belly would never have made it so big. Enough said!!
Made on a budget of 25 crores, the movie grossed 52 crores in the first 2 weeks. That speaks for how good the movie is. The plus points of the film are the cast and its awesome production values. Not to forget the publicity. The genre might make the movie a little too predictable, but it still keeps you glued to your seats. It is not a movie to be watched with your parents, but to my surprise, half the cinema-hall was filled with families watching along with their kids (both for the Hindi and Hinglish version). Overall, it’s the birth of new cinema in India, not to forget a writer, and a director. If you haven’t already, go watch it, preferably the Hinglish version. It’s a decision you mostly wont regret!!
My Kitchen: Tomato Khichdi Rice
Nanna | Movie Review
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara | Movie Review
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 | Movie Review
Now that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has the Elder wand, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) sets off his search for the remaining three Horcruxes with Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). They end up at Hogwarts and the final battle begins. He then discovers that there is one more Horcrux to be destroyed and you know what happens next!! Well, if you don’t, go watch the movie 🙂
Every character seems to have improved with age. Daniel, Emma and Rupert come up with mature performances compared to their previous outings. They do look very odd as adults in the ending though. Alan Rickman (Snape) surprises you with his acting skills (watch the second movie to understand what I mean). All the other characters are all right. Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) overacts as usual while in her shoes.
Story – Screenplay – Direction
Having covered the first 25 chapters of the 36 chapter book in Part 1, I was honestly hoping that they would stick to the book. But instead, Steve Cloves (Screenplay) chose to cut it short, and moreover, modify it. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is picturized very different from the book. There is no mention about Dumbledore’s Secrets and Lies. Being titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, strangely there is not much discussed about the Deathly Hallows. They do not even disclose what the Third Hallow is. Director David Yates tried to infuse humor into scenes which were meant to be serious (I don’t know if its intentional). He does a better job compared to his last three films, but I believe he could have put in much more effort. They chose to convey a lot of the story through expressions which I don’t think really worked. Overall, the effect was missing in the end.
Music by Alexandre Desplat is mediocre. It was sad to watch gripping scenes with such dull background score. Cinematography by Eduardo Serra is of top-notch quality. Editing by Mark Day is pretty decent. The graphics stand out and it is a visual feast. The 3D effect was ok.
Being the final chapter of the series, a lot is expected from this movie and it definitely lives up to its expectations. But a lot more could have been done with it in my opinion. The climax seemed to lack the punch required and left me wanting more. People who read the book might be a disappointed. Overall, it’s a better ending to the movie series than what I expected it to be. Go watch it whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not!
PS: This being my first review, I know I sound kinda amateurish. I hope to improve on it soon. Next review on ZNMD coming by evening 🙂