Via Milano | Restaurant Review

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

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

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

Courtesy: Via Milano and Snapdeal

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

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

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


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

It had been more than an hour since we walked into the place, and about 40 minutes since we asked for the main course, and that’s when the food was finally served. It was probably because of me getting worked up that I realized that the place was really hot. When I pointed this out, the air-conditioning in the part of the restaurant we were sitting in was turned on. It was a packed house, and they were trying to save on their power bill!! ๐Ÿ˜€


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Verdict: 7.5/10

The Dark Knight Rises | Movie Review

The Dark Knight has finally risen, and he does it with a bang!! The Dark Knight Rises is nothing short of spectacular, and is a perfect ending to the franchise. It ain’t a perfect film by any means, but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome!!

Christopher Nolan’s films are all different for none of his movies concentrate on action alone. There’s drama, a lot of dialogues, and on most occasions a convoluted story (Memento, Inception, etc.). This one ain’t so difficult to understand though, its plain simple (Story by Nolan and David Goyer). Batman returns to Gotham city after a 8 year exile to fight mighty Bane, a protegรฉ of Ra’s al Gul, who proves too tough for him to handle. He falls, and Gotham needs him to rise one more time. Nolan puts all of this to screen with ease. The characters are very well sketched, and well-connected. The action sequences are very well choreographed, and the IMAX is used perfectly. But, the film is definitely too long, and at times, the screenplay (Nolan and Jonathan Nolan) is weak. The build up to the climax is huge, but I thought the punch was missing. I expected a better finish to Bane, but was hugely disappointed. That apart, the direction is perfect, and Nolan has a winner at hand.

On the acting front, Christian Bale has been Nolan’s dark horse. He is a delight to watch on-screen. His performance as the defeated Bruce Wayne is intense and commendable. Anne Hathway is hot as Cat Woman. Bane/Tom Hardy was the best to come across Batman (after Joker/Heath Ledger though). I just wish he got a better finish. Micheal Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are at their usual best, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is very impressive. Marion Cotillard surprises in her small yet vital role.

Music by Hans Zimmer is brilliant. The background score, especially in the episode where Wayne rises, gives you goose bumps. Cinematography by Wally Pfister is very good and editing by Lee Smith is alright. For a film of this magnitude, I was very disappointed with the graphics though. They seemed very patchy throughout the film.

Overall, an entertaining film. To call it an epic might be going a little overboard, but its close nevertheless. Nolan continues with his fine work and gives a perfect end to the Batman Trilogy (end or a new beginning remains to be seen, thanks to Robin).

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Do I even need to answer that question?? It’s the biggest movie of the year, and if you still need an answer, hell yeah. It might not be the best of Nolan’s work, but it’s a perfect finish to the series (I hope this ain’t the end!!)

Verdict: 9/10

Republic of Noodles | Restaurant Review

Place: Republic of Noodles, Lemon Tree 
Location: Opp. TCS, Hitech City 
Cuisine: Thai 
Meal: Dinner (with amma and bro)

My brother had dined at Republic of Noodles a while ago and loved their food. So when he saw a Snapdeal, we were all for it, and were here on a Saturday night for dinner. The place was empty and we were the only guests for a while. The ambience was pretty decent, and the decor was alright. We made ourselves comfy at a corner table.

We were a little hesitant to order appetizers, but ended up ordering Grilled Mushroom with Burnt Chilly and Tamarind Marinade. We were told it would be very spicy, but decided to try it. For the main course, we had Bangkok Style Pad Thai Noodles and Thai Chilly Basil Fried Rice.

Though the restaurant was empty, it took quite a while (about 30 minutes) for the food to be served. The starters and the main course were served together. The quantity of Mushrooms was very less. They were cold, and not even close to spicy, and all we could taste was the tamarind. Disappointment!

The Thai Chilly Basil Fried Rice was yummy. It had lots of vegetables and the rice was perfect. I’ve been craving for some good Basil Fried rice for a while now, and this was what I needed.

The Pad Thai Noodles were very well presented. The noodles tasted good, but I thought they were a little too sweet than sour. While eating, my brother found a huge chunk of something on his plate. We initially thought it was a piece of chicken or some kind of meat, but to our horror, it turned out to be a paper napkin. We immediately called for the waiter, and he confirmed the same. The whole staff came down to our table and started apologizing for the fiasco. It was apparently a paper napkin they used to clean their vessels before cooking. Whatever the case, that was something unacceptable.

The ambience was decent, and the food was alright. The prices are much higher than any other Thai or Chinese restaurants in town, but not many complaints for that. It was the paper napkin incident that spoiled the meal for us. Thankfully, the staff was courteous enough to accept their mistake. Even after our insistence for the bill, they waved it off for us. I just hope such incidents don’t repeat again.

To be fair, give it a shot at your discretion!!

Food: NA
Service: 8/10
Ambience: 8/10
Meal for 3: NA

Verdict: NA

Ruci and Idoni | Restaurant Review

Place: Ruci and Idoni 
Location: Above Godrej Nature Basket, Road No. 10, Banjara Hills 
Cuisine: European 
Meal: Dinner (with couple of friends)

After wanting to visit this place for a long time, here I was finally on a weekday for dinner with couple of friends. The entrance is either through Nature Basket, or from the side of the building. Walking in, the place was brightly lit (a little too bright I suppose), and was partly full. They had a pastry counter at one corner and a glass kitchen on the other side. The ambience was just like any other Ohri’s restaurant in town, pretty good.

Once seated, we were handed over a couple of regular huge menus, and a tablet. The tablet was clunky and pathetic, and its response time was horrendous. Unable to suffer misery with it, I asked it to be replaced with a regular menu. For the European experience they’ve been advertising about, I didn’t find anything special on their menu. Probably except for the Chicken Piri Piri, the rest were the usual Pizzas, Burgers and Pastas. I wanted to try their Pizza, so ordered Cayenne Mushroom Pizza. My friend ordered a Harvest Vegetable Multi Grain Pizza, and the other asked for a Mushroom and Chicken Cannelloni. We also ordered a side of Potato Wedges, Coffee on the Rocks and Confuso Blast.

The drinks were served first in about 10 minutes. The Coffee on the Rocks was very good. It had a strong Mocha flavor. The Confuso Blast was supposed to be Frappe blended with honey and topped with nuts, but it was first served without any nuts. When I informed the same, it was taken back in and a couple of Pistachios were added on the top. It was a bad choice on my part, for it was just plain cold coffee, nothing impressive.

The Wedges were served soon with some mayonnaise. They were crisp, but too oily for my taste.

My friend had asked his Harvest Vegetable Pizza with as minimal cheese as possible, but the Chef seemed to have misunderstood it for extra cheese, for it was full of it. We were really unhappy with it and asked for a replacement, and it was replaced without any fuss.

The replacement pizza looked much better, and there was a harvest of vegetables on it indeed – cherry tomatoes roasted with garlic, basil, peppers, spinach, broccoli and caramelized onions. The base was crisp, and nice. Nothing exotic, but a decent pizza nevertheless.

My Cayanne Mushroom Pizza was cheesy, just the way I wanted it to be. It had button mushrooms, morels, broccoli, roasted garlic, cilantro, onions, olives and mozzarella on a piri piri sauce base. There was not much piri piri, and therefore the pizza wasn’t as spicy as I expected it to be. The base too wasn’t as crisp as the Harvest Vegetable pizza. However, the cheese tasted yum, and overall, a good pizza.

My other friends Mushroom and Chicken Cannelloni was served along with buttered Garlic bread.  The sauce was too thin, but the Cannelloni, apparently, was very good. The quantity served was very less though.

To finish off the meal, we ordered an Ebony Ivory Mousse and Awful Brownie sundae. The Awful Brownie had chunks of yummy brownie with vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. It tasted great. Warm brownie would have tasted even better.

The mousse was a dish suggested by the waiter. It was supposed to be White and Dark Chocolate Mousse with Caramel sauce. I specifically asked him if it was going to be fresh mousse and he said yes. Instead, what they served was something which tasted more like gelato than mousse. It was very sweet and a total disappointment.

Overall, an average meal. The pizzas were good and the rest was decent. The service was pretty neat. We sat for a long time, and were never really bothered. The food is expensive, but that’s a given when you visit an Ohri’s restaurant. Ruci and Idoni is not a fancy restaurant like they make it sound, but a decent one nevertheless. Give it a shot at leisure.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambience: 8/10
Meal for 3: Rs 1795/-

Verdict: 8/10

Eega | Movie Review

I lost interest in Eega once the movie’s release got postponed from March. It’s been a week since the movie released, but I had no urge to watch it and have been skeptical on its success. I finally did last night, and it was proved wrong. Kudos Mr. Rajamouli, for you have changed taken Telugu cinema to a different level altogether.

Eega starts off with a father narrating a bed-time story to his daughter. This gives the director, Rajamouli, the freedom to play along with the story of the movie, and fantasize it as much as possible. I thought this was brilliant concept, for  you know it’s a bed time story. However, Rajamouli tried to make the movie as realistic as possible. Except for the tantric episode, the rest of the story is flawless. The story is simple, and the execution is very neat. The love story is brilliantly shot, and an abrupt end caused to the romance makes you connect with the fly, feel his pain. The following revenge episode is perfect, and you cheer for the fly as if he’s your kith or kin. It is very difficult to be able to execute a story so perfectly such that it connects, but Rajamouli does it with ease. The screenplay could have been a little better, but I really got no complaints about it.

In Sudeep, Rajamouli he had a brilliant actor, who adds life to the film. The fly graphics could be good or bad, but the actor acting with the fly needs to set the tempo of the film, and Sudeep just does that. He is a versatile actor. Nani shines in his brief but important role. In 20 minutes, he had the responsibility of connecting with the audience, and he did. Samantha is alright as damsel in distress. She could have been a little more expressive at times though. There is not much of a cast otherwise.

Music by Keeravani is an asset to the film. The title track is used very effectively, and the back ground score is very good. It would have been nice if the entire “Nene Naanine” song were used. Cinematography by Senthil Kumar perfect.  and editing by K. V. Rao is neat. Except for Eega’s birth episode, the graphic work for the rest of the film is of top-notch quality. Production values are pretty decent.

Overall, an entertaining watch. It might not be a perfect film, but it seriously doesn’t matter for Rajamouli takes Telugu films to a different level. He is a director with guts, and proud to have him among us. It’s a much watch film for every Telugu film lover. Leave your inhibitions behind, and go watch it. Am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10
Is it worth your time and money??: Yes. It’s worth every penny you spend. Don’t miss it!!

Verdict: 8.5/10 + 0.5 for Rajamouli

Couldn’t help but capture this on my way back home from the movie. Maybe he has a story too ๐Ÿ˜›

Bol Bachchan | Movie Review

I had no intentions of watching Bol Bachchan, but was forced to do so as there was nothing better running in theaters. After two and half hours, I walked out with a bad headache.

Director Rohit Shetty’s Bol Bachchan, like his earlier films, is a run of the mill, senseless comedy. Even for such a senseless dumb film, the first half is pretty decent. But the second half is such a drag, that even the dumb comedy turns out to be repetitive and boring. For the  tagline don’t talk, just watch, add don’t think. Ajay Devgan is pretty decent in the lead role while Abhishek Bachchan proves it that he is suitable only for such kinda roles. I wonder why they even do such kinda films. The rest of the cast is either too loud or doesn’t even have a proper role.

Music by Himesh Reshmiya and Ajay-Atul is decent, while the cinematography by Dudley is pretty good. Editing by Steven Bernard could have been way better. Most of the scenes in the second half could have made the cut.

Overall, an utter waste of time. If you really want to watch a comedy film, grab a copy of the  original Golmaal instead of wasting your time on this crap.

Acting: 5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 3/10
Technical Aspects: 6/10
Is it worth your time and money??: No. Unless you happen to like such boring comedies, or have time and money to space, skip this one please.

Verdict: 4.5/10

Ming’s Court | Restaurant Review

Place: Ming’s Court 
Location: Ohri’s Basheerbhag 
Cuisine: Chinese 
Meal: Dinner (with couple of friends)

Immediately after my meal at Shanbhag, my friends forced me to join them for dinner at Ming’s court on the opposite side of the road. Though I was pretty stuffed, decided to give them company. I used to like the food at this place years ago. The ambiance is pretty neat, and the interiors are very well done. We sat at a table in the center of the restaurant.

One of my friend ordered some kind of Fish and Taipei Chicken, and Sizzling Prawn Fried Rice, while the other ordered for Tomato Ginger Fried Rice. I wanted to have Fried Ice-cream, but they were out of it, so opted for a mocktail instead.

The food was pretty good. I tasted a little of the Fried Rice and it was perfect, with a nice authentic flavor. It was served in a Bamboo Shoot kinda dish. The mocktail was alright, but a little too sweet. Actually, everything, including the Kimchi Salad, Cucumber pieces and the Chilli sauce served on the table were sweet. Kimchi was the worst.

The service though was horrendous. It took a long time for the guy to take our order, and then again forever for the food to be served. The guy serving had no clue on what he was serving, and another guy dropped most of the food on the table while serving. To add to the bad service, a guy with a Mandolin walked into the restaurant midway through and started singing old Hindi songs to make money. This might have been alright at an Indian restaurant, but at a fine-dine Chinese restaurant?? Seriously?? And he couldn’t even sing properly!!

Overall, a disappointing experience. The food was pretty good, but the service and the ruined ambiance made us regret our decision of dropping in. To add to this, the bill turned out to be a whopping 1300 bucks for the minimal food we ordered. Thankfully, the quantity of food served was decent. Give it a shot only if absolutely necessary for there are many other Chinese restaurants with similar ambiance serving better food at a better price.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 1288/-

Verdict: 6.5/10

Shanbhag | Restaurant Review

Place: Shanbhag 
Location: Basheerbhag, under the flyover 
Cuisine: North-Indian 
Meal: Dinner (with bro)

Dropped into Shanbhag last week with my brother for dinner. As already stated in my last review, this is one of my favorite restaurants in town, and their Ghee Rice is the best. The place was a little more crowded than the last time around, and we made ourselves comfy in a corner.

We planned to order a couple of curries and Ghee Rice, but ended up ordered their North-Indian Thali, which came with Tomato Soup, Paneer Butter Masala, Gobi Masala, Rajma, Dal, Pulao, Rice (all unlimited), 2 Roti or 8 Poori’s, Raitha, Curd, Gulab Jamoon and Ice-cream. It had a been a long time since we last had one here.

The Tomato Soup was served along with Masala Papad. Their soup is usually very good, and today was no different. It had a nice sweet and sour tomatoey taste to it.

The Thali was served pretty soon, and of the curries, the Paneer Butter Masala was the best. The paneer was very fresh, and almost melt in my mouth, while the gravy was just yum. The Gobi Masala was equally good, while the Rajma was alright. The Dal was tasty as well. All the curries were served as per our requirement. The Roti was soft and good.

The Pulao had a nice flavor and tasted pretty good. I could feel the ghee in it.

Overall, an awesome meal. For a North-Indian Thali, it didn’t have the unnecessary Rasam, Sambar and other South-Indian stuff. The curries were yum, and the pulao was decent. For the price, it was actually worth every penny. The service was very good, and reminded me of Rajdhani, for they were pampering us to eat more. The ambiance is decent, but the tables are placed pretty closed to each other, which made it quite uncomfortable. But otherwise, nice service, great price, and more importantly, awesome food!

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 228/- (Rs. 114/- per Thali)

Verdict: 9/10

Update on 20/05/2014: Thali now costs Rs. 160/-

Blue Diamond | Restaurant Review

Place: Blue Diamond 
Location: Next to L.B. Stadium, Basheerbhag 
Cuisine: Chinese 
Meal: Dinner (with bro)

Me and my bro decided to drive down to Shanbhag for a meal last week, but instead, dropped in at Blue Diamond, which we’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. The place was dimly lit and had a nice ambiance. It was pretty empty when we entered, but got full as the night progressed.

They don’t have much choice in their vegetarian section. We started off with Veg. Cantonese Soup and Veg. Spring Rolls. For the main course, we ordered American Chopsuey, Fried Rice and Hong Kong Vegetable.

The Soup was served in few minutes. It was spicy, yummy and full of fresh vegetables. One of the best soup’s I’ve had in recent times.

In about 10 minutes, the Spring Rolls were served along with spicy Chilly Garlic sauce. They were crunchy and tasted delectable. The quantity served was also very good.

It didn’t take much long for the main course to be served. The American Chopsuey tasted luscious, not too sweet, just perfect. I would have preferred the noodles to be a little more crunchy, but otherwise, it tasted awesome.

The Hong Kong Vegetable was very different from the one we had at Chung Hua. It had Manchurian Balls and lots of vegetables. The veggies gave it a nice flavor and the Manchurian balls were yum. A delicious dish. The Fried Rice was equally good. It needed some more salt though.

Overall, an excellent meal. Every dish served was delicious and the quantity served was very good. The service was friendly, and all the dishes were priced to be easy on the pocket. I can’t think of any other (good) restaurant which serves the amount of Fried Rice they did for 75 bucks. It’s a must visit place for any Chinese food lover. I have a new favorite Chinese restaurant in town!!

Food: 9/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 483/-

Verdict: 9/10

PS: We so fell in love with this place that we visited it again in a week’s time and had the same food all over again. Except for the Honk Kong Vegetable being a little oily, the rest of the food was just the same, perfect!!

The Amazing Spider-Man | Movie Review

The Amazing Spider-Man is an entertaining film, but I liked the original, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man better. This one has better visuals and 3D effects, but the script was too weak for it to surpass my expectations.

You know the story by now. Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider, his uncle gets killed, he gets onto the streets to avenge his uncle’s death while someone from Oscorp tests a drug on them-self to become a monster, and our Spider-Man now fights for a bigger cause, and eventually defeats the monster. Yayy!! Scripted by James Vanderbilt, The Amazing Spider-Man uses the same story line with quite a few tweaks. These tweaks are fine to an extent, but seemed forced on most ocassions. The characterization of the new Spider-Man is very weak, for he has these mood swings so bloody often. His relation with Aunt May is also not very well established. Though direction by Marc Webb is alright, screenplay by Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloveswas is very shabby. A crisp screenplay could have made such a difference to the film.

On the acting front, Andrew Garfield is pretty good as the new Spider-Man, but I liked Tobey Maguire better. Maguire had innocence and curiosity associated with his character, while Garfield looked more like a boy with a new toy. Emma Stone was alright as the love interest of Peter. Again, I liked Kirsten Dunst better. The rest of the cast was pretty decent. For some reason, I thought Irffan Khan had a weird accent.

The film’s visuals are brilliant and the 3D effects are very good. Cinematography by John Schwartzman is good, and editing by Alan Edward and Bell Pietro Scalia is decent. Music by James Horner could have been better though.

Overall, the film gives you the thrills, thanks to the visual effects, but a better story line could have made it a worth watch. The shady screenplay doesn’t make things better either. Watch it without expectations, and without comparing it to the original Spider-Man.

“Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can: Spins a web, any size..” Oops, I can’t without my artificial web maker!! ๐Ÿ˜› 

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10
Is it worth your time and money??: For the visuals and the 3D effects, yes!! Nothing so special otherwise.

Verdict: 7.5/10