Express Meals | Restaurant Review

Place: Express Meals
Location: Nagarjuna Cirlce, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Chinese
Meal: Take away

Few days ago, amma pointed out this new place near at Nagarjuna Circle, and a couple of days later, a friend of mine posted a good review on it. Wanting to check it out, decided to drive down the road and pick up some quick food. Express Meals is a small take-away joint with barely any ambiance. It’s an ideal joint for late night dwellers for its open and delivers food till 3:00 in the morning.

Though it seemed more like an Indian joint, I was in mood for some Chinese, and so ordered Hakka Noodles and Gobi-65. The latter was unavailable, so opted for Veg. Manchuria. It took about 30 minutes for the food to get ready (which was way too long especially when the name of the place is Express Meals), but a conversation with the owner kept me busy during the wait.

Express Meals Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Veg. Hakka Noodles

Hakka Noodles, neatly packed in a plastic container, looked and smelt really good. They tasted pretty good as well, but there was a layer of oil towards the bottom of the box, which was a put off.

Express Meals Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Veg. Manchuria

The Manchuria was served in a silver foil box and got a little squished by the time I reached home. I wonder why it wasn’t served in a plastic container. Anyway, it happened to be among the best Manchuria I’ve tasted in recent time. It was perfectly cooked, had the right amount of sauce and spices, and overall, tasted yum.

While the food tasted pretty good, I was unhappy with the quantity for the price paid. The Noodles was barely enough for me and amma. You expect more than that from a take away joint, especially when you pay whopping 275 bucks. Yes, they did pack the food decently and supplied the required cutlery, but that still doesn’t make up for the money. Same stuff at Chopsticks on the parallel road would cost me Rs. 140/- (with better quantity).

I’d give this place another try for their Indian offering while hoping for better value for money. Let’s hope that ain’t my last visit.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 2: Rs. 275/-

Verdict: 7/10

Simply South | Restaurant Review

Place: Simply South
Location: Opp. Film Nagar Club, Jubilee Hills
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Lunch

Since this place opened a couple of months ago, my Zomato page has been filled with its reviews (with one foodie actually posting 90+ pictures of this small restaurant). I’m not fond of South Indian food, and that apart, the unwanted attention this place was receiving made me give it a skip. However, come Onam, I wanted to have Sadya, and Simply South happened to be one of the three places in town serving it, so here I was (reluctantly).

I called and reserved a table, and was there on time. However, when I reached, there was no one to attend at the entrance, and when someone finally did, they made me wait for almost 40 minutes before I got a table (which I had to share with someone). The wait wasn’t a problem (for it was a festival day and expected), but the cold/unwelcoming attitude of the owners towards the bunch of waiting crowd was quite bothersome. The fact that the lady was paying special attention to some customers while ignoring the rest was also a put off. Anyway, the restaurant was pretty small, with about 10-12 tables, and had decent interiors. Being compact, the place was very loud.

It took a while for the waiter to attend to our table, and I asked for the Onam Sadya. In a span of few minutes, various items were placed on the table.

Simply South Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Onam Special Drink
Simply South Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Pappadams and Banana Chips

The Onam special drink was first served, followed by a large bowl of Pappadams and Banana Chips. The Pappadams, which looked more like Poori, were not really crispy, while the chips were good.

Simply South Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Onam Sadya
Simply South Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Choru (cooked Red parboiled rice)

And then came the actual meal. I only knew some items of the emal, but everything looked good. The Parippu was thick and tasty, and the curries, but for the Aviyal, were pretty good. The Aviyal, which is supposed to be one of the main dishes was a disappointment for it was pretty bland and lacked flavour. It was an unlimited meal, and I got a second serving of almost every item.

Sambar and Rasam were served in small buckets, and both were very good. I actually loved the sambar.

Simply South Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

And it was time for the desserts. They had two typical Malayali sweet dishes along with the regular paayasam, and all three were yum.

Overall, it was a pretty good meal. Everything was served hot, and almost all the items tasted good. However, there was no real Malayali essence to the meal and was it more like a South Indian thali. I say this for I’ve had a traditional Onam Sadya in the past (which was very different and tasted special), while this meal, except for maybe couple of items, tasted pretty ordinary. It was like a meal my mom would cook at home.

In conclusion, while it was not a typical Onam Sadya I was hoping for nor an exceptional meal, it was decent one. If this meal gives a picture of rest of their dishes, Simply South might be a restaurant you might want to visit for your South Indian cravings.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 6/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 380/-

Verdict: 7.5/10

Jalpaan | Restaurant Review

Place: Jalpaan
Location: 4th Floor, Oasis Center, Somajiguda
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner (with amma and dad)

I last came to Jalpaan a couple of years ago to try their buffet. Though the food was decent, I never returned for it didn’t impress me so much. Wanting to experiment, and give the place another try, here I was with my parents a couple of weeks ago. For a weekday, the restaurant was more or less crowded, and as usual, we settled down in a corner.

I liked their Indian offerings last time, so wanted to stick to that. We ordered Sarosnwala Paneer to start, and Zafraani Kofta, Banarasi Aloo for main course, along with Butter Naan, Stuffed Paratha and  Onion Kulcha.

Jalpaan Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Sarsonwala Paneer

The Sarsonwala Paneer was served in about 10 minutes and looked mouth-watering. Taste wise, it was very good for the paneer was very fresh and melt in mouth. The seasoning was yum and it was grilled perfectly. Overall, a good start to the meal.

Jalpaan Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Zafraani Kofta
Jalpaan Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Banarasi Aloo

I was disappointed with the fact that the waiter didn’t inform us that both curries ordered would have similar gravy. The Zafrani Kofta had three kofta balls in a creamy rich gravy while the Bararasi Aloo had baby potatoes in a similar one. Strangely, the three kofta balls had different taste – one was perfect, one had excess hing which gave it a sour taste, while the third barely had any salt. The baby potatoes on the other hand were undercooked and were difficult to cut even with a knife. Thankfully though, the gravy was finger-licking good. But what’d the point??

Jalpaan Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Assortment of Bread

Of the bread, the Butter Naan was pretty good while the Onion Kulcha and Stuffed Paratha tasted more or less the same. They all had a sumptuous coating of butter which made them soft and tasty.

Not sure if I’d ever return to this place again, I decided to give their special Potli Biryani a try, and ordered for the same.

Jalpaan Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Potli Biryani

It took a while for the biryani to be served, and when it came, it looked like a large batura. The maida based Potli had biryani stuffed inside and cooked in the oven. We watched the waiter struggle to cut open the large Potli, and when he did, the biryani quantity served just two of us. Why waste so much maida for such less biryani? On taste front, it was like pulau with a lot of masala, and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t exceptional either.

Overall, a mediocre meal. The starter was good, but the curries were a disappointment. The biryani too was just average. Service seemed pretty slow as well, and as already mentioned, the fact that I wasn’t informed about similar gravies was a turn off. The food was pretty pricey as well, while the quantity wasn’t great. So in all honesty, giving this place a miss isn’t a bad idea.; try it if only you have no other option.

Food: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 1514/-

Verdict: 6.5/10

Aagadu | Movie Review


What happens when you replace Pawan Kalyan with Mahesh Babu in Gabbar Singh? What happens when you have left over script from Dookudu? Well, I’m guessing you have the answer.. you get Aagadu!

Srinu Vaitla has been on a roll in the recent past. His combination with Mahesh has proved successful, and the expectations on this film are very high. In order to meet them, all he does is a pot-pourri of two successful films. The first half is entertaining with a lot of resemblance to Gabbar Singh. Right from the title track to the game show episode, it all seemed a repeat with a new flare, thanks to Mahesh. Come second half, the pace reduces and we have another version of Dookudu. Srinu did try to make it interesting by making the villain dig his own grave, but it seemed too contrived. Dialogues are good, screenplay is neat, and direction is alright; if only the movie had original script.

It’s a cake walk for Mahesh for most of the movie. The only point where it gets difficult is when he steps into Pawan’s shoes. Thanks to his own style of acting, he does a commendable job, but one cannot stop compare these fine actors. On looks front, he’s shed weight and looks really dashing. His dance moves are worth mention. Tamannaah has limited screen presence, and does a good job. Bramhanadam entertains with his style of comedy (becoming the bakra), while the rest of the cast is alright. For Sonu Sood, it’s just an extension of his character from Dookudu. Shruthi Haasan sizzles in the item song.

Music by Thaman is more or less mediocre (but for ‘Saroja’), and the background score was no better. It’s time this guy took a break from movies rather than repeating the same old tunes over and over. Editing by Varma is decent, and cinematography by Guhan is excellent. However, there’s too much CG work, and that kinda spoils his work.

Is it worth your time and money??: You’ve seen it all in the past, so it all gets down to perspective now. I walked in with no expectations and walked out entertained, so I suggest you do the same as well if you’re planning to give this a watch. In one line, Aagadu is definitely an entertainer, but to what extent it entertains depends on your expectations; and patience 🙂

Worth mention: It’s all Mahesh. Other entertaining episodes are the game show and Bramhandam (CG) dance in the climax.

Acting: 8/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7/10
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

PS: It’d be nice if Telugu industry realizes the difference between Eunuch and homosexual (gay).

Anukshanam | Movie Review


Ram Gopal Varma is one of the finest directors in Telugu industry. Unfortunately, thanks to his obsessive disorders, he ends up making some pathetic movies (like he’s been doing in the recent times). But if he puts his best foot forward, he definitely impresses one and all.

Anukshanam is a Psycho kinda dark film, where in a psycho killer is on a rampage in Hyderabad. There’s not much to showcase here but for the killings and the investigation; that’s where a director’s talent actually comes across, and RGV does a fabulous job. The 90 off minute movie is very gripping, and for a change (in Telugu industry), is more or less logical. The screenplay is crisp, and RGV gets the best out of all his actors. The way he handles the box sequence shows his calibre as a director.

Vishnu looked really dashing as the police officer investigating the murders. This is probably one of the best looks he’s had in all his movies. Revathi comes up with mature performance sans make up. Surya, the guy who plays the psycho killer is really good. RGV was able to bring out right emotions and expressions from him. Madhu Shalini was loud at times. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music and sound effects are the most important aspects for a film of this genre (apart from screenplay and direction of course), and they don’t disappoint. Editing by Kamal and Santosh is perfect, and cinematography by Nani is excellent. The visual look really good.

Is it worth your time and money??: If you like dark films, then Anukshanam isn’t gonna disappoint you. One might argue that there are better foreign films in this genre, and I agree. But this is definitely a good start for us. Lemme reiterate, it’s not a great film, but a good one nevertheless. RGV finally stands up!

Worth mention: The box opening sequence.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 7.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Finding Fanny | Movie Review


You’ve got three amazing actors, beautiful visuals, soothing music.. what more do you need for a perfect film?? It seems like you have a winner at hand, right? But…

Scripted and directed by Homi Adajania, Finding Fanny, as the name (and the trailer) suggests, is the story of an old man, Ferdie (NS), who is in search of his long-lost love. Helping this man find his Fanny are his best friend Angie (DP), her mother-in-law Rosie (DK), Angie’s childhood love Savio (AK), and a painter craving for Rosie’s portrait, Don Pedro (PK). Their road trip starts of well, and you are in for some fun in the first half of the movie. But come second half, the movie hits the bump for the script isn’t going anywhere. It’s vague, boring and plain stupid (that’s what I thought). I really don’t understand what the director was trying to showcase. The emotions are perfect, and there are some moments of sheer brilliance and dark humor, however it all yields into nothing. Add to this a mediocre screenplay, and the brilliant movie you were hoping for becomes just average. Why do today’s generation of directors forget that script is the core of any film?

On acting front, I have nothing much to say for you are talking about legends. Naseeruddin Shah is absolutely charming as Ferdie. The opening shot of the movie once again proves how good an actor he is. Pankaj Kapoor, with his expressions and antics, is brilliant as Don Pedro. The best of the lot was Dimple Kapadia, and I’m short of words to put her performance into perspective; she was absolutely mind-blowing. Deepika looked really hot and comes up with a commendable performance, and so did Arjun. These guys actually made their presence felt around legends.

Music and background score by Mathias Duplessy is good. ‘Bootiya’ composed by Sachin-Jigar is alright. Cinematography by Anil Mehta is pretty neat and editing by Sreekar Prasad is perfect.

Is it worth your time and money??: I would have so loved to say yes, but. The acting is brilliant and so is everything else, but the script plays spoil sport. It might probably help if you walk in without any expectations, just for the acting. Or just wait for the DVD.

Worth mention: Performances by Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia.

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 5/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 6.5/10

Blue Bottle Cafe | Restaurant Review

Place: Blue Bottle Cafe
Location: Next to Maharaja Chat, Madhapur
Cuisine: Chinese, Italian
Meal: Dinner

I was recently invited to try the food at Blue Bottle Cafe by the owners, and the given the fact that I wanted to try this place anyway, dropped in on a Saturday evening. The Cafe is on the third floor of the buildings which hosts Lazzio- The Pizzeria and another new Indian restaurant, Hyderabad 33. The moment I stepped out of the elevator, I was pleased with the set up and loved the look of the place. It was very casual, and looked very Mediterranean (it actually reminded me of an Mediterranean Hookah joint I visited in Nashville, USA). I met up with the owner and settled down at a corner table.

To start off, I ordered a Kit-Kat Shake, followed by Chilly Cheese Toast, Szechuan Fried Rice and Chilly Mushroom.

Blue Bottle Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Kit-Kat Shake

The shake was served soon and was well presented. The shake was thick and pretty good. I actually don’t like Kit-Kat so much for it’s too sweet for my liking, but the shake was just perfect. A good start.

Blue Bottle Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Chilly Cheese Toast

The Chilly Cheese toast again looked good to look at, and I was impressed with the quantity served. The bread was perfectly baked and tasted good, but it had too much egg which was kinda bothering me. I didn’t really enjoy the fact that I was able to taste the egg more than the cheese.

Blue Bottle Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Veg. Szechuan Fried Rice

I had asked for small portions of the Fried Rice and gravy, but even the smaller portion was quite a lot. The Fried Rice was made with Basmati Rice (which is unusual, for you don’t use Basmati for Indian Chinese food), and was very dry. That apart, it was very very spicy (Szechuan is supposed to be hot so no issues on that front). I believe it would have tasted way better with normal rice.

Blue Bottle Cafe Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Chilly Mushroom

The Chilly Mushroom was again very spicy, and I was sweating profusely at one point. On taste front, it was decent and the mushrooms tasted good.

Overall, it was pretty good meal. But for my bad of ordering two spicy dishes for main course, I mostly enjoyed the meal. However, the rice could have been better. The ambiance is relaxing and the service seemed decent. The prices too aren’t really steep, and quantity of food served make up for it. Give it a shot if you haven’t yet.

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

Verdict: 7.5/10

Mary Kom | Movie Review

Mary Kom

Mary Kom is an Indian boxing legend, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. But was it necessary to make a biographical movie on her, this I am not sure of. At least, the movie didn’t convey the necessity thanks to its feeble script.

Directed by newbie Omung Kumar, Mary Kom is a straight forward story of the boxers life. While it puts across Mary’s career in a crisp manner, what it really doesn’t show are the challenged she might have come across in reality. A film like Rocky works because of challenges, and unfortunately in the movie, there was not a real challenge until the climax. I’m sure Mary had to face many more challenges and push backs in her life to become what she is today. The movie puts across a couple, but these didn’t really make an impact for they seemed very contrived. Add to this a snail paced screenplay by Saiwyn Quadras, and the impact you’ve wanted to create is gone. Nevertheless, direction by Omung is pretty neat.

Priyanka might not look like Mary Kom, but surely brings across the boxers life in a convincing manner. She has put a lot of effort into the movie and it shows on the screen. However, it would have been nice if she’d avoided make-up and looked more natural. Darshan Kumar comes up with a commendable performance as Mary’s husband, and Sunil Thapa is pretty good as her coach. The rest of the cast is alright.

Music and background score are pretty good, and a couple of tunes are catchy. Editing by Rajesh Pandey and Sanjay Leela Bhansali is decent. Cinematography by Keiko Nakahara is of top-notch quality and deserves a special mention.

Is it worth your time and money??: But for highlighting Mary Kom’s life, the movie as such doesn’t achieve anything else and that’s where the problem lies. While Priyanka puts up a mighty performance, Wikipedia probably gives a better insight into Mary’s life than the movie does. Bottom line, Mary Kom definitely isn’t a must watch of the season, but it isn’t a bad watch either.

Worth mention: Priyanka’s performance in the climax and the cinematography.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 8.5/10

Verdict: 7/10

Saranngi | Restaurant Review

Place: Saranngi Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: PG Road
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Lunch (With cousins)

Having read some good reviews about this place, I was here with a couple of cousins on a Sunday afternoon. The place was brightly lit and had neat interiors. We made ourselves comfortable at a corner table.

They had a pretty decent menu, with quite a few starters. The Stuffed Mushrooms sounded really interesting, and so I asked for the same, but it was unavailable. I asked for a paneer starter and they didn’t have that either. Apparently, they don’t make their special dishes on Sundays (this was the reason given). Strange! Anyway, we ordered Chilli Baby-corn and Haryali Spring Rolls (which surprisingly was available). For the main course, we ordered some kinda special Kofta curry along with Naan and Roti.

Saranngi Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Chilli Baby-corn

The Baby-corn was served in about 10 minutes. While they looked good, the corn wasn’t fresh and the batter too seemed stale. Therefore, the dish turned out to be more or less a disaster.

Saranngi Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Haryali Spring Rolls

The Spring Rolls took quite a while. Instead of using regular wrap, these were made with spinach. The stuffing was very masaledar unlike the usual, and tasted pretty good. I would have liked them to be more crispy though.

Saranngi Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Special Kofta Curry

These guys were very particular about presentation and this was apparent with the Kofta, which again looked really colourful. The kofta balls were soft and well cooked while the gravy was slightly spicy. however, it tasted pretty decent. The Butter Naan could have been better.

Overall, it was an average meal, and not great as I’d expected. The fact that I don’t even remember the name of the Kofta I ordered says something. The service was pretty lethargic, and the fact that they didn’t make specials on a Sunday was a put off. Thee quantity of food served was very good, but the prices being charged were no less either; 800 bucks for two starters, a curry and rotis is quite a lot. You could give this place a try if you’re close by, but it’s not something worth driving to.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 825/-

Verdict: 6.5/10

Taj Mahal (Narayanguda) | Restaurant Review

Place: Taj Mahal
Location: Under Narayanguda Flyover
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner

Taj Mahal happens to be one of my amma’s favourite restaurant in town, and while travelling down Narayanguda road a couple of weeks ago, we dropped into our least preferred Taj Mahal (Abids Taj Mahal is the best followed by S.D. Road). We stopped by at around 9:00 PM, and walked into the Air Conditioned section on the first floor which was partly full.

Coming to Taj and not ordering a Cutlet is a sin, so that’s what I ordered the moment we settled in. For rest of the meal, we ordered Upma, an Onion Rava Masala Dosa and a Special Biryani.

Taj Mahal (Narayanguda) Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

The Cutlet was served soon, and it tasted as good as ever. Served along with a special tangy tomato chutney, their Cutlet is stuffed with spicy veggies and fried to perfection. I don’t think you get this kinda Cutlet at any other place in town. Yummilicious! We actually for another before we finished the first.

Taj Mahal (Narayanguda) Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi

Their Upma is also pretty famous, and it didn’t disappoint. Dad was telling me that of the three Taj Mahal’s, only these guys squeeze lemon in their Upma. While I would have preferred it without the lime, it was still pretty good.

Taj Mahal (Narayanguda) Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Onion Rava Masala Dosa

The Rava Dosa tasted good, but it wasn’t roasted enough. Making it a little more crispy would have made it taste yum.

Taj Mahal (Narayanguda) Restaurant Review by Sasikanth Paturi
Special Biryani

It took forever for the Biryani to be served. While it looked really colourful, it lacked flavour and needed more masala. However, it tasted decent along with the gravy served along.

Overall, it was a pretty decent meal. The Cutlet is worth every penny and I wouldn’t mind coming back just for it. The service is pretty decent and the ambiance, which caters to family crowd, is neat. The prices too aren’t that bad. While I prefer the Abids one as well (which lacks the ambiance), this ain’t a bad choice to spend some quality time with your family.

Food: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 500 /- (approx)

Verdict: 7.5/10