Little Italy | Restaurant Review

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

Tanu Weds Manu: Returns | Movie Review

Tanu-Weds-Manu-Returns

Kangana is one of the most versatile actors we have in the industry today, and she proved her mettle with Queen. Now, she does it again in Tanu Weds Manu: Returns.

Anand Rai’s sequel starts off with Manu landing in a mental asylum because of domestic problems four years post their wedding. Tanu goes back to being herself in Kanpur, while Manu, out of the asylum, is still brooding over Tanu in Delhi. Things change when Manu runs into Kusum, a Haryanvi doppelgänger of Tanu. While the first few minutes of the movie seem ridiculous, Anand does a commendable job on direction front. Himanshu Sharma’s dialogues are witty and the screenplay is decent. The woman empowerment speech was very well conceived. However, the movie starts to drag towards the climax, and the ending is too predictable.

Kangana is brilliant being herself as Tanu, while she does a perfect job as Kusum. Her Haryanvi accent is as good as a local; it was really difficult for me to understand most of it at times. She might walk away with honours again this year for her performance. Madhavan is flawless as the 40 years old initially struggling with his over-hyper wife, and later as the guy yearning for her attention. Deepak Dobriyal overacts, while Jimmy comes up with a subdued performance.

Music by Krsna Solo and Tanishk-Vayu is alright, with ‘Banno’ being the best of the lot. Cinematography by Chirantan Das is worth a mention, while editing by Hemal Kothari is neat.

Is it worth your time and money??: Tanu Weds Manu: Returns isn’t a great movie. But it still works thanks to another exceptional performance  from Kangana. Baring some flaws in the script and the very predictable ending, it’s still worth a watch.

Worth mention: Kangana’s performance as Kusum in the climax, and Rajesh Sharma’s speech on women empowerment.

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

Verdict: 7.5/10 + 0.5 for Kangana!

Vasanta Bhavan | Restaurant Review

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 | Restaurant Review

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

Piku | Movie Review

Piku

After hilarious Vicky Donor and an engrossing political thriller Madras Cafe, Shoojit Sircar now comes up with heart-warming tale of Piku. It might be Mother’s Day weekend, but this one is sure to impress any parent.

Piku, played by Deepika, is a headstrong independent woman in her 30’s. She lives with her father, played by Amitabh, who happens to be a hypochondriac, especially obsessed about his bowel movements. The story, written by Juhi Chaturvedi is simple, and Shoojit does justice to it by keeping it simple. The chemistry between all the leads is amazing. Though a number of episodes focus on bowel movements, they never make you uncomfortable. Dialogues are brilliant; I especially loved the ones written for ‘not a virgin’ episode. I also thought that the climax was very well conceived. Screenplay by Juhi is neat.

I don’t think there is a need for me to talk about Amitabh’s acting. As expected, it was brilliant. His Bengali accent seemed almost perfect. Deepika does total justice to the title role. There’s no glamour associated with her character, yet she looks stunningly beautiful. It’s more or less a cake walk for Irrfan; this guy can play a variety of roles at ease. The rest of the cast, be it Moushumi Chatterjee or Raghuvir Yadav, is equally good.

Music by Anupam Roy is subtle and soulful; it never gets too loud. Cinematography by Kamaljeet Negi is very good; he showcased Kolkata so beautifully that I wanna make it my next travel destination. Editing by Chandrashekhar Prajapati is good. The only irritating part of the movie is the excessive, unnecessary branding!

Is it worth your time and money?: As already mentioned, it’s a charming tale showcasing the struggles of headstrong father and daughter. While some might find it too slow or even cumbersome (because of excessive mention of bowel movements), I feel it’s a good watch. If not for anything, it deserves applause for the brilliant acting by the three leads.

Worth mention: The witty dialogues and the father-daughter chemistry.

Acting: 9.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 8.5/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8.5/10

Spicy Venue | Restaurant Review

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 | Restaurant Review

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