Restaurant Reviews by Sasikanth Paturi

Here’s a list of all the restaurant reviews! 🙂


London


Hyderabad 


RoW

Ram’s | Restaurant Review

Place: Ram’s Restaurant 
Location: 203 Kenton Rd, Harrow
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner (with family)

We’ve frequented Ram’s on Kenton Road a few times in the recent past, and it happens to be my lil one’s favourite (don’t ask me why!). This is primarily a buffet restaurant with à la carte options. It’s a small place with tables cramped next to each other, which can be an issue as the restaurant is usually packed. 

Their buffet is quite exhaustive. For starters, they have peas kachori, spring rolls, mini samosas, wet manchuria, chilli paneer, Gujarati patra, dhokla and a couple of other items. They also serve different types of dosa at the table.

For mains, it’s paneer butter masala, channa masala, mixed vegetable, surti undhiu (some Gujarati dish), jeera rice, white rice and sambar. Breads are served fresh at the table.

And for desserts, they have aam ras, shrikhand, carrot halwa, sooji halwa, and a couple of other sweets.

Ram's

While the food at Ram’s tastes good, my main issue is that the buffet selection remains the same every single time, with the dishes tasting almost identical on each visit. Additionally, their rotis have an unusual smell and taste, which can be off-putting.

That being said, Ram’s does have its merits. Overall, it offers a reasonably priced value meal, making it an attractive option for those looking for affordable dining. Furthermore, it stands out as one of the decent Indian buffet options in London, providing a satisfactory experience for those who may not mind the repetitive menu.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 7/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Anandha Bhavan | Restaurant Review

Place: Anandha Bhavan
Location: 545 High Rd, Wembley
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Dinner (with family)
On: Sunday, 30 June 2024

On a lazy Sunday evening, I was craving for some nice Italian food, but then, I thought about this new place in Wembley which served one of my favourite Indian dishes, so decided to head here instead.

It’s been a while since came to Wembley for Indian food; the scene has changed a bit here, with a couple of new restaurants replacing old ones, and Anandha Bhavan (not to be confused with Ananda Bhavan or A2B) is one amongst the chain of Indian restaurants on the street. The place was neat (relatively new), and unlike most restaurants in the area, had people in it (which is always a good sign!). These guys have a huge menu offering specialities from every part of south India, so I was excited.

Mysore Bonda happens to be my (and now my daughter’s) favourite breakfast item, and there are not many places in London which serve this (the only other place I know of is Crispy Dosa in Hounslow). And this is what we came here for, so we ordered a plate right away. 

Mysore Bonda

Mysore Bonda is a fried snack made mainly with maida and hung curd, and to my utter disappointment, these weren’t what they were supposed to be. To add to the horror, when I cut into one, I found uncooked batter inside – they weren’t even cooked properly! I immediately called for the waiter and they agreed to replace them.

A new plate was served, and while these were cooked properly, they still were not the Mysore Bonda I came here for. Instead, they turned out to be onion rava bonda with a bit of maida. They tasted alright, but they were still not the authentic bonda I wanted. However, the lil one didn’t really care and savoured them.

Dragon Paneer

We ordered a Dragon Paneer as a starter, and this was served while we were waiting for the bonda. This was a decent dish – the paneer was soft and fresh, and the masala was tangy with not much spice. 

For the mains, we ordered a Raj Bhog Thali, Appam with Kaikari stew for wifey, and a Pesarattu for MIL. 

Pesarattu

The waiter did inform us that this won’t be the Pesarattu we’d be expecting, which we kinda figured out after the bonda debacle. But MIL didn’t care much, so we ordered anyways. It was served first and didn’t look appealing. They filled it with podi while a traditional Pesarattu is actually filled with onions. I had a taste and it was mediocre at best. 

Appam with Kaikari Stew

The appam and kiakari or vegetable stew came next. The appam was alright but the stew was too watery. We also couldn’t taste enough coconut in it.

Raj Bhog Thali

The thali came with dal, channa masala, mixed veg curry, paneer butter masala, roti, biryani and a few other condiments. I asked for a butter naan instead of the roti and they obliged. On taste front, the PBM and dal were good, but other curries were passable. I’ve never seen broccoli in a mixed veg curry before this btw! The biryani was decent, on the spicier side, and the naan was soft.

Overall, a mediocre disappointing meal. I came in with a lot of expectations, especially for the Mysore Bonda, but soon realized they listed items on their menu without even taking the effort to cook them properly – there are tons of videos on what and how a bonda is made, couldn’t they have watched them? Same with pesarattu, and even the stew. Having a long list of offerings needs to be backed by a good chef who cook them, but these guys seem to be lacking there. To add to this, the service was super slow with just a couple of guys manning about seven tables. Unless they improve, expect Anandha Bhavan to be replaced by another joint.

Food: 6/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 4: £42

Verdict: 6.5/10

Movie Reviews by Sasikanth Paturi

Here’s a list of all the movie reviews, categorized by language 🙂


English


Hindi


Telugu

Inside Out 2 | Movie Review

Inside Out 2

I love loved Pixar movies until they stared making sequels of awesome movies. Yes, Toy Story series was a success, but then every other sequel they’ve made was no where up to their own standards. That apart, their recent films since Coco back in 2017 weren’t great either. So in short, I wasn’t impressed when they decided to make a sequel to one of my favourite films, Inside Out!

Directed by Kelsey Mann, Inside Out 2 tells us the story of now thirteen year old Riley, who’s on the verge of hitting puberty. With this, the five emotions in Riley’s head, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger, are now joined by new emotions – Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui (aka. boredom). Soon, Anxiety takes over the console, and bottle’s up the existing emotions (quite literally!). This leads to Riley taking some drastic steps eventually resulting in a panic attack. All the emotions now need work together for Riley to calm down, and rest of the movie (last 10 minutes) deals with how they manage that.

While Inside Out was complicated, Pete Docter, director of the first film, was able to make it simple and relevant, and this made everyone, kids and adults included, love the movie. Come the sequel, Kelsey isn’t able to do similar justice; the movie is super complicated, and my five year old who loves the original, couldn’t make sense of anything. The plat is super busy and screenplay felt rushed – the entire concept of ‘sense of self’ wasn’t explained well either. All of this led to a average film.

Amy Poehler and rest of the voice cast do justice to their characters, but they aren’t able o pull off the charm of the predecessor. Production is good, as you’d expect from the Disney-Pixar studio.

Is it worth your time and money?: Meh! Inside Out 2 isn’t a bad film. But they’ve definitely made a mess of what could have been a potential success. For that reason, I’d say wait for it to stream on Disney+.

Worth mention: Nostalgia!

Acting: 9/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 6/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 7.5/10

Kalki 2898 AD | Movie Review

Kalki 2989 AD

When I first heard about Project-K, (now Kalki 2898 AD) with Prabhas a couple of years ago, I wasn’t impressed or excited to be honest. Post Baahubali, Prabhas has been selecting unconventional scripts that have mostly been duds. Additionally, he has put on so much weight, making it seem like he can no longer carry a film effectively. But Salaar was a breath of fresh air, and my hopes went up for Kalki, especially with the casting choices. But does the film deliver? Let’s dive in!

With just two films under his belt, Nag Ashwin’s Kalki 2898 AD aims for the stars. His vision is very similar to Ayan Mukerji’s, who made Brahmastra last year. Both these young directors had a similar ambition of wanting to make something spectacular, with grandeur akin to Hollywood movies. However, where Ayan failed and Nagi succeeded (though both had Amitabh Bachchan) is that Nagi had a proper script to back his conviction.

The movie starts about 6000 years ago with a couple of episodes from the Kurukshetra, and then fast forwards to 2898 AD, to a dystopian future where the world teeters on the brink of collapse, and the only surviving city is Kashi. The poor are on the street, while the lucky few live in this modern complex, with luxuries and good food, ruled by supreme ruler Yaskin (Kamal Haasan). Units are the currency required to enter a lavish complex, and our protagonist Bhairava (Prabhas), a street dweller, strives to gather the million units needed for entry with his AI sidekick Bujji (Keerthy Suresh). Meanwhile, fertile women are captured by Yaskin’s army and subjected to artificial insemination to produce a serum for Yaskin. SUM-80 (Deepika Padukone) is one of these women who manages to endure pregnancy the longest. Her baby’s life is under threat, and the rest of the story is about how the rebels and Ashwatthama (Amitabh Bachchan) save her. Or do they?

Nagi successfully combined mythology and science fiction, and I loved how he infused enough humor into this otherwise serious script. Though the movie is about three hours long, it never felt like a bore. However, the first half seemed unnecessarily long, and certain plot points in the second half feel rushed. There were also parts he could have done better (I wish he had skipped the bit with Disha Patani and Bhairava’s episode in the complex as they were the only cringe-worthy bits), but I’m still impressed with his screenplay and direction.

Prabhas is the right choice for Bhairava. His comic timing is great, but his expressions were often obscured by his beard and bulky face. Amitabh has a meaty role, and he does full justice. I loved that he dubbed for his character (for most scenes). Deepika and Shobana deliver decent performances. Kamal Haasan’s brief role relied heavily on CGI, leaving little to remark about his presence. The rest of the supporting cast performs well; I’m glad that Nagi picked relatively new faces for these roles, bringing a sense of freshness.

Music by Santhosh Narayanan is a huge disappointment. I agree that there is not much for him to play with considering the script, but the tunes felt outdated and didn’t resonate with the film’s epic proportions. Thankfully, the background score is decent. Cinematography by Djordje Stojiljkovic is stunning, with sprawling cityscapes, intricate set designs, and breathtaking special effects that create a believable futuristic world. Barring a couple of scenes, the CGI work is very good. Some of the action sequences are well choreographed, but this can’t be said for all (especially the first fight). Editing by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao could have been better; some scenes cut abruptly to the next, and care should have been taken to avoid such amateur mistakes for a film of this scale. Dubbing is way better than what we saw in the trailer but there were inconsistencies in the voices which didn’t help. Despite these flaws, Vyjayanthi Movies need to be commended for putting so much time and money into Nagi’s conviction.

Overall, Kalki 2898 AD is another monumental achievement in Indian cinema, pushing the boundaries of genre and storytelling. Yes, it is inspired (or copied, whatever you want to call it) from various movies, but bottom line, it’s a film that dares to dream big and achieves its goal. It does have its fair share of imperfections, but despite the minor issues, the film manages to maintain a cohesive vision, driven by its strong performances and visual grandeur.

Is it worth your time and money?: Yes, absolutely! This is another bold attempt in Telugu cinema, an ambitious and visually stunning epic paving it’s way into the new genre of Indian science fiction. Can’t wait for Part 2!

Worth mention: The grandeur, visuals and production values.

Acting: 8.5/10
Story-Screenplay-Direction: 9/10
Technical Aspects: 8/10

Verdict: 8.5/10