Southern Food Corner (SFC) | Restaurant Review

Place: Southern Food Corner
Location: Road No. 10, Banjara Hills, next to City Center
Cuisine: Indian and Chinese
Meal: Lunch (3 consecutive days)

 

I was at project management workshop on Rd. No. 10 for the last 4 days, and happened to lunch out everyday. The first day I chose McDonalds, for a McVeggie Combo. I dont think I need to write a review on that, so skipping it. The next 3 days, I happened to visit this small restaurant called SFC, which is right next to City Center.

 

It looked like a pretty decent place from outside, with both self service and seated service options. The self service section looked a little crowded with chairs and tables placed in a haphazard manner. It dint look so clean either. But having walked in, decided to give it a try.

 

On a Friday, the place was jam packed, full of office crowd. I opted for the self service section. They had quite a huge menu – South Indian, Chinese and North Indian. Their South Indian food was selling like hot cakes, but being me, I ordered a Chole Batura. It was out in about 5 minutes. It was a little oily to look at, and I thought he gave very little Chole for such huge Batura. The Chole tasted a little sour, but was good. The Batura too was light. I had to get some extra Chole to finish it off. On the whole, decent food.

 

On the second day, I was kinda forced to return to the place, as I was with a bunch of people. We happened to sit on the first floor, the service section. This looked much better than the self service on the ground floor. They had Air-Conditions, but they weren’t turned on. People around me ordered Masala Dosa and Lemon Rice. The Dosa was huge, looked really crispy and tempting. My mouth was infact watering. I again ordered something different, Veg. Soft Noodles.

 

It took a while for it to be served, by which every one around me were done with their meal. But it was worth the wait. A huge bowl full of Noodles was placed in front of me, with Hot Garlic sauce. I normally dont tend to order only Noodles for the reason that I like to eat it with an accompaniment. But seeing the Hot Garlic sauce made me really happy. The noodles was yummy good. It was properly cooked, the vegetables in it were crunchy, and it wasnt too spicy either. The Hot Garlic sauce added extra taste, and was tangy. Impressed!!

 

I wanted to come back to this palce after my last meal, but no so early, the very next day. This time it was a much bigger gathering, and we again took to the first floor. Everyone today ordered MLA Pesarattu. I happened to have the same last night at Chutneys (review), so this time ordered American Chopsuey.

 

Again, it took a while. The MLA Pesarattu looked really good. Everyone around me were going gaga about it while I waited on my food. Again, large quantity of food was served. The Fried Noodles and the Sauce were served separately. Adding the noodles into the sauce, it tasted delicious. It was actually as good as the American Chopsuey I had at Nanking about a month ago (review). Serving the Fried noodles separately helped them remain crispy. The sauce was not so sweet, and the vegetables were very very crunchy. Excellent food this time around. I happened to empty the dish in about 10 minutes and everyone around me were actually surprised to see me eat so much.

 

Overall, a good find. Though I wasnt impressed initially, the Noodles served with the Hot Garlic sauce, in a slightly better ambiance on the first floor got me to write this review. The South Indian food looked really good, and people were saying good things, so am assuming that it was actually good. For a food place at Banjara Hills, the prices were very very reasonable as well. Also, the quantity of food served (on all 3 days) was excellent. I would definitely come back to this place. Its Certified!!

 

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 60/-
Meal for 6: Rs. 300/-
Meal for 11: Rs. 600/-

 

Verdict: 8.5/10

Shanbhag | Restaurant Review

Place: Shanbhag
Location: Basheerbhag, under the flyover
Cuisine: North-Indian
Meal: Dinner

Shanbhag is one of my all time favorite restaurants. It holds the honor of being my first favorite restaurant too. Being as old as I am, it was one place I used to throng every now and then while I was a kid. There is a branch at Panjagutta, but the main Shanbhag menu is still served at Basheerbhag. So here I was on a Friday evening, with mom and dad.

It was supposed to be a simple meal as none of us were really hungry. But looking at a menu I was so familiar with (albeit the prices) made me order the usual – Malai Kofta, Veg. Sizzler, Butter Naan, Masala Kulcha, and the ever so famous Ghee Rice. The Sizzler normally takes a while in the making, so it was quite a wait before dinner was served.

The Malai Kofta was excellent, creamy and butter oozing out of ever bite. It was probably not as great as what it was maybe 10 years ago, but still, was finger licking good. Their Sizzler is not what you get at every other restaurant. It’s rather a mixed vegetable curry served on a sizzling plate with a cutlet in between. On first sight when served, it looked lesser in quantity than the last time I had it. It tasted alright, nothing so great. It was much better before.

The Butter Naan was really good. Again, their Naan is one of the best I have had in the city. It was served tepid though. Mom and Dad ordered the Masala Kulcha, which turned out to be a bad choice. For 45 bucks a piece, it was totally dry and dint have any stuffing in between.

Then came the Ghee Rice, my all time favorite food. It smelt as good as ever. It tasted good too, but dint have enough salt in it. Adding a little made it taste excellent. I was a little disappointed that it dint have as many cashew nuts as it once did, but the amount of ghee was still the same. The gravy it is served with is their trademark recipe. My brother, while he was a Chef, tried to cook something similar but never could match their taste. It was full of flavor, delicious.

Overall, a walk into the past. The food was really good, but I have to admit that it was much better before. Before their change of menu, the one at Panjagutta served much better food than the Basheerbhag branch. But now Ghee Rice is available here only. The quantity of food served was good (we had to pack and bring home most of the food). Prices were alright for today’s times (I remember the Ghee Rice being Rs. 18/- once upon a time, now Rs. 75/-). The place needs a revamp, the furniture was in horrible state. They probably need a change of cutlery as well.

If you’re not a diet conscious person and looking for a place to hog properly, Shanbhag is the place to go to. Their Panrer Butter Masala used to be out of the world, so give it a try. Tiffins are great as well, try the Rava Bun, Rava Masala Dosa or the Besibele Bath.

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Service: 8.5/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 455/-

Verdict: 9/10

Jivas | Restaurant Review

Place: Jivas
Location: Raj Bhavan Road
Cuisine: Multicuisine Buffet
Meal: Lunch

After my high profiled job interview yesterday morning, I felt like eating a heavy meal. Someone recently told me about this place called ‘Nautanki Galli’ at Hitech City, so decided to give it a try. The place was great, but the buffet priced at Rs. 388/-, was full of non vegetarian food. So I decided to give this one a skip, and instead go to their sister restaurant Jivas (both owned by Ohri’s group). Picked up mom and dad on the way.

I love this place for their lavish buffet. The moment we were seated at our table, a plate of starters – veg Kababs and veg Manchuria, was served. A little later came in Noodle soup, followed by Papdi Chat. Both the Kababs and Manchuria were yummy delicious. The soup was nothing great, but again, the Chat was really good.

Once done, I started off with their Chinese food – Schezwan Noodles, Vegetables in Hot Garlic Sauce and American Sweet Corn Fried Rice. The Noodles was appetizing. The Rice and Hot Garlic Sauce were alright. The Rice though tasted much better with the Manchuria.

Next, the Indian food. On this day, they had Mutter Paneer, Aloo Tindoora, Baingan Masala, some Mixed Vegetable curry, and Biryani. There was a live Phulka counter, but I preferred their Butter Naan. The Naan was good, but the curry’s weren’t so great. The Paneer was not so fresh, Baingan Masala was too thin, and the other two were just alright. I don’t like their Biryani much, so I preferred to skip it. Also, I was already bursting!

Tried a little of their Besi Bele Bath. It dint taste good initially, but was actually good. I gave a skip at their Dal Makhni, Tomato Dal and Curd Rice.

Finally, plunged into their deserts section – Mango Ice-cream, Chocolate Pastry, Rasgulla and Sooji Halwa. The Rasgulla and Sooji Halwa were out of the world. I wanted to have more of them, but there was no place left in my tummy. The Pastry too was excellent.

Overall, a lavish, sumptuous meal for a very decent price. Wanted to take pictures, but was too lazy after eating so much. The ambiance was great, but the place was a little too loud for they were two big parties sitting at the adjacent tables. You get similar vegetarian buffet at Bikanervala at Banjara Hills, at a slightly higher price.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Service: 8/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 699/- (Rs. 185 + Taxes per person)

Verdict: 8.5/10

* This restaurant is now moved to a new location and renamed as Jiva Imperia.

Chutneys | Restaurant Review

Place: Chutneys
Location: Nagarjuna Circle, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: South-Indian
Meal: Lunch

Ive been wanting to go to Chutneys for a long time, it being the closest restaurant to my house, but have been avoiding it for the reason that I feel like having their entire menu whenever I am here. Now that my parents are back from the US, I had some company to help me with my ordering. So, late Sunday afternoon, we headed off to Chutneys. They have three other branches now, but I still prefer the one in Banjara Hills.

We had to wait for about for about 10 minutes for a table at 3:30. We were seated on the first floor, which they renovated recently. It looks much better than what it used to be before. We ordered Poori-Upma, Baby-corn Masala Dosa, MLA Pesarattu and Chole Batura. They guy was quite surprised with my ordering, but he dint know that I could have more of it.

First came the Poori-Upma, along with their usual four chutneys – Coconut, Ginger, Groundnut and Roasted Chickpea. I love the first three, with coconut and ginger being my favorite. The Upma was amazingly delicious. Ghee was oozing out of it and was full of cashew-nuts. The Poori was alright, the combination was really good. It was served with the masala curry of Masala Dosa and a wet Aloo kurma, which was tasty. Then came the MLA Pesarattu. Thanks to the Upma again, it was delicious too. The Pesarattu was crisp and perfect.

The Baby-corn Masala Dosa was served next. I think it took a while for it to reach our table from the kitchen, cause it wasn’t hot. But it was really crispy, just the way I like it. The masala was a little too spicy, but still good. I remember him serving this Dosa with butter smeared over it, but there was no butter this time around. Disappointing!

Finally, Chole Batura. Yum! The Batura was a little oily, but not soggy. The Chole was again delicious. I finished the Chole after my part of the Batura was done. All together, I ended up eating most of the meal, with little help from Mom and Dad! (they weren’t really hungry you see)

Overall, a very good sumptuous meal. I infact skipped dinner that night. The food really tasty, chutneys finger licking good. I dont like their Sambar one bit though! They can do much better than what they currently serve. But again, who needs Sambar when you have such good Chutneys.

If your hungry for some South-Indian Tiffins, Chutneys is the place to be. Its a wee bit expensive, but serves good vegetarian food.

Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Service:8.5/10
Meal for 3: Rs. 470/-

Verdict: 9/10

Nanking | Restaurant Review

Place: Nanking
Location: Parklane, Secunderabad
Cuisine: Chinese
Meal: Dinner

The other day, a friend of mine dropped by, and took me to Nanking. I’ve heard quite a lot about this place (my best friend used to go gaga over this place), but visited it only once before. They have the main restaurant and an extension right next to each other, strangely, with separate kitchens. Both were packed for a weekday and we had to wait about 10 minutes to get a table at the Extension.

The vegetarian menu was not so long. Spring rolls, Egg rolls and Manchuria were the only veg starters they had. The non-vegetarian menu was quite long though. The prices seemed very reasonable for a place of such magnitude.

We ordered a vegetable Hot and Sour soup, Spring Rolls for myself and Chicken drumsticks for my friend. The soup was tasty and tangy. Spring rolls were good, but I’ve had better ones. 16 pieces was quite a lot. The rolls were out right away, but it took forever for the drumsticks. I was almost done with the rolls when they arrived. My friend loved them though. This guy owns a restaurant himself, and was telling me that it was quite impossible to serve 10 drumsticks for the given price.

Both of us were almost full with the starters, so we decided to go light on the main course. We ordered a vegetable American Chopsuey. I was having one after really long and loved it. The fried noodles were crunchy and the vegetables very well cooked. The quantity again was sumptuous.

Looks like I have a new favorite 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.

I would definitely recommend this place for anyone wanting to eat good Chinese food!!

Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 440/-

Verdict: 8.5/10

PS: I like Chinese food, but it’s not my favorite. I somehow prefer the 50 bucks road side bandi food over a restaurant when it comes to Chinese. That is why an 8.5 even though I listed it as my favorite.

Pizza Den | Restaurant Review

Place: Pizza Den
Location: Sindhi Colony, Behind Paradise
Cuisine: Vegetarian Pizzas and Ice-creams
Meal: Dinner

Ive 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.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 3/10
Service: NA
Meal for 1: Rs. 150/-

Verdict: 7/10

Swathi Tiffins | Restaurant Review

Place: Swati Tiffins Location: Mehdipatnam, behind the bus stand. Cuisine: Tiffins and Indian Meal: Take-away

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 favorite. 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.

Food: 9/10 Ambiance: NA Service: NA Meal for 1: Rs. 140/-

Verdict: 9/10

Sandarshini | Restaurant Review

Place: Sandarshini
Location: Masab Tank, towards Banjara Hills Rd. No. 1
Cuisine: Indian
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.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 124/-

Verdict: 8/10

Olives and Cheese | Restaurant Review

Place: Olives and Cheese
Location: Trimulgherry, a little further from RTA Office, Secunderabad
Cuisine: Italian
Meal: Dinner

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.

Food: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 238/-

Verdict: 8/10

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.