Location: Basheerbhag, under the flyover
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.
Meal for 3: Rs. 455/-
Location: Raj Bhavan Road
Cuisine: Multicuisine Buffet
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.
Meal for 3: Rs. 699/- (Rs. 185 + Taxes per person)
* This restaurant is now moved to a new location and renamed as Jiva Imperia.
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.
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/-
Location: Masab Tank, towards Banjara Hills Rd. No. 1
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.
Meal for 1: Rs. 124/-
Place: Olives and Cheese
Location: Trimulgherry, a little further from RTA Office, Secunderabad
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.
Meal for 1: Rs. 238/-
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.