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.
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.
Place: Kritunga Restaurant
Location: Lane opposite Huda, Ameerpet
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.
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.
Place: Prego Alfresco
Location: Westin, Hitech City
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Global Cuisine
I’ve heard a lot about how good the food is at Westin, especially at Prego, for a long time now, but always felt that the place was too expensive for my liking. When I received an invite to dine at the newly launched restaurant, it was time, finally.
I walked in to the pool side restaurant through the Italian dine-in, and the place looked fabulous. It was perfect weather to dine in the open, and the ambiance was quintessential. As we, a few foodies settled down, the chef came in and gave a brief on what was going to be served for dinner – their new offering, Mediterranean cuisine.
To go with the cuisine, each table had a Mediterranean platter with Olive Tepanade, Tomato and Parmesan dip, and Mushroom and Truffle Oil dip alongside Za’atar Flatbread and Khaboos.
Both the dips were delicious; the Tomato and Parmesan dip was spicy and just perfect to my liking, while the mushroom dip was creamy and scrumptious. The tepanade too was equally good, but nothing to beat the dips. The breads served along were soft, with the za’atar flatbread being the best of the lot. Yummilicious!
There was a fixed menu for the evening, with no choice for the vegetarians, so I asked for whatever was on the list: Mediterranean Antipasto for starters, Vegetable Timbale for main course, and Phyllo wrap and Bougasta for desserts. Before that, we were served with Amuse Bouche – Roasted Bell pepper pin-wheel with Goat Cheese.
While this looked good, it didn’t taste any good for I thought it lacked flavour.
The starters were served soon, and no, this is definitely not what I would have ordered if I had a choice. With Chilli marinated Olives, Caramelized Figs, Pickled Grapes, Tomato Feta salad, Baked Artichokes, and Olive Tapenade on Crunchy Ciabatta, this really wasn’t for me. Nevertheless, it was a different experience to hog on such exotically presented veggies. I thought the Pickled Grapes were the best of the lot while the Ciabatta was a close second.
Time for the main course. Vegetable Timbale with Stalk of Lemon Couscous, Chickpeas and Mediterranean vegetables. This didn’t look appetizing at all. The veggies tasted raw and the Couscous was barely alright. The chickpeas turned out to be the saviour in this disappointing dish, for they were the only things which tasted alright. Utter failure altogether.
Firstly, it didn’t taste good, and secondly, the portion served was so little that I wondered if this were starters or main-course. To help fill my tummy, I requested the chef to serve a vegetarian version of the Lamb Moussaka served to the non-vegetarians.
This at least looked more palatable than the Timbale, but the result was the same. The eggplant was well cooked, yes, and tasted good with the cheese; but the rest of the vegetable pile with Zucchini and peppers was undercooked and tasted terrible. The sauce too was nothing great. Two strikes!
So disappointed I was with the main course, that I wished to have a slice of Pizza from Prego instead. And voilà, a foodie ordered for a Margarita.
This actually turned out to be something palatable, not just for me but also for a fellow foodie who was struggling to cut through her Lemon Chicken (which apparently didn’t even have a hint of lemon). The pizza was good, but at the same time, nothing exceptional for I could taste the flour in every bite. Good, but not excellent.
The desserts, Phyllo Wrap and Bougasta were served with the addition of Walnut Baklava. While decent, they were all too sweet for my linking.
I had ordered for a Blue Curacao mocktail while struggling with the main course, and this turned out to be alright.
Bottom line, I was left discontent at the end of my first meal at Westin. But for the breads and dips on the table, none of the other items could tease my taste buds. I had high expectations, but had to return home in utter dismay.
The fact that most of these dishes were priced exorbitantly didn’t make things any better. The Couscous, which wouldn’t even fill a small corner of my tummy was priced at 675 bucks + taxes. Yes, some people might have the appetite to spend lavishly, but even for that, the food needs to taste decent at the least.
As far as I’m concerned, this might actually be my first and last meal at Westin (though I’ve been wanting to visit Prego for a long time and still haven’t) for my experience on this night wasn’t enthralling enough for me to come back.
Place: Rayalaseema Ruchulu
Location: Opp. Railway Station, Lakdikapul
Cuisine: South Indian
Meal: Lunch (with a friend)
I’ve been told that Rayalaseema Ruchulu serves yummy Ragi Sangati, but never ventured to try it. A friend of mine was in town from Bangalore, and given that she wanted to try local delicacies, I was finally here, at the Lakdikapul branch. The place was packed on a Sunday afternoon, and we were lucky to have a found a table without waiting, on the first floor. The ambiance was alright, no qualms about it.
We wanted to try the Thali, but it being a Sunday, they weren’t serving one. So we ordered for 3 portions of Ragi Sangati with Gutti Vankaya and Mutton curry (for my friend). We also asked for Lassi.
The food was served pretty soon. The quantity seemed like a lot on first glance. The Gutti Vankaya Kura was spicy, but pretty delicious. The eggplant however, wasn’t well cooked. But still, a yummy curry. The Ragi Sangati was decent; what can possible go wrong with it?
The spice was too much to handle, especially for my friend who found the Mutton curry too hot. We were eagerly awaiting for the Lassi, but it didn’t arrive until we were almost done with the meal; pathetic service and coordination between waiters.
Overall, both of us were satisfied with the food, but the service was bothersome. And then came the bill; whopping 1200 bucks for a meal for 2. We could have had a full course buffet (a more satisfying meal) for the same price. Maybe its worth the price for the meat eaters, but I don’t see any value for the veggies.
No, it’s not Dunkin Donuts. It’s Dunkin Donuts and more 😀
That’s the first line uttered by the marketing manager as we, a few foodies, entered the DD’s first store in Hyderabad for a tasting session. The joint is on the ground floor of Inorbit Mall, facing the lake, and had very lively ambiance. We soon settled down for a chat with the PR team, who gave us a run through of DD culture, their presence in India, and more importantly the reasoning behind why it’s more than just donuts in our beloved country. I found their concept to be brilliant; target the ‘Happily Screwed’ crowd!
Once we were enlightened, it was time to taste the food; food one wouldn’t normally except at DD, food which isn’t regular. First stop, Wicked Wrap; complex, crazy, awsomely wicked.
And boy, this was wicked. Crunchy nachos, jalapeno patty, spicy chipotle and raw mango sauces on a multi grain tortilla, this was definitely one of the best wraps I’ve tasted. It was truly wicked, with the spice lingering in my mouth for a long time. It hurt so good.
To help gulp the wicked wrap, we were served some Iced Tea.
Spiked Iced Tea had a cinnamon touch to it, and tasted very different; different good. The Iced Green Tea had a strong green tea flavor, yet was perfect. These really were saviours on my wicked ride.
If you’re not up to taste the wickedness, there’s a Not So Wicked Wrap for the faint hearted.
Next came the Tough Guy Burger, a burger that makes heart breaks 0.223% less heart breaking.
With the burger bun replaced with a tough bagel loaded with sesame seeds, this was definitely a definitely a tough burger. A delicious patty loaded with elephant yam, cheese and spicy mustard sauce; this was another winner.
It was now time to taste Crunchy Joe. With toasted bun stuffed with Indianized black-eye bean curry, this was amazingly delicious. There was crunch in every bite; I absolutely loved it.
I wanted to taste the Naughty Lucy burger before I indulged on the Donuts, and while I wait for it, I asked for a Chocolate Dunkaccino.
Served with whipped cream, the chocolate shake was almost perfect. I just wish it were thicker.
Any finally came my Lucy! With a patty stuffed with molten cheese, eating this couldn’t get more messy than this. But who cares, when you’re in for some pure bliss. Lucy was super-duper cheesy 😀
Time now for the donuts.
I had a bite of almost everything on plate, and they were all yum. Loved the Chocolate ones the best. My usual favourite at DD, Boston Creme was missing today, but the rest made it up for it. Amazing finish to the brilliant meal.
Overall, the most satisfying meal I’ve had in a long long time. Perfect ambiance, great service and awesome food. And to make it more special, DD team gave me a goodie bag with six donuts, a DD mug and coupons for 365 days of donuts! The pricing might be a little on the higher side to dine in often (60 bucks for donuts, 60-200 bucks for the burgers + taxes), but I feel that they are still worth it. Go get your mojo back!!
I’ve visited DD twice after writing the review, and the standard have dropped substantially. The service is mediocre, and hygiene has gone for a toss. They will need to pull up their socks in case they wish to sustain in the market!
Chili’s used to be one of my favorite joints while I lived in Starkville, USA. Whenever I was bored with the same food, Chili’s Black-bean Burger was the savior. I’ve been wanting to visit the Indian outlet for a long time, and finally, on a Monday evening, here I was for a tasting session. The ambience was almost exactly the same as in the States, and I made myself comfortable at a corner booth.
The chef suggested that I try some of their best sellers, and I obliged. So I started off with a small portion of Texas Cheese Poppers and Fried Quesadilla bites, along with a Virgin Pina Colada.
The Texas Cheese Poppers were served in quick time, along with Chipotle Sour Cream. First impression, they were greasy. They tasted good, with cheese melting in my mouth, but the oil was bothering me. The cheese was oozing out oil as well, so.
The Fried Quesadilla Bites were served along with Chipotle Ranch, and these turned out to be excellent. With grilled paneer and cheese, this was a definite winner! And the ranch tasted better than the sour cream.
The Pina Colada arrived soon, and tasted good. The pineapple was pretty dominant.
Next, I wanted to taste their Queso, and so asked for a small portion. I was told that it’s usually served on a skillet, but they made an exception and gave me a bowlfull.
While the Queso was good, the chips didn’t catch my fancy. I found them pretty heavy, and would have preferred lighter chips.
It was now time for Texas Cheese Fries. Loaded with Terlingua Chili, veggies and tons of cheese, this looked yum. However, on taste front, it was just alright, for I really didn’t enjoy the chili much. Nevertheless, the cheese and fries were yum yum.
For the main course, I asked for a Veggie Bite Burger, and a portion of their Veggie and Cheese Quesadilla. But first, another drink; Blue Pacific.
Served in a Martini glass, this tasted very different. Different good.
The burger turned out to be decent. The bun was toasted, and the patty was good.
The Quesadilla, served with Pico de Gallo and sour cream, was again a winner. With tons of mushrooms, home-made cream sauce and cheese, this turned of to be excellent. On the downside, I found the texture of the cream sauce to be too thick; would have preferred it to be lighter.
To finish things off, I asked for the Molten Chocolate Cake. The chef suggested Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie, but I was in no mood for caramel, so.
This turned out to be good; chocolate was oozing with every bite. However, the cake was overbaked, and so, a little too dry.
Overall, a satisfactory meal. Food was decent and drinks were great. Of the starters, the Fried Quesadilla was worth it. The service was impeccable, with the manager Pavan attending to my every need. The chilled out ambiance gives this place a definite edge. They might be priced a little on the higher side in general, but their value meals for lunch and dinner are a steal. Bottomline, nothing exceptional but worth a visit.
Meal for 1: N/A
Was invited to the opening of the new Tex-Mex restaurant in town, so dropped in to give it a shot. The place was very well done and the ambiance was pretty neat. There were few other foodies invited along with me, and we were also seated in the private dining area.
The owner of the brand and the chief chef came in to greet us foodies and make us comfortable. They briefed us on the brand, the variety of food, and the experience one can expect at Habanero.
Chips were served as we settled down, with three different types of Salsa – Spicy Chilli, Cucumber and Papaya. I liked the chilli sauce but wasn’t really impressed by the other two. The tortilla chips on the other hand turned out to be light and crispy; perfecto!
The veggie crowd soon ordered for a portion of Macho Nachos, Jalapeno Poppers, and Queso Dip.
The Nachos came in first and looked quite loaded. Tons of veggies, salsa and sour cream with yummy cheese – perfect way to start the meal. While the chips tasted yum, I would have preferred more cheese topping.
The Jalapeno poppers were in next and were served with a flavoured mayonnaise dip. These were good but nothing spectacular; the cheese was there but the jalapeno weren’t ripe, and so the required punch was amiss. Apparently, the restaurant has been facing problem sourcing the right quality jalapeno. They did serve a variation with chopped jalapeno instead of stuffed ones, and this turned out to be more of cheese poppers than jalapeno poppers (not that I was complaining 😛 ).
The best of the lot however turned out to be the Queso dip. It was served along with some more chips, and man, it was excellent. Creamy and cheesy, just perfect. We were so in love with it that we ordered for another portion; this again tuned out to be excellent and was finished in a blink. So we now ordered for a third portion; and bam! This now turned out to be the worst dips I’ve ever tasted. The creamy cheesy dip was gone and this one turned out to be some kind of gooey stuff with absolutely no taste. One of the foodies actually said it tasted like broken cream. Disappointed.
Anyway, while the Queso saga was on, we ordered for more starters; Messy Bean Dip, Zucchini Fritters with Tomatillo Relish and Tostada Salad. I was also tempted to taste the Chilli Cheese Fries, so ordered for the same. But before that came my drink – Softie Colada.
This turned out to be a refreshing drink; it had a distinct coconut taste, and was as perfect as it could get.
The Messy Bean Dip arrived again with more chips. This turned out to be good, but I would have preferred it to be a little more spicy. It actually reminded me of the Rajma curry we make at home.
The Zucchini Fritters tasted very different from the regular stuff, and turned out to be excellent. The Tomatillo sauce (Tomatillo, also called Mexican Tomato, is a kind of gooseberry) had a tangy taste to it and went perfectly well with the zucchini. One of the best dishes of the day!
The Chilli Cheese Fries turned out to be another version of the Macho Nachos. The cheese sauce was good, but the fries were very soggy. I had to eat this using a spoon and fork, so you can imagine. They weren’t bad, but definitely didn’t suit my palate.
The Tostada Salad turned out to be a Tortilla topped with different veggies. The crunchy base actually made this taste good.
While we were munching on the food, the chief chef Dan walked in to make some Pico de Gallo salsa for us. He actually wanted to make Guacamole, but they were out of avocados, so. He started from scratch, and voila, in about 5 minutes, we had another dip to taste.
This turned out to be a very very spicy dip, with the spice hitting the throat after a while. Though I was almost in tears, I enjoyed it.
While we were stuffed, it was now time to taste the main course; Tacos and a Chimichanga.
Two stuffed Tacos were served along with Mexican rice, salad and sour cream. While the Tacos were good, the rice turned out to be disastrous. It was uncooked and lacked any kind of flavor.
The Chimichanga, served with same disgusting rice, turned out to be crunchy and stuffed well. It could have done with a little more cheese stuffing though.
Finally time for desserts. We wanted to have the Molten Mexican Chocolate Cake (stuffed with chili powder) but they were out of it. We wanted to have the Tres Leches Cake, and they were out of it as well. They were actually out of everything but for Churros and Snickers Chimichanga. While I prefered neither, Chimichanga it was, again.
And as I guessed, this wasn’t for me. Too sweet for my liking!
Overall, an average meal. While some of the dishes were very good (Queso was exceptional but only the first time around) consistency seemed to be a major issue. Actually, a few days after our gathering, there was another foodie meet here, and most of them complained about the food. Not surprising as we experienced something lack of consistency in a single meal. So that’s something they definitely need to work on.
Food apart, the place has great ambiance, perfect for small parties and get-togethers. On money front, everything seemed reasonable, and I was told that they are cheaper than competition.
So give it a shot. You may expect good food, but nothing exceptional (please don’t curse me if you have a terrible experience 😛 )
Meal for 1: N/A
Place: Filmy Tadka
Location: Opposite Reliance Fresh, Shivam Road
Meal: Lunch (with family)
Was meeting my relatives and decided to eat out rather than cooking something at home. After doing a bit of research on Zomato, zeroed in on this small Indian joint on Shivam Road. Finding it was a challenge for the place didn’t look like a restaurant from outside. Once in, we realized that the place was named Filmy Tadka because of its filmy décor. It had partitions which looked like film reels and a few filmy posters on the walls.
It’s a small restaurant with around 10 tables, most of which were empty when we walked in. But there was one huge gathering which was making more noise than we could handle. Anyway, we looked at the menu and asked for 3 South Indian Thali, a North Indian Thali for myself and Sambar Rice for amma. The South Indian Thali wasn’t available so we all went for North Indian Thali. We also ordered for a Paneer Mali Tikka for starter.
The soup (part of the Thali) was served in about 10 minutes. It was thick, creamy and pretty yum. The waiter was kind enough to serve an extra bowl of soup for amma as well (though she didn’t order Thali).
I ordered for the Paneer Malai Tikka because the description was quite tempting. However, it didn’t really live up to my expectations. Not that it was bad; the paneer was pretty fresh and well marinated, but it lacked that punch I was looking for.
The Thali was served with 2 pieces of roti, Dal, Mixed Vegetable curry, Paneer curry, a bowl of Pulav, white rice, sweet and papad. The roti was soft and both the curries were yum. The paneer curry was actually delicious. Dal derves a mention. We were offered extra roti, and I asked for the same.
The rice (both pulav and white rice) were very cold and we asked them to reheat and serve; and they did so without any row. We were actually under the impression that curries were limited, but they served us more when asked for. The sweet was decent.
Overall, a good meal. There were a few hiccups with respect to the service. There were just two guys managing all the tables and it got difficult as crowd started coming in; we had to constantly keep calling for the waiter before the guy would respond. The ambiance didn’t impress, mainly because of the huge (loud) gathering. That apart, the food turned out to be very good. Give it a shot if you’re in the surrounding area; I’m guessing you won’t be disappointed with the food.
PS: I observed that they’ve changed their menu recently. I hope food and taste are still the same.
Place: The Big Mouth
Location: Next to Ram Ki Bandi, Road No. 2, Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Fast Food
Meal: Take away
Having read a few good reviews about this place, dropped in one night to get some food for myself, amma and dad. The Big Mouth is a small kiosk next to a couple of other food joints including Ram Ki Bandi. There was one guy managing the place, and he was attending to another order when I reached.
I had to wait for about 10 minutes before he could take my order, and I asked for Couch Potato and Mushroom Italiano sandwiches, Chilli Cheese Burger, and a portion of Pav Bhaji. The guy started making the sandwiches one after the other, and so it took a while for my order to get ready.
The sandwiches had gone cold by the time I reached home and I had to grill them for a couple of minutes before biting in. The sandwiches were stuffed adequately, and amma loved the Couch Potato sandwich. The Mushroom Italiano sandwich was equally yum, with butter oozing in every bite; one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Hyderabad.
After biting into some yummy sandwiches, it was time for the Burger, which was quite small in size. It was stuffed with cheese, veggies and a thick patty, but overall, wasn’t really palatable. The bun wasn’t fresh, and the patty too didn’t taste good. Kinda disappointing.
Pav Bhaji was probably an odd choice/order, but I opted for it wanting to taste most of their offerings. This was a major let down as the bhaji was very thin and lacked the punch. The Pav again wasn’t fresh.
Overall, a mixed meal. While the sandwiches were really yum, rest of the meal wasn’t up to the mark. The fact that I had to wait for about 30 minutes, standing, to get my food wasn’t a good experience either; they definitely need more people to manage the store. I might come back for the sandwiches, but then again, for 70 bucks, I could eat something more and fulfilling, can’t I?
Place: Wich Please
Location: Next to Domino’s, Gachibowli
Cuisine: Fast food
Wanting to explore, decided to visit this town near Hyderabad, a town which came into existence only in last few years, a town I know nothing about: Gachibowli. Once in the town, I looked for a place I can hog at on Zomato, and zeroed in on the second highest rated place, Wich Please. This joint happens to be a small stall next to Domino’s store. I observed that the place had no stools or chairs around for people to sit on while eating. It might be a small kiosk, but that’s something you’d expect as a bare minimum.
Anyway, after some thinking, decided to have the Special Mayo Wich. The description read: finely diced veggies in mayonnaise and cheese. Sound yummy right?
And I observed the guy make the ‘wich’. On a loaf of Spencer’s bread, he put some coleslaw, and sprinkled some masala powder. Next, he took one more slice, added more coleslaw and placed it on the first loaf. He then covered it with another slice, and started toasting it. A little surprised, I asked him where the cheese was and I was told it’s mixed in the mixture. Where??
I had expected something extraordinarily good, but to my utter disappointment, I was served a triple deck coleslaw toast. Hoping that it would taste good, I took my first bite standing on the main road, and my feeling was ‘what the heck is this!’. The coleslaw was cold, and tasted really weird. When I told the guy that the stuffing was cold, his reply was ‘Is it? How can that be?’. The bread wasn’t toasted properly either and barely had any butter. And forget the cheese.
For a place with a tagline ‘why you eat no sandwich!’, it served one of the saddest sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve just tasted one of their many offerings, but that’s given me an insight on what’s in store. Obviously I wouldn’t have any more of their sandwiches.
I can’t believe that I actually went searching for this place! And I can’t believe I shelled out 80 bucks for some coleslaw between slices of bread!