Recently been to: Irani Chai Restaurant

Irani Chai

Had been to the Irani Chai Lounge Bar and Restaurant over the weekend. Its located in Jubilee Hills Rd #10 and serves very good Hyderabadi food and has a unique combo-meals offer too. Its proximity to my office would’ve made it an ideal lunchtime rendezvous but for the fact that it is located slightly off the beaten track and transport to there is slightly hard to get. And it ain’t within walking distance either…by the time I have a filling meal and hike back, it would be digested :mrgreen:

Anyways, I’ve written in-detail about that place over at my Hyderabad Restaurants Blog. Do check it out sometime and leave your valuable comments.

Pootharekulu a.k.a. Paper Sweet

I was gorging on some Pootharekulu (read on to know what they are) brought by Bro’ from his overnight trip to Vijayawada and was immediately reminded of the ones that my Grandma used to make. They are, quite simply, the best Pootharekulu  in the World! The ones I was having were close, but not quite. It was then that I wondered how they came into being i.e. whatz their origin, the myths behind it or the reason for its popularity. A quick but deep search on the web yielded no great shakes but one thing is for sure – they are one of the most popular selling items on shopping websites esp. those specializing in Andhra-to-America deliveries!

Pootharekulu

Continue reading

TGI Friday’s opening in Hyderabad

TGI Friday’s, the not-as-popular-as-its-competitors-McDonald’s-or-KFC American Restaurant chain is opening its newest branch at Hyderabad. I had noticed its “Coming Soon” banner at the under-construction Mall opposite L V Prasad Eye Institute on the Banjara Hills Rd #2 (the same mall which is to house the Cinemax Multiplex)

TGI Friday's - Now In Hyderabad

My knowledge of TGI Friday’s is limited to its nomenclature expansion – Thank Goodness Its Friday. Apart from that, I just know that it had been operating in Delhi for quite a long time now and also had branches in Bangalore & Noida. Have no idea on what kind of food it serves or what its signature line is or what the prices are going to be! Of course, one can visit its website to know all of that…and maybe more! I just know that the junk-food-eaters n’ multiplex-movie-watchers will soon have a new place to ‘hang out‘. When? Let’s say in about 3 months time. Of course, the mere fact that its just a kilometre away from moi workplace doesn’t mean you’ll catch me there :mrgreen:

Tirupati Laddu to get Patented

The famous and tasty Tirupati Laddu may soon get a patent of its own! According to a 30-min news report I happened to watch on TV9 yesterday, the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams – the temple’s executive board) is thinking of applying for a patent for the Laddu that is served as prasadam (holy offering) at the temple town of Tirupati. The laddu is one of the most popular thing about Tirupati and for many people, eating the laddu is as good as having a glimpse of the Lord himself. And of course, it is yummy and tasty too!

Its popularity and demand have given rise to a humongous black-marketing network that is prevalent in Tirupati and there have been cases of counterfeit laddus being palmed off as the real ones, that too at exorbitant prices – sometimes as high as 100 bucks for a laddu! To check that and also to protect the Intellectual Property on account of its Geographical Indication, the laddu and its preparation method is to be patented. So don’t be surprised if you see this sort of sign the text time you are in Tirupati: Tirupati Laddu ® Available Here!

Disney Noodles? No Thanks! I’d rather stay hungry…

While loitering about in Food Bazaar, I spotted a pack of Disney’s Noodles. I was surprised to see them and was wondering why on earth has Walt Disney entered into the business of instant-food! Close scrutiny revealed that these noodles are in fact manufactured/marketed by the Future Group (who own the Central, Big Bazaar and Pantaloon stores) itself, under their brand of Food Bazaar. Then I wondered whether they have pilfered the Disney logo and images of Mickey & Minnie Mouse…but nope, they have licensed them from Walt Disney (as the markings on the packaging indicates).

Disney Noodles

But sadly, the taste of the Disney’s noodles is nowhere near that of the king of instant noodles – Maggi – the 2-minute noodles. Not only is the texture of the raw noodles too thin but also the masala/seasoning they provide is bland and pathetic *ugh*. Cooking time is no way near the 2-minute mark and the finished product doesn’t even smell aromatic! Its a waste of 24 bucks, that’s what it is! It’ll be a pity if kids start to detest Mickey and gang just because they may remind them of the tasteless noodles 👿

And why am I writing all of this here? I just had to get it out of my system. None of my friends or colleagues had heard of them before and all of my rant was Greek n’ Latin to them!

Rajdhani Thali – Hyderabad

Rajdhani Thali – the Mumbai-based chain of Thali hotels has recently opened its branch in Hyderabad and I had a chance to visit it yesterday. I generally prefer wholesome thalis even though I’m pretty finicky about not eating some of the items (Curd and raithas for instance) and the North Indian is my usual choice.Having never partaken of a Gujarati Thali before, I was looking forward to enjoy it at Rajdhani Thali.

Rajdhani Thali Logo

The hotel is located on the fourth floor of the Big Bazaar mall on the Ameerpet main road and was half-full on a chilly Friday night. I realised later that all of them were Gujjus! The Ambience of the hotel is pretty good, with the entrance containing various banners proclaiming Rajdhani’s pedigree and popularity in Mumbai and also a nifty counter announcing the number of thalis they have served till date! AFAIR, the number was somewhere in the 5-lakh range!!! The seating is minimal, with plain wooden chairs and tables – somewhat wobbly though! As I sat down, I was kinda surprised at the size of the thali on the table. They actually put the empty thali and bowls on the table and fill-in the items later. There were 10 bowls that would translate into 10 items and two steel glasses – one for water and the other, as I was to know in a short while, was for Lassi (ugh!). Now, Rajdhani Thali’s menu is as varied as Gujarati food and they have a different menu for each day. Catch up with their entire menu here. On that particular night, the items were: Green Salad, Bhajiya, Khaman, Batti with Jaggery and Ghee, Dhokhla, Masala Potli (kind of a Kachori), Phulkas, Rajgiri Theplas, Sweet Kadi, Dal, Gobi ki sabzi, Chana sabzi (almost 5 kinds of chanas), some other curry which had brown round-shaped manchurian balls, Papads, Imli ki Chutney and Kesari Petha. There were also Kadi Pakoda, Khichdi, Curd rice and Lassi that I didn’t partake of. Phew! that seems quite a lot, doesn’t it? All the items are unlimited i.e. one can have as much as one wants. Only the desserts are limited – only one to choose from four choices. The food was piping hot and straight from the kitchen, rotis and curries were fresh and so were the salads and accompaniments. Not everyone likes Gujarati food, especially an all-vegetarian fare but one can surely enjoy the sheer variety that it offers and also the typical names that its cuisine holds out….thepla, dhokla, baati, khaman….grrovyyyy!!!! Continue reading

Chat Xpress – for snackers & chatters

Chaat Think about Chaat and the name of Gokul Chaat springs to mind for any Hyderabadi. [For the ignoramuses, Chaat (Hindi: चाट) is a typical Indian savoury snack usually made from potatoes/chickpeas/kabuli chana and laced with spices, sauces, condiments and garnished with onions and coriander leaves]. For most people Gokul might be too far but there are several other places which, though are not as famous as Gokul, serve delicious Chaats. One newly opened such chaat place is the Chat Xpress outlet at Amrutha Mall, Somajiguda. Located at the same place as the erstwhile Pizza Inn, the outlet is run by the same people who run Baker’s Inn in the front. The cooks are from North India so one needn’t fear of the Andhra touch in the snacks!

The place has a seating capacity of about 20 people and can’t be said as too spacious but the few times I’ve been there, I hadn’t had to wait for a table at all. They serve all the typical chaat items which they categorize under Rajdhani Xpress, Takatak Xpress and Pavbhaji Xpress. Takatak items are the ones that can be prepared in a jiffy and include the usual samosas, cutlets, tikkis, ragadas, sev puri and dahi puri. The Rajdhani cadre makes up of Raj Kachori & Laccha Tokri. The Pavbhaji spread consists of Masala, Rajdhani, Regular & Special Pavbhaji (which btw, is a snack made up of bread/bun called pav roasted in ghee and served with spicy curry or bhaji accompanied with onions & lemon). And of course, the usual suspects of Paanipuri and Bhelpuri are also available. And then there is the Juice Xpress serving freshly made fruit juice or milk shake of your choice.

Having tasted most of the items on offer, I’d recommend a combo-snack of Paanipuri (small puris served with tamarind/pudina water and chana curry), Laccha Tokri (fried potatoes moulded into a bowl-shaped container, filled with curry and spiked with tamarind, tomato and pudhina chutney & garnished with fine sev and onions) and culminated in a freshly-made Pineapple juice. Other recommended savories would include the Raj Kachori (big kachori filled with spicy curry and sauces), Paneer Samosa, Alu Tikki, Rajdhani pavbhaji or the Regular Pavbhaji. For people who don’t like much spicy snacks or would prefer a dry snack instead, there’s sev puri, bhel puri or papdi ragada. Prices are all moderate – with the chaats priced in the range of Rs. 22 – Rs. 28 and Pavbhaji items priced with Rs. 30 – Rs. 40. Juices & shakes are slightly over-priced at Rs. 22 and Rs. 30 respectively and the taste also isn’t anything to sing about, so can be skipped altogether. A typical 4-item combo for two people will cost you about a hundred bucks and the portions too are adequate so supper can be converted into dinner as well! If you are in the mood (or are posessed by some italian or chinese devil!) you can also order the Pizzas and Chinese stuff from the adjoining Bakers’ Inn(they have the same kitchen).

Place: Chat Xpress
Serves: Chaats, Pavbhaji, Samosas and Juices
Location: Amrutha Mall, Somajiguda
(Its located to the side – the parking lane between Amrutha Mall and Babu Khan Mall)
Pricing: Moderate
Meal for Two: 80 – 120/-
Rating: 4/5

P.S: Will post some self-clicked pics soon!