Saturday, July 25, 2009

Veggie Nook: Singh's Restaurant

Singh is king 

Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

Food hunt Food to keep your mouth watering
The place is as unpretentious as its name. It caters to the shoppers in the in the very busy M.G. Road near Paradise Circle. One could easily miss the restaurant situated on the first floor. It simply calls itself Singh’s Restaurant but just be low it is a cheeky claim—Singh is King –after the release of the movie by the same name.
As one is led through a narrow stairway to the restaurant above, it fails to impress you by its ambience. It has a total capacity for 85 with a small section of a 20-seater AC and a 55-seater for the non-AC section. The place cannot serve as a romantic getaway for a couple looking to have a candle –light dinner, but one can certainly go there with family. If restaurants are to be defined as a place where you go to have good food, then this is the one for you.
Run by Mr. Vicky Singh Bhatia, the place prides itself on its authentic Punjabi food. Going against the grain is an assortment of Chinese food thrown in. What’s impressive about the menu is the range of foods in each section. To start with, at least 10 kinds of soups, 60 types of curries and 13 kinds of rotis! One also has a choice of biryanis with the special handi biryani included.

Masala papad was quite tasty with the right condiments but if the cook is not warned beforehand, one can end up with an oily papad. The tandoori roti, made of atta and not the usual maida, was quite soft. Paneer tikka masala, one of Singh’s recommendations, was also tasty and made with fresh paneer. The dal makhaani would appeal to people who have a palate for non-spicy food.
But what is surely a specialty here, claiming to be a unique concoction created by Bhatia himself, is the Bhangda Thums Up. This is made of Thums Up and chaat masala and jeera powder…all in all powerful enough to hit you with its first sip. This drink is supposed to help digest food. It’s very much in demand at the Singh’s.
Another specialty is the Punjabi lassi—thick, frothy with just enough sugar. Very tasty and highly recommended!
Another claim by the restaurateur is that in the entire twin cities, one would never find an onion salad as thinly sliced as at Singh’s. The onions were indeed found to be very thinly sliced—almost thin as paper. The restaurant can lay a claim to very reasonable rates too. Soups are in the range of Rs. 35-45; dals and vegetable curries between Rs. 40-95; rotis starting at Rs. 9. A meal for two comes for under Rs. 150. An order for a plate of curry/soup/ dal/rice or even a glass of Lassi is easily enough for two.

Pluses: Home-like environment with a friendly host

Minuses: Ambience

Food: 3.5/5; Ambience: 2/5

Located at M.G Road; near Gandhi statue

 This article was published HERE.  

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Veggie Nook: Chaaypani

Chai, chaat and more

Photos: G. Krishnaswamy

Small ‘n’ cosy’ Chaaypani caters to different clientele

A search for a good vegetarian eating outlet in Habsiguda would lead you to Chaaypani.
Habsiguda, as known to people, is a crowded commercial place. All one could expect from the place would, at the best, be a place serving the conventional Mughlai.
In this milieu, Chaaypani, seems to have found its niche by offering people a quick tasty snack in a small and cozy environment. It calls itself ‘The adda for veg foodies’ Chaaypaani offers more than just chai and paani. Catering to different clientele is food ranging from the Indian (chole bhatura, chaat), to Chinese (noodles, fried rice, manchuria) and fast food (pizzas, burgers and French Fries). The order for the ‘chai’ at Chaaypani revealed that it did complete justice to its nomenclature. The iced tea was excellent.
It was served at the right temperature and with just the right amount of sugar and lemon. Not actually having ‘ice’ in the iced tea ensured that the melting ice didn’t dilute your drink by the time you finished it. All tea served here is made from premixed powder. Though it calls itself Chaaypani, it offers only four flavors in tea. In Chaaypani, you would expect more varieties of chai.

The grilled cheese sandwich had the right amount of cheese and was crisply done, not soggy or overtly dripping with cheese. The chole bhatura was unique in taste too. The chole had no whiff of vanaspati usually used in its preparation and tasted almost like home-made one.
The masalas added ensured that the dish struck the right balance. The soft bhaturas ensured that you needn’t pull and tug at it to tear it; neither did you end up with greasy fingers after eating it. The icing on the cake was the yummy French Fries! Highly recommended.
The ambience was simple—a few steel tables and chairs and a few high chairs added in times of crowds. But above all what strikes the eye is the hygiene of the place, very neat despite the fact that it was raining and the lane leading to the eatery was quite swampy. The packaging of food in disposable containers gave an impetus to the feeling of hygiene.
The price was quite reasonable with a meal for two turning to be less than Rs. 200 and with their special first anniversary offer of 20 per cent off, it’s even lesser.
This food joint is the brain child of Narendra Sethia who is quite a foodie. The idea that started with his launching of ‘Chaaypani’ (the tea and coffee premixes) went on to the opening of this food joint. Now, his young daughter infuses the energy and passion required to run this ‘adda’. The one disadvantage that the place finds itself in is the comparative anonymity of the location in one of the by-lanes of Habsiguda. Yet, this is an advantage in itself as one doesn’t find this kind of vegetarian joint catering to a niche clientele anywhere in the vicinity of Habsiguda.
This is a guide for those who are looking for eateries in Hyderabad/Secunderabad which serve vegetarian food exclusively. Starting this week, we focus on at least one vegetarian outlet in your area.

Habsiguda/ Chaaypani
Pluses: Food is cooked with very little oil.
Minuses: The place is small and can get crowded during weekends
Location: Habsiguda; Lane opposite HDFC Bank.
Food: 4.5/5;
Ambience: 3/5;
Hygiene: 5/5

This article was published HERE. 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My own Column

There was this itch to do something. Not really occupied in the last 5 months or so, it was getting rather boring.

Three weeks back, I went to The Hindu newspaper headquarters to discuss the possibility of a regular column. The discussion went well and I was asked to send my proposal. I mailed my proposal with a few samples of writings chosen randomly from my blog to showcase the different genre of writing.

It took The Hindu two weeks to decide but at last the proposal was accepted and I was asked to send in the first article. I sent it by Saturday, 11th July, and before evening I came to know that the article was liked and I am now given a column to my name :) This will be run in The Hindu every Saturday starting 18th July.

It is a weekly column about various eateries catering exclusively to vegetarian food in Hyderabad. Not only will it constitute the food and the ambience reviews but also will be covering the restaurants area-wise.

As a part of my job profile I wrote for e-learning courses, for university-certified courses and my blog but this will be the first time that there will be a column in my name in some publication.

Being a foodie, I feel as though both sides of my bread are buttered. Not only do I get to taste food in different restaurants but also benefit by writing about it.
There was also a strong desire to do a hoteliering course which I couldn’t do all those years ago…this column somewhere satiates that need too.