Saturday, December 19, 2009

Veggie Nook: Grabz

Grabz for a quick bite


Grabz is a fast-food outlet that sells continental food. Grabz is a daring effort to bring affordable continental food, specifically Italian, to the discerning Hyderabadi palate. Started a year ago at Himayatnagar, it has now branched out to outlets at Sindhi Colony, Abids and Sainikpuri. The outlets offer only vegetarian fare and are designed on the lines of ‘eat-on-the move' . The outlets at Sainikpuri and Sindhi colony can seat 20 people at a time.
The menu card is concise and one go through it in about 3 minutes flat. In all, you have 6 segments to choose from: thebreads, the salads, the fries, pastas, wraps and sandwiches. Each segment offers 2-3 selections. The limited offer allows the restaurant to focus on quality. Another smart move is that for every dish on offer has a desiversion . Most of the dishes carry authentic Italian flavour. Only the ubiquitous olive oil is not as used generously.
The garlic bread is slightly over priced . The Grabz special is a 2-inch round grilled bread, lightly smeared with mayonnaise-garlic spread and sprinkled with very finely chopped bell-peppers and celery. The Caesar salad consisting of iceberg lettuce, chopped red and yellow bell pepper, mayonnaise, garlic and garted parmesan cheese is a delight.
Pasta tower salad is penne pasta tossed with mayonnaise cheese, corn, jalapenos red and yellow peppers and Italian herbs. The taste resembles that of Caesar Salad but isn't as rich and doesn't carry the pungent garlic flavour that the former does.
The pasta come in arabiatta sauce and the parmesan white sauce. Grabz has three varieties of wraps—the tortilla wrap, the katti roll and the Shawarma wrap. The katti roll with its Indian masalas is one that would appeal to the spicier palate and consists of onion, capsicum and paneer. The tortilla wrap carries a strong taste of beans along with other veggies like capsicum, corn, onion and jalapenos. But the king of the wraps is the Shawarma wrap stuffed with paneer, baby corn, capsicum, tomato, onion and lettuce.
Lastly, the sandwiches priced at Rs. 50 for two comes with a number of options : Spinach corn and Club sandwich of bread slices, raw or lightly toasted as per your choice. The Spinach Corn sandwich smothered with Italian white sauce, spinach, garlic, corn and chilly flakes tastes awesome.
Everything is prepared on live counters and served hygienically in disposable containers. The eateries are open from 11 am to 10:30 pm. The fare comes to about Rs. 250 to 300 for two people.

This article was published HERE.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In Dino

It is a very long time since I wrote in my blog. Lack of time has been the main reason.This seems to be the reason used by most of the world anyway.
Changed circle yet again to join the Times to serve in the Operations management team; I don’t even think about my bosses or work any more. It’s now simply become a means of earning money at the end of month. The hope that the bosses at satyam can do anything for me is gone. Last year when I was in projects, I was still hopeful that something would come out of this assignment. But slowly all those dreams died a slow death. I was attributing not getting a promotion to various reasons but finally realized that the boss never had an intention of giving a promotion. Left him and the circle to join in Times and have absolutely no hope of anything coming out of this too. I wonder if that is the reason that when I come back home I feel so listless…just watch some TV, eat and sleep. I don’t even cook whereas earlier I used to come home only at 9/9:30pm and still have enough energy to cook for the next day as well as that night. I am not able to do that now. Just cooking something on weekends and eating out of that almost the entire week. No zeal to eat either. If it is not for the fact that I need to eat home-made food, I would never have cooked at all…
On another note, a stupid bandh announced today is to be implemented on Sunday and Monday. City is turning violent over state's division issue and as usual the hooligans are out stoning and destroying properties. I was caught in the middle of that last week and was scared shitless. Escaped unhurt as I quickly took a U-turn on seeing the mob. Stocked on milk and Maggi for the fear of a possible bandh the next two days. Idiots have got the TV shut down too…no telecast as though mourning a dead. I obviously don’t want to watch the damage spree that these goons are on.
Rather, I caught up with “50 first dates” that I longed to see for quite some time. Two dialogues in the movie stand out “I wish I had met you before my accident”. Two: “you can never forget your first kiss” seemed very cute as the heroine keeps forgetting that she has been kissed before. And the hero counts saying that it is your first but 25th for me…..that make it 12 and a half for us:) Good that I didn’t lay sprawled out on the bean bag in front of the TV that I usually do but hauled my ass to plunk in front of a smaller monitor.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Veggie Nook: Santosh Banjara

Cashew feast


Photo: Nagara Gopal

For the love of khana Santosh Banjara's speciality dish, the vegetable biryani

Santosh Banjara, with its distinct disadvantage of being located in Banjara Hills where there is no dearth of star hotels, swanky restaurants and malls, still runs successfully because of the sheer quality of food it offers. This air-conditioned restaurant with a capacity of 160 offers only vegetarian food. Santosh Banjara also runs from Secunderabad and Abids and the eateries there are named Santosh Dhaba. The demand of the food in these dhabas led the restaurateur to open a branch in Banjara Hills recently.
Despite its elegant ambience, the restaurant is not able to shake off the image of a dhaba—right from the Bollywood numbers playing in the background to the erroneously-spelt names in the menu to the not very suave restaurant staff. Ignore the dhaba-like environment that exudes from the restaurant, and dig with gusto into the delightfully tantalizing taste offered in course after course.
Unlimited choices
It's a delight to open the menu card as you fight to choose from the mind-boggling range of varieties on offer—precisely 70 curries to choose from! The quality of food comes from the fact that the restaurant focuses only on Panjabi food— no frills like juices, beverages or sweets. Soups are priced between Rs.45 to 75 with the Talumein soup at Rs.75. It is a pleasure to sip on this scalding hot tomato-based soup served with shredded vegetables like capsicum, cabbage, carrots, cucumber and onion. It has a slight sour taste to it.
Do order the paneer sticks for starters. Paneer sticks, priced at Rs. 110, consist of thick pieces of paneer, capsicum, onion and tomato each cut into one inch squares. They are smeared with chaat masala, jeera powder and soya sauce, and shallow fried. These are then stacked with tooth picks running through and tossed together with lightly fried onions, sesame, chilli flakes and cashew. Cashew is something that you need to watch out for. Every dish has more than a generous offering of the ingredient. Only the soups seem to be spared from this calorie assault.
Amongst the main dishes, Santosh recommends Jil-Mil Paneer, a curry priced at Rs. 100 and consisting of onion, capsicum and paneer cooked in— hold-your breath—cashew paste! Added to this cashew gravy are chilli powder, chat masala and tomatoes. The Hyderabadi Biryani, at Rs.100 is a serving of aromatic rice cooked with spices and vegetables. The stuffed kulcha, priced at Rs. 40, is an offer of rotis of wheat flour stuffed with boiled potatoes, carrots and beans very finely chopped. And once the roti is rolled out—guess what— again studded with cashews, fried and served!
The restaurant also finds it advantage in running throughout the day from noon to 11.30 p.m. without a break. All portions served are ample and easily enough for two. The quality of food with its very reasonable pricing makes it a difficult proposition to resist. Set aside your calorie count and dig into this fare. Food for two is about Rs. 300-400. The restaurant also offers valet parking.

Santosh Banjara, Banjara Hills

Plus: value for money
Minus: loud atmosphere
Food: 4.5/5
Ambience: 2.5/5
Located close to Pizza Hut,
Road no. 12, Banjara Hills

This article was published HERE.