Friday, July 23, 2010

Tere bin...bin tere and Bikanerwala

After a long time, I stepped out of house. Determined to go for full throttle entertainment—good lunch, a movie…the works. I have been working from home and the little human interaction I have was missing too. I skipped breakfast in the hope of stuffing myself with a good buffet lunch.
Some instinct made me grab my helmet at the last minute. I stepped out into the cool environment outside and drove on my scooty. Just as I neared the Mettuguda junction, a light drizzle began. I hoped it remained only that…a drizzle. But this increased steadily so much that by the time I was at St Ann’s, an huge downpour started. I started driving cautiously afraid of skidding in the heavy downpour. I was in two minds whether to go ahead or to take a u-turn and go to some restaurant close by. But I didn’t want nature to have the upper hand. I kept going wondering when the rain will cease…whether the rain gives up first or do I?
By this time my clothes were dripping wet and stuck to the body. Luckily the helmet protected my head from getting wet. I kept on and finally it was at the third flyover on SP road that the rain Gods relented, the roads were dry and that’s when I picked up speed and went as fast as I could. It was 1:45 pm and I was determined to make it to both—a grand lunch and the movie. I reached Bikanerwala at around 1:52 pm and looked hungrily forward to the temptingly sumptuous spread ahead. As soon as I was seated, I was served cold water. I drank thirstily but thought, ‘damn it, who needs cold water when I was already shivering with cold!', but I was thirsty. Luckily for me, a hot hot tomato shorba was served. Shorba is a diluted version of our regular tomato soup with some tadka in it. I was more than glad to have this hot liquid pass down my throat. Then two starters were served—the bajji/bhaaji of brinjal and cauliflower which was quite mediocre in taste and a dish of paneer and capsicum sautéed and served with a teeny teeny portion of mint chutney. The paneer starter was ok in taste. The chutney vanished in no time and also the soup. I asked for more of each. I waited and waited and the starters got over and still no sign of soup or chutney. By this time, the urge to have more soup went away. I looked around to see what else was there. There was the spread of salads. First the Cole slaw— this was shredded cabbage with minuscule portions of diced red and green capsicum tossed in a lot of mayonnaise. This preparation was then placed in ice. The taste would have been enhanced if there were more of the capsicum bits and not the few pieces here and there. Also the cabbage wasn’t really chopped finely…so the end effect was that you were eating a cabbage swathed in mayonnaise. I also served myself some tossed salad made of different vegetables. This was more or less blandish and watery. Then there was the sprouted moong, which I gave a miss, dhoklas and fried dhoklas. The very spongy and soft dhoklas were great with the right mix of sour, salt and sweet taste. The fried dhokla was new to me and I bit into it with great anticipation. But found that the dhoklas had merely been tossed in the khatta meetha chutney …too sweet for me. Raw carrots, vinegared onions and thinly shredded onions were also there. 

After the salad plate, next was the main course. There were three curries: malai makai mutter, a panner curry and the baby corn capsicum. All three were good in taste. The malai methi mutter had a creamy white base, a smooth taste to it and an overpowering feel of butter. The gravy in the paneer dish was quite tasty but because of the huge chunks of paneer, the taste of the gravy doesn’t really come through. The baby corn capsicum masala was just good with no outstanding taste. Next, I eyed the much spoken of and the much anticipated chaat section…the pani puris, the dahi bhaallas and the papdi chaat. Took the 6 pieces of mouth watering panipuris offered, served with a mini glass jar of red and green paanis. So much paani for 6 pieces? Doesn’t make sense! And just as I thought, the pani sure got wasted. Next I tried the dahi bhallas. Served one per plate, the dahi bhalla was soft but had no taste by itself. The taste was rendered by the curd and all the powders and spices added. However, the spiciness was smothered by the overtly sweet khatta meetha chutney added to it. Thumbs down for the chaat section—maybe good for people who haven’t tasted the authentic golgappas… otherwise a major let down. Couldn’t take the papadi chaat as I was almost full but didn’t want to leave without tasting the Chinese food though Chinese isn’t my favorite part of a meal. The veg noodles were done well and I enjoyed the taste though it came towards the end of my meal. The accompanying wet gravy served with onion, carrots and broccoli was a good accompaniment too. Also had biryani with raita. The raita was good but the biryani tasted as though it was only cooked rice. There really anything much to taste in it except for a paneer here and there—extremely bland in taste. Had a peep at the namkeen section and was surprised to see that they had only three varieties. I had expected many more from the famous Bikanerwaala…just some paapad and chips…really not much.
Having done with the meal, I sat down for the dessert. Hot gulab jamuns quite small in size were great in taste. Looked forward to Malpuas with great anticipation but this proved to be a major let down as it was not soft at all and was extremely sweet. I wanted to taste these two sweets made in- house…otherwise it had the usual pastries, ice cream and rasagullas served in any other restaurant in Hyderabad.If you were to ask what amongst all dishes carried the stamp of Bikanerwala, I am afraid the answer is none.
The number of waiters serving is probably not sufficient as they couldn’t quickly cater to your order. The naans that I ordered for also took some time coming, but again what’s good is that the plates are quickly cleared …no mess around on ones table.
Ambience: 3/5. Food: 3.5/ 5. Washrooms: 4/5. Priced at 265/- for buffet was a little too much, I felt.
I had been to the washrooms on my earlier visit but today I found the floor quite wet.

Saw that the time was already 2:50 pm and the movie is at 3 pm. I rushed with the desire to drive as soon as possible to the theater just about 3 kms away when suddenly the rain started through the sun was blazing. I knew that I will not make it as my driving will again be slowed by the rain. The damn rain stopped exactly ten minutes later as though only to stop my going to the movie.
While returning I saw that the entire SP road stretch which had been washed clean by the incessant rain in the morning stood innocently dry and dusty as though it hadn’t seen rain in years. Had to concede that the rain Gods won today.
Tere bin laden has no more shows from Friday...Tere bin...bin tere ghar wapas aana pada.