Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some more restaurants and buffets in Hyderabad

ll the mundane stuff over the past few days prevented me from writing more. So, here are reviews of some of the restaurants that I tried in the last 3-4 months:

Sahib Sindh Sultan:
The one visited during Dushera time was Sahib Sindh Sultan. Had heard good reviews about it so thought of trying it out. The restaurant tries to create the nostalgia of trains. When we went, we were one of the earlier passengers in the long train compartment. The ambiance was well created and was charming. But what we hadn't realized that the AC compartment was soon going to get converted to our earlier days' sleeper class, what with the crowds and crying babies. The increasing noise and the crowds did put me off. Outside of the coach where the tables were laid out, were comparatively less occupied and quieter.We went on a Sunday, which I think was a mistake.
In keeping with the theme of Indian food, there were no soups. There were two shorbas which could be read as sweet corn soup and tomato soup. Shorbas aren't shared like in other restaurants. Each had to have a bowl. The quantities are ok though. The starters and the main course were awesome. The accompanying chutneys are equally awesome. The biryani tasted very different form what the Hyderabadi palate is used to...yet it had its own distinctively delicious taste. The service was good. Our family had actually gone there for a long and leisurely lunch and I could sense the impatience in the steward's manner after a while. We ordered the mock-tails at the end of the meal which was a huge mistake. They were horrendous...thin and no great shakes. The pan-wala asks you for an order of a pan as soon as he sees the finger bowls brought in. All the orders took at least 20-30 minutes in coming.Sahib Sindh Sultan offers no buffets.
Good ambiance, clean wash rooms (outside the restaurant) , great food but expensive at Rs 2100/- for three.

Rayalseema Ruchulu
In the month of September, it was Rayalseema Ruchulu. As a vegetarian, I never thought I'd visit this restaurant known more for its non vegetarian fare, especially the sea food. Rayalseema Ruchulu was my son's recommendation and we went there for his birthday. He wanted me to taste the food of actual Rayalseema.The RR special soup was quite yucky and therefore we went for the tomato shorba (though it isn't a part of a Rayalseema menu). A paneer starter and its accompanying chutney were quite decent in taste. And then we went for the jugular...the Ragi Sangati The Ragi Sangati, as I could see was a ball of boiled ragi and rice and brought with an accompanying allam pachadi. We ordered a tomato curry to go with it. We halved the ball amongst the two of us. The waiter doused the ball with ghee despite our trying to stop him from doing so. Later I understood why. Despite taming down the food with the ghee, the combination of Ragi Sangati and the tomato curry set our palates on fire and we ended up having watering eyes and running noses. By the time the meal had ended, I had a heap of tissues at my side. The food was delectable, though. We skipped desserts as the ragi really had us feeling stuffed.
Despite the visit on a weekend, there weren't many people around which I thought was a blessing as there was very little noise around. Also, could be because we went in around 2:45 or so. Quite a decent service. An earthy feel is created around with cement benches for seating (though padded well). Cement floors like in the houses of yore. Lights shaded by carved hanging shades. All the waiters were dressed in black...I don't know why. Does black have anything to do with Rayalseema theme? And most of them were Shakal-style...shaved heads!All in all, a nice, quiet, spacious restaurant. The simple meal for the two of us was around 750/-

The Square, Novotel:
In sharp contrast was the restaurant at Novotel. We had the buffet dinner. Everything was so bejaan, so bland and tepid. Most of the fare was continental. The food served whether Indian or not, needs to have some filling main course along with all the accompaniments. And then who said continental needs to be bland?
There were two starters (a rather insipid alu fry and gobi fry) and one soup in the vegetarian section from the Indian fare. Just about three curries and rotis. Plenty of choices of breads and cheeses. Tried most of them, though none of them truly stood out. Placed along with these breads were all those fancy looking, daintily done up fare from their coffee shop Le Cafe'. Well, however cute they look, how many of those teeny pastries can you have? What vividly stands out in memory is the truly VAST array of desserts...everything from Indian dry sweets, the syrupy ones, pastries, cakes, various ice-creams, souffles, a true delight for a person with a sweet tooth.This fare is like lot of odds and ends thrown together to display all those lovely colors and shapes but nothing that really fills you. The food doesn't justify the hefty bill
Neither were the waiters much forthcoming about what the buffet offers. For example, we weren't told about the Chinese live counter and saw it only when we had already had our fill. We were also not asked if we wanted to try something from the a la' carte menu.Though we had asked for a buffet dinner, at those rates, one at least expects the waiter to ask whether we wanted something which is not there on the buffet. In fact, we did end up ordering some mock tails from the menu.
You can always go there to enjoy the ambiance, which is awesome...starting with the foyer which was vast and with its high ceiling sure did make an impression. We had booked previously and were seated at the long table towards one end of the restaurant. Even as we sat down, we realized that the air conditioning did not reach out there. All the time we were there, we felt quite warm as the temperature was not at a comfortable setting.
Novotel doesn't really warrant a second visit.