Monday, July 8, 2013

Cream Centre

Had recently heard of Cream Center. Most of the time, it is word-of-mouth that promotes a restaurant and I was fortunate to have this recommended by the foodies group. There aren't many reviews of this on the popular food review sites.This is only six months old in Hyderabad but a well-established chain headquartered in Mumbai (1958) .

On the plus, is a very well-thought out menu. The pluses of the menu:

1. It is a pure vegetarian restaurant and such restaurants find a lot of patronage in Hyderabad/India
2. By covering varied cuisines like the Indian, Mexican, Italian, they ensure there is something for everyone. Catering to every conceivable clientele is a well-thought plan
3. Limited items in each section.We see menu cards running into pages. This takes too much time to go through and sometimes, not surprisingly, the items within a section end up tasting the same. But with their offer limited to just 2-6 varieties in each section,  the restaurant concentrates on the individual taste and gives its best
4. The menu is well illustrated with pictures AND the best thing is that the food you order looks exactly like what it does in the pictures

Two of us visited the place for a weekday lunch. At 12.45 pm, we were the first to arrive and few tables were occupied even an hour later.
We ordered one of the two soups on menu. The Spring Vegetable Soup, a nice soy-sauce based one, was a bit salty. The waiter graciously offered to replace but the hunger pangs had done their bit by then. We ordered the American Corn Cheese balls, six to a plate, about lemon-sized, for starters. They were simply yumm! Crispy on the outside but could be delicately bitten into an extremely soft creamy inside. The cream may not burst into your mouth but is just enough to make it delectable. We ordered a sizzler each...the Italian and the Indian Tikki . After ordering it, I noticed that the Italian one was the recommended one on the menu. Well, for me a sizzler is a nice mix of plenty of baked/blanched vegetables with about a third of spaghetti/ noodles/ rice/ macaroni with a cutlet kind of accompaniment.
I feel that the carb content should be just one third of the main meal. Therefore, the skewed ratio of veggies to the rice/noodle content was a let-down. To compare to an Indian meal, can you down only rice without any accompaniment? This ratio must change. And because of not having anything to go with my macaroni/spaghetti, I had to leave my dish half-finished. The other sizzler, of which I tasted some, was also left unfinished. The Indian kaju gravy, with rice and some veggies, again did  not have a good ratio of rice: veggies. Overall, the sizzlers were good but not excellent.
Last, we opted for their Malai Kulfi for dessert. A round thin kulfi was sliced into 6 triangular pieces and we had three pieces each. This was quite tasty.
Seeing the menu and also seeing that the cost for two was Rs. 500 ( as per a popular food review site), my expectation from the restaurant was that it would be a dhaba-like ambieince. But what we got was amazing. Quite a decent ambience. Only wish they had a dry washroom. Wet-floored washrooms are such a put-off!
And yes, don't believe the cost of 500/- for two. Our order of 1 soup + 1 starter + 2 sizzlers + 1 dessert came to 1333/- with taxes.
This restaurant is only six months old in Hyderabad. It will pass its true test when it sustains the quality. A few restaurants actually do.
My rating:
Food: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3.5/5

An update:
Visited again yesterday, 20th October, 2013. Tried the big nachos this time. The nachos were really huge, about 4" long slices accompanied with veggies and beans. Was good but could have been better if the nachos were served separately. Large parts of it got soggy and therefore no longer crisp. The Corn Cheese balls remained as yummy as before. We tried their penne pasta which was very creamy as it had tons of cheese and was great. The paneer ka baap, which we had for a starter, proved to be the baap of all starters, very soft, well marinated six slices of paneer, each done with different spices.
This experience proved again that this restaurant will not disappoint anyone