Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kashmir Heights

Many rave reviews in the foodies group made me wonder if this restaurant really was that good. I am skeptical because very rarely do restaurants known more for their non vegetarian cuisine have anything to offer to the vegetarian palate. I posed a question to the owner who also is part of the group and was assured that the vegetarians definitely would also enjoy the fare there.
There were a round of negative reviews of the restaurant which the owner attributed to absence of the cook but a month or so later, the group was assured that the restaurant had a cook brought from Kashmir to offer authentic food.
This place is not too far from my home and was definitely on my radar for long. I wanted to experience a real Kashmir food. What I know of Kashmir cuisine is from what is offered in some restaurants and also from my first hand experience of eating in Kashmir and from my Kashmir friends. Based on this experience, what I was looking forward to was food prepared with lot of dry fruits and in ghee with maybe a slightly sweet touch to the dish.
I called before going as it was a bandh in Hyderabd and I wanted to ensure that regular food was available.When assured, we proceeded to the restaurant. We people didn't have a proper lunch and were really looking forth to a delightful gastronomic experience. As soon as I seated myself, I asked for Dum Aloo to be prepared, just in case it takes time to prepare.
Then when I went through the menu, I discovered that the veg section in the menu was just about a page or so.This was expected as Kashmir is known more for its non veg preparations than veg ones. There was only one veg starter kind of thing and I ordered it : the Veg Kanti (Rs.160). The veg kanti was not like the usual dry preparation but came with thinly sliced fried onions. The quality of the paneer used was good and mildly spiced. There was a dip that was supposed to accompany this but none transpired.

Kanti Paneer@ Kashmir Heights

My eyes and heart were set on the Kahsmir Pulao in the menu and ordered it. I was waiting in eager anticipation imagining an aromatic delight laden with fruits, dry fruits, loads of vegetables, all fried in ghee. I was imagining this in my mind:

Kashmiri Pulao

And what I got was this:
Kashmiri pulao presented at Kashmir Heights
A huge bowl, filled with yellow and red colored rice with no obvious spices, vegetables, fruits or dry fruits was presented. There were one or two almonds in the entire dish and looked so lackluster. We were served some and when we dug into it, we found that it had absolutely no flavor whatsoever. When I told the waiters that we expected a sweet pulao, his reply was that the pulao isn't sweet. It is supposed to be like that only! One of the waiters told me that a mirchi ka salan was supposed to accompany this pulao but again nothing came. I didn't bother asking as I abandoned the pulao and opted for a nan+ curry instead.
I called the waiter for a curry recommendation but all that he did was list out the few vegetarian curries on the menu. No help there!  So ordered a navaratan curry and a nan.
The Navaratan curry (Rs. Rs.170) was again a disappointment. Prevalence of a stinky cauliflower and an overpoweringly sour taste describes the dish.  I have eaten navratan curry that borders on sweetish taste but never a sour one. The description in the menu was that it was supposed to be loaded with premium vegetables, raisins and dry fruits. I found nothing except some pieces of vegetables in it...almost like the Mixed Vegetable curry offered in Hyderabad cuisine. After having ensured that our tummy had the minimum food required to take care of its hunger, we prepared to leave.

Navaratan curry @ Kashmir Heights

The pulao was left nearly untouched and I questioned the waiter about its quality again during bill time. He called the owner to discuss this with.
The owner had this to say:
 I didnt know it was you who had walked in. Had I known I would have ensured you get the real Kashmir pulao and not this. People here don't like sweet preparation and hence we are forced to offer this. 
THIS? You mean plain yellow and red colored rice bereft of flavors? He also told me that had you eaten non vegetarian food, you would have had no complaints.
Coincidentally, I had interacted with another lady who had tasted their famous Wazwaan platter (a non vegetarian preparation) on the same day that I was  there and said this:
The so called wazwaan platter was so bad.. Tasted half cooked and half stale.. Not freshly made..
 I was craving for soup so had called for chicken hot n sour.. There was not even one chicken piece in that.. It was just mushroom and they were confident enough that they served us non veg soup.
So there goes his claim to serving a good non veg fare. At least he was decent enough to waive off the amount for the colored rice.
I know that many restaurants have their bad days and good days but what I couldn't take was the nonchalant waiters and the indifferent food. Every restaurateur needs to have only one motto to succeed: serve good food.

On the plus, the Dum Aoo (Rs. 100) we ordered was quite decent in taste. It contained two whole boiled and fried potatoes served in a mildly flavored and smooth, non-spicy gravy. Was it because we ordered for it as soon as we came in?

Dum Aloo@ Kashmir Heights
I was so looking forward to finshing my meal with their tea or the desserts but I knew nothing could take the bitter taste from my mind or tongue.
The ambience is ok, not bad. What really is nice is the seating by the window which offers you privacy and a view. Also, though there is lot of oil as found in other restaurants, I didnt find the use of dalda in their food
This restaurant on SP Road, situated on way to Begumpet, had very little parking space. Three cars and they are full.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the my list of places i wanted to try

Beautiful World said...

Thanks for your comment. Glad if it helps someone know what they might get into.