Monday, October 21, 2013

Rotis: a vegetarian fare

When you hear good reviews of a vegetarian restaurant, you feel optimistic. That's because the review is based purely on vegetarian options. After hearing good reviews of this place, we decided to drop in on their buffet one weekend. Rotis is a few meters from Cyber Towers and is opposite Cyber Pearl at Hi-Tech city.
We happened to meet the manager, Balaji, whom I knew from interaction in his previous work place. From the minute we stepped in till the end of the meal, we were looked after so exceedingly well that it was sheer delight to eat there that day.
The meal started with options of two soups: the Talumein soup and the pumpkin soup. Talumein was ordinary but the Pumpkin soup was very good. Not sweet, rightly spiced and served hot.
We had four entrees: the veg Manchurian, the banana pakoda, the buttered potato and sheek kabab. The veg Manchurian is like what we get regularly in any restaurant but minus the oil. The banana pakoda was raw banana slices deep fried after being dipped in besan batter. But what was really good was the buttered potato. Looked simple but was well cooked fried potato pieces, mildly spiced. The sheek kabab consisted of  vegetables boiled, rolled in khukhus and grilled. Chat section had papdi chat and pani puris, both of which were very well prepared.
The other items in the buffet were:

  • Salads: pasta salad (very tasty), the sprouts and the usual green salad
  • Chinese : chilly garlic noodles, diced vegetables in hot garlic sauce
  • Continental : Penne pasta
  • Indian : Veg Biryan, Paneer lazzeez, Dal makhani, Soya bean masala, Methi goti, Chamagadda Pulusu, Cabbage porial. 
        Of these the Paneer Lazeez stood out with its mildly spiced creamy gravy with very soft and long   paneer pieces in it. The biryani was tasty too. It contained no vegetables in it though.   
  • Desserts : Coco Banana (looked like a thin kheer with bananas in coconut milk... didn't taste it), brownies (didn't like...too dry) carrot halwa, lavang latha, two types of ice cream

The highlight of the entire meal was their starters. Awesome is the word for it. They kept coming and were so varied and all so delightfully tasty.The food was not oily and was mildly spiced. Being a salad-soup-starters person, I was pleased with the starters but slightly disappointed with the few salads on offer. 
The 5 desserts are ok by me especially because each one was so different from the other. And because of the Navarathri, they had more of the traditional Indian sweets. I am glad because I am tired of having the same old array of cakes, cheese cakes, souffles', mousse etc whenever I eat at a buffet. The gajar halwa was delectable. For the first time found lavang latha in a buffet. Brought back memories of these being cooked at home. These were superbly crisp and very well prepared too.
What stands out is the service. Not only were the waiters' service great but Balaji took care of the littlest detail! The buffet for a Saturday was 315 per head and the total with taxes came to Rs.795 for two.
My rating: 
Food: 3.5/5
Ambiance 4/5
Service 5/5
VFM 4.5/5
This buffet may not be the most outstanding buffets you have attended but will surely stand among your favorite ones once you dine here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Street Food: Somajiguda

Friendships from school last forever. When my school friend came down to Hyderabad, I went to meet her at Somajiguda where she had put up.
We caught up with all those memories, our town, teachers, picnics, games and what not. In the evening, we wanted to go out to get some hot samosas and have it with hot chai. This craving grew with the darkening skies. But then copious rain had us imprisoned at home.We waited and waited. The more we waited, the stronger was the craving.We were told that some superb samosas were available at a small shop opposite BP petrol pump. As soon as we saw the rain slow down a bit, we ran out like liberated school kids. The streets were jam-packed with people returning from office. Looked like everyone was waiting for the rain to stop. The slight drizzle didn't deter us as we plodded on through the heavy traffic towards that hot samosa.
We had walked about 150 meters or so when the local people and the police stopped us from going further. They said a building was on fire because of a short circuit. We hurriedly stepped back, disappointed. But sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right destination, I guess :) As we were returning and just crossed a building called Fortune, which I learned housed the ADP, we saw a vendor with a 3x3 ft table selling momos. This small table had a banner reading Kathmandu Momos. He had both veg and chicken momos. When I ordered for a plate of veg momos, I was served them hot, despite the downpour earlier. The momos were simply superb. The skin was thin, the vegetables finely shredded, well cooked and slightly juicy as well. According to me, the perfect momos...served with an accompanying red chutney which I felt could be spicier but then it wasn't bland either. When I praised his momos, he replied, "try the chicken momos, they are tastier". Om Prakash, the owner, has been running this small stall for the last two and a half years. He serves 6 momos to a plate at Rs 40 a plate for chicken and Rs 30 a plate for the veg ones. The momos are small in size. He sets up the stall between 4 and 10 pm everyday. Got his mobile number to share with all interested. He can be reached on 08341149588. The landmark is the Yashoda hospital. This stall is diagonally opposite to it. By far, the best momos in town.

Veg Momos
After having these superbly succulent momos, we persisted in our pursuit of samosas. We finally found one Irani kind of a cafe opposite Mom & Me, beside Maa Hospital. We were told that there would be a fifteen minute wait. As we turned, we saw a golgappawala just outside the cafe! We ordered for three plates between the two of us and found to our surprise that they were super crisp and made with potato filling. Reminded me of my Orissa-wala golgappa: the taste and not the size though.We were so so happy at the second discovery of the day.
Once done we turned our attention back to the samosas getting made.We watched in fascination as the samosa dough was rolled into long oval shapes, piled and cut into half, Each of these halves picked up, stuffed with the potato mixture and tossed into the waiting hot oil. As we waited impatiently for the samosas to get fried, we found behind us a paan wala. 'Why not?" we thought and ordered two Meenakshi paans as well. While waiting for the paans to get made, I found the cigarette lighter dangling before my face. I tried to brush it away but found it refused to go."Cigarettes?" I asked my friend with a mischievous glint in the eye. The old man preparing the paans broke into a smile as he heard us.
We paid for the samosas after they got done. My friend was used to paying 3-5 rupees for samosas and when she heard these were priced at 8 Rs, she was amazed. I was equally amazed to see their size. Each one was the size of two samosas put together. Huge!
We carried back those piping hot samosas, had it with home-prepared khatta chutney, followed by garam chai. Eating one filled me up.The taste wasn't exactly great but then just the joy of eating a hot samosa is indescribable! Topped this experience with the well-made Paan.
For those 5 hours we spent together, we were a couple of giggling college girls having our day out.