Solitaire is a new restaurant in an other-wise restaurantless landscape. It is the closest non-Novotel restaurant to HITEX, and is on the road connecting HITEX with Hitech City. At first glance, the place is not much – it’s a large red and white striped shed on the side of the road with a none-too-conspicuous name board. But once you enter, it is pretty decently decorated, with a friendly waitstaff.
I wasn’t too hungry, and I was alone – two unfamiliar things for me when I go to a restaurant – and I wanted something familiar tasting. A quick scan of the menu revealed a familiar North-Indian-Chinese combination menu. It has been a while since I had real Indian Chinese, and this seemed to be as good a place as any to try it out. I asked for Chicken Soft Noodles and Fish in Hot Garlic Sauce. The noodles was a safe bet – it is extremely difficult for any self-respecting Indian Chinese cook to get it wrong. The compulsive adventurer in me ordered the fish – I am extremely wary of ordering fish anywhere in Hyderbad, as I am not a great fan of the invarable earth-taste of the freshwater fish that is the staple of fish dishes here. Which made the order of fish as much a test for the restaurant as it was a ‘risk’ for me.
The waiter was a young, fresh-faced youth who was quite attentive – my glass was always full of cool water, and I was quaffing it rather in buckets, as the sun was merrily beating down outside. The restaurant was empty, and I was the only patron. But like many restaurants in Hitech city, Solitaire seemed to to be doing a less-than-sedentary takeaway business. I had to wait for about fifteen minutes, but the food, when it arrived, was worth it.
The noodles was soft, well-cooked and Indian-spiced – the perfect Indian Chinese noodles. Where it really scored over the regular Indian Chinese food was in its non-oiliness. Indian Chinese, for all its taste, is palpably oily, and usually takes a bottle of Sprite or Seven Up to wash it down. This however, was different. The noodles settled well, without calling for an order of aeration!
The fish too was well made, and was surprisingly bereft of the earth-taste that I have come to grudgingly accept. The gravy was a nicely balanced between garlic and the other spices. It was a fitting accompaniment to the noodles. Unfortunately, because I was alone and not too keen on either wasting any food or taking it with me, I had to finish the whole lot by myself – the portions were not too huge, but were nevertheless big. This meant I couldn’t try out anything else, and had to leave further exploration of the menu for another day.
Overall, I had a pleasant lunch experience, and would not mind going back.
Solitaire Multi-cuisine Family Restaurant, Plot No. 108, Shilpa-HI, Hitex-Novotel Road, Madhapur, Cyberabad, Hyderabad. Tel: 23111649 Mobile: 9885873769