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Via Milano – Italian Comfort Food

After a rather tiring day of household stuff and shopping, we wanted a relaxed dinner, and stepped into Via Milano in Jubilee Hills. I was thankful for the valet parking, and after a wee bit of trouble finding out how to get to the restaurant (it’s on the third floor, without any indication on the ground of how to get to it), we walked into a delightfully air-conditioned space. We were greeted warmly, seated comfortably and given warm towels to get into the dinner mood.

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A Hyderabadi Morning

A long-time plan to visit Barkas was realized today. Khadeer was my guide for the day, and his brother Nazir accompanied us.

We met up early in the morning and drove to Barkas. First, some background. Barkas is part of the history of Hyderabad. The Arab soldiers who were part of the Nizam’s army lived in barracks, and their descendents continue to do so – except that the area where they live has come to be known as Barkas – a corruption of the word ‘barracks.’ Today, Barkas is an integral part of Hyderabad. Yet, it retains a stamp of Arabic influence that is distinct.

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Corn on the Cob!

Corn on the Cob
Corn on the Cob

We had corn on the cob today, even though it was not raining! For some strange reason, corn on the cob and rains seem to belong together.

When we were growing up, homemade corn was always boiled, either in a pressure cooker or in a closed vessel, and seasoned with salt. This was seasonal, and was available only once or twice a year. When it was the corn season, it was always quite a family affair – cleaning the corn and preparing it to be boiled, waiting around the dining table for it to be done, getting it out and cutting it up into manageable pieces before finally polishing it off. read more

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A Cup of Coffee!

Last week, Vidya and I discovered a coffee shop in Secunderabad. What’s so great about that, you might ask. Prepare for a longish tale. Get a cup of coffee if you want!

We both love a cup of filter coffee to start off the day. When we first set up house in Chennai, we went through a phase of experimentation with different types of coffee until we settled on our own blend – Peaberry and Plantation A, half and half, without any chicory. This is a pure coffee, as opposed to traditional filter coffee, which has a significant amount of chicory added to it. Chicory gives a bitter edge to the taste, which we don’t like. Our blend has a full-bodied taste and a heady aroma, though it is quite lacking in colour. read more

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45 Jubilee Hills – Good food, slow service

We went to 45 Jubilee Hills for dinner a couple of weeks ago. Let me rephrase that – my entire team from work – about 30 people – went for dinner to 45 Jubilee hills about a couple of weeks ago. The experience was quite enjoyable, but only because the presence of so many of us together helped us while away the time playing Chinese Whispers while waiting for the food, while waiting for the water, while waiting for the dessert, while waiting for the bill… you get the idea!

We arrived at the restaurant around 8 pm, having informed them a day in advance of our plans, and were seated in a private area – al fresco, on a half-finished balcony separated from the rest of the restaurant (and air conditioning) by a glass door. The fit was a bit tight, but was not uncomfortable, and we all placed our orders – they’d told us there was no buffet for dinner. And then the games started while we waited for the food. Quite a few had ended by the time we got our first orders.

The food, wh

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Lunch Buffet at IndiJoe – Crowded and Disappointing

Today’s lunch was a buffet at IndiJoe. We have been fans of Indijoe’s ever since Suresh introduced us to the fondue there a couple of years ago. We found ourselves outside IndiJoe at lunchtime and spying the buffet, went for it.

The food at IndiJoe has always been pretty good. Today’s lunch was a lesson in how a restaurant’s buffet food does not always stand up to the standard of its a la carte offerings. The buffet was adequate, though a bit on the leaner side for vegetarians. But the menu was rather unimaginative, and the food itself merely passable – not what we have come to expect from IndiJoe.

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Ice ‘n’ Jelly – Good Ice Cream

After dining at Trance Lounge last night, we decided to try out a new place for dessert, and ended up going to Ice ‘n’ Jelly. This place is right opposite Pedamma temple, on Jubilee Hills Road No: 21. Don’t worry, if you can’t find it, the man in the teddy bear costume standing on the road will wave you in towards the place.

The place was not crowded – there was just one other patron as we entered, and two more sauntered in while we were there. The seating was on a lawn (complete with fountain) next to a building that looked like one of the pavilions you see in period movies set in 18th century England. read more

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Trance Lounge – Indian Food Rocks

We had dinner at Trance Lounge in Jubilee Hills last night. When we read the Description of the place as the former residence of the Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi, our curiosity was piqued and we just had to go.

The place is easily located – coming from Hitec City, turn right at Jubilee Hills checkpost and take the second u-turn. Drive on for about fifty metres and you’ll see a brightly-lit sign indicating the left turn you have to take for the restaurant.

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Haleem at 4 Seasons

My second haleem experience of the season, and not a typical one at that! I was in GVK One to pick up Vidya after she had finished watching Kaminey. After we met up, we decided to get dinner, and since neither of us had been to the food court, we decided to check it out. The food court is called Polynation and has a weird payment system where you buy a prepaid magnetic card, load it with cash and use it to pay for food at the different outlets. The food court itself is pretty extensive, with a lot of choices for food – from Chinese, Pizza, Pasta, Hyderabadi, North and South Indian – all were available.
I was rather thrilled to see that there was a 4 Seasons counter, and even more thrilled to see that they had haleem on their bill of fare. About a couple of weeks ago, I had a wonderful lunch at the 4 Seasons in Hitec City, and their food was really delicious, and I jumped at the chance to taste their haleem.
The serving was medium sized, and would not have sufficed had I been as hungry as I usually am at dinner. A rather heavy lunch had left me not very hungry, and a single haleem seemed to be the ideal dinner. At first glance, I could see that it was a lot less greasy than the previous haleem I’d had. It was topped with cashew nuts and mint leaves along with the obligatory fried onions.
The haleem itself was easy to eat – it seemed to have been ground rather than pounded, giving it an even consistency that took away a bit from the experience. The meat was well ground, and there were no bones. What came as a pleasant surprise was the subtle and well-balanced spicing – something almost impossible for a Hyderabadi ustad, one would have thought. Again, the grinding rather than pounding had ensured the spices were mixed in well, and the taste was definitely a notch higher than Sarvi’s.
Because of the delicate and subtle flavouring, the haleem also lent itself nicely to an on-the-table taste modification. The bowl of haleem had been accompanied by two thin slices of lemon. I experimented with a drop of the juice on a spoonful, and liked the way it modified the taste. So, once I was halfway through the bowl, I squeezed in the slices and mixed it well, and had a different tasting serving of the same haleem! The lemon juice went very well with it, and the effect was most excellent!
Overall, while in taste and ease of eating, this haleem beat Sarvi’s hands down, the texture wasn’t quite haleem-like – that can be achieved only by pounding and not grinding. This was the lone negative in an otherwise quite outstanding bowl of haleem. Of course, some might quibble that at Rs. 95 for a smallish bowl, this was a steeply priced haleem, but I think it’s really worth it – the bonelessness alone was worth the extra thirty bucks!
What do you think about 4 Seasons haleem? Where have you eaten your best haleem this season? Leave a comment or write to me!

My second haleem experience of the season, and not a typical one at that! I was in GVK One to pick up Vidya after she had finished watching Kaminey. After we met up, we decided to get dinner, and since neither of us had been to the food court, we decided to check it out. The food court is called Polynation and has a weird payment system where you buy a prepaid debit card, load it with cash and use it to pay for food at the different outlets. The food court itself is pretty extensive, with a lot of choices for food – Chinese, Pizza, Pasta, Hyderabadi, North and South Indian – all were available.

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Haleem Ho Jaye!

It ‘s once again that time of year when the streets of Hyderabad overflow with numerous haleem joints, and every Hyderabadi worth her or his salt is out there every day in search of the  perfect bowl. Dhruv jumped on the bandwagon yesterday and I opened my account last night. Dhruv and I were chatting about trying out more places near Hitec City, where we both work, and decided to start right away. We managed to drag Nikhil along, just like the last time we went to Hitec Bawarchi.

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