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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, when it finally a

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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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Ohri’s Jiva – Good Service, Ordinary Food

Ohri’s Jiva – Good service, ordinary food
Dinner last night was at Ohri’s Jiva. We were shopping in the city, and were looking for a place we hadn’t been to before, and this was the closest.
After our car was taken away by the valet, we stepped in to find ourselves part of a huge crowd of waiting people. More than fifty people were sitting or standing around, and we were ready to turn around and leave. That was when I noticed a poster advertising a Rs. 199 buffet, and a guy standing at a counter with a huge booking register. I made my way to him and asked him how long it would take us to get in. When he said at least half an hour, we were a bit put off. However, in our hurry, we hadn’t noticed the huge self-service section buzzing with activity. Figuring out we would be better off serving ourselves instead of waiting for the buffet, we got a table and set about ordering.
Vidya asked for a puri-subzi and a plate of button idlis. I couldn’t decide what I wanted, and ordered a plate of chilli vegetable sticks, figuring I could munch on it while I decided what to get. We got the button idlis right away, and while waiting for the other food, ordered a half and half pizza. The idlis were alright – nothing to write home about, but nothing to find fault either. And then came the shock – when I walked up to collect the puris and the vegetable sticks, I found the portions were really huge. The puri-subzi had five puris, a large portion of subzi, pickles and a gulab jamun. The vegetable chilli sticks turned out to be six huge, frankfurter-sized dough and vegetable sticks skewered on long cocktail sticks. This was definitely more substantial than we had anticipated, and we decided to get the pizza to take away.
The food was pretty ordinary, but not bad by any standards. What was more striking about the experience was the speed and efficiency of service, and how the staff was able to manage the crowd. There were about a hundred seats, and most of them were full all the time. There was a constant turnover, and there was also a takeaway counter. All this was being managed without any hiccups by smart and efficient manning of the cash and delivery counters. Defeinitely a place I would recommend for a quick bite if you don’t care too much about the taste.
Ohri’s Jiva was a good dining experience, in spite of the ordinary food.
Address: 5-9-30/16-20, Vista Grand Towers, Raj Bhavan Road, Somajiguda, Hyderabad
Phone: 9866778005, 9866778047

Dinner last night was at Ohri’s Jiva. We were shopping in the city, and were looking for a place we hadn’t been to before, and this was the closest.

After our car was taken away by the valet, we stepped in to find ourselves part of a huge crowd of waiting people. More than fifty people were sitting or standing around, and we were ready to turn around and leave. That was when I noticed a poster advertising a Rs. 199 buffet, and a guy standing at a counter with a huge booking register. I made my way to him and asked him how long it would take us to get in. When he said at least half an hour, we were a bit put off. However, in our hurry, we hadn’t noticed the huge self-service section buzzing with activity. Figuring out we would be better off serving ourselves instead of waiting for the buffet, we got a table and set about ordering.

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F9 Diner, Kondapur – Value-for-Money buffet

Caught the lunch buffet at the F9 Diner at Kondapur yesterday.
We got there a little after two, and the place was not too crowded – just a couple of families and groups of friends. The restaurant was large, light and airy, and the buffet, while not extensive, was definitely adequate. We started off with a welcome drink – a glass of the ubiquitous (for Fusion9) Blue Angel. The salad counter was the star of the buffet – it alone had more dishes than the rest of the buffet! Apart from the wide variety of salads, the buffet included soup and rotis, Indian, Continental, and Chinese dishes. The non-vegetarian part was interesting – one chicken, mutton and fish dish each, and a chicken biryani. There was also a live crepe counter. This was rounded off with a selection of bakery desserts and an Indian sweet.
While the food was not outstanding, it was definitely tasty and fresh. The staff was attentive and courteous. We had a long and relaxing lunch, and left feeling satiated.
The Rs. 199 price claim is rather misleading – after taxes and charges, it comes up to Rs. 235 a head. It is still great value for money.
I’ve heard that the place gets really crowded on weekdays – long serpentine queues and frayed tempers have been reported. Nevertheless, this was one of the best weekend lunches I’ve had in a long time, and I definitely recommend it.
Official Website
Address: Rooftop, 4th Floor, Above KUN United Hyundai, Kondapur, Hyderabad
Phone: 9948878661

Caught the lunch buffet at the F9 Diner at Kondapur yesterday.

We got there a little after two, and the place was not too crowded – just a couple of families and groups of friends. The restaurant was large, light and airy, and the buffet, while not extensive, was definitely adequate.

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Keeping it Cool on the Street!

[A good, strong Hyderabadi stomach is recommended before trying any of the street-side coolers mentioned here]

Hyderabadi summers have to be experienced to be believed. Stepping out is like stepping into a sauna. If you stand out for more than a few minutes at a time, your skin is liable to slowly peel off, and you will quickly melt into a pool of unspeakability, which will evaporate before anyone can say ‘unspeakability’. I kid you not.

However, brave soul that I am, I ventured out into this terrible heat on more than a few occasions, and have lived to tell the tale. The secret to survival in this heat is to keep yourself hydrated at all times. And to help you do that, there are numerous roadside vendors peddling you many types of coolers. Here are a few of my encounters with these purveyors of the finest coolants money can buy on the streets of Hyderabad.

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