Monday, December 13, 2004

Hyderabad - Pickles

Baseraa
SD Road

Pickles is a 24 hour coffee shop located within Hotel Baseraa on Sarojini Devi Road in Secunderabad. This is also part of the Ohris group.

The best part about Pickles are its buffets. Ranging between 150-250, they are true value for money. The weekday lunch buffet is amazing as is the midnight biryani buffet.

Pickles gets its name from the following custom:
While you are having your meal the waiter will come around with a pickle trolley which has around 15-20 different varieties of pickles ranging from the spicy to the sweet. Punjabi, andhra, north eastern.. you can try as many as you want and as much as you want.

Their a la carte menu too is good. With the sandwiches and Indian shepherds pie being highly recommended.

Also, if you like a nice chilled beer with your lunch, you can get it here. Pickles has a licence to serve alcohol.

Hyderbadi Cuisine - A Gourmet's Paradise

The City of minars, domes, modern buildings, and pearls is also known for its tasty cuisine with its ancient tradition. Though the glittering days of courts and courtiers of Hyderabad are over the twincities are still famous for its Nawabi cuisine.

Hyderabadi cuisine is a distinct dialogue in food based on the traditional method of combining sour and the sweet, the hot and the salty. One of the India's finest foods, the biryani is closely associated with Hyderabadi cooking. The kitchens of the Nizams served the rulers well and combined the Muslim influence of the Mughal court with the predominantly Hindu subculture, to cook up a cuisine that is the ultimate in the fine dining. So much so that even brinjal take the form of baghare.

Many restaurant and cafes offer these succulent dishes at the taster's choice. Tasting the Hyderabadi cuisine is an exquisite experience and its a gastronomic adventure that is distinct and selective. It is not wise to close on without mentioning the common man's all time drink - 'Hyderabadi Chai alias Irani Tea'.

The must try of all in Hyderabadi cuisine is the Ghosth Dum Biryani or the Kucte Ghosth ki Biryani - well done Basmati rice cooked with succelent pieces of meat laced with saffron and pure ghee, fresh out of the clay handi and Haleem. The Biryani is aromatic flavoured with saffron. It is presented with great flair in the clay pot itself to the eaters.

The Shikampuri Kebab ( Lamb minced Kebabs stuffed with yoghurt and onion) or the Chind tikka ( two sheek kebabs) served with a boti in between). For vegetarians - the Hera Kebab (spinach mixed with red gram and laced lightly with spices and cream). The succulent also, the Kebabs of potatoes with lot of vegetables and dry fruits.

For those who love fish is the mahi Dum Anari - fish filled rolled in pomegranate and cooked in pomegranate sauce and cooked on steam

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Dublin - Hyderabad

Dublin - Welcompub
ITC Kakatiya Sheraton & Towers
6-3-1187
Begumpet
Hyderabad - 16
040 2340 0132 *2502

ITC trumpets their pub as : The Original Irish Pub, which offers an exciting array of drinks & cocktails.

Located in the basement, the décor is reminiscent of the Irish pubs in the US, but since Ive never been to Ireland, I cannot comment on the genuine authenticity of the décor. There's a pool table near one entrance where you can while away some time, if you so wish.

The crowd here is very mixed. You have some expat crowd, couple of sons of rich businessmen, some junta that troops in after or in the middle of attending functions in other parts of the Kakatiya. I guess the only uniting factor of this crowd would be that they are **Moneyed**

Which brings me to an important question - "Just what the Heck was 'I' doing there ?" Waiting for a friend who was on a Company Business Account, is a good reason and I thank the company in question for sponsoring our evening.

We ordered a Margarita Pitcher for 700 bucks. Decent amount of alcohol in the pitcher, though the glasses were oversalted. It’s a small Pitcher, so just about filled 4 margarita glasses. Don’t go expecting beer pitcher quantities. BOB is 150. MOB is 125. Pitcher is 425. + Taxes of course... They served Potato chips with tomato sauce dip and roasted peanuts complimentary on every table and you can keep ordering refills of this. Harder stuff is about 250 per 30 ml unless you are considering the higher premium brands. Mocktails / Cocktails are in the 250+ / 275+ range. We have no idea what the snacks cost. You will see why as you read further.

Music is fairly good for most part of the time. They usually have a live band with North Eastern women doing the normal song and dance routine and they are fairly good at it. But the kind of music played keeps varying based on who's requesting what and whether it’s the live band or a DJ.

The service absolutely sucks. Unless you have a fair skinned foreigner, who speaks accented English sitting at your table. When the 3 of us intially reached there, it took 20 minutes before a waiter brought us the menu. Drinks took another 30 minutes to arrive, once the order was placed. The waiter then took, over 40 minutes to revert when we asked him for the snacks menu. By the time he reverted to us, he said the kitchen was closed ! ! ! When an Amercian friend walked in and came over to our table to say hi, the same waiter who had waited for the kitchen to close before even getting us the snacks menu, mysteriously conjured up an extra chair, before the new arrival even turned around and requested one. Barely were the words "Fosters" out of his mouth and a well iced bottle materialised in his hand. We then told our American friend to ask for a water pitcher and lo & behold, it was placed in the centre of our table with a flourish and a dose of TLC. (We had been pleading for a pitcher of water for the last 4 hours and the waiter insisted he did not have a pitcher in the pub, inspite of serving us the Margaritas out of a pitcher)

Don’t visit unless you are a fair skinned foreigner, a high roller who is well known by the waiters, or have been sucked into attending a formal function at the Kakatiya, where no alcohol is being served, and you absolutely have to have your evening fortification, no matter how long it takes !

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