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A lot of people would have eaten at Begum Bazaar but not much has been written about this food paradise in Hyderabad. If you love vegetarian food then you must definitely head to Begum Bazaar. Hyderabad has always been projected as a city which loves to eat meat. When the city is known world-over for it’s Biryani, you can’t really blame that notion. But a sizable portion of people flock to Begum Bazaar for it’s amazing vegetarian street food.

We have been there a couple of times, and must say we were floored by the outstanding food that you’ll get around Begum Bazaar. Here is a list of places to visit when in Begum Bazaar.

  1. Scoops Tiffin Center – Located right on the main road of Siddiamber Bazaar beside the Masjid is the famous Scoops Tiffin Center. The idlis are soft, fluffy and delicious. The names of Dosas will have you guessing with some of them being Namo Dosa, Tan-Tan dosa and lots more.Scoops Tiffin Center
  2. Prahalad Tiffin Point – As you walk into the lane beside Scoops Tiffin Center, there is no missing the huge crowd that’s gathered in front of Prahalad. The serve a huge variety of dosas, idlis and lots of other fried goodness.Prahalad Tiffins
  3. Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar – Located right opposite the Aziz Plaza is the Jodhpur Mithai Ghar. The size of the Raj Kachoris are astonishing and the Paneer Pakodas & Bread Pakodas are stunningly delicious. They make some decent sweets too. Do not miss out on the Raj Kachoris though, they are an absolute must-have.Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (2)
    Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (4)

    Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (3)

  4. Shyam Singh Chat Bhandar – This particular outlet serves some amazing chaats, dahiwada and puchkas. It is located right at the end of Begum Bazaar Chatri.Shyam Singh Chat Bhandar
  5. Kamalabai ka Kalakand – This is just a small bandi of sorts with absolutely zero branding. Yet when you ask about Kamalabai ka Kalakand in Begum Bazaar, everyone will know it. He changes the location of his stall every other night but can be mostly found near the Hanuman Temple. The homemade white Kalakands are one of the best you’ll ever have in the city. He also makes Ajmeri Kalakand, Rabdi, Gajar ka Halwa and Doodh Peda.Kamalabai ka Kalakand
    Kamalabai ka Kalakand (1)
  6. Ghevar at Begum Bazaar Chatri – The Begum Bazaar Chatri road is lined with sellers of Ghevar. The Ghevar is absolutely heavenly. Do pick up some from these sellers to have at home and make them at home.Ghevar Sellers At Begum Bazaar

Yes, Hyderabad is not always about it’s meaty goodness. Begum Bazaar shines through it all, gloriously with it’s vegetarian wonderfulness.

Meetha Poori

Mouth Freshners

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There has always been a soft side in my heart for sea food. Even though I love and indulge in red meats, yet sea food is one that I’m excited about. And to know that Taj Vivanta, Begumpet is having is a huge sea-food spread left me elated.

Sea Food Festival At Vivanta By Taj (2)

Sea Food Festival At Vivanta By Taj (1)

The sea-food festival is part of the regular buffet at Viva and to think of the humongous spread you get for the pricing is astonishing. I caught up with Chef Arun Reddy who’s taken over the reins of the Taj Vivanta, while he filled me on the idea and the planning that went into the buffet. While mostly people in South India people tend to turn vegetarians on Saturday, the idea was to put up the sea food festivals on Friday. In that way a lot more people end up enjoying the buffet on a Friday.

Fresh Sea Food

On the buffet among the sea food, it’s hard not to miss the grills. The Grills comes with a whole extended range of options among different types of sea food. So you have your ladyfish, mackerel, rohu, basa, anchovies and lots more in different choices of sauces.

Choice Of Sea Food On Grills

In fact the starters and salads itself set up the expectations for the buffet right at the start. I did like the Ceviche and Shrimp Cocktail among the starters and salads counter along with the flavorful seafood bisque by my side.

Prawns Cocktail

Sea Food Festival At Vivanta By Taj (4)

The Live Counters gave an option of choosing my fish steaks whether grilled, fried or steamed. I really liked that I could mix and match my choice of fish among the various sauces with some of them being Lemon, Dijon mustard and herbs, Cajun spice and sweet paprika, miso paste, Old bay seasoning, Kasundi and poppy, Rawa coated, Thai red paste marination, Indonesian sambal, Zaatar , Ambotik and Peri Peri. I personally liked the Miso marination the most. The choices among the sea food changes every week so that you end up with different combos and diverse dishes each time as part of the buffet.

Sea Food Festival At Vivanta By Taj (8)

Sea Food Festival At Vivanta By Taj (6)

Sea Food Festival At Vivanta By Taj (7)

Sea Food Festival At Vivanta By Taj (5)

Among the main course, the sea food plays a major role keeping in mind the theme. So while you have the Parsi Patrani Macchi and Meen Pollichathu of Kerala on one side, there is the simple Bengali Macher Jhol to be enjoyed with a plate of steamed rice. The kitchen is quite accommodating too and serve up dishes if you want to choose for different kinds of meat other than sea food.

Haleem

The night ended on a sweet note with my favorite Rose Ice-Cream at Taj Vivanta. They do have huge selection of desserts, I prefer to end my food here at Taj Vivanta with their in-house Rose ice-cream.

Priced at Rs. 1500/- AI, the Sea Food Festival at Taj Vivanta is a steam considering the diverse options you get to indulge in. The Sea Food Festival is set every Friday at Viva from 19:30 onwards

Address: Viva, Vivanta By Taj, Begumpet, Hyderabad
Phone: +91-406725 2500

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My first taste of Appams were at a nondescript Kerala hotel eons ago. I had associated Kerala food to all dishes being only a coconut-based until then and that’s where my ignorance lay. The Appams and Puttus opened up my world into Kerala cuisine and I’ve since fallen in love with it.

I remember waking up in a houseboat in Alleppy to steam hot appams served for breakfast along with fish curry made using the fresh catch off the backwaters. The same experience lingered along in the shores of Sri Lanka, relaxing in the beach and being served steaming hot Appams. It was a comfort dish, simplistic and yet enticing.

Appealing Appams At Spice Junxion (1)

Did I ever think of it getting a high-restaurant makeover? Not until I visited Spice Junxion at Taj Deccan for their Appam festival. Chef Rishi Manucha has applied all of his Chef’s creativity to dish out amazing combos of Appams with various other curries.

So we had the Chettinad flavored Beetroot Appams, where the juice of the beetroot had been infused to give a beautiful tinge of pink and best had with Kori Gassi or the Mangalorean Chicken curry. Not shying away to mix in combos which are essentially Chinese, the South Indian Appams get an Asian twist at Spice Junxion.

Appealing Appams At Spice Junxion (3)

So you have your Keerai Appam (flavored with spinach) with Asian Fried Prawns or the Five-Spice Oats Appam with Chili Paneer. Yeah I know you might just be thinking “Whaaatttt?” but it turned out to be delicious. Sometimes our mind just doesn’t register combos until we’ve actually had them and Chef Rishi has done an exquisite job at playing on those thoughts.

Appealing Appams At Spice Junxion (4)

But even after all of that mixes and changes that the appams got at Spice Junxion, I couldn’t help myself to sit down with a traditional Palappam with Meen Moilee. After all the Appam is comfort food and there is no better combination for me with the Appam other than with the fish curry. Memories play a huge factor when it comes to taste and that is exactly the one at Spice Junxion left me remembering.

Appealing Appams At Spice Junxion (5)

The Appam Festival is on Spice Junxion, Taj Deccan till the 26th of June, 2016.

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The reasons to miss the beautiful city of Paris are inexplicable. From the quaint coffee shops lining the streets to baguettes, artisanal coffee and fresh hot croissants. Now to add a bit of rustic to the finesse of the French with Italian and we get the perfect marriage of French meets Italian. An old world meets the new, freshness meets desserts and Rome meets Paris. It almost as if the Eiffel Tower found a place right next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, food-wise. That’s how monumentally huge I’d describe the “Rome Meets Paris” festival at Tuscany, Trident Hyderabad.

To rephrase my steps back before delving into the intricacies of the festival is to take a trip down memory lane. For us our visit to Paris was a rip filled with desserts. Sure there is no feeling in the world which can beat the simple bite of a chocolate bar while watching the sunset over the Eiffel, but the Italian countryside has it’s equal share of memories. For a country which has a varied cuisine demarcation from the Alps in the North to the Mediterranean in the South, it shows tremendously in all of the Italian flavors.

Rome Meets Paris At Tuscany

The city of Hyderabad doesn’t have any full fledged restaurants showcasing the simplicity and yet complex finesse of both the cuisines. This is where the “Rome Meets Paris” comes as breath of fresh air to the dining scene in the city. We had the chance to preview some of the dishes of the festival and all I can say is ‘Wow’

We began with the Salads or the insalate, an Italian would say if I had him/her at my table. The Panzanella, a Tuscan style salad made of stale breads, tomatoes, onions with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar and we had a beautiful, healthy dish to start off with. The Panzanella is a very summery dish with all the freshness that it packs setting the tone for the other dishes for the night to follow. The Salad Nicoise for me was a highlight. The tuna had been seared to near perfection with a delicious pink in the center with the nicoise olives, anchovies and vinaigrette providing the touch of sourness needed to balance out the salad.

Panzanella

The Chilled Vichyssoise along with the Salad Nicoise were the highlights of the night for me. The classic French Potato and Leek soup had been given a chilled twist. Instead of snuggling into bed with the potato and leek soup that we are so accustomed to, we had a restaurant makeover of it.

Nicoise Salad

One of the dishes that’s recognized all round the world as quintessentially French is the Coq au Vin. Literally translating to “rooster in wine”, it had renowned Chef Jamie Oliver stating it as his best dish ever. The Coq au vin traces it’s origin back to ancient Italy making it the perfect dish that marries the two cuisines together. The one at Trident was a beautiful chicken on bone, braised in red wine served with a side of herb rice.

Coq au Vin

 

Desserts is where Trident Hyderabad has always played to it’s strengths. The Paris Brest was exquisite with the praline cream in between the magnificently made choux pastry and topped off with exotic fruits. I really liked the bit of nougat in between as you cut through the layers to get the surprise element. The best part about the Paris Brest is that it leaves you with lingering memories of your dinner at Tuscany as a perfect end to the meal. The Cassata was delectable layered with candied nuts fruits and nuts and covered entirely in almond marzipan.

Paris Brest

The Rome Meets Paris is an elegantly crafted menu that isn’t just serving the dishes of the two cuisines but putting forward a love story of both on a plate. It’s almost with a je ne sais quoi (Yes, I did learn French for a couple of months) feeling that I walked out after the dinner at Tuscany that night.

The Food Festival is on from 20th June to 3rd July 2016 at Tuscany, Trident Hyderabad for dinner.

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Right from the hills of Assam to the city of Hyderabad, Marriott Hyderabad is hosting a beautiful Assamese Pop-Up in association with Chef Kashmiri Barkakati Nath. I like the fact that Marriott is now experimenting with cuisines and delving into the unknown cuisines. With the Himachali Cuisine getting a platform the last time around, the Assamese food now gets a restaurant style arrangement with the “Khuwar Amez Louk” festival.

Assamese Cuisine has been slowly gaining much needed attention with people wanting to experiment with their palates. The cuisine is strongly influenced by ingredients which are readily available in the area while religion too has played it’s role. Lot of the cooking too involves food preservation and fermentation in their cooking.

The Assamese Food Festival at Bidri, Marriott Hyderabad features some amazingly delicious dishes. Honestly I had quite a gala time relishing each and every one of them with so much creative inputs that went into cooking by Chef Kashmiri. It is simple, homely and yet packed lots of flavors and complexity. The starter plate included quite a lot of variety.

Traditional Assamese Cooler

The Luci, Aloo Bhaji and Bilahi Ambol is usually the food with which the Assamese welcome guests at a wedding. The potato subzi was cooked into mustard oil and topped with a sweet and tangy tomato chutney. The Bhaat Karela is a deep fried teasel gourd with the one served at the food festival, given a twist of stuffing it with mashed potatoes. The Maas Khorika is skewers of boneless fish, served with a side of fermented mustard dip. The bhoot jholokia (ghost chili) gets a simple makeover on the appetizer plate served as a dip with bamboo shoots and kukura khorika which is an Assamese style chicken skewers.

Appetizers (1)

Pitha is an essential part of Assamese cuisines. These are snacks made using rice and come in various shapes and varieties. Many a festive occasions are celebrated by enjoying pithas on those days. Served on the appetizer plate at the Assamese Food Festival was the Anguli Pitha which is a savory finger-shaped rice flours which have been steamed and then fried.

Now once settled among conversations over the round of appetizers, I couldn’t wait to try the main courses. Served in a thaali, the main course at the Assamese Food Festival is humungous. It’s almost like a mini-Assam on a plate. Mixed a little of the Masoor Dal which had been cooked in bamboo shoots with the Joha Rice and it was pure heaven. It’s like I could leave everything aside at that moment and just have the rice and dal alone. The thaali also included Til Kukura, a preparation of chicken in sesame paste, Maangso Rongalou which is lamb cooked in a beautiful gravy with pumpkin and lots more.

Main Course Thaali

There no denying the Assamese love for pitika which is generally a mash. Along with the Dal and rice I relished on the Aloo Pitika (Mashed Potatoes) and Bengena Pitika (Roasted Aubergines in mustard oil and chilis) and also the Xaak Bhaji made with the local greens found in Assam. The Kukura Aloo Kurma is a slow cooked chicken cooked in curd and is primarily a Muslim dish. The traditional Maas Tenga gets a Chef’s special twist of cooking it almost like a roulade. I’ve always loved the use of elephant apple in dishes. The elephant apple is a seldom used fruit which gives a tangy flavor and in my home was used to make a sour and sweet pickle. The Maas Tenga is cooked in a tomato and elephant apple gravy along with ridge gourd.

The pithas make a comeback in the dessert section too. Assam has a whole lot of varieties of Pithas and in the featured dessert is the Narikol Pitha having a coconut filling. The Komolar Kheer (Orange Kheer) and Kola Bora Sawal Paiyox (Black Sticky Rice Pudding) rounded off the rest of the dessert section.

Desserts

Assamese food is simple and delicate. Considering the simplicity and also the relative exquisiteness of the cuisine, the Assamese Pop-Up is a must visit at Bidri is must visit.

The Food Festival is on for dinners only from 23rd to 26th June 2016.

You can also learn about many of the dishes on Chef Kashmiri’s Blog – Foodology By Kash.

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India has primarily been a Whiskey drinking market or is considered to be but they still do keep a special place for the beers. There are amazingly lots and lots of Indian beers to be had as your travel the length and breadth of the country. During our travels we saw that that beers were taken as a drink that can be guzzled at one shot than actually sitting down and enjoying one during the hot summer days. Hence when I’ve asked for a beer in quite a few places, people have actually commented “Yeh light wala bandha hai. Beer se kuch nahin hota” (He’s a light-drinker. No high happens with drinking beer.) Beer culture has now evolved and is slowly giving us more options to enjoy a good brew.

Most of the Indian beers have been subjugated to being strong lagers. The good ones have been relegated to being metropolitan drinks while the most common ones found across India are all Strong. That doesn’t mean that all of them are bad. I’ve had actually had some great ones from among them.

The below beers mentioned have not been rated in any particular order and have each been tasted by us. Below is a list from our travel diaries of the Indian beers that one must definitely try.

  1. King’s Beer – Goa’s very own pilsner. If you’ve been to Goa even once, then you definitely know the worth of this beauty. The design of the bottle is unique and the taste is crisp. It has a malty zing and evaporates off your tongue soon as it hits it. Now that King’s is available in Mumbai and Bangalore too, but consuming one there just doesn’t have the same charm as drinking one in Goa.King's Beer
  2. Kingfisher Red – This variant of Kingfisher by United Breweries is even stronger than their usual Kingfisher Strong. Available right now mostly in North and East India, the beer pours a rich deep amber color. The taste was surprisingly clean and the alcohol hit quite fast too.Kingfisher Red
  3. Kingfisher Blue – If you’re one who loves spicy food, this beer will give you amazing company alongside. It has a hint of caramel and also grassy bitterness if you appreciate that kind of beers. But this is the perfect one for those lazy and hot days to chill with.Kingfisher Blue
  4. Royal Challenge – Chicken Tikkas and Royal Challenge. I remember many of my college days were spent having Royal Challenge while my other mates smuggled in Kingfisher. It pours a pale yellow and is quite watery too. It has a light body and gives off fair amount of carbonation with a fruity, malty taste.Royal Challenge
  5. Knockout – I still remember the first time I had Knockout. I was in my teens and scared that I might just be knocked out by the name itself. The Indian beer brands have never had a great history with naming their products. And Knockout too went down the same road. I’ve had quite a few times now and even shared one while sitting under a tree in complete darkness with a couple of local villagers with only crushed garlic as ‘chakna’ For the uninitiated to Indian drinking lingo, chakna is our version of alcohol accompaniments. This is mostly famous in the south of India.Knockout
  6. Haywards 5000 – There was a time when I had moved on to the imported beers. Then for research terms alone was the time when I ventured on to Haywards 5000. It has a huge carbo-head, white and bubbly. One of the better ones of the mass produced Indian beers. There is also the Haywards 10000 which is quite a rare find and is even stronger than the Haywards 5000.Haywards 5000
  7. Haywards Black– If you can get your hands on this one, then you should definitely grab hold and pick them. India’s first and ONLY stout beer, the Haywards Stout is hard to find. It’s a light stout and has a light smell of cocoa and coffee. A welcome change by SABMiller to be introducing this and also it’s categorizes itself as a strong one with an ABV of 7%.Haywards Black
  8. Hunter – This was the first beer in India which introduced the concept of strong beers. It’s the flagship brand of SOM Distilleries and Breweries Limited.Hunter
  9. Maharani Blue Lable – Notice the misspelling of ‘Lable’ instead of ‘Label’? Yes Maharani describes itself as the Queen of Strong Beers. I was absolutely hit after having two of them. I might not be a seasoned alcohol drinker, but it does deliver a hard alcoholic punch.Maharani Blue Lable & Kalyani Black Label
  10. Kalyani Black Label – The Kalyani beer is one of the bestselling beers in India made by United Breweries, the same guys who produce Kingfisher. It has a watery yellow look with a disappearing white head. It’s full, smooth and gets the job done without any of that dirty aroma.
  11. Maharani Red Lable – I guess all the products of M.P Beer Products Ltd love to display the wrong misspelling. But this was actually one of the best Indian beers that I’ve had. Have it absolutely chilled and the golden amber color is the best looking stuff that I’ve seen among Indian beer products. This is a must try if you can locate some of the Indian states selling these.Maharani Red Lable
  12. Dansberg – The Dansberg has acquired cult status in the north-east India. Brewed by Yuksom Breweries which is owned by our very own Bollywood baddie, Danny Denzongpa. It’s brewed using Sikkim’s spring waters and is actually pretty nice.Dansberg Beer
  13. Godfather – If Francis Ford Coppola put the thought of Marlon Brando as Godfather in the American heads, the Godfather beer does likewise in to our Indian bodies. Like most beers brewed in India, it’s a strong lager available in North, East and West of India.Godfather
  14. Indus Pride – I had picked these up from a liquor outlet in Bangalore just coz of the uniqueness of flavors. Aside from their regular lager, they have three other variants of Cardamom, Coriander and Cinnamon. Not many beers produced in India would pride themselves in selling such flavors.Indus Pride
  15. Palone – This is a pretty amazing beer to get your hands on. In fact the Palone brand was the very first beer that was launched by Carlsberg when they ventured into India. That itself speaks volumes about this beer though it’s hard to find it nowadays. It has a dark almost mahogany color with a nice big and fluffy head.Palone
  16. Hercules – The Greeks have left their mark in India too. The first time I had this beer, I found it a tad too sweet and was actually one of the better ones. It almost has a white grape flavor and finishes fairly dry.
  17. Cobra – It’s easier finding the Cobra beer in London than here in India. I had the Cobra beer in a suburban Indian restaurant in London and have since then not been able to locate it in India. It’s light on the palette and quite smooth. If you’re lighting up a BBQ, don’t forget a Cobra alongside then.Cobra Beer
  18. Concorde – When in East India while driving through villages, I couldn’t help but notice the Concorde brand proudly across many of the liquor shops. For a brand I had seldom heard off, this kind of marketing took me by surprise and I had to try it. Purchasing one, I was sent two floors underground to sit and drink. It was and still will be one of my shadiest experiences till date. I couldn’t have more than 100ml and I gave up after that. But this beer shall go down as one of the definitive experience in my beer drinking adventures.
  19. Hit – The Hit series again comes from the house of Yuksom Breweries. Yep the same guys whom I had mentioned in my Dansberg descriptions. While I had one standing by the shop, this drunk comes along and says “Hit bahut hit karta hai” (The Hit beer gives you a hit quite hard) which it truly did.Hit Beer
  20. Kotsberg – The Kotsberg beer comes from Devans Breweries, the same ones who are famous for their Godfather brand of beer. The packaging is almost made to international standards and priced in direct competition to Carlsberg and Budweiser Magnum. But did it match up in quality too? For people who love the taste of strong lagers, this might. But for me it just didn’t.Kotsberg

Special Mention

Bira91 – I have a special place in my heart for Bira91. Made by a group of individuals who actually understood beer, India’s first hand-crafted beer was born. It’s now almost become a household name in Bengaluru and Delhi. They have two variants, the Bira 91 White and the Bira 91 Blonde. And in case you’re wondering what the 91 stands for? It’s the country code of India that it so proudly displays.

Bira 91

Do let us know in the comments of any other beers that you’ve tried. We’d also love to hear some of the experiences that you’ve encountered while having a drink or two in a bar/town or any place in the comments.

Dansberg Photo Credit – damienroue
Hit Beer Photo Credit – shankaronline

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I’m the kind of person who falls into the well-planned and researched type of travelers. Bags packed and reach early to the airport so I can avoid getting stuck in any of the last minute hassles. I had taken an early Uber to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport from where I was flying off from and found myself almost 2 hours ahead of schedule. With the crowds quite less on a weekday, the check-ins process was completed in 15 mins and I was left to wander around the airport. That’s when I dropped by the Plaza Premium Lounge.

My credit card does provide access to the lounge and I’ve seldom used it though. Only once earlier in KLIA and in the International lounge of Hyderabad airports were my earlier experience which were quite good. The Plaza Premium Lounge is open to travelers irrespective of airlines or class and provides a much needed travel rest.

Plaza Premium Lounge (2)

The Plaza Premium Lounge at the International terminal is quite spacious but the one in domestic terminal isn’t bad too. I had access to free Wi-Fi, Recharging and Computer Workstations, showers, food and best of all the view of flights landing and taking off as I sipped on my coffee.

Plaza Premium Lounge (7)

Being quite hot out, the Plaza Premium Lounge in the domestic terminal of Hyderabad provided a much needed respite. The buffet spread out for lunch was excitingly amazing. I started off with a soothing and full of flavor Roast Pumpkin Soup. I had quite some time for an entire lunch course and decided to indulge myself. For quick bites there were the sandwiches and salads for hurried travelers. As I sat back to watch the game, I could notice people grabbing a coffee, a sandwich and heading their way for their flight.

Plaza Premium Lounge (5)

Plaza Premium Lounge (8)

Off the main course I chose the Kabuli Pulao and Rara Chicken. The Rara Chicken was smashingly delicious and is actually one of the Chef’s specialty dishes here at the Hyderabad Plaza Premium Lounge. It was the thick and superb gravy of the Rara Chicken which complimented the Kabuli Pulao so well. I couldn’t but help myself to a second helping along with the Dal Makhni.

Plaza Premium Lounge (4)

The desserts section had quite a variety laid out. The highlight among them was the Chef’s own taken on the Croissant Pudding. The refreshing Mango, Tapioca and Coconut Pudding was another I absolutely loves which is part of their ongoing Summer Special Menu. The service was nice and not too in your face. The chef even packed me a panini sandwich whilst I left to catch my flight to my destination.

Plaza Premium Lounge (6)

Plaza Premium Lounge (9)

The Plaza Premium Lounges are located currently in Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports. The Lounge can be accessed for Rs 1200++ while they do have memberships with credit cards and companies. If you’re a person who’s constantly travelling or even one looking for some time to chill at the airport, checking out the Plaza Premium Lounge might not be such a bad idea after all.

Plaza Premium Lounge (10)

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It is amazing how Trident explores different cuisines of India and bring us food festivals to taste the best of Purani Dilli, incredible cuisines of India or Turkish delight in the recent past. When we were presented with the idea of Trident hosting the best of seekh kebabs, we were intrigued. Seldom do we see festivals based on one main core dish and the festival around the theme. The seekh kebab can be found mostly in the northern part of India and is a piece of meat that’s succulent and melt in mouth. It’s witnessed changes in form of the spices and meat right from the Mughal kitchens to the Nawabi era and now stands the test of time.

Seekh Kebab Food Festival At Kanak, Trident (6)

We started with the Makai Tinka seekh. Vegetarian seekh made with kernels of sweet corn and spiced potatoes with mint and onions and cooked on bamboo skewers. The slight sweetness of the corn mixed with the freshness of the mint and potatoes added the perfect texture of the seekh and was delicous. The Mattar Moongphalli ki seekh gave the crunchy texture of the peanut and the peas and ginger mix added the perfect flavor to the vegetarian seekh.

Seekh Kebab Food Festival At Kanak, Trident (1)

We then moved on to the chicken seekh which got us hooked. Seekh Gilafi “chupa rustam” was a chicken mince seekh covered with spiced lamb and coated with spring onion, mint and gave that perfect softness. It was light and perfect accompanied with their in-house pomegranate chutney.

There was also the Kashmiri version of the Seekh kebab, cooked first then tossed with tomatoes, onion, dried ginger and saffron. This gave an additional tang to the dish and took us on a small gastronomic tour.

 

Seekh Kebab Food Festival At Kanak, Trident (5)

Don’t forget to try the local version of seekh kebab cooked on iron skewers. These kebabs are served along with roomali roti and dal makhani to make it the perfect dinner meal. You can actually end up eating bowls of their buttery dal like we did.

Seekh Kebab Food Festival At Kanak, Trident (4)

For desserts, we were served their Badaam aur Akhrot ka Halwa. Rich almonds and walnut provide a delicious end to this rich meal.The seekh kebabs are ala carte order but can be sampled with Kanak’s unique royal plate or Kanak platter sets.

Seekh Kebab Food Festival At Kanak, Trident (2)

Seekh Kebabs festival is on during the week at Kanak, at Trident, Hyderabad, from 23rd May to 3rd June, 2016, 7pm – 11:30pm

Venue: Kanak, Trident Hyderabad
HITEC City, Hyderabad – 500 081
Duration: From 23rd May to 3rd June, 2016
Time: 7 pm to 11.30 pm
For reservations, please call 040 6623 2323

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For readers who’ve been following us on our Instagram and Facebook page would have known of our recent travel to the beautiful country of Malaysia a few months back. Our travel diaries have been always about soaking in the local culture, devour street-food and flavors traveling the world…one country at a time. With the essence of Malaysian food aromas still fresh in our minds, it was an absolute delight to be back at the Marriott Hyderabad Convention Center for their Malaysian Food Festival in association with Tourism Malaysia.

It was a wondrous night starting off with a delish-looking plate of appetizers. The Chicken Satays got us absolutely knackered with a beautiful hint of lemongrass off the peanut sauce. I’ve had Rojak in Malaysia and already knew what to expect off the plate. The strong textures of umami were lacking in the rojak due to decrease in the usage of shrimp paste. Chef Ruizad has done a fantastic job with the dishes, having toned down some of the strong shrimp flavors coz of the local palette changes.

 

Appetizers Platter

The Ikah Goreng Berempah (Fried fish with Malay herbs) and Kambing bakar percik sos (roast lamb) rounded off to complete our appetizers. Special mention to Chef Ruizad’s make of the roast lamb which shone through all the beautiful spices it had been cooked in. I was actually so happy cutting through the roast lamb with my knife before sweet meaty indulgence.

Appetizers (3)

Appetizers (2)

In the main courses, the Sotong Sambal is something that diners from coastal India can identify with. The squid sambal was cooked in an exquisite sambal gravy, only wishing for the spiciness of the sambal to have increased up a notch. If the Thai have their red curries, then Malay cuisine gives it their won twist with the Curry Sayur. The Curry Sayur is a mixed vegetable gravy combining flavors from lemongrass and other fresh herbs. The curry shines through impressively when had with a simple white or jasmine rice. And yes not to forget a side of kobis goring kunyit berchili which is fried cabbage with chilis, very similar to Indian dishes.

Main Courses (1)

Main Courses (3)

Main Courses (2)

A sweet end to the meal was a refreshing dessert platter. The Badak Berendam and Pisang Goreng was a nice addition to the already vast dessert buffet menu at Okra.

Dessert Platter

The Malaysian Food Festival is on at Okra in Marriott Hyderabad Convention Center. It is part of their regular dinner buffet till the 29th of March. Also the Malay menu changes every night. Expect to find a whole lot of new dishes the second time around.

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Simply South for me has been a journey that I’ve taken along with the restaurant itself. As they complete 3 years of existence and consistency, I stand here ready to shout off the minarets of the Charminar of how wonderful a restaurant they are. What had started as a bitter-sweet experience 3 years back on my first visit has now become so synonymous with deliciousness from then on.

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There have been days when I have taken a look at my cafeteria food and in want for some break have always headed for Simply South. And firstly the main point to note about Simply South is that they don’t play with the mind that south-indian food has to be spicy. They have kept the recipes the most authentic and most importantly, flavorful. I mean just have their Rasam at some moment of time to know the exquisite dishes that they put up.

As they begin their 3rd year of food journey of wonderfully serving their guests, they’ve added in new dishes as part of their menu. Do not worry so coz the regular favorites like Uragai Mamsam, Chapa Vepudu and Telengana Kodi Roast haven’t been phased out though. In fact the new additions actually enhance the menu of flavors a lot more. We’ll be taking a look at the new menu additions across all the states in the Simply South menu with this post.

Meen Karwari (2)

We started off with the crunchy and deep-fried goodness of Meen Karwari. This is an absolutely delightful snack of fish fingers smeared in masalas and to enhance the taste a lot more, sprinkle some lemon juice on top.

Meen Karwari (1)

The Tala Gosht needs no introduction for a person who’s been living in Hyderabad for quite some time. But it’s important to note here that the Tala Gosht has been secluded to the Old City or the various dingy Irani Cafes spread across the city. The dish has never got the required push in the restaurant scene and Simply South has finally featured it on their menu. It has now moved location from the bylanes of Charminar to the find a worthy place.

Tala Gosht

In fact as I moved on the main course, I couldn’t help noticing one thing. Sure Hyderabadi food is extremely famous and packs in lots of spices, aroma and flavor. But as a traveler or a tourist in the city if I asked directions to try Hyderbadi food, all one would guide me to, is towards the Hyderabadi Biryani. In fact so many lesser known dishes of the Deccani cuisine aren’t even known the city’s dwellers and been secluded to the four walls of the house. I’ve been trying to showcase the city’s culinary scene and everytime I had to take a friend or tourist who asked for me help along to taste, I had to travel all the way to Charminar to make them relish on Hyderbadi food.

So you could imagine my happiness to actually see the Hyderbadi page of the menu expand. The Keema is quite available in many of the Irani cafes but the Ambada Keema finds special mention here at Simply South. The roselle leaves give the keema (minced lamb) a tangy flavor. The Hyderabadi classic, Bagara Baingan was wonderfully cooked too. I liked the fact that they’ve stuck to using baby brinjals which makes the taste so so so much better….

Main Course At Simply South (2)

As I moved along the course of the South Indian states along with the food, we had the Kodi Koora. In a discussion with Chef Chalapathi Rao, I did ask the question “Why the Kodi Koora?” Was another chicken dish as part of the menu really necessary? And the answer was yes. A lot of the guests didn’t quite have a chicken gravy to have with rice and so the Kodi Koora found a place on their menu. The Kodi Koora feels like comfort chicken dish you’d want to relax with. In fact I loved it so much, that I ordered a portion of plain rice to enjoy it completely and dug my hands into that heavenly curry.

Main Course At Simply South (1)

The Anumulu Koora was a curry I was having for the first time though. Having tasted recipes made using Butter Beans before, the Anumulu Koora was something that I had missed. In fact this curry is known by different names and made in so many ways using the local flavors in the different states in the south. The new Simply South menu features the Andhra Pradesh version of the Anumulu Koora. Made using butter beans, this tangy makes use of native brinjals and potatoes in a tamarind-esque gravy. The Alleppy Prawns Curry turned to be favorite at our table. A little-sour curry made using a raw mangoes and prawns from the town of Alleppy. All that’s needed alongside with the prawns curry is either hot Appams or Puttu.

Main Course At Simply South (3)

We ended one of the most satisfying meals in the long time with Gasgase Payasa, a payasam made of poppy seeds. The Gasgase Payasam is actually the Chef’s own mother’s recipe. For a person like me who eats out a lot, Simply South is my definition of comfort food. It’s just comforting to know that there is one restaurant which doesn’t push the fact in your face that south indian food is spicy but actually a pleasant, rich and delightful experience.

Gasgase Payasa

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Address :

JUBILEE HILLS
Plot No 258, Road No.82, Film Nagar,
Hyderabad
Tel:04020019007
GACHIBOWLI
1st Floor, Apurupa Silpi, Beside HP Petrol Bunk, Gachibowli,
Hyderabad
Telangana
Tel:8333883338
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