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A food festival of tradition, nostalgia and most importantly a food for the soul is how I’d describe the ongoing Kashmiri Food Festival at Taj Krishna. Firdaus at Taj Krishna has always carried an air of royalty every single time we’ve walked through it’s doors. Mellifluous ghazals and soothing notes are of classical music create an unmatched experience at the Firdaus. But most it is the minute details to food which make Firdaus one of a kind experience.

Firdaus

Seating At Firdaus

The Kashmiri Food Festival wasn’t about just having the food. It meant savoring the flavors of the Himalayan region, a rich legacy from the descendants of the Wazas, a cuisine so rich that has just got it’s much-needed attention in recent years. A lot of misconception has been associated with Kashmiri cuisine being sweet which isn’t the case. It’s spicy and it’s super rich. And if you’re a meat-person like us, the plate stops right in front.

Khosh Aamdeyd

The Table Is Set

Crafting a unique menu of the Wazwan cuisine, Chef Waza Tariq of Taj Vivanta – Dal View has done wonders. We started the night with Nadru Malai Tikki and Chicken Kanti. The Nadru Malai Tikki are delicate pan-grilled tikkis with lotus stem, dal and malai which make a great pairing with the arcot ka chutney. The use of onions graciously in the Kashmiri cuisine is well known and the Chicken Kanti brought forward exactly that.

Chef Waza Tariq

Nadru Malai Tikki

Chicken Kanti

Now to the favorite appetizer of the night, the Tabak Maaz. I’ve sweet memories of looking out at the gorgeous Himalayas off a balcony while sipping Qahwa and Tabak Maaz. An extremely rustic dish which gives so much importance to the meat while all the masalas just take a backseat for once. You get a light sourness of yogurt and is one of the dishes which is steeped in Kashmiri tradition.

Tabak Maaz

Appetizers

The main course is a happy affair for a non-vegetarian. The Wazwan cuisine gives great importance to the Mutton while the chicken makes up more a side-dish for many. This is not considering the famous Dum Aloo, Rajma Gogje, Haak and Tamatar Chaman of the region. Perhaps the most famous of the Wazwan dishes, the Mutton Rogan Josh had a thick gravy with a brilliant red color from the Kashmiri red chilies and maval flowers. The Rista is Lamb meatballs in a fiery red gravy. The best part about the Rista was the tender aroma of saffron when had with white rice or garlic naan.

Rista

Kashmir Spread

Kashmiri Pulao

The Gustaba is a lamb meatballs in a white gravy. The curry is made with tempering the meatballs in yogurt and dry mint to give it a tangy taste. Haak was a dish I was having for the first time though. Leafy vegetables seldom fit in my meal and this was a time I made place on my plate for some. And I was so glad that I did. A clear and full of flavor gravy made from boiled spinach and Kashmiri chili with steamed white rice was a delightful surprise.

GushtabaKashmiri Thali

Haak With Steamed Rice

We ended the dinner with the Badami Phirni and Kesari Halwa. Through all the dishes the distinct aroma of zaffran played an important note. Wazwan cuisine is one which definitely has to be experienced b everyone. It’s a part of India we seldom get to experience down south and Firdaus with Chef Waza Tariq made it a beautiful evening to remember.

Kesari Halwa

Badami Phirni

The Kashmiri Food Festival is on at Firdaus in Taj Krishna from 20th-27th of February.

Firdaus - Taj Krishna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Mekong by Marigold does such a beautiful justice to its name. There is an underlying thought which transverses boundaries with the name alone. Named after the river which flows through six countries, Mekong by Marigold brings with it the culinary tales as it travels the course of the river bringing a true pan-Asian fare. Sushi, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, they all find a place on the menu at Mekong.

We had a preview of the re-launched Burrp! App. The Chef’s table at Mekong had been arranged by Burrp! in association with FBAI. I remember the times when it was the only app which I could fire up to search for restaurants to visit. Those times it was a leader and a platform where I’d gradually started writing reviews too. Burrp! now under Network 18 has been seamlessly modified to get back to where it was and truthfully I quite liked the new UI.

Burrp!

The Chef’s table had been elaborately planned to include the best of what Mekong had to offer. We started off with the Yam Taohu which was a light salad of green vegetables, silken tofu and straw mushroom in chilly jaggery lime dressing. The chilly jaggery and Lime deliciously balanced the flavors as the dish tip-toes on the likes of spice, sweet and sour tastes.

Yam Taohu

Sushi is where our hearts lie and that’s where Mekong’s strength lies too. The Ikura Gunkan Maki is freshness personified. Capped off with fresh salmon roe, this was the stand-out dish of the night. The Oshinko Maki brought with it the crunch of radish and bell pepper.

Ikura Gunkan Maki

Oshinako Maki

I’ve always liked having sips of Jasmine tea between my courses coz it helps clean out the palate between courses and I was glad the service staff didn’t falter on filling up on the tiny teacup. Among the starters that night the Hanoi Toi Tom which comes with tossed in a delectable garlic sauce was the best of the lot.

Crispy Fried Lotus Stem

Dimsums

As we gradually made our way through to the main course, I settled over my plate of Lamb Massaman Curry. The Thai Massaman curry is rich in flavors and relatively rich, tracing its roots and inspiration back to Persia. The best way to enjoy a good Massaman curry is to have it with a simple jasmine rice where all its flavors burst through. The Gai Pad Bai Gaprow (Thai style mince chicken with chilly basil) and Curries Crab made for enjoyable accompaniments.

Lamb Massaman Curry

Gai Pad Bai Gaprow

Curried Crabs

The night ended over some good conversations with the Burrp! Team over a plate of desserts consisting of a Dates Cigar, Coconut Jaggery ice-cream and the heavenly Thap Thim Krawp. Mekong isn’t just any other Pan-Asian restaurant but one where a lot of thought has been given to design the food along the name it has to live up to.

Thap Thim Krawp

Address: Green Park Hotels, Greenlands, Begumpet, Hyderabad.
Phone: 040 67363636

Mekong - Marigold By GreenPark Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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For people who’ve been following our Facebook page regularly will know of our love for SodaBottleOpenerWala, Hyderabad or as we put it SBOW. The menu is short but yet felt a little incomplete. And that has always been because the amazing, quirky drinks that we associate with SodaBottleOpenerWala had been missing to give it the major uplift.

After all a Parsi without his alcohol is no fun, and SBOW did miss it’s eccentricity without the license. Thankfully now SBOW is complete. With the government handing out alcohol licenses, the Bamabaiya cocktails we associate with SodaBottleOpenerWala of Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai are here in Hyderabad. So here we have the drinks menu of SodaBottleOpenerWala to help you choose your stuff the next time you’re there.

Majama Mojito: A Gujrati comes down to your table and you’ve just downed one of these Mojitos. The first question he asks is “Kem Cho?” And you sure will be like ‘Hic, Majama’. This is SBOW’s take on the classic Mojito with a twist. It’s light and made with fresh tender coconut water making it quite a refreshing drink to have on an afternoon.

Hello Darling And Bambai Mary Hai

Hello Darling: As we jump up in terms of concentrate of alcohol in SBOW’s menu, the next is the Hello Darling. For people who like vodka based martinis, this drink made with fresh muskmelon and watermelon juice makes for a great one to have. I like the fact that SodaBottleOpenerWala uses fresh fruits to make the concentrate rather than using the tetra-packs.

Hello Darling

Bambai Mary Hai: It isn’t SodaBottleOpenerWala if it hides it’s love for Bombay….oops Bambai. You’ve had the classic Bloody Mary and now try SBOW’s take on it using tamarind, roasted cumin and tomato.

Bambai Mary Hai

Kokum Nasha: The Kokum Nasha was the sweeter of the drinks on the menu. It might have been due to the kokum concentrate that they’d been using. It gives a spice hit with every sip at the back of your throat making sure to cut it down with lemon and fizz.

Kokum Nasha And Bambai Mary Hai

Out Of School: It’s nostalgic to remember the good old days when we would run out of school, buy guavas right outside the school premises and rub it all over with masala. Those were the times when distances didn’t matter when we had a cycle to take us everywhere. SBOW recreates that with the Out Of School with an addition of vodka.

Raspberry Breezer: For anyone who’s been to the Irani cafes of Bombay, there is no missing the Raspberry drinks with every meal. But didn’t we say before that alcohol makes stuff even better and that’s what the Raspberry Breezer does too.

Raspberry Breezer

Raspberry Shooters

Papa ne Queen: There are a few things the Parsis absolutely love. His car, alcohol, eeda and movies. Taking an inspiration off the Parsis love for movies is the Papa ne Queen. A white a dark rum based drink with hints of apple, mint and grape.

Papa ne Queen

Dikra/Dikri: This has to be the best of all the Cocktails created specially at SodaBottleOpenerWala. It’s vodka served two ways and has to be done in shots (atleast according to us). The Spiced Lemon vodka is brilliant and it doesn’t feel complete until you’ve downed the next kala khatta vodka. The next time you’re at SBOW, do make sure to create a game around this with your group of friends.

Dikra Dikri

And we have a little bit of “love is in the air” extra cuteness coming down at SBOW this Valentine. We quite like their concept of the Bambaiyya Love Tiffin Menu. A meal served in nostalgic tiffin dabbas for two.

Bambaiyaa Love Tiffin (Veg)

Bambaiyaa Love Tiffin (Non Veg)

The menu is quite unique starting off with the bhel (veg or seafood), a barley and vegetable soup with a dash of thetcha, cutlass, Chicken Sanju Baba (Yep the very same recipe by Sanjay Dutt at Noor Mohammadi) and Bambai Biryani. To close off the love affair with this food the Kala Khatta Cheesecake and Ferro Rocher Cake for desserts.

Bambaiyya Love Tiffin at SodaBottleOpenerWala-

SodaBottleOpenerWala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Casbah, the newest baby of Westin is an extension of the 2nd floor terrace. Taking the entry off the second gate, a quick zoom up the lift and they open to a Moroccan-inspired Casbah. The décor is done in white hues with shades of blue giving it a very Mediterranean look. Having a very Greek influence, it’s reflected in the color palette, texture and materials used in the designing of the arches.  It’s open on all ends and is absolutely beautiful to sit in on a breezy day and extremely relaxing.

Casbah Lounge

Hookah Parlour

Casbah

Casbah Decor (4)

Keeping in line with the theme, the food served here is Mediterranean. We were at Casbah on an exclusive invite to sample their menu. Considering that I had been there on the opening night of Casbah, I did know what to expect. I had been thoroughly impressed by the simple menu put forward by Chef Mukesh and Chef Rakesh at Casbah on the opening night and I couldn’t wait to try out the other delicacies on the menu.

Casbah Decor (7)

Casbah Decor (6)

Casbah Decor (14)

Casbah Decor (10)

Casbah Decor (9)

It was a beautiful winter night and the night breeze was at it’s best. Starting off with a Fresh musk-melon frioska which was a lot fresh with generous amounts of mint. This was one night where I was in no hurry with my food. I guess Casbah’s environment made me feel that. It’s one of those places which relaxes you immediately and you just need to soak it all in.

Casbah Decor (15)

Casbah Decor (18)

Casbah Decor (12)

Casbah Decor (8)

We started off with the cold Mezze platter. Very few places get all the components of Mezze platter and Casbah did get every single detail right that night. The Hummus and Muhammara were brilliant with the pita breads. The Hummus with a light tanginess of the lemon juice and olive oil was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. The Labneh and Baba Ganoush was heavenly too. And especially kudos to getting the Baba Ganoush true to it’s roots with a light smoky flavor.

Cold Mezze Platter

Vegetarian Appetizer Platter

Spinach Fatayer

The menu at Casbah is small but well executed. I’ve always maintained that a short menu can sometimes do wonders for the guests than an elaborate one. Considering that Casbah sticks to the lounge concept, a two page menu was more than enough. The Chicken Souvlaki had been tossed in copious amounts of garlic and thyme. My favorite among the appetizers were the Chicken Sambousek and Kofte Kebab. Most of these dishes aren’t difficult to get right but it was the balance of flavors which struck the right chords. Paired with a good tazatski, the meat is rightfully balanced with the sourness of the condensed yogurt.

Non-Vegetarian StartersNon-Vegetarian Appetisers

The Samak Harra had been delicately grilled with sumac, loads of garlic and pepper. The star among the dishes we had at Casbah, the stand-out had to be the Chicken Tagine. The stew was delightful and distinctive but it was the cous cous which stole my heart mainly. It was simple, packed with light flavor and exquisite.

Chicken Tagine

Main Courses At Casbah

Main Course

Desserts is where Casbah’s other strengths lie. I’ve had the same desserts on two occasions at Casbah and they’ve maintained their consistency each time. The trio of Baklava is authentic and phyllo pastry is delicately made with a rich filling of walnuts, pistachios and other nuts. Even with the Umali, Casbah makes the pudding with puff pastry instead of succumbing to take the shorter route and using bread. And a rich rick double cream of top of Umali is sure to give you a dessert-high.

Desserts At Casbah

Casbah is artistic and sure worth the visit. It’s one of the few places in Hyderabad where you come out refreshed. Carrying with it a Mediterranean inspired décor, it’s going to leave you with a different view at sunset and another at night. The environment too goes a long way in making the Casbah experience even more enticing.

Casbah Decor (3)

Casbah Decor (11)

And they have some of the most beautiful chandeliers and lampshades hung around which add to the charm of Casbah.

Casbah Decor (1)

Casbah Decor (17)

Casbah Decor (16)
Casbah - The Westin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I’ve been going to Sheraton right from the time they converted from the earlier Regenta:One. They’ve been constantly innovating and coming up with new and more importantly niche concepts. They have now launched their specialty restaurants Inazia and Chime, and I must say they fit right into the Sheraton aura.

Inazia And Chime

Firstly there was no mistaking that Inazia and Chime are two different thoughtfully conceptualized places. There is no mixing both of them and each carries it’s own significant individuality. They might share the same walkway but each carries a soul of it’s own. Chime is where the action kicked off for the night. A slow-beat fluorescent ambient lighting reflected off the tastefully hung bells covers Chime. A deft hand swishes behind the bar as artistically created drinks are passed on to the tables. Yep, that was Ami Shroff whom we’ve followed quite a bit on her Facebook page and I finally got a chance to try out her amazing concocted drinks.

Chime

Ami Shroff

The Bok Choy Martini and Wasabi Martini were purely marvelous. But it was the Bell Pepper Martini which got me hooked. Served in colorful bell peppers, you catch a whiff of the bell pepper as you take a sip of the drinks which elevates the experience. We started with our appetizers at Chime which made for a great amalgamation with the drinks being made by Ami.

Wasabi MartiniBell Pepper MartiniBok Choy Martini

The Batter Fried Tempura Vegetables and Steamed Crystal Shrimp Dumplings were well complimented with the drinks. The Crispy Fragrant Duck was my favorite though among the appetizers. I think it was the side serving of homemade-Hoisin Sauce which lent it the much needed wow factor.

Steamed Crystal Shrimp Dumpling

Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce

As the evening progressed, I moved on to Inazia. Inazia is managed by international Chef Ninja Suksamai. She carries with her a vast experience about Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cooking. Chinese Tea was served alongside meals which worked as a great palette cleanser among courses. Beginning the Asian food journey at Inazia were with the salads. The Prawns Salad was rich on flavors with a fragrant dressing of lemongrass and mint. It was fresh and the glass noodles used in the salad made it absolutely delectable. The Shredded Raw Papaya Salad or Som Tam was good but it needed a little bit of acidity with the bird chilis giving a real spicy hit.

Inazia

Chinese Tea

Salads

The Chicken Mild Coconut Soup had a delightful essence of galangal and kaffir lime. The veggies were aplenty in the soup but it’s quite a rustic soup. The coconut was not overpowering as I’d expected and I actually enjoyed a soup quite a lot after so long.

Moving on to the main course, we started off with the California Crab Meat Rolls. It had been neatly packed with avocado with a topping of flying fish roe. After quite an appetizing soup and starters, the main course did bring out the efficiency of a newly-opened kitchen. Chef Ninja’s prowess behind the kitchen was evident in the Thai Green Curry. This simple dish can be quite hard to create with all the flavors intact and with just sticky rice it was fabulous.

Stir Fried Deep Fried Shell Crab

California Crab Meat Rolls

Thai Green Curry

Inazia and Chime aren’t just another Asian place looking to a make a mark. Right from the drinks to the food, they’re pushing the boundaries in getting authentic Asian and Oriental food. And with Ami and Chef Ninja, they’ve sure been off to a great start. I’m definitely going to be around more to savor the food and drinks.

Green Tea Ice Cream

And to end the review of Inazia with this mesmerizing video of Ami Shroff.

 

InAzia Chime - Sheraton Hyderabad Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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As I sat in the outdoor Alfresco dining of Taj Krishna, with a mellifluous song serenading in the background and a glass of scotch on ice in hand, I couldn’t help but ponder over winters. Well you see, we in Hyderabad don’t get the chill winds of Delhi or the absolute cool nights of Bangalore but yet associate winters with meat and a warm drink. I mean take the Hyderabadi cuisine itself for example, the Pathar ka Gosht, tikkas are absolute perfect accompaniments to a good whiskey. And that’s where the Friday BBQ nights in Taj Krishna come in.

Taj Krishna Alfresco

The Grill and Barbeque nights are the perfect way to unwind with the start off the weekend. For a property which stand right in the middle of the city, the Alfresco does offer a quiet corner away from the sounds and noises, overlooking the majestic Taj Krishna. And if you’re a meat lover, then know that ‘you shalt not walketh away disappointed’.

Breads

The entire cooking station is divided into 3 primary sections. Starting off with the International Grills, I couldn’t have asked for a better spread with Barbecued Sticky Pork Ribs, Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Cajun Chicken Tenders being some of the few. The Seafood Grills is well-set too. Prawns, squid, octopus, mackerel and so much more to take your pick.

Grills Live Counters

Seafood Grills Platter

But if you’re a pork person then the sausages and bacon are going to be hard to resist. Frankfurters, Bratwurst and Nuremberg sausages were all good, but nothing can replace bacon. And with bacon, I mean the perfectly cooked, crunchy, a hint of smokiness kind. For the vegetarians the International Grills had herb cured mushrooms, caramelized garlic charred baby carrots among others.

Sausages And International Grills

For The Love Of Bacon

Moving on to the next section was the Indian Grills. Considering that all your choices are made right on order, what I got on my plate each time were piping hot, fresh-made kebabs. The Lahsooni Murg Tikka had been marinated beautifully with garlic. The Gosht Shikampuri and Ajwaini Tawa Machli were cooked to perfection.

Chef At Work (Indian Grills)

Indian Grills

The Tepenyaki section turned out to be quite interesting. I love the fact that Taj Krishna, instead of adding the usual stir fry and Indo-Chinese to the Oriental menu actually gave a thought to going a bit Korean. The choices in the Tepenyaki included chicken, tenderloin, lamb and fish in your choice of sauce.

Tepenyaki Grills

The hot buffet is small considering the large array of dishes in Grills and BBQ. But upon conversing with the chef, I could understand his chain of thought for this. The Hot buffet mostly comprises of vegetarian and is a rotating menu. The choices are kept vegetarian mostly to balance out the little tilt of the scale in favor of the non-veggies in grills. But I actually found it refreshing, taking it on a palate change between so many rounds of meat.

Salads Counter

The Friday night Alfresco dining is paired with unlimited Chivas Regal (12 Yrs), Absolut and Merlot. Ending the night with a hot crepe, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the weekend.

Drinks Counter

Desserts

Alfresco - Taj Krishna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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This review of the Purani Dilli food festival isn’t just about the amazing food that are part of the menu at Kanak. It’s about nostalgia, about experiencing traditional home-cooked food of Dilli Muslim households in an elaborate atmosphere. I like the fact the path the Trident is taking on in recent times to promote some of the most interesting food in their food festivals. From the Turkish food festival last month to Rivaayat at Kanak which had been my favorite so far.

Purani Dilli Food Festival

Mr Osama Jalali is well known in food circles as a renowned food critic and researcher. I’ve been following the Lost Recipes of India to know the interesting discussion which happen on the forum. So with a menu curated by Mr. Osama Jalali after years of research on the authentic dishes of Delhi along with his mother, Chef Nazish Jalali who hails from Rampur, this definitely was one not to be missed.

The Jalali Family

But before delving into the food festival at Trident, let’s take a walk among the bylanes of Old Delhi. Now this isn’t where you can get through in your car but to be navigated by foot or on a rickshaw. The smell of juicy meat lingers in the air, the towering Jama Masjid in all it’s resplendent beauty. The Seekh Kebabs at Karim’s, Changezi Chicken and Fried Fish/Chicken. Parathas and Naan at Kake di Hatti and down a huge glass of Sherbet or Falooda right beside it.

A photo posted by Food Drifter (@ashishnayak) on

A photo posted by Food Drifter (@ashishnayak) on

A photo posted by Food Drifter (@ashishnayak) on

That’s Chandni Chowk for you. It is lively, pure energy flowing among those lanes and a food lover’s paradise. And why did I talk about Chandni Chowk? Coz the food at the Purani Dilli Food Festival at Kanak reminded me of that. They’d been so perfectly made that I couldn’t find anything out of place when it came to experiencing Delhi food. We started the evening with the Kachi Keema ki Tikiya. I found it a welcome change from the heavy ghee and oil laden tikkas with this being so light. If you’d had the chance to dine at any of the houses at Shahjanabad, you’d know what I’m talking about. The Macchli Fry (Fish Fry) was perfect Old Delhi. Exactly like the ones being fried at the roadside eateries in the evening at Chandni Chowk. A side of Mint Chutney and onions and you’re set. Kacche Keema ki Tikiya The Kacche kele ki Shammi kebab which is raw bananas marinated in spices and shallow fried makes a good option for the vegetarians. But I’d prefer the Mewa Kebab which was simply delicious. Cheese, khoya, yoghurt, dry fruits all go into making this kebabs making it one of the must-haves. Kacche Kele ki Shammi

Mewa Kebab The main course has a vast variety to choose from which juggles between Rampur and Old Delhi. The Arbi ka Salan, a colocasia preparation which is almost part of every Old Delhi household along made for a great side with the Vegetable Tehari and Chane ki Dal ka Bharta. Arbi ka Salan

Vegetable Tehari The Food Festival aims to keep the ethos of the dishes intact while also giving them a platform to be showcased. But for everyone at the table, the Chicken Ishtew and Keema Hari Mirch came out to be as favorites. The Keema Hari Mirch deserves special mention because the mutton had been pounded to perfection and the hit of green chilies, leaves with a satisfied smile across your face. Keema Hari Mirch

Chicken Ishtew

Dehlvi Nihari

It was now time for the desserts. This is one section of the Purani Dilli food festival which is going to leave you quite intrigued. The Gosht ka Halwa was simply brilliant. This was the second time I had the opportunity to taste a dessert made of meat which when served without the name, you’d definitely never be able to guess it’s been made of meat. A smooth texture and lightly sweetened, this Halwa is worth the try. The Aloo ka Zarda is also quite a nice addition to the desserts menu.

A photo posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

The festival is on till 30th of November at Kanak, Trident. And it’s one of those rare festivals which you walk out from not only with amazing food but great memories.

The Menu For The Night

 

Kanak - Trident Hyderabad Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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This post is a continuation of the Taj Falaknuma series as it celebrates it’s 5th year anniversary. If the last post focused on the splendor and enchanting royalty associated with the Falaknuma Palace, the grand corridors and a relaxed view of the Hyderabad cityscape as you settle down to have a sip a hot cup of tea. This shall further continue on the journey of places yet unopened….

1. Horse Carriage

2. 5 Year Anniversary - Taj Falaknuma

I’m not even going to get into talking about majestic and opulence of the palace. Coz stepping into that territory will have me penning poetry about the palace. This is a simple journey of a story of secularism. Everyone has always talked and discussed about how rich the Nizam of Hyderabad was. His extremes of living surrounded with riches and luxury. But no one ever pens the story his intelligence, his secular thinking, his fondness of the arts and his kindness.

5. Gazal Performance Area

6. Cherubs

4. Street Lights

7. Live Gazal

The Coronation Hall at the Taj Falaknuma reiterates that fact. Locked away for more than 80 years, the Taj finally got to restoring it and converting it to a beautiful restaurant. A walk through the Coronation Hall is a walk through history with anecdotes and stories. If I were to mildly put it….it’s “Simplistically Elegant”.

Coronation Building

The Coronation Hall is almost like a whole being consisting of five different parts. Each part signifies one particular brand of architecture and religious practice. The first room brings with it the polished Mughal architecture. A beautiful representation of the “Tree of Life” adorns the walls. As you move on, the room transforms to Chinese work of art. Minutely detailed works of craftsmanship, artistically covers the room. Miniature works resplendent of pagodas adorn the top of entrance-ways.

21. The Chinese Architecture

As you step into the next room you can’t help but notice the darbar-like feeling. Inspired straight out of Mughal architecture, it resembles the courts where judgments were passed. There is finesse in the woodwork as it adorns the walls. But my favorite has to be the area which exhibited Buddhism. The room as itself is empty except for the entrance-like structure in the center. Soon as you enter you can’t help noticing the fragrance of sandalwood in the air. The structure has a sophisticated carvings depicting Buddhism. Right from the conversion of Siddhartha to Buddha, his life and teachings, his attainment of enlightenment.

14. The Buddism Architecture

14. The Buddhism Architecture 1

The last portion which completes the coronation room is the Hindu-style of architecture. The portion is made to resemble the Parnasala, the hut that Lord Ram stayed in during his exile. The story goes all the work of art which are part of the Coronation Room had been brought down by different artists from each land. While Burma and Chinese got their Chinese and Buddhism works, South India displayed the parnasala. But the crafts were so costly that no one could afford them. But the Nizam with his immense wealth picked up all of them to be displayed in his Coronation Room.

15. The Hinduism Architecture

9. Coronation Room Balcony

10. Indoor Pool 1

10. Indoor Pool

The outer balcony faces out to a beautiful lit indoor swimming pool. The Taj has converted this area to a restaurant called ‘The Grills’. True to it’s name, The Grills caters only to different forms of grilled food while some beautiful live music plays. The Grills is open only on Weekend Nights and upon prior reservation. As we’ve always stated multiple times, Taj isn’t just a hotel…It’s an experience. And experience worth a lifetime.

12. Table Seating

11. Versace Plates

16. Asparagus Soup

17. Turkish Platter

18. Lamb Chops And Grilled Chicken

19. Saffron Chicken

20. The Grills

Here are some videos of the beautiful Qawwali Night and the fireworks display on the launch of The Grills.

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

Featured Image Courtesy: Pallavi Ruhail

The Grills - Taj Falaknuma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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From the time you enter through the gates of the Taj Falaknuma, the grandeur and the elegance is going to leave you spellbound. A palace which has enthralled many dignitaries in it’s 122 year history isn’t just to be seen. It’s an experience of a lifetime to carry back with you. It’s not everyday you get a chance to walk through beautifully handcrafted history. A history so rich that it even made the Nizam of Hyderabad fall in love with the palace. We were glad to be part of the special Invite for the Tour & Hi Tea Celebrations.

The Falaknuma Palace was constructed by Vikar-ul-Umra, the then prime minister to the Nizam of Hyderabad. It was handed over to the Nizam of Hyderabad as a nazar (offering) by the prime minister to use as a palace to entertain his guests. The story goes that the Nizam had initially come to the Faluknama Palace to stay only for 2 days. He fell in love with the palace so much that he continued onto stay there for a month. Faluk-numa literally translates to “Mirror of the sky” in Urdu.

Here in the post below we take you through the walls of history of the Taj Falaknuma as it gears up for it’s 5th anniversary celebrations on the November 13th. Through it’s ornate paintings, magnificent rooms, the opulent staircase, the huge palatial grounds as it towers over the city of Hyderabad and the grandeur that is Falaknuma.

Soon as you enter through the palace gates and ushered in, a battery operated cart takes you all the way to the palace grounds. This is a followed by a welcome drink as you’re left to soak in the magnanimity of the palace.

Welcome Drinks - Green Tea Mocktails

Welcome Drinks - Nimbu Sherbat

The palace historian Prabhakar awaited to take us through the journey that is Falaknuma Palace. A walk around the palace grounds unravels the story in layers. The palace grounds are filled with peacocks which have made it their home. They also have a stable housing the horses and a horse-drawn carriage that you can use for special occasions.

Palace Lawns (3)

Palace Lawns (2)

Palace Lawns (1)Horse Drawn Carriage

Armoury

Electrical Lamps

As you gradually move into the palace, the first entry is to the Taj Khazana, where some of the splendid, intricate rare treasures, paintings and finest collections of the Nizam are housed.

Taj Khazana

Cherubs Fountain

Intricately Carved Peacocks

A Bookshelf

Ganesha

From the Taj Khazana room, you are further led into the inner chambers which house the inner area and meeting rooms of the Nizam. Considering that the Falaknuma Palace is resemblance of sky on earth, you’ll find a lot of architecture and paintings are done to resemble celestial and sky objects. From angels and cherubs to birds and even dragons. The Library is a replica of the one at Windsor Castle and has one of the finest collection of books in the world. In fact the Nizam of Hyderabad was so rich that he used the Jacob diamond as a paperweight.

Library

Nizam's Desk

Library (2)

Glass Painting

Clock

Tree Of Life

The marble figurines supported by balustrades have been delicately carved. They have candelabras at regular intervals.

 

Staircase (2)

Staircase (1)

Staircase (3)

Top Of The Stairs (3)

Top Of The Stairs (1)

Top Of The Stairs (2)The Falaknuma Palace was one of the first palaces in India to get electricity. The electrical systems have been designed by Osler and has one of the largest electrical switchboards in India. It also has the largest collection on Venetian chandeliers.

Chandeliers (3)

Chandeliers (2)

Chandeliers (1)The pride of the Taj Falaknuma is it’s famed dining hall table which has seen many royalties, noblemen and dignitaries dine in. The dining table can seat up to 100 people with the tableware being made of gold and crystal to which fluted music was added.

Grand Table (3)

Grand Table (1)

Grand Table (4)

The High Tea is one of Taj Falaknuma’s highlights of the day. The nobility that comes with watching the sun set over Hyderabad from the terrace balcony. The menu at the High Tea is vast and elaborate. Featuring a eclectic mix of Hyderabadi, Indian and Continental, there is something in it for everyone. There are the healthy juices, shakes, cold coffees and lassi. Then come the huge variety of sandwiches, bruschettas. But the Hyderabadi Indian section of the High Tea is worth checking out. They at any moment in time have the Lukmis, Bun Maska, Keema Buns and lot more which are specific Hyderabadi specialties.

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (6)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (12)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (11)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (9)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (8)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (7)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (5)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (4)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (2)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (3)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (1)

And the talk before of dining in royalty. Below pictures are a testament of the opulence of the terrace as you face out to the city of Hyderbad and the sky merges with the horizon in the distance. These pictures cover the balcony and the Jade Room where the artworks of local artists are displayed.

High Tea Area (15)

High Tea Area (14)

High Tea Area (13)

High Tea Area (12)

High Tea Area (10)

High Tea Area (11)

High Tea Area (9)

High Tea Area (8)

High Tea Area (6)

High Tea Area (5)

High Tea Area (4)

High Tea Area (3)

High Tea Area (2)

High Tea Area (1)

The Taj Falaknuma is impressively beautiful in the night as all the lights slowly light up to reveal it’s splendor.Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (3)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (4)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (2)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (1)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (5)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (6)As we leave the Taj Falaknuma, we don’t leave with just an experience but with an everlasting memory. It’s truly a piece of eternity created on earth.

Palace Outer Side (3)

Palace Outer Side (2)

Palace Outer Side (1)

There are no videos allowed inside the Taj Falaknuma and we rightfully stand by that decision too. An individual visit is what you’ll need to feel the magnificence and majestic beauty of the Taj Falaknuma. Here is a small video below of the palace as it slowly fades out into the distance as we take leave.

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

As part of the ongoing 5th Anniversary celebrations of the Taj Falaknuma, Colombian Saxophonist Dumbira enthralls visitors during High Tea.

The Hookah Lounge - Taj Falaknuma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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For those who have been following us on Instagram and our Facebook page, know the number times that we’ve been to Goa in the recent few months. Yes Goa is the perfect vacation you need from work and otherwise. But there is so much to Goa to be explored. The culinary food history is a delight worth exploring. The Xacuti, sorpotel, cafreal from the Goan cuisine to the Bhaji and Solachi kadi of Hindu Saraswat cuisine.

Pao And Prawns Rechaed

The state has had many settlers over history that it has evolved it’s cuisine too along with it. But the unifying factor for all Goans is the Pao (Pão). The art of making Pao was a legacy brought in by the Portuguese. Every neighborhood has it’s one or two bakeries which make their usual two rounds of the day to sell bread. Most of the bakeries that I visited to watch the art of making pao, usually do them in two shifts. In the first shift they make throughout the night so that they can do the rounds early morning for people to have with their breakfast and lunch. While the other is in late afternoon, just in time for dinner.

Katriche Pao

Poi (Healthy Wheat Pao)

Pao Loaves

So this time in Goa we formed our very own Pao trail. To visit the bakeries and watch how the pao, poi, katriche pao, etc…are made. Now finding the bakeries are quite hard unless you’re a local. Nestled inside small villages, winding alleyways makes for quite an adventure to locate a bakery in Goa. A lot of the poders sell the bread in the Mapusa, Anjuna and other markets which are frequented by tourists. But upon asking for directions to their bakery, they politely declined.A Poder Out To Deliver Pao In The Morning (Pic Courtesy Goa Tourism)Near the Saligao Church, you’ll see a lot of peddlers standing around on the bridge selling bread. As I got to chatting with one of the poders, he finally did give me directions to one. Winding away from the touristy side of Goa, is it’s countryside. As I made my way, stopping to ask for directions through a lot of alleys completely broken away from the main road, came an extreme narrow path between two houses and right behind them all was the bakery. It was pitch dark even at 9 in the night and a small light shone at one corner of the bakery. The bakers told me to come back at 12 midnight as that’s when they’d start their next batch.

View From The Window Of The Bakery At Night

Pao Dough

Dough Ready To Be Put In The Kiln For Baking

Poder Making Pao In A Kiln

Everything had gone quiet by 12 midnight except the bakers pushing their stuff one after another into the oven. There are more than 14 types of bread made by the bakeries in Goa. The most popular of them are the poi (whole wheat), pao (cube) and the crispy undo. Many of the Goans favor the undo with their morning tea. It gives a lovely crunch even after being dunked in the tea. For the rest of the day it’s the pao. The poi is whole wheat variant of the pao and actually recommended for people with health problems.

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

The kaknam (bangle bread) looks so similar to a variation of donuts. But the hardwork gone into making a katriche pao is commendable. They have to design each of the shape with scissors and then after attaining the perfect shape, it’s pushed for baking. The bakeries only make enough to sell out for the day. They key necessity for them is to provide Goans their daily bread, but FRESH.

Pao Loaves

Without the pao many of the Goan dishes would not be complete. The Xacuti, Sorpotel and cafreal taste so much better pao than with Roti/Rice. The next time you’re in Goa, take a break away from doing the normal and become a local. The travel tales, the vibe, the conversations over pao are incomparable. Goa truly is incomplete without it’s pao.

 

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