Avasa, located bang in the middle of HITEC city, has been beckoning us for a while. We hadn’t heard any reviews of the food there, and really hadn’t considered it before for dinner. On a Saturday evening, we were looking for a new place to eat at. After much debate, we decided to boldly go where we had never been before, and ended up at Avasa with no idea of what kind of dining options we had.
We were received right at the portico of the hotel by a hostess who told us there were two dining options – Pi, an all day multi-cuisine restaurant, and Ohm, an Oriental restaurant. We opted for Ohm and the hostess escorted us through the lobby of the hotel to the door of the restaurant. The lobby itself was an elaborate affair – it was a retro modern setup with mood lighting which seemed to rely heavily on the Jetsons for inspiration. The massive centrepiece chandelier was a mass of really fine optic fibres hanging down from a really tall ceiling – looking rather like a massive stage wig with lit ends. It was awe-inspiring!
At the door to Ohm, we were handed over the the maitre d’ who took us to our table. The decor within the restaurant was relaxing, though the chairs (white with plush red upholstery) were weirdly shaped and left the lower back without support. Vidya actually had to ask them for a cushion to support her back as she was getting a backache from the chair. The table was nicely set up (the fact that I am writing about it shows that – who writes about stuff like that in a review unless a certain amount of impressing has been done!) with crystal goblets for water and Villeroy & Boch cutlery. We were suitably impressed, and clicked away with our phones. The discreet lighting ensured our pictures were grainy and unusable even on the web.
After the usual opening lines (“Bottled water for you ma’am?” “Regular water will be just fine, thank you.” “Sure ma’am”), we were given three leather-bound folders. One was the dim sum menu, another was the drinks menu and the third was the food menu. The menu cards were so impressive that we felt compelled to choose from each, and we did.
Vidya ordered a portion of vegetable dim sum while I went for the pork bao. Dim sum menu, check.
We ordered a cocktail each. Drinks menu, check.
We decided to split a pan-fried vegetable noodles and okra with basil and garlic. Food menu, check.
We sat back and relaxed, and while waited for our food, we were served green tea in those wonderful little cups. They had two variants – cinnamon and jasmine – and after a couple of sips of the cinnamon variety we asked for and stuck to the jasmine version for the rest of the meal.
The cocktails were the first to arrive. They were potent, well-made and balanced. The interesting thing was what came next. To go with our cocktails, we were served an Arancini rice ball each. How an Arancini belongs in an Oriental restaurant is beyond me – maybe it was the Marco Polo influence – but it was really good and we did not complain. Instead we relaxed, sipped our cocktails and made small talk.
The dim sum was the first to arrive – the veggie followed a few minutes later by the pork. Both were beautifully made – perfectly shaped and cooked exactly the right amount. The pork bao was really delicious – there was enough pork fat left to keep it succulent, but not enough to make it run down my chin. The spicing was mild, though this was more than made up for by the on-the-table sauces. The black pepper sauce was exceptional.
The dim sum was followed by our pan-fried noodles (from the ‘Staples’ section of the menu) and okra in basil and hot garlic sauce (from the ‘Main dish’ section of the menu). The pan-fried noodles was alright – nothing to write home about, but no slacker either. The veggies on top of it were crunchy and tasty, and took it to another level. The okra on the other hand, quickly became the star of the meal. It was yummy and the sauce was very interesting – it was overwhelmingly basil (basil did a double act, while the garlic was a mere cameo, and not a very notable one at that), and its aroma reminded me of Tiger balm.
This was where the star thing happened. The dish was extremely tasty, and in combination with the noodles was making me ooh and aah. Having watched my share of Masterchef Australia, I was waxing eloquent on the texture and subtle interplay of flavour and aroma to an amused Vidya. However, in a very memorable slip, I kept referring to the balm as Zandu and not Tiger. To those not familiar with the world of balms, Tiger is strongly pungent and herbal-smelling, while Zandu has a vile checmical stench that can be used to ward off the zombie apocalypse. I hate both smells equally, and was pleasantly surprised at how agreeable I found the balm-like aroma of the basil in the okra. Vidya had a good laugh once she figured out I meant Tiger balm and not Zandu balm – till then she was wondering if my drink had been so strong I had descended into incoherence.
By this time we were well-fed and feeling the need for a strong finish, dessert-wise. The date pudding with vanilla ice-cream hit the spot nicely. We chugged down another cup of jasmine green tea to round everything off, and were sated when we left.
Overall, the experience was very good. We will definitely return. The service and the ambiance left nothing to be desired. The value for money was good, though it was by no means inexpensive. Our meal of two cocktails, two dim sums, a noodles dish, a main dish and a dessert cost us around 2900 rupees. This includes a service charge, so tipping is necessary only if the service staff save the world or do something equivalent while you were dining.
Plot No. 15, 24, 25 & 26, Survey No.64,
Sector-1, HUDA Techno Enclave,
Madhapur, Hyderabad – 500 081
T: +91 40 67282828
This is just a fancy way of saying they are a couple of buildings after Ratnadeep when you are driving towards Cyber Tower.