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.

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 read more

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.

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. read more

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.

India: Top 5 Touch Devices

I wrote a list of my top 5 touch devices for a piece called Titans of Touch in the latest issue of BusinessWorld and they edited it a bit to fit their layout demands. Here’s the version I wrote:

And so it is – I find myself with an unlimited budget, and five of my favourite touchscreen devices on the shopping list. I find myself hard put to make a choice – what will I get two of? But then, sanity prevails, and I promise myself I will get only one of each device. And so, without read more

Angels and Demons – Movie Review

I felt vaguely unsatisfied after watching the Da Vinci Code. I have no such complaints about Angels and Demons. It was a solid 138 minutes of unflagging action, with strong performances and really good camerawork and editing.

I read the book long ago and, must confess, found it much better than its better-known sibling, The Da Vinci Code. What is required, like it is when viewing any work of fiction, is a wilful suspension of disbelief, and this work asks for oodles of suspension. The now famous read more