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Home Hyderabad Food Pages

Hyderabad Food Pages

Opened about a year ago, ‘The Grand Wok - China Bistro’ is already high on the popularity charts. Started by the new breed of restaurateurs, N. Sasank (from the IT field) and K. Ajay Kumar (from the catering field), it came into being more out of necessity if not anything else. “We did not find any good Chinese restaurant in Hyderabad, so we thought of starting one,” says Ajay. Howzzat for starters! Not just that, to make the visit to the restaurant truly memorable and authentically Chinese, they got everything from the interiors to the cutlery to the lights to even the main ingredients, all the way from China!

A slight twist here is that, since Hyderabadis are known for their spicy cuisine and can’t do without spice even on their pasta, the authentic Chinese food has been tweaked a bit to cater to the local culinary palate. Says Ajay, “You cannot have authentic Chinese; it is very different from the Chinese that our Hyderabadis eat. So we changed it a little bit. We use Himalayan chillies and we also get our main ingredients from China and Thailand.” 

Experience their most delectable Chinese cuisine and classic mocktails all served in the stylish, high-energy bistro. The menu boasts a collection of dishes that are exquisite, authentic, with distinctive and subtle flavours. The interior of the restaurant is a visual treat, fusing modern design with strong Chinese overtones; with a couple of ancient Chinese art works adding to the magical ambience.

So, what makes them so popular? “Our specialty dishes like Lettuce Wrap, Chilli Stick, Dumplings, variety of sea food like squid and lobster, apart from the usual fare”, as he further adds, “Our food is our main USP, the ambience only helps accentuate it.”

How much Chinese food can you really devour? With a whole lot of mei wei (delicious in Chinese) food in front of you, the answer is rather simple. A lot!

Leading you down to their menu, here are a few samplers. For starters, try the Hunan Tofu (fried Tofu tossed in delicious spicy Hunan sauce) in the vegetarian section and Tai-Pei Chicken (chicken marinated in spicy sauce, deep fried and tossed in sweet and spicy sauce) or Tamang’s Chilli Chicken (soya flavoured spicy chicken dices), Crispy Konjee Lamb (crispy fried shredded lamb tossed with Konjee sauce) or Sichuan Fish (crispy slices of fish in Sichuan sauce with stir fried vegetables) or Orange Peel Prawns (tossed with hot chillies and fresh orange peel) in the non-vegetarian section. For crab lovers, the Sichuan Crab Cake (crab cake cooked in spicy Sichuan sauce) is a must! Nothing says ‘signature appetizer’ quite like the Chicken Lettuce Wraps, draped with chilli soya and honey sauces! Accompanying soups that would complement the starters are the classic Sweet Corn or Lemon Coriander (fragrant and a healthy soup flavoured with fresh lemon and coriander) in both vegetarian and chicken versions.

Coming to the main course, try Tsing Hoi Corn Potato (small cubes of potato and corn served in spicy, sweet and sour red sauce) or Cantonese Style Baby Corn (broccoli and baby corn cooked in spicy chilli sauce) in vegetarian and Kung Pao Chicken (quick fried with cashew nuts, chilli peppers and scallions) or the hot favourite Devil’s Chicken (chicken dices served in a spicy dark red sauce flavoured with chillies and vinegar), Spicy Roast Lamb (sliced and roasted lamb cooked in a spicy black pepper sauce), Ginger Fish (deep fried sliced fish tossed in ginger sauce) and Wok’s Prawns (in a sauce of your choice) in non-vegetarian. Singapore Street Noodles, Dragon Vs Phoenix Fried Rice or Bamboo Rice are good to go with any of the dishes that you would order!

To help all the food go down, try their mocktails like Exotic Fruit Drink (the house favourite and made with cranberry, orange and lemon juices) or the Blue Angel (cool and refreshing drink made from blue Caribbean Curacao syrup and lemonade) or the Strawberry Fields Forever (all-time favourite made with strawberry crush and vanilla ice cream).

Finally, in the desserts; the Fried Ice Cream (a single scoop ice cream wrapped in coconut powder and deep fried, topped with cashew nuts and honey) is hands down the winner, their show stopper and best seller too!

Their Chef M. S. Hanas is from China too, i.e. Beijing. He says, “Localites here like spicy food, so they like more of the Schezwan cooking styles. Here at The Grand Wok we make all three types of Chinese cuisines i.e. Schezwan, Cantonese and Hakka type”. Speaking about some of the most popular dishes and his creations, he says “I even get special requests from regular and new customers to create special dishes for them, which I gladly do so.”

The Grand Wok has an unlimited lunch and dinner concept where you can choose dishes from the menu. Lunch is priced at Rs. 225/- + taxes and dinner at Rs. 299/- or Rs. 375/- (depending on the choices) + taxes, whereas lunch on the weekend is Rs. 299/- + taxes. From September onwards ‘The Grand Wok’ will serve authentic Thai cuisine and have a bar too.
Now you don’t have to go far for an authentic Chinese experience. Enjoy the feel and taste of China at ‘The Grand Wok’!

Chef’s Recommendations’:
Soup:
Grand Wok Special Soup (veg and non-veg)
Starters: Crispy Corn Chilli Pepper, Vegetarian Stick, Crispy Veg tossed in Hong Kong style, Drums of Heaven, Shanghai Prawns, Wok Signature Fish.
Main Course: Beijing Noodles, Bamboo Rice, Devil’s Chicken, Red Chilli Fish, Crispy Konjee Lamb, Pepper Shrimp.
Desserts: Fried Ice Cream, Date Wantons, Date Pancake, Caramel Banana with Ice Cream.

RESTAURANT
The Grand Wok

LOCATION
Banjara Hills

OUR RATING
4 stars

Month: September 2010.

 

The rich grandeur of the cosy place welcomes you with the same warmth as the delicious food does; but sometimes tends to overshadow the food served. You can’t but help admire the huge teak pillars, artwork embossed into the panels, right down to the jute curtain-like drapes - all of which spell South Indian-ness at its best.

Amogh Hampi, a multi-cuisine restaurant that also serves North Indian, Chinese, Continental and Oriental cuisines, specializes in traditional South Indian fare (with the best cuisine of all four South Indian states served with panache here). 

Kalyan Sharma, General Manager, says, “Our ambience and our food is our USP. You will not find other states’ food elsewhere, like ours. Especially, since the taste is authentic to the four Southern states’ cuisine. It is original food and the taste is not modified to suit the locals’ palate.” In a couple of months, their restaurant will also have a bar to boot and also a South Indian food festival that will help showcase the most popular and best dishes from the delightfully different Keralite, Telugu, Tamilian and Kanarese cuisines.

The menu might seem to have too many on its list, but the restaurant's best feature is the ambience. Intricately decorated with colourful tapestries and stone carved pillars the décor is traditional, with a swing near the entrance and ethnic murals on the walls.

While it is an impossible task to list out the dishes from all the four regions, I’ll give you a good picking of all four; so that it would be easier for you when you do go to try it out.

Here’s a quick look at their varied menu, starting with their salads. The Waldorf Salad (a classical salad of apple and walnuts with cream dressing) is a good start; followed by the Hot & Sour Soup (a spicy soup cooked with finely chopped vegetable or chicken). A delectable mix from the South Indian dishes are Hampi Era Varuval (delicately spiced prawns, deep fried); Urlagadda Fry (crispy fried spiced potato); and in the main course - Natu Kodi Pulusu (country chicken simmered in traditional Andhra spices and masala); Kozhi Milagu Curry (boneless chicken cooked in spicy black pepper gravy, a Tamil Nadu specialty); Kori Sukha (chicken cooked dry with Karnataka’s special blend of masala); and Meen Moilee (fish simmered in coconut milk, chillies and curry leaves, Kerala’s specialty). Coming to the vegetarian in the main course, you can try Gutti Vankai Koora (brinjals simmered in gravy of coconut, chillies and tomatoes, Andhra’s specialty); Urlai Roast (baby potatoes tossed with onion and ground spices, tempered with mustard, Tamil Nadu’s specialty); and Kai Stew (vegetables simmered in coconut milk and onion paste, Kerala’s specialty). It could be had with Appam (lacy pancakes made from fermented batter of rice) or Talimpu Annam (rice tempered with curry leaves, mustard and cumin seeds). Ragi Sangati (staple food of rural Andhra households) is another dish that you could try.

If you're not the experimentalist with spices, it also caters to the play-it-safe diners by offering the clichéd Chinese and North Indian dishes.

Some of the dishes from the rest of Indian and their Oriental selection are Vegetable Sheek Kebab (skewered mash vegetables finished in a clay oven); Ronaque-E-Sheek (chef’s special skewered mince lamb cooked in a clay oven); Honey Glazed Chicken (pan fried chicken with Chinese spices and glazed in honey) and Tandoori Lobster (lobster marinated with mild spices and cooked in clay oven) that you could dig into! In the main course here, you could try Sabzi Miloni (home style preparation of hand-picked seasonal garden vegetables finished with cumin); Amogh Dal Makhani (their in-house specialty); Choice of Spaghetti, Penne or Fusili (served with fresh tomato, basil and cheese sauce); Cantonese Chicken (chicken cooked with freshly grown Chinese vegetables); Pan Seared Breast of Chicken (on mushroom and sautéed vegetables served with pepper butter rice and garlic bread); Prawns in Hot Garlic Sauce (stir-fried prawns with spicy garlic sauce); Mache Majedar (char-grilled fish pieces cooked in classic tikka masala) along with Lachedar Paratha, Jona Rotte (Jowar Roti) or Khasta Roti (a crispy bread preparation flavoured with fennel). They also have the usual biryani’s, palao’s, fried rice and noodles; of which you could give Moon Faan (star anise and rice - where one can choose the ingredient - rice steamed with star anise and black mushroom) a try!

Desserts are nothing much to take home; it’s the usual fair!

So, which of the four cuisines’ is the most popular, I ask the GM? To which he nonchalantly replies, “All cuisines are equally popular. The best part is that here you can relax in the evening with the best of ambience and food. With a place that can accommodate 165 persons at a time, we are not in a rush to ask our customers to leave. So they can just sit back and savour the experience.” He further adds, “With our reasonable pricing, a couple can have a decent meal from anything between Rs. 350 to Rs. 500.”

But then how is it different from the other restaurants that serve similar cuisines? He says, “What we serve here, you will not get at any normal range fine dining restaurant, apart from ours. You will get such dishes only at a five-star restaurant.” Why, they even separate chefs for each type of cuisine, so that the best of each is made at all times.

My verdict, a nice place to try out; but the beautiful ambience scores above the food!

Chef’s Recommendations:
Starters:
Kodi Vepudu, Mushroom Koliwada
Soup: Chooze Ka Shorba
Main Course: Royala Iguru, Meen Moillee, Natu Kodi Pulusu, Raan-e-Hampi, Paneer Tikka Lababdar, Amogh Dal Makhani, Jona Rotte, Ragi Sangati, Uluvala Charu, Appam
Dessert: Darsaan, Qubani Ka Meetha.

RESTAURANT
Amogh Hampi

LOCATION
MLA Colony, Banjara Hills

OUR RATING
3 stars

Month: August 2010

Birds singing away to glory, flora and fauna at its best, pictorial lush green landscapes, quietude at its peak with no vehicular pollution! Sounds like a perfect getaway?! Well, you get all this and much more at ‘Aalankrita’, the ethnic getaway and the only 4-star resort and spa in AP, located at Shameerpet, about 15 km from Secunderabad.

Senor Pepe’s Mexican Tex-Mex is one of the few places in town that serves delicious Mexican food and also happens to be the oldest. A decade into running, it is conveniently located on Road No. 2, Banjara Hills. This cosy restaurant offers Mexican food that’s as authentic as any restaurant can get, which is why it is popular with the filmi crowd too!

‘Tex-Mex’ is a term used to describe a regional American cuisine that blends food products available in the United States and the culinary creations of Mexican-Americans influenced by the cuisines of Mexico. The cuisine has spread from the border states such as Texas and those in the Southwestern United States to the rest of the country. In some places, particularly outside of Texas, ‘Tex-Mex’ is used to describe a localized version of Mexican cuisine.

Vandith Reddy, the owner of the comfortably famous place, says, “The USP of Tex-Mex (as it is more popularly known as) is that we have very specific cuisine which is liked by all and it suits the Indian palate. Ours is the only stand alone and truly authentic Mexican restaurant in town. Being a decade old, we have our regular clientele, especially the expats.”

The menu offers a modest range of starters that includes Antojitos or little whims as they call it. The Quesadillas (a folded soft flour tortilla filled with melted cheese and slivers of Jalapeno chillies and choice of fillings) come in a choice of cottage cheese, vegetable, chicken or sea food; whereas in the Flautas (a folded soft flour tortilla filled with choice of filling and deep fried) you can choose from vegetable, chicken or sea food. For the undecided, you could munch into the Fiesta Platter which comes with a sampling of nachos, flautas and quesadillas. Nachos are my favourite and make for a quick take-away meal too, if you are in a rush. The crisp corn tortilla wedges splashed with refritos, melted cheese, chopped tomatoes, onions and choice of toppings are truly filling for a snack! Crumb Fried Maricos (prawns or fish marinated and dipped in a spicy batter dusted with bread crumbs and deep fried) is another delectable fare!

Coming to the soups, I’d go with their Caldo Largo Soup (diced tomatoes and green peppers simmered in a thick cream soup and garnished with cheese) and Sonorese Chicken Soup (cubes of chicken and pepper in a herb flavoured broth soup).

If you have a good appetite, it would be a great idea to hit the starters first and then move onto the main course. In the menu are Tacos (crisp corn tortilla shell filled with green tomatoes, cheese and choice of filling preferably refrito bean), Enchiladas (soft flour tortilla rolled with cheese and choice of filling topped with enchilada sauce and melted cheese), Fajitas (marinated strips of tender lamb of chicken or fish grilled with sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions and spices and served with salsa fresco and fresh hot tortillas) and Chimichangas (seasoned shredded lamb or chicken or vegetable cooked with sweet bell peppers and onions and rolled in a golden flaky fried flour tortilla). But my eternal favourite here or anywhere would be the Burritos (refrito beans with lamb or chicken or vegetable rolled in soft flour tortillas topped with melted sauce and loads of rich creamy cheese)!

They also have an exhaustive menu for Especialidades. You have penne, fettucine, macaroni, diablo and many more in different varieties. For the vegetarians, the Corn and Mushroom Casserole (mushrooms, baby corn sautéed in tomato flavoured cream sauce, baked with cheese and served with garlic toast) would be an ideal choice.

Other popular dishes on their menu include Macho Mam (grilled chicken breasts sautéed with fresh herbs and seasoning topped with melted cheese), Chicken Drumsticks in Salas (marinated chicken drumsticks, grilled and simmered in roasted tomato salsa), Huachingango Vera Cruzano (fish fillets simmered with onions, pimentos, tomatoes in an orange flavoured wine sauce), Pesca Delmar (shrimps grilled and sautéed with tomatoes, peppers in wine flavoured cream sauce), Penne or Fetecianni Alfredo (penne or fettucine pasta tossed with strips of grilled chicken, pimentos onions, in a creamy pepper sauce with melted sauce). Regulars like American Grilled Fish (diced fish fillet marinated, grilled and simmered in a herb flavoured tomato sauce) and Spanish Grilled Chicken (breasts of chicken marinated with seasoning and herbs, grilled and topped with wine flavoured orange sauce) also find their place in the menu. However, their most popular item on their menu card is their special Senor - Pepes Fried Chicken (marinated chicken breasts, stuffed with cheese, deep fried and served with Colarado sauce and garlic toast).

The servings are large and filling (what with all that cheese and beans etc), so be mindful when you are placing the order; lest you’d end up with a wide range and no space in your tummy to fill!

Says Sarathy, the restaurant manager, “Our priceline and value for food is our USP”, and adds, “Presentation also makes a huge difference and we definitely score on that front too.”

There are some very interesting desserts that you would be tempted to try, the more popular ones being Apple Honey Cobbler and Strawberry Cheesecake, both served with ice-cream.

Tex-Mex is ideal for a weeknight dinner with friends when you are just looking at having a sumptuous, yet reasonably-priced meal in a non-crowded setting. They also undertake outdoor catering orders and home delivery for the neighbouring areas.

So, if you are in the mood for some authentically spicy dishes of the Aztecs, you know where to go now!

Chef Recommendations:
Soup:
Sopa De Tortilla (Mexican vegetable soup garnished with corn chips), Sopa De Deldia (tomato flavoured chicken soup with refrito beans garnished with cheese)
Starters: Quesadillas, Flautas and Mexican Grilled Chicken.
Main Course: Enchiladas, Fajitas, Spanish Vegetables with Garlic Toast, Fettucine Fresca Gourmet, Fish Pepper Steak, Camarrone Al Mago De Ago, Taragoan Chicken Breast, Penne Alfredo and Macaroni Pappasitas.
Desserts: Strawberry Cheese Cake with Ice Cream

RESTAURANT
Senor Pepe’s Mexican Tex-Mex

LOCATION
Banjara Hills

OUR RATING
4 Stars

Month: June 2010.

It was one of the first few restaurants that started in the most happening place in town, Madhapur. What was planned as just a desserts place finally turned out to be a fine Euro dining restaurant. Set up by Mamatha Mallipudi and Pratima Koppolu about a year and a half ago, Sweet Nirvana is quite a popular option this side of the town. It has a beautiful outdoor ambience, especially at nights; a three-tiered place of which the lowest level has large white canopies and green grass.

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