Four Cloud Kitchens to Order Food From in Hyderabad

The Cloud Kitchen concept has matured over time, and now you have many entrepreneurs adopting this model for food and beverages. Here in Hyderabad, we have quite a few delivery only setups, some with ultra-modern facilities, giving us a chance to experience diverse cuisines. Cloud kitchen and home chefs are subjects very close to my heart, as I believe less capital intensive models of food business can lead to a whole crop of successful small entrepreneurs and self-employed persons. As I keep on tracking the cloud kitchen scene in the city, here are a few that caught my eyes in recent times.

Delivered Dishes from Arancini

Food from Telangana kitchens have always been a matter of much debate. I find a lot of pundits claiming that the differences between Telangana and Andhra food are minimal. However, others rightly opine that Telangana cuisine itself is diverse with lots of difference even between foods of different districts. More about that possibly in a different post. Here I want to talk about Telangana Vindu (Call 9494024345) , a cloud kitchen in Begumpet offering traditional food from Karimnagar in particular.

Food From Telangana Vindu

The person behind this kitchen, Malathi Rao is from Karimnagar, and she uses her home recipes to rustle up some really tasty stuff. The Karimnagar style Mutton Curry is spicy (You can ask her to play down the chillies, but I prefer it this way) but there was a nice santolan (balance) in the masalas, and this went famously with some flavour rich Bagara Rice she prepared. The Gudla Pulusu (egg curry) was par for the course, and the slightly dry Kheema (with kalejis and nalli) was unputdownable. Really enjoyed the meal, as well as the traditional presentation in earthenware and saal leaves.


Gudla Pulusu (Top) and Kheema

They also do Natu Kodi, Jonna Rote, Fish and Prawns. Will try more dishes from their stable soon. Good to see local cloud kitchens offering Telangana food, as most of the restaurants shy away from doing it.

Grilled Chicken in Pepper Sauce (Arancini)

There are not too many cloud kitchen dishing out continental fare, and Arancini (Call 7702461100) steps in to fill that gap in the market. The new European cloud kitchen is part of Jus'Gourmet, who are known for their other brands The Indiway and Penang. The stuff they do is extremely interesting. Grilled Chicken in Pepper Sauce (served with mashed potatoes) is the dish which I would wholeheartedly recommend, both as the chicken was finished to the correct texture and the sauce tasted rich and nice.

House Special Pizza (Top) and Blueberry Cheesecake

D Chopra Salad (strange name but the mixed veg salad is very fresh and tasty) with an array of vegetables in it. Blueberry Cheesecake, Sourdough House Special Pizza, Chicken Hot Dog and Lasagne were all very very impressive. If you have a sweet tooth go for their Walnut Brownie. They have quite a diverse menu to choose from, and from the crop I tasted I feel they will do a good job in most of them.

Being in Hyderabad, how can we have cloud kitchens not offering biryani as the signature dish? Love with Biryani introduces a good choice in biryanis, Andhra Pulavs (which are also called biryanis in this city) and other dishes that can be ordered from your homes all over Hyderabad. 

Chicken Dum Biryani

In the preview pack they sent across, the packaging is one of the best I have seen from delivery-only brands. Prawn Ghee Roast Biryani was the one I liked the best among the three biryanis sent, the others being Chicken Dum Biryani and Gongura Mamsam Biryani. Another dish I would recommend from them is Kachi Mirchi Ka Murgh. They also do kababs, Peshawari Murgh, the one I sampled was par for the course.

Kali Mirch Ka Murgh (Top) and Peshawri Murgh

If you are a fan of grilled chicken, look no further. Nitrogrill (Call 8008968272) at Somajiguda is offering some real tender and juicy Nitro Grilled Chicken based on their original recipe, and augmented by the outstanding flavours of their two proprietary sauces - Nitro Sauce and Cheesy Sauce. You can opt for sides such as Saffron Rice, Coleslaw and Large Fries to make it a complete meal. A highlight of the dishes is the very little amount of oil used for their preparation. Again here, both the quality of the chicken and sauce were praiseworthy.

Nitro Grill Chicken

The cloud kitchen has its own site nitrogrill.in from where the dishes can be ordered. The stuff comes in neat biodegradable packaging which is microwaveable. They also offer some delicious Chocolate Mousse which can be ordered alongside.

Chocolate Mousse


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Four New Restaurants in Hyderabad to Visit in Early 2022

I start by wishing my readers a Very Happy New Year. Like every year, 2022 comes in with fresh resolutions, fresh hopes and fresh initiatives. The restaurant industry also is gearing up for bright sunshine, the year will definitely be the end of this pandemic, and the large numbers of hotel and restaurant professionals who had gone through terrible times in the last two years will look up to a lot of improvements starting this year. In this post, I will look at a few cool restaurants which have started operations in the last few months.

Mrs Mage

Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli had hosted a pop-up after a successful pop-up of their new concept named Mrs Mage in 2020.  Mrs Mage, the protagonist, seems to be a compulsive traveller and the pop-up showcased recipes that she has liked during her journey. Some were authentic dishes and some concoctions which has been rusted up exclusively for her at a remote corner. The pop-up showcased these special items. Thus, we have here a kind of global fusion food, with quite a few comfort dishes thrown in. 

Chilli Lime anchovies/Mrs Mage

Happy with the response they had received, the hotel now gave her a permanent place in later part of 2021. The second permanent outlet from the brand after Hyatt Ahmedabad, Mrs Mage is located in an idyllic setting next to the swimming pool,  and the shack-like place has a full menu of delicious and some offbeat food and drinks. On a moonlit cold evening. Jack's Crispy Chilli Chicken, Qianmein Noodles Lotus Stem Fritters, Steamed Chicken Bao, Chilli Pork and Marina Beach Kothu Paratha were some of the dishes which appealed to me.  Mrs Mage Parfait and Bombe Alaska are desserts not to be missed, with the table theatrics coming as a bonus.

Marina Beach Kothu Paratha/ Mrs Mage

Would recommend this place for a quiet dinner with some good cocktails (the whisky lover me tried Whiskey Sour and Old Fashioned). Nice food, great ambience and affordable prices.

Mrs Mage Parfait

The second new restaurant I am quite excited about is Anna Native, a new place in Sainikpuri, Secunderabad’s new buzzing locality. Serving dishes from the South Indian states they impressed me both with the presentation and taste of food.  I was very impressed with the fact that Chef Ismail had worked on the presentation of the dishes, adding table theatrics for some of them, but had not moved away from authenticity of most of them. 

Anna Native

The Kodi Bonda Soup was light but tasty, with chicken bondas served on top mounted on a stick. Anna Native Potlam Biryani is their take on MLA Potlam Biryani, it has an assortment of meat and seafood along with rice tucked inside an omelette.

Kodi Bonda Soup (top) and Sabudana Vada /Anna Native

Gollichina Chicken Wings, Sabudana Wada are some of the dishes which can be savoured here, while Chicken Chettinad served with appams, Guntur Chilli Prawns, Gongura Prawns and Ghee onion rice are some more items which deserve special mention. Me, a diabetic had to watch while my wife feasted on the desserts Junnu and Mango Delight - both of which were super as per her.

Anna Native Potlam Biryani

Another new place in Secunderabad, Soul Fine Dine-by The Butler has opened up in Park Lane, offering mainly Continental food with a touch of Mediterranean too. The 50-seater affordable place offers a set menu of delicacies, running up-to five courses. Loved quite a few of the offered dishes from the menu of the day including the Chicken Quiche, Carrot Celery Soup, Lebanese Chicken and Pannacotta. The outstanding dishes were Pumpkin Parsley Soup, Red Snapper in Butter Garlic Sauce and the Apple Pie

Soul Fine Dine/ Lebanese Chicken

The place also has special menus and promotions from time to time like a special French menu for two weeks in October when a French chef was visiting, a Duck special in December and so on. So look out festivals here. The owner Chandan is an extremely enthusiastic person and knows his food, and we can definitely expect from him more surprises from time to time.

Quiche / Soul Fine Dine

Ohri's Ming's Court, one of the most popular Chinese restaurants located at Basheerbagh (which we have been visiting since ages) now has a new outlet at Ohri's building, Banjara Hills. The place serves Pan-Asian delicacies apart from the Chinese it is known for. The original restaurant has quite a lot of loyal customers in the city and is buzzing all the time. So a new branch in a different location was warranted. 

Ming's Court Banjara

At a menu preview, we tried out a few dishes from here - both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Balinese Grilled Fish was the star of the evening. The Thai Green Curry, Red Pepper Lamb, XO Prawns and Chicken Gyoza were the other dishes of note. Burmese Khau Suey is another dish here not to be missed. They also have a range of Sushis and dimsums as well as, the latter served in a basket with a choice of various condiments. 


Naughty Girl Sushi Roll (Top) and Dim Sum/ Ming's Court



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Swadhin Bharat Hindu Hotel: Pice Hotel in Kolkata with a Legacy

“Pice hotels” are legacies from pre-Independence days in Kolkata. The budget eateries got their name from the fact that in early twentieth century full meals could be had here for one paisa. Though today the same does not hold true, these are rice and curry joints (known as “Bhater Hotel” in Bengali) where you can get fantastic Bengali meals at a very affordable price.

The pice hotels perhaps were one of the first to define a-la-carte food – each of the items have to be ordered separately. If food is served in a banyan leaf, and water in an earthen pots, then even these have their prices, so too the wedge of lemon if you want it.

There are quite a few such hotels all over the city of Kolkata, but some of them are particularly well-known, either for their food or sometimes even for their rich legacy. Swadhin Bharat Hindu Hotel, tucked inside a lane near College Street-MG Road Crossing is one which is known for both these. 

The hotel was set up in 1913 by an Odia migrant Man Gobinda Panda, catering to the large student population looking for affordable meals. Initially this place was called Hindu Hotel as it was located close to Hindu College, but after independence the owners renamed the place.  Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was a student of Presidency College nearby. He used to be a regular visitor here and used to love the food here. Later in life, many of his secret meetings planning for freedom struggle were held here. Of course, since then the hotel has changed its location.

Topshe Fry

I was in Kolkata and went looking for this place with Sudip, a friend of mine from Hyderabad. Google Maps took us to a no-frills place close to College Street crossing with a small board. Inside there were about ten marble topped tables, and the place was quite neat and clean. It was around 12:30 and hungry customers were already halfway through their meals.

Chara Bhetkir Jhaal

The white menu board hung close to the counter gave us the list of all items available. There were six vegetarian items and eleven types of fish dishes (around nine varieties of fish) as well as dry and wet items of mutton and chicken. 

Boal Macchher Jhol

We started with Shukto and Muro Muger Daal with rice. The first serving of rice costs Rs 20, whereas subsequent smaller helpings are Rs 5 each. The daal was paired with Topsher Fry, a fish we do not get in Hyderabad. Loved the dal and the crispy fish fry. The other option available was Musurir (Masur) Dal. A list of vegetarian items on offer can be seen in the pic.

Mangsher Jhol

Next, it was fish time. Boal Machher Jhal and Chara Bhetkir Jhol were our choices. Both the dishes tasted similar with chopped potatoes in the curry. Frankly, these were not that special. The best for me during this visit was the plain vanilla Mangher Jhol, this was so so good. Aamer Chatni was a fine way to end the meal.

Aam Chatni

The bill for all these for two people came to Rs 780. Had a chat with the current owner Arunangshu Panda. He told us that till today they strive to offer the same quality of food, and they care a lot for hygiene in the restaurant. In fact the premises were quite clean and the service prompt.  After a heavy and nice meal both of us left satisfied.



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Readymade Momos from Prasuma now at your doorsteps

I have been fond of momos ever since my younger days. Those days the dumplings from Tibet and Nepal were not as popular in the cities as they are today. Availability of momos in Kolkata where I grew up were restricted to a small hole in the wall place called “Hamro Momo” (if I remember correctly) between Elgin Road and Exide Crossing (known as “Chloride” those days). The momos there came with a fiery chilli chutney and a thin meat soup which was divine.

As I started travelling to the mountains, I had more chances to try out momos, with different shapes and tastes. Ladakh to Himachal, Nepal to Sikkim and North Bengal, you have these beauties everywhere each with its own twist. As time passed, they travelled downhill to the plains with even small towns having their own momo places. Initially in Hyderabad, there was this small place Anne’s Kitchen in a lane next to Paradise. Now of course, there are many more choices.

Enough of rumblings and rememberances of this old man. What I want to talk about today is readymade momos at the convenience of your homes. If you are not adept at making momos yourself do not sweat, now there are options available where you can just give last touches to momos already prepared for you. Prasuma a company with a few decades of experience in meat products has come out with its own range which can be prepared in a jiffy and enjoyed or served to your guests. The momos are easy to “finish” – you can either heat in microwave for two minutes, steam them or pan fry with a little oil.

One thing I liked about these momos are their thin wrappers. Often when you try out the momos outside you find the dough cover quite thick. Here the wrappers are lightweight, and made using some Japanese technology as stated by Prasuma. The fillings are of moderate but adequate quantity. Each packet is accompanied by a Momo Sauce, a nice chilli based dip, though I would have liked it to be a bit fierier, as you get in the hills.

Coming to the flavours, they have the original plain vanilla versions as some adapted ones closer to the palate of people in the plains. My favourite was the Cheesy Spicy Veg, with the melted cheese, corn and veggies giving it a special taste. The Original Chicken version is again very good, much resembling the chicken momos you get in the hills. Then there is a Spicy Chicken version with a bit more zing than the earlier one. Somehow I did not quite dig the Chilli Prawn momos, maybe my expectation was a bit different.

Prasuma also has Classic Mutton and Original Pork versions which I have not tasted so far. At a friend’s house they did the momos in an air-fryer and the taste really turned out to be brilliant. If you want to prepare some dishes from the momos, you have some recipes available at their site (www.prasuma.com). The momos are available at major outlets as well as through food delivery apps.




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Restaurants Reopen and New Menus Are In

September and October has seen restoration of quite a bit of normalcy in the food and beverages sector of Hyderabad. Many of the old restaurants have reopened again much to the relief and joy of their loyal customers. Footfalls have returned to quite an extent, though it still has a bit to go. Some restaurants have launched a new menu to attract new customers. And what is most redeeming is the fact that many new restaurants have opened up to replace some of the casualties of the recent turbulent period. The green shoots of food festivals were also seen with couple of star properties introducing them for the festive season.

Of the few places serving cuisines of all the South Indian states in Hyderabad, Simply South by Chef Chalapathi Rao is definitely one of the most prominent. I have been a fan of multiple dishes here like Kamju Pitta (Quail), Peethala (Crab) Iguru, Kodi Koora and almost all the constituents of their Veg thali. The place had been temporarily closed ever since the start of Covid, and I was very happy to know from Chef Chalapathi Rao that they were reopening from September 10th after a long hiatus. A couple of days later I was invited for a meal here by Chef where I could taste some of the popular dishes after a long time.

An assorted thali mostly of non-vegetarian dishes from the menu was put together for me, with thali-size portions ensuring that I can taste many items. The dishes were as good as earlier times and I became especially drawn to three of them – Gongura Royyalu (with fresh prawns and chopped gongura leaves and very little spice), Telangana Pacchi Mirchi Kodi (a comfort green chilli laced chicken dish) and Vegetable Stew (with some lovely appams). I also had Kori Gassi (the Mangalore beauty), Chapala Pulusu (a regular favourite of mine here) and Mutton Pepper Fry. The peanut podi and ghee combo with rice was sublime and even the rasam served on the table rocked. Finally, the Badam Halwa somehow reminded me of Badam Kund, a Hyderabadi dish, though the taste is markedly different.

So the place is open again, and all fans can rush there. My order usually is a veg thali with select non-veg sides, but it may also be fun to choose a theme (like a Karnataka or Kerala meal) and order your items based on that.

Farzi Café is buzzing with the arrival of its new menu. Among a comprehensive selection of starters, mains, and desserts, the top draw was the brilliant Karampodi Tandoori Pomfret. Ambadi Fish, Smoked Pepper Chicken Tikka, and Creamy Marine Bisque were some of the other non-vegetarian dishes of note. This time, the selection for vegetarians is huge, with Aloo Snowmosa, Kadak Paneer Sheekh Kabab, and Tofu Medu Vada being some of the highlights. My pick in this section was the comfort dish Sago Pongal served with Paneer Ghee Roast. The presentation of all dishes was brilliant as usual.

Tawa Seared Meen Curry, Gongura Mutton Koora, and Broccoli and Lentil Biryani are some of the other newly introduced dishes.

Turquoise, the restaurant at Le Meridien Gachibowli has reopened with a new menu. At a tasting session, enjoyed the specially curated food put up by Chef Rahul Dutta and his team for the occasion.

Wasabi Salmon Tikka and Rock Prawn Tempura were my absolute favourites. The Mutton Shami and Balsamic Sweet Potato combo also deserve a mention. Vegetarians enjoyed the mushroom version of the shami. A tender coconut-based salad (Tender Coconut Creviche), Lemon Grass Cilantro Dumpling Broth and the dessert platter are some other dishes that can be recommended. Le Meridien has also resumed its Sunday Brunch with different themes in different weeks.


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