The Wandering Veggie – Hyderabad Food & Travel Guide

Hyderabad is quite well-known for its rich, eclectic culture. We visited Hyderabad a few weeks back, and here is what we uncovered in terms of sight-seeing and food-binging.  We know what you’re thinking – what does Hyderabad, a place with one of the largest non-vegetarian populations in all of India, have to offer us vegetarians? A lot, actually, a lot.

Bawarchi, Hyderabad

Qutub Shahi Tombs

Qutub Shahi Tombs

Day One:

After checking into the awful Fabhotel V (the only thing going for this hotel was its excellent location in Banjara Hills), the first thing that occurred to us was the obvious – let’s have some biryani! We heard a lot about Paradise being overrated, and opted for the highly recommended Bawarchi at RTC. We ordered veg biryani, raita and khubani ka meetha. After all the hype surrounding Hyderabadi biryani, we realised the veggie biryani here wasn’t much too different from the biryani in Mumbai. Khubani ka meetha was interesting, though – the amount of sugar it contained woke us up and boosted our energy to such an extreme level that we were able to venture out to Qutub Shahi Tombs and Golconda Fort.

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Chutney’s, Hyderabad

After an average food experience at Bawarchi, we were absolutely blown away by the delicious flavor at Chutney’s, a chain you’ll see throughout Hyderabad. The ghee karam dosa was absolutely divine. In fact, we have not had better dosa anywhere else. The epic variety of chutneys was also a dream come true. The utappam sampler was also decent, with four options. Avoid their mango lassi and opt for some good ol’ filter coffee.

Charminar, Hyderabad

Makkah Masjid, Hyderabad


Day Two
:

After exploring Old Hyderabad’s gems, including Charminar, Makkah Masjid and Choodi Bazar, while binging on kacchi kairi, we decided to try out Andhra cuisine at Vivaha Bhojanambu – the staff was pretty unprofessional, although the owner was extremely courteous. After a 45 minute wait, we were a bit disappointed with the simplistic, generic veggie thaali. The pudina paneer vepudu and rose milkshake (which the owner recommended), were quite nice, however, compared to the thaali.

Vivaha Bhojanambu, Hyderabad

Concu, Hyderabad

Our next stop was Conçu for some dessert. We heard tons of good things about this place – well, it lived up to all the praise. The desserts were absolutely heavenly and even the peach melba iced tea was fresh and flavorful. The ambience of this place was beautiful, and the staff was upbeat and informative. After a quick siesta, we took a ferry toward the Buddha Statue from Lumbini Park and later stayed for the laser-light show.


We had dinner, over a food review, at The Gallery Cafe, one of the very few venues in Hyderabad which is dedicated to giving budding artists a platform to showcase their talent. We tried out their hummus-pita, strawberry slush ice cream, sandwich, spaghetti, mushroom dish, pizza with mushrooms, churros, hot chocolate out of which the spaghetti and sandwiches were our favourite and the hot chocolate with marshmallows made our day. You can find a detailed review of The Gallery Cafe right here.

Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad

Day Three:

After a very average experience at Ramoji’s, which was quite sad compared to Imagica and even Essel World, for that matter, not to even get to Universal Studios and Disney Land and Six Flags, and let’s not even get into the sad food options there and majority of the food counters being empty, night-time was much more happening food-wise, when we decided to try out two dosa places.

Ram’s Dosa, Hyderabad

The pizza dosa was quite nice at Ram’s Dosa, though not as great as the Mithibai version of the same, and the Erra Karam Dosa at House of Dosa was delightful, though we felt neither place was as extraordinary as everyone made it out to be and we couldn’t understand why people preferred these places over Chutneys. The fruit ice creams were okayish and a bit costly. Someone at House of Dosa recommended that we check the street food at DLF, and the cheese maggie was quite nice, though it wasn’t a special place to venture out to, quite frankly.

If you end up visiting Hyderabad, do comment below to let us know where all you ventured out to and what all you ate. And, if you know someone who is about to visit Hyderabad, go ahead and share this guide with them!

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The Wandering Veggie – Orissa Travel Guide

Odisha has always been a place that has intrigued me – ancient temples, clean beaches (well, compared to Juhu Beach that is!), and a slower pace of life. So, I recently ended up hopping on a bus from Kolkata toward Orissa to put an end to all my curiosity, and visited Puri and Bhubaneshwar. Here are some recommendations, both food and travel-wise, for all your veggie wanderers, in case you are planning a small vacation here. 

Golden Beach, Puri

Konark Sun Temple, Puri

Puri

Places to Visit: I lucked out in my choice of stay – Ananya Resorts. It was just a 1 kilometre walk from Golden Beach, which you must visit. For just 10-20 rupees, you can even rent out a plastic chair to park yourself like a total beach bum. However, don’t spend all your time here, because there are several other places you must check out, including the very famous Jagannath Temple (which is just a Rs. 30 cycle rickshaw ride away from Golden Beach – so try clubbing both together early in the morning, or toward the evening), the majestic Konark Sun Temple (this is THE one place you simply cannot afford to miss seeing), and on the way to Konark, you can spend time at much cleaner and prettier beaches – Chandrabhaga Beach and Ramchandi Beach.

Jagannath Temple, Puri

Ramchandi Beach, Puri

Chandrabhaga Beach, Puri

Tips: So, there are hop-on-hop-off buses (which are very affordable) that leave from Urban Haat, but you’ll need to be there by 6/6:30am. In case you are not able to catch the bus, you can easily strike a deal with an auto rickshaw for Rs. 500-600 to see all of the above mentioned places at your own pace. If you visit Jagannath Temple, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the beautiful bangle vendors near the shoe counter in the evening. If you are venturing out to Chandrabhaga Beach and Ramchandi Beach, then it is not advisable to go alone later in the day as these places are a bit isolated.

Colorful Bangles from outside Jagannath Temple, Puri

Where & What to Eat: While there are places like Wildgrass, Cafe Coffee Day and Dominos to eat at, if you are vegetarian, then you’ll feel most comfortable eating at Amrut Food Court, which is right next to Ananya Resorts. They have a pretty elaborate and entirely vegetarian menu. Also, if you put in a request in advance, they can actually prepare local delicacies for you, like daalma and badi chura. Check-in with them if they can also offer you a special, local sweet, chenna poda.

Bhubaneshwar

Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar

Not as amazing as Puri by any means, there are a few places you can easily cover within one day if you start early, including the following: Lingaraj Temple (I personally didn’t find it too amazing architecture-wise), Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves (totally worth a miss if you’ve been to Mahabalipuram, for example), 64 Yogini Temple (not really that amazing, unless you have a thing for all things tantric) and Dhauligiri Hills (serene, though not too picturesque if you’ve been to other hills in India).

64 Yogini Temple, Bhubaneshwar

Dhauligiri Hills, Bhubaneshwar

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Bhubaneshwar

Tips: A hop-on-hop-off bus will actually take you to even more locations, so it might be a good idea to plan all of this out more thoroughly and in advance. And, most of these buses let you cover both Puri and Bhubaneshwar in the same day! I highly recommend, in retrospect, starting off with one of these buses in Bhubaneshwar and then spending a lot more time relaxing in Puri. However, if you are unable to align your schedule with the bus timings, then you can rent out an auto-rickshaw for Rs. 600-700 to cover the above mentioned places in Bhubaneshwar.

Central Perk, Bhubaneshwar

Where & What to Eat: Mayfair is absolutely gorgeous, and has plenty of dining options. Even their cafe, Teapot, is quite lovely. Mayfair is so extravagant, you could actually just spend an entire day within this huge resort and not run out of things to experience. There are several other restaurants and cafes across all of Bhubaneshwar, but let me advise you against eating at Central Perk 7 – the food is absolutely horrid. If you are a huge fan of FRIENDS, then click a few photos here and venture out elsewhere for your meal.

If you do visit Orissa, please let us know what all you saw and where all you ate by dropping a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!

Food Review: The Gallery Cafe (Hyderabad)

We love it when we stumble across a vegetarian place while traveling, and when that place also happens to cater to artists, we get even more excited. While recently visiting Hyderabad, we conducted a review of The Gallery Cafe in Banjara Hills, which is one of the few venues in Hyderabad dedicated to offering budding artists a platform, whether it be to showcase music, photography and art or other talent forms such as stand-up comedy and poetry – to a certain extent it reminded us of The Project Cafe in Ahmedabad (which is a good thing).

The best dish we tried here is definitely the Spaghetti in Curry Sauce – we loved the idea of adding madras curry powder to spaghetti! It tasted flavourful and unique. The Tomato Basil Soup was decent, and the Corn & Spinach Focaccia Sandwich with fries on the side was filling.

The Funky Veggie Lover Pizza was average, compared to places which specialize in pizza, but if your group of friends are all having pizza cravings, you can consider ordering one to share, nonetheless. The quality of cheese was great, but we would have preferred a better base. The Hummus & Pita was also average – don’t expect an assorted variety of flavoured hummus dip options; it’s basic. Avoid the Stuffed Mushrooms, which are a bit on the dry side.

Definitely indulge in desserts here, for sure, and try out their interesting spread of teas and coffees, by either the cup or the pot! We loved the Affogato and Churros dipped in Hot Chocolate – sinfully divine!

If you are looking for a fun place to read and write out of or to have a fun conversation with friends or want to check out the latest budding artists in action, The Gallery Cafe is your go-to spot in Hyderabad.

The Gallery Cafe is located at 8-2-585/1/B, Road 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.

Food Review: A Bar Called Life

The swanky Villa 69 shut down, and A Bar Called Life opened up here, instead – we were invited to a review session, along with other bloggers, recently. The interiors were not as classy as Villa 69, but we like how there was ample of space to walk around, and that the place transformed into a club after 11pm. Following a philosophical approach stemming from how life changes throughout, the drinks here have fluctuating prices based on what time of evening and night it is (6-8pm, 8-9pm, 9-10pm, 10pm onward). Here’s what we tried –


Beverages
:

Kadi Patta Mojito and Orange Mojito – If you are off alcohol, definitely opt for the Kadi Pata Mojito, which is refreshing and full of flavor!

Starters:


Popping Tarbooza
– We loved the fresh watermelon garnished with peanuts, feta cheese and sauces. Light, flavourful and tasty.


Ram Laddoo 
– The ram laddoos were quite oily and average, worth a skip, for sure!


Akhrot Malai Broccoli
– Quite an interesting concept, we liked the idea of coating broccoli in malai, nuts and cheese, but we also felt if the pieces were smaller, the flavour would be richer and the broccoli would be crispier.


Burrata Kadak Roomali
– This dish was a definite winner! Crisp rumali roti, along the lines of a crisp khakra, sprinkled with masalas like a masala papad, and in the centre a nice serving of burrata cheese and tomatoes like bruschetta – totally addictive to munch on!

Main Course:


Ambarsariya Chloey Kulche
 – Now, while the chhole were yummy, the kulcha was stuffed with too much filling, which clashed with the flavor of the chhole. Perhaps, laccha parantha or plain kulcha would have been more appropriately paired. We liked the baby jamuns paired with it.


Dahi Wale Aloo – The dahi waale aloo, served with churra and kachumber, was decent, but there wasn’t anything unique about it. Perhaps try the dal makhani or sarson ka saag, which are probably more authentic, given the chef is a Punjabi!

Dessert:

Nolengur Ice Cream – Missing this delightful dessert from Kolkata? You can feast on some right here in Mumbai, though they haven’t gotten the recipe quite that right compared to the original source (we are craving some from Bhojohari Manna!).

Don’t forget to comment below to let us know your food and drinking experience at A Bar Called Life.

A Bar Called Life is located at 30 Janardan Matre Road, Near Chandan Police Chowki, Juhu Circle, Juhu, Mumbai.

Feeling Hungry? Top Indian Female Food Instagrammers to Follow (IWD2017 Special)

In honor of Women’s Day 2017, we have decided to spotlight amazing Indian food Instagrammers who are women. These women have managed to take Instagram by storm with their drool-worthy food pics, which will make your stomach growl throughout the week. Have a look at these top female Indian food Instagrammers, and don’t forget to hit share! –

Food of Mumbai / Saloni Kukreja

Food Fashion Party / Asha Shiv

Cookinacurry / Maunika Gowardhan

Just a Girl From Mumbai / Bhavna Kalra

Monsoon Spice / Sia Krishna

Master Chef Mom / Uma Raghuraman

The Gutless Foodie / Natasha Diddee

Saffron Trail / Nandita Iyer

Mallika Basu

Sinfully Spicy / Tanvi Srivastava

Sugar N Spice By Radhika / Radhika Malhotra Arora

Fun Food and Frolic / Hina Gujral

Monika Manchanda

Shweta In the Kitchen / Shweta Arora

Know of an amazing female food Instagrammer we left out? Comment below. Now, you’ll have to excuse us while we go pig out on some delicious food!