Zuci, Hyderabad

Zuci (SHU-CHI) is the brainchild of Aparna Gorrepati   she is trained from the finest institute s of France and Belgium and has been a chocolatier connoisseur for almost 12 years.  While the place specializes in exquisite handmade chocolates, it is not limited to just those.

This new Chocolaterie and Boulangerie in Hyderabad offers products that are result of a decade of experience.  Zuci offers an exquisite range of artisanal chocolates, cakes, pastries and baked treats.

My visit to Zuci was an extremely special one, it was the first place I had visited post 96 days of lock-down. The safety measures were being followed, the staff was limited and the dine in was controlled making sure the seating is limited, to maintain social distancing

Italian Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows at Zuci, Hyderabad

Hot Chocolate  
If you have been following my page you know how I love my share of Hot chocolates, Hyderabad offers a fair share of incredible Hot Chocolates and I am happy that I can add Zuci’s gooey and sinfully delicious Italian Hot Chocolate to my top 3 favorites, add some marshmallows and it will move over to top two. In this monsoon, I have already had this decadent drink thrice and it’s a must try.  

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Assorted chocolates with Cappuccino at Zuci, Hyderabad

Chocolates  
My first experience of Zuci was biting in 70% Dark chocolate ball and it was so fine that I immediately requested for a box of assorted chocolates packed.  Their range of chocolate include Soft Centered, rich creamy filled ones to cocoa rolled Truffles, cream and nut infused Pralines to hand molded nutty Chocolate Bars hand molded nutty Chocolate Bars.  
My top recommendations: 70% Dark Chocolate, Rose Truffle, Roasted Almond, Milk Chocolate Truffle, Maple Pecan and Mango Chili.  

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Deconstructed Tiramisu with Chocolates and Espresso at Zuci, Hyderabad
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Strawberry Vanilla Cake & Citrus Rind Berry Cheesecake at Zuci, Hyderabad

Desserts 
Luscious (fresh) Chocolate Éclair, Citrus Rind Berry (creamy) Cheesecake, Strawberry Vanilla Cake and Tiramisu. The four desserts we tried came with burst of absolutely different flavors and felt like a well deserved treat of not being able to have desserts for so long, every bite I took, I relished it, letting my taste buds savor the taste and my mind register the experience. I cant pick a favorite because all four them are quite different and absolutely worth digging in (more than once)  

Avocado Toast with Iced Americano at Zuci, Hyderabad
Chicken Steak in Mushroom Sauce, Lasgane, Mushroom Soup (L- R) at Zuci, Hyderabad

Food 

Iced Americano with Avocado Toast was incredible, they source their coffee from Roastery coffee house, which is already a favorite and this healthy option is a burst of flavor and refreshing choice.  I absolutely relished the chicken steak with creamy mushroom sauce, i gorged on to every bite with an absolute delight. I also tried Gnooci (they prepare it house) and Lasagna, it was surprisingly wonderful to know that most of their sauce just like their breads and chocolates are made in house. 

Breads  
My time in Pondicherry has introduced and educated me to some of the finest breads, I may not be an expert yet but I can say I have developed a sense of what I like and have a better understanding of a bread should be, like they say, if you had the best you can never settle for anything less.  
I really liked their cheese and caramelized onion Sourdough bread, crusty on outside and chewy inside; I highly suggest you consume it within a day or two. The other highly recommend bread is their garlic herb Baguette which I tasted fresh out of oven and it blew my mind on how perfect it was.  
Must try:  They highly recommend (and so do I) their in house Babka, the cake whose origins are like Central Europe and is quite popular in Poland. It combines the richness of hazelnut and chocolate, and when warmed slightly melts in your mouth and keeps you coming back for more. 

Where Zuci Chocolates – Cafe, Desserts

Plot no: 1359, Road No:45, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.

*** I do not in any way endorse stepping out until necessary, In case you do step out please wear you mask, sanitize and maintain social distance, if you do plan to dine out, please understand the staff is as concerned for their health as you are, so follow safety measures for yourself and people around you.Love
Satpreet Kaur

Prego, The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace


Prego has been one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Hyderabad since the very beginning, the pool side dining on special occasion or just craving for the cheesy thin crust pizza, it has always satisfied my Italian cravings. Prego at the Westin Hyderabad has always kept things interesting, food festivals, guest chefs who sing as well as they cook, live cooking sessions, hosting events where guests turned to chefs and now with their all new menu, giving yet another reason to dine here.


The basics of pizza, risotto, pasta stay same but it’s the twist in them that makes the new menu at Prego interesting. Over a quite Monday we visited the restaurant to enjoy some of the new dishes.


We started off with choosing some wine to accompany our meal while enjoying the prego garlic bread the signature accompaniment. The first dish presented to us was ‘Ages of Cheese with Parmesan Crackers’, four types of cheese melted together leaving with a captivating taste, I it was blast to show the best of Italian course coming my way.

Next came a miniature of ‘Pizza Ortholana and Pizza Polo Picante’ the thin crust pizza , Fried Ravioli made from pizza dough and filled with Caponata, Sautéed Prawns which was served with thin layers of bouget that complimented the buttery garlic flavor (I love anything that has garlic and this very dish is something I am coming back for very soon) very basic but buttery and perfectly.


In main course we tried the Spinach Ricotta Ravioli which is the twist to the old one, Chicken Parmigiana, Baked and Marinated Sea-bass that was sweet and sour, two types of Gnocchi in a bowl and the best of the lot Black Rise Risotto with Mascarpone, creamy texture that will bind your taste buds for a quick sojourn to food heaven.

There is so much more on the menu, including desserts, while we were stuffed to soul chef got us a not so small portion of Chocolate Stones with Parmesan Ice Cream and I sinfully dug into it without any guilt.

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Center Point, Nagpur

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I was visiting Nagpur for work and even though it was for just two days I was looking forward to get a taste of the city that is famous for its food. After asking some friends and family I choose to stay at highly recommended – Hotel Centre Point, located in the heart of ‘Orange City’.

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The hotel gives you easy access and is centrally located, be it business or pleasure. With 135 rooms & Suites, 3 Restaurants and 15 banquets, Center point Nagpur is great choice for weddings or big conferences.

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The experience at the property was exceptional in terms of food and hospitality, each member of the staff is extremely warm and makes sure your stay is comfortable and you are pampered with the best. I stayed in a Deluxe Suite that has an exclusive dining area, sofa seating in the living area, 2 washrooms and a separate bedroom and a powder room. Luxurious and spacious rooms that made every bit of my stay a relaxed one.

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Bougainvillea – Just as the ‘Bougainvillea’ flower is a favorite to many who fall in love with its cheery appearance and brightly colored petals, the atrium style restaurant offers buffet for breakfast and dinner. A weekend brunch is a lavish affair but so is their breakfast spread that includes everything from Indian to continental, juices to coffee, yogurts to cheese, I went for the local delicacies like tarri poha which is a must try when in Nagpur.

Meeting Point– The all-day dining at Center Point Nagpur offers an array of cuisines that thoughtfully prepared. This iconic restaurant, with its wide range of dishes offered in their À la carte menu and chef puts his finest of skills to suit taste of every guest. Paired with mouth-watering food they also offer a range of beverages and follow it with our sought after desserts for a wholesome experience.

With little time on hand, i couldn’t explore and have a taste of local cuisine. When i shared the same with chef and his team, they arranged a lavish gastronomy for me, in my room. Every meal at Center Point, Nagpur was a delicious one but this stole my heart. I got a taste of ‘Kacha vangyache bharit’ ‘Besan cha Jhunka’ ‘Aloo vangyachi bhaji’ ‘Saoji chicken’ with Jowari ki bhakar and two types of thecha (lal ans hirvya) i was so happy i got to taste all of it and it indeed made my visit to Nagpur a successful fun.

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Freakk – An all-day Bistro offers a contemporary feel and natural light, setting up a cozy, comfortable mood, they offer coffee deserts, savories and combos but what I tried was the blue tea, I love the fact that throughout the property they use jaggery powder instead of sugar.

Banquets – A banquet to hold a high-level social event such as a conference or wedding with utmost comfort; Hotel Centre Point offers you the perfect choices. With event planners, the very best in audiovisual equipment and catering service, these spaces can hold up to 2000 guests comfortable

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Maison Perumal , Pondicherry

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Maison Perumal is a 130-year-old family mansion dating back to French colonial times in Pondicherry. The heritage property is immensely influenced by the local culture and details of it can be seen in its design aesthetic to a great extent. It took them over a year to restore the building and refurbish it with a studied attention to detail that its former owners would have been proud of.

Inviting courtyard

At Maison Perumal they believe in ‘less-is-more’ philosophy, that is reflected its minimalistic interiors that are adorned with a spare style, yet pay much attention to detail. Stained glass offsets the familiar local white plaster in a telling example of creating a distinct identity. It is how Maison Perumal celebrates its special heritage. 

On arrival the lungi clad men welcome us with a jasmine garland and escorted us to informal reception area, where we checked in and enjoyed our welcome drink (lime and ginger drink) while soaking in the beauty of the cosy courtyard that was filled with a subtle aroma (i assumed it was lemongrass)

Tamilian hospitality and French architecture

 It’s in the details that the property steals your heart, though minimalistic in décor the details get your attention like no other. The stained-glass balconies at the hotel offset the familiar white plaster of local houses to create a distinct identity while the period furniture at Maison Perumal symbolizes a simplicity and elegance that was characteristic of prosperous Tamil households of yore. Again, in deference to tradition and their own obsession for the novel, the rooms at Maison Perumal are fitted with the famous ‘Dindigul‘ locks & keys, reputed for their antique and intricate designs.

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Rooms: The property has 10 rooms and has a very intimate vibe that helps them serve their guests in the best way possible. All the members of the staff are warm and well aware to guide you, be it about the food or local recommendations. The architectural character is deeply rooted in Tamil culture, with a whiff of French colonial influences. To be a guest in a gracious Tamil home was once an honoring experience of a very high kind. In those traditional times, a guest was perceived as a member of the household and treated indulgently. It is this special experience that CGH has successfully recreated at Maison Perumal.  Staying here you can experience a simple and relaxed way of life that echoes the elegant guest traditions of Tamil Nadu with a gentle French accent, which together make for a truly ennobling experience. 

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Food: At Maison Perumal, you can encounter a true local food experience, be curries with best of south Indian spices, or best of local sea food, as in all CGH Earth properties, locally grown produce – from yams to okra and drumsticks – is given pride of place on their tables. Even a plate of exotic pasta gets a carefully crafted local makeover with tiny prawns, fish, chilies, garlic and chef’s unique mix of local spices. We would definitely recommend you to try their Vazhopoo Vadai which is a banana flower pattie, Era Podi Thooval that is tossed in Lentil Prawn that is full of flavors and in chicken try their Kozhi Idicha Masala which is cooked in crushed spices and masala, and in dessert go traditional with their wonderful Payasam 

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Curated experiences– CGH properties are all about experiential stays, they make your visit worth your effort not only by hosting at their mesmerizing properties but also by organizing experiences that gives you a peak into the city and its culture in most personal way possible. They offer options like heritage walks, cooking with chef, a tour to AurovilleKolma Art and our favorite – Pedal through time, a rickshaw ride through the by-lanes of the historic town. This again can be organized by the hotel on request, and we recommend you do it on your first day, the whole tour will take minimum one hour, the rest depends on who long you end up taking pictures at each place. This way you will have ample of time to explore more on rest of the days and pick favorites if you want to revisit a place leisurely later. 

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Fab Cafe,  Hyderabad

The new trend on rise is where good old retail therapy ends with a cup of coffee and good food. Just few months after Masaba Gupta opened her first store and cafe- Good Cow cafe, that meets retail and food under one roof, India’s yet another favorite brand known for its quality ‘Fab India’ as come up with their own cafe- Fab Cafe. With immense response in other cities, Hyderabad has seen the launch of its first outlet as part of the Fab India experience center.

The place offers a wholesome experience, you can shop, have a delicious meal and a plus is the kids’ area with staff supervision. You can enjoy your meal while kids are busy playing right in next room. I don’t see how catching up with friends and family can get much easier than this for a lot of women.

The café boasts quaint interiors, with full focus on menu. Just a look at it made me happy, it had familiar options with refreshing combinations. Fab Cafe

I began with the cold brew, with almond milk and loved how I have a healthier option, as I can’t help reduce my caffeine intake, this at least will be guilt free. Everything on the menu, I noticed as I ordered was a healthier combination of familiar food. Fab cafe focuses on offering gluten free and health friendly options of quick snacks and beverages.

The ‘Almond Fig smoothie bowl’ along with the ‘Berry Blast Shake’, came first from the all-day breakfast options. The crunchy topping of muesli, layered with fruits followed by gooey smoothie was outrageously delicious. I have always been a fan of smoothie bowls, they are eye pleasing and surprisingly nutritious bowls of goodness! This in particular was satisfying and it’s something you can have any time of the day to keep those hunger pangs away. They have flavors like Mango Mint, Peach Cinnamon, Chunky Monkey and lot more you can choose from. We also tried the veg option of ‘Ajwain Croissant Breakfast Sandwich’ which also has a non-veg variant with egg and bacon. A little to try in taste for me. They also offer options like Pao with Veggie Bhaji, Red Rice Uttapam Trio, Matter Paneer Stuffed Paratha with Cashew Cheese and Idli with Tamato Naryal Chutney and Sambar.

In appetizers we tried the ‘Spicy Sprout Filled Pani Puri’ simple yet innovatively done and comes with three flavors of water- Pomegranate, Pineapple and mint, ‘Tandoori Tofu Rumali Tokri’ another outstanding dish that is crispy shell stuffed with spicy tofu, served with mint chutney and cashew cheese. It was flavorful and I loved the whole crispy and soft combination in each bite. In Non-Vegetarian we opted for ‘Chicken Momos’ that are gluten free, made with jack fruit flour and root starch, served with garlic chive dip and chill chutney that nicely brings out a scrumptious flavor. The showstopper for me was however the ‘Kaleji Masala Dip with Chips’ it is spicy liver paste seasoned with south Indian spices and served with sweet potato chips. Every bit was a winner and I highly recommend this one.

Of course, I wasn’t leaving without trying out the desserts, especially when it comes with guilt free tag. I ordered for a ‘Baked Strawberry Nolen Gur Cheesecake’ that has a crumbly almond flour crust, sweetened with nolen gur, and topped with a scrumptious strawberry compote, ‘Himalayan Organic Honey and Walnut Tart’ another favorite dish for the day is made of almond flour, drizzled with honeyand gur, and tastes heavenly (especially with a cup of cappuccino). it was relaxing, intimate and the food.

While focusing on nutrition, the menu brings delicious, unique and creative recipes to the table at moderate pricing. They also have a range of slow-pressed juices, tea, coffee and coolers. The place is aesthetically pleasing ambiance, basic dishes with a healthy spin, that’s what the new ‘Fab Cafe’ is all about.

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Love Fashioneatista

NH 2 Food Trail by Marriott Hyderabad

Get on highway of taste with ‘NH 2 Trail’ a food festival curated by Hyderabad Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre. The food festival showcases food from streets of Delhi to cafes of Kolkata.

The effort that went behind the conceptualization is commendable. The team lead by Chef Aungshuman Chakraborty traveled 10 days on National Highway 2, stopping at most famous places, tasting food, even trying their hand on recipes, to get the best sense of flavors and what goes in process of it. They covered places like Delhi, Mathura, Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Bihar, Dhanbad, and finally Kolkata, savoring the best each city has to offer.

I was glad to be invited and be part of this food trail, that brought to life the outdoors of Mariott, not only were the dishes an inspiration but the setup, presentation was all given a hint of relatability to where they hail. There were 28 live counters and it took me first 45 mins to just go around, from a foodie point you will definitely need to visit twice before you taste it all, and trust me you will want to have a bit of everything. Apart from special counters outdoors, the buffet indoors will also be a part of the food festival.

From what I tasted I really liked the Chur Chur Thali, Butter Chicken, Malai Kofta, Lamb Chops and other Tandoor Kebabs that included Chicken Mutton and Fish all of which came from Delhi counter. Sattu ka partha with almost five types of chokha sets in perfectly with the weather, also the Litti Chokha that’s made right in front of you is proper winter food that’s so hard to find in Hyderabad.

Even when i wanted to take a break, i went for Puchka and Jhal Muri begging them to give me smaller portions. Inspired from streets of Kokata, they got the flavors just right. More from the state were steamed and baked Momos, Hakka noodles and Egg and Chicken Rolls.

Sweets were delightfully from the world famous Mathura, it has everything from Petha, Peda, Imarti, Jalebis and my favorite Malpua that comes topped with rabri, just thinking of it right now makes my mouth water.

Choose to have cocktails from special drinks menu, masala chai with Nankhatais or lassi because it’s not just food that will leave you spoilt for choice but beverages too.

They had so much more that I still wish to try, Parthas, Chole Bhature, Dahi Bhalle,Samosa Chat, Chaap both veg and non veg. Undoubtedly Delhi counter stood my favorite and also most recommended to begin with, but make sure you have ample of time and a good appetite for it is going to be one big feast.

It is one of the best food festivals of 2018 in Hyderabad and i would recommend you to take your family and friends along, as there is no better way to experience an array of dishes form different parts of the country, all at one place. I for one, am sure many travel memories are going to resurface and nostalgia will accompany throughout the evening of good food and ambiance.

Where: Okra, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre
When: 14th Nov to 1st Dec for Dinners Only & Sunday Brunch
Price: 1800/- plus taxes for Dinner
2300/- plus taxes for Sunday Brunch (with alcohol)

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Love Fashioneatista

Brunch at The Square, Novotel

 

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The Square at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Center, is especially popular for its Sunday Brunch but I decided to go for it today since i was at the hotel for a meeting. Having heard so much about the place, I have been here for dinners but never lunch. This chic and friendly restaurant and its AL fresco area has quite a welcoming vibe.  Executive Chef Gaurav Malhotra joined us for lunch talking about the new live station additions to the brunch counters and upcoming food festivals at the hotel.

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The brunch menu has a lavish spread consisting of revered regional classics to contemporary international highlights, from counters that stocked variety of reads, cheese, salad there was a special counter of grills that I loved the most.

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While most of it came on table, I always enjoy going for a quick round, around the spread picking some breads, choice of salad, maybe (definitely) a piece of dessert too.

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Being a weekday it was quite laid back and I enjoyed the relaxed ambiance of overlooking lush greenery, letting the monsoon air soothe me while I enjoyed every delicacy that came my way.

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A sinful assortment of desserts, along with a selection of wines and beverages, are the perfect complement to revered regional classics and international delights.

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Opening hours: Daily – 6:30am to 11pm
Address: Novotel Hotel Road, Near Hitec City, Kondapur, Hyderabad. Ph: 66824422

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Ayana Fort Kochi

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Kerala has attracted travelers, explorers and traders from all over the world for centuries, drawn to this slice of tropical South India by spices, Fort Cochin (Kochi) is the one of the best place in Kerala for a rich multicultural experience.

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The fort Kochi area has its own quaint charm, It is buzzing with tourists, but each at their own pace – this part of the city has a ‘homestay’ in every corner! I chose to stay at  ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ for a lot of reason the main being its prime location. One of the biggest delights of Fort Cochin is just wandering and exploring the atmospheric old streets, the mosque, the synagogue, temples and churches, the colourful houses and shops in Jew town and the picturesque Chinese fishing nets and soaking up Cochin’s colourful history.

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Boutique hotels are on rise in India, they are the perfect combination of creativity and luxury, without missing out on comfort, the rooms are spacious and inviting; it is affordable yet high class. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a luxury boutique hotel with  16-rooms that showcases an ideal marriage of history with modern luxurious comfort. ‘Ayana Fort Kochi’ is a 200-year old courthouse that has been meticulously restored and then renovated to its rightful glory. The hotel and its surroundings take you on a trip down memory to centuries old history. This element of old and new, existing side by side is evident in each area of the hotel.

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With large public spaces, the property lends itself well to showcase art and the Ayana team endeavors to make the hotel a platform to build awareness towards Indian contemporary artists. The hotel’s monochromatic black and white palate lends itself to the striking artwork showcased throughout the property.  Ayana’s commitment to promoting Indian artists is clearly visible as you walk through the hotel, currently they house paintings from established artists such as Amitabh Sengupta and Dhiraj Choudhary, as well as many budding artists, displayed all over the property.

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Luxury Suite: I wasn’t expecting a big room considering the fact that it was a boutique hotel, but to my delight i stepped into a spacious room which was a welcome surprise. The interiors of my room, just like the rest of the hotel was tastefully done and looked elegant and classy. The team has paid minute attention to each aspect of the interiors. Perfect blend of designs and striking colors define Ayana Fort Kochi rooms. The checkered floors have been created using traditional Indian cement tile and give a sense of colonial charm to the entire property.

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The room has a theme of black and white that created a soothing contrast and in addition to it was a splash of blue to add some color. It had a queen size bed with comfortable mattress and soft pillows, a sofa with round table and lounge chair facing television, just beside the huge glass doors that led to a cute and compact balcony that overlooked the street below and also gave a view of port with ships leaving and arriving.

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Food: Ayana places a high priority on food and offers fresh local produce and authentic flavors. One can feast their senses at a stunning restaurant, ‘The Old Court’, overlooking a private garden. It offers a sundry menu based on organic vegetables and only the freshest local catch. The rooftop café has been designed in an Art Deco style and is filled with the exotic fragrance of the Raat Ki Rani tree, growing wild across the area. It was too hot and Humid for me to have a meal here so i choose the old court for my meals or ordered in room. From south Indian to Italian there is nothing they miss out on, however i would suggest you to go local, enjoy the appam with stew, masala dosa, prawn curry, fish and eat your heart out, because once you are back home you will be craving every bit  of it.

Experiences &  Activities: The hotel is equipped with a roof top pool and a fitness suite –that offer mesmerizing views of the sun and sea.  From attending a rooftop yoga class to sculpting the body with strenuous work out at the gymnasium or just cooling off at the roof top pool, Ayana provides for all modern-day luxuries in a very historic setting. In keeping with the luxury component, Ayana is one of the few hotels in Fort Kochi offering a full-service gym.

The hotel also offers curated activities and guided tours for guests based on their preferences and choices. I enrolled myself for an evening of  Kathakali, Kalaripayattu a traditional dance performance and a Backwater tour which is a mandatory thing to do when in Kerala.  They also offer a spice tour and a fishing tour.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

 

Must Do, Must visit – Fort Kochi

The Jew Town area of Fort Cochin has many traveler orientated restaurants and cafes with mixed menu of all the Indian, Chinese and Western traveler favorites and you can also buy fresh seafood and street food along the shore by the Chinese fishing nets.

Pepper House Cafe serves light lunches, drink and snacks in the cute courtyard setting of the waterfront heritage property. It includes a gallery, art studios and event spaces. i love the store, that stocks some really made in India brands for clothes, quirky jewelry, books, bags and even perfumes.

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Pepper House, Fort Kochi

Qissa Cafe a cafe walking distance from any touristy spot in Fort Kochi  and whips some really good french toasts and coffee, i spent hours here, people watching, reading books and reordering iced coffee. They also like many places here promote local artist and talent and you can always buy something as a souvinear to take home.

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Kashi Art Café  is one of the most popular place for coffee, breakfast or lunch served in their courtyard surrounded by art work from local artists.

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Try: Because of the abundant supply of spices and medicinal plants Kerala is the home of Ayurveda, an ancient, natural healing science that has been practiced in India for over 5000 years. Fort Kochi is a perfect place to try a relaxing Ayurvedic massage at a spa or hotel. I skipped the luxury and went for a local center- Ayurville a walking distance form my hotel and a traditional ayurvedic session, they have oils that are made in house, you can choose depending on your concern or skin type. If you don’t concentrate on the ambiance, this place is great for a traditional massage and will leave you relaxed and lighter. I could feel it with the strokes on my back, pressure on the scalp and not to forget the stretches of arms and legs. it was a great experience and i am so glad i visited this place. If you plan to visit, make sure you take a prior appointment, they also offer long term therapies where you can go for several sessions depending on your concern.

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Watch a Kathakali Dance – Kerala’s famous traditional dance form dates back to the 17th century and is as enchanting as it is unique. The colourful, elaborate make up and costumes and incredible facial expressions provide a fascinating experience, although its probably better to opt for a touristy performance as traditionally the performance can last for many hours and can be hard to follow at first. The Kerala Kathakali Center has nightly performances where you also see the make up being applied and get a demonstration of the different, subtle but fascinating movements and facial expressions.

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Chinese Fishing Nets – On the shore at the tip of Fort Cochin these huge spider like cantilever contraptions are the iconic emblem of Cochin. These impressive nets are a legacy from Chinese traders from 1400 and require at least 4 people to operate.  The Chinese fishing nets are at their most photogenic at sunset and, even though modern fishing methods and a lack of fish here have made these nets mostly redundant, you can still see them in operation and even try it yourself (they will ask for money of course!)

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Pardesi Synagogue and Jew Town – The small but enchantingly beautiful over 400 year old Jewish synagogue in Fort Cochin features a small exhibition of paintings describing the role the Jews played in Cochin and beautiful chandeliers and tiling. The synagogue is right in the middle of Jew town and the bustling, colourful old port area, one of the most atmospheric parts of Fort Cochin, many of the old spice warehouses are now shops catering to tourists selling spices, antiques, nick nacks, colourful shawls and handicrafts but it’s still a nice place to wander and a great place to shop for souvenirs.

To read all about my stay at the beautiful Ayana Fort Kochi, click here

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Love Fashioneatista

Westin Hyderabad- A Wellness Staycation

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A warm welcome at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Planning to get away for a relaxing break that is good for your mind, body and soul- without the cost and efforts of jetting off abroad? Then a ‘Staycation’ at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace is just the luxurious break you need.

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Heavenly bed at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Sleep Well – Their rooms bring together a composed refuel of the body and mind, the Sleep Well program helps you replenish overnight and leaves you well rested for the next day. Their heavenly bed under the sleep well program provides restorative sleep at its truest. The award winning Heavenly Bed is uniquely designed with plush, pillow-top construction for a relaxed sleep.

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Room at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

With the exciting Hyderabad city skyline in the background, I enjoyed a complete relaxing 2 days.  The Taipei carpets, lotus headboards, and full menu of activities and services that helped me meet my travel goals at comfort of my city. Whether its productivity, fitness, relaxation, or simply wellness of being, everything is available right at the hotel premises. I however preferred soak in the monsoon showers and views of the bustling technology district from the privacy of my balcony accompanied with pakoda’s and masala chai (thanks to the Chef Rajiv, who made this special arrangement possible)

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A special masala chai at privacy of my balcony at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Eat Well- Westin offers a very unique Culinary experience, their Eat Well program is a mélange of a healthy lifestyle with nutritious foods, energizing juices and smoothies that keep the guests maintain their best. My breakfast options were super healthy and super tasty, from gluten free muffins to exotic mix of smoothies and juices they had it all. it was just a great way to give my body a break and perfect detox.

 

While i opted for a healthy breakfast, i planned to take a culinary trip around the world without leaving the hotel. The Westin Hyderabad Mind space offers unique dining experiences that will delight even the most discriminating palettes. From traditional Indian dishes of the Northwest frontier, to the vibrant flavours of Italy, their restaurants, cafes and lounges showcase the best of global cuisine in inspiring settings. I chose to relax and unwind at Casbah their Mediterranean offering.

Casbah is situated at the elevate lounge of the Westin Hyderabad Mindspace it offers mouthwatering Mediterranean finger food but what i love is the middle eastern ambiance with low seating and arched wall surroundings that gives a feeling of living the experience.  The dishes you must try are the Mezze Platter, Soya Chap, Chicken Souvlaki and Grilled Prawns all cooked to perfection with mouthwatering taste, that will leave you wanting more. The fact that it is open till 2 am in just a bonus.

Another option i tried was the ‘Seasonal Taste’ which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed an enlightening (because i had a really good conversation on food over wine with Chef Rajiv who educated us on so many things)  which included a lot of local fare along with international options. They offer nutritious super foods as well as endless selections of desserts.

Feel Well- Designed to awaken the senses, The Feel Well program offers rejuvenating spa experiences along with services catering to therapeutic massages, cleansing facials and invigorating body treatments. When staying at Westin, a visit to spa achieves complete harmony of body and mind with their signature Heavenly Spa treatment, restores balance and promotes a foundation of wellness that lasts beyond your stay. It’s a sanctuary of wellness, where every touch, sound and scent are carefully designed to revitalize your body and calm your mind. They have specially designed rooms for different treatments. The expert masseuse makes sure of an unforgettable experience right from welcoming you; soaking your feet for a cleanse, once you are settled on your massage bed, after declaring your area of concern, you are just transformed into the Zen mode throughout the treatment. Reliving each muscle of stress and pain, you can feel each cell in your body ease its way into relaxing. The Heavenly spa treatment is a complete experience of mind body and soul that includes massage and stretches. Post your therapy you will be lead to steam room, to let the oil absorb and of course detox. You can choose to go for a normal shower, or just lay back in the Jacuzzi. The treatments winds up with a warm cup of herbal tree and chocolate truffle in soothing ambiance at their post spa lounge area while you share your feedback and have some more me time post your treatment. Heavenly indeed!

Move Well – With a motivation to provide guests a well-designed fitness program, move well offers specially designed workout routines with gear lending facilities and local running maps. Their world-class fitness studios offer active state-of -the-art equipment and all the essentials to power your performance.  The also have In Room workout facility provided to the guests on booking offers a treadmill or a stationary bike at the privacy of the guest

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Gym at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

While i experienced these three wellness aspects, they also have ‘Work Well’ that connects, convenes and collaborates with thoughtfully designed work spaces at the hotel. The program streamlines work experience with rent-able by the hour designed to facilitate along with organised and efficient work stations keeping meeting spaces open and clear. Apart from this ‘Play Well’  initiative brings into focus extended breakfast hours, local activity guide, the guests can explore their surroundings and embark on adventures much like the Westin brand, Westin Hyderabad also promotes wellness in every element of a guest’s stay including the heavenly bed, heavenly spa, Westin workout designated gear which guests can borrow, and the specialty menu with powerful nutrients to energize and fuel the day.

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Seasonal Taste at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

All in all Westin Hyderabad Mindspace  is the perfect place for a ‘Staycation in Hyderabad’, where you can not only focus on wellness, but be rest assured to be pampered to the fullest! The property is also ideal for events, intimate business meetings and extravagant gala functions.

Location: Building No: 15, Raheja IT Park, Hitec City, Madhapur, Hyderabad. Ph:67676767

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Ikea Hyderabad – A Preview

IKEA, the world’s leading Swedish home furnishings retailer opened its doors of its Hyderabad store today for a media review, before it opens officially tomorrow for public. I was lucky to be a part of the preview and get a first-hand experience of the place.

IKEA has been sourcing from India for its global stores for more than 30 years. Its plan to open retail stores in 40+ cities across the country, reinforces its long-term commitment and deep connection with India. IKEA sets out to become a truly unique, meaningful and trusted brand in India, making every day brighter and better for the many people and this dream seems closer to reality today as we wait to see what the Hyderabad store will offer.

The store is 4,00,000 sq. ft. large and is spread over 13 acres in the heart of Hyderabad’s tech hub HITEC City and promises to be a ‘fun day out’ for the family. At present it promises to offers 7,500 affordable, good quality, value for money home furnishing products, all under one roof. The store will remain open 365 days from between 10.00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

The IKEA store in Hyderabad is full of ideas, inspiration and solutions. They have exhibit of 2 full homes that reflect life at home in Hyderabad, besides different room sets based on different parts of the home like bedroom, kitchen, children’s room and living room. It also has a market hall where you can find home kitchen utensils and accessories, textiles, rugs, lighting, decoration, stationary and even live plants.

The store also has a 1,000-seater restaurant, IKEA’s largest and possibly India’s largest restaurant, a café that offers coffee, bakes, frozen yogurt and many more for purchase, a kids’ play area named Småland where customers can leave their children safely. The IKEA restaurant will offer 50% Swedish specialities like salmon and chicken and vegetarian meatballs and 50% local delicacies like biryani, samosas, dal makhni in the case of Hyderabad. The food will be very affordable, for example a plate of samosas will cost Rs. 10/-

What is also fascinating : The IKEA store employs 950 co-workers in Hyderabad directly and 1500 indirectly in services and expects to host close to 7 million visitors each year. IKEA has a non-negotiable commitment to hire 50% women co-workers at all levels in India including forklift drivers and assembling co- workers. It will also come with a strong and affordable service offer including delivery and assembly to help customers who are not familiar with the DIY (Do it yourself) concept just yet!

Verdict: You won’t step out without shopping something, I got candles, cushions glassware, salad bowls and coffee mugs. I would definitely recommend you to put on your walking shoes, because there is a lot of walking and no mid exits. You don’t even have to wait in the billing Que, because they have option of self-billing- make life easy doesn’t it? The products are practical and so well styled, you will get an idea about what product can be styled at which part of the house. I really think the setups and representations is going to give consumers a good idea on what they can do with their space in most practical yet stylish way.

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Dum Pukht Begum’s at ITC Kohenur  

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ITC Hotels are synonymous to the term responsible Luxury, with launch of their latest gem ITC Kohenur it has wooed its guests (and me) with artistic charm at every corner.  The moment you step in, the grandeur of the place engulfs you. The more you explore the more you realize how Kohenur dint just gets its name from the famous Kohinoor diamond found in Hyderabad but finds inspiration for its interiors from different legacies and aspects of the royal city of Nizams.

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Dum Pukht Begum’s

The restaurant offers a regal dining experience, one that needs to be enjoyed in complete leisure, from indulging in delightful aromas emanated from the dish to its flavors that’s spark your taste buds. Set in a beautiful setting, Dum Pukht offers a unique culinary experience that is inspired from the kitchens of begums. The food here is delicately spiced yet packed with flavors. There are two aspects to the Dum style of cooking: Bhunao and Dum or ‘roasting’ and ‘maturing’ of a prepared dish. Herbs and spices play their own unique role in Dum style of cooking by lending their characteristic flavors and aroma to the dish. The slow-cooking of Dum Pukht , pushes the spices, meat and vegetables used to give the maximum flavor and cook gradually in its juices.

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Appetizers at ITC Kohenur, Hyderabad

During my review chef had an exquisite line-up prepared all we had to do was sit back and savor it all. Our meal began with the welcome drink ‘Jamun-E-Sahi’ which was a jamun juice with hint of lemon and chilies. In appetizers I really enjoyed the ‘Dudiya Kebab’ that melts in the mouth just like its non-vegetarian counterpart ‘Galauti Kebab’ For the ones who are fond of lamb must try the ‘Kakori Kebab’ cooked to perfection with flavors of cloves and cinnamon.

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The appetizing dishes at ITC Kohenur, Hyderabad

I enjoyed the assortment of breads, especially the sheermal with dishes like ‘Qasar-E-Pukhtan’ paneer simmered in tomato gravy, ‘Murgh Khushk Purdah’ another aromatic dish that has succulent pieces of chicken. The mandatory try is the ‘Dum Pukht Biryani’, the showstopper dish which is mutton biryani served with curd chutney, raita and mirchi ka salan.

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Biryani at ITC Kohenur, Hyderabad (p.c  Saloni- salt to taste)

Wrapping up the meal we were presented with ‘Khwaish-E-Shereen’ , an assorted platter of desserts that includes Khubani ka Meetha, Badami Kheer &  Gulab Jamun.

 

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Desserts at ITC Kohenur, Hyderabad

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is a place which dazzles anyone who sets their eyes upon it. Set within a picturesque location, Srinagar has got mesmerizing mountains and gardens, along with the highly famed Dal Lake. The climate of the region with its ever famous houseboats, make it the perfect location to unwind and relax.

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

The USP of this property is definitely its location, nestled in a serene apple orchard of Srinagar, away from the touristy hustle of the city, the resort is a destination in itself. With breath-taking views, their in-house activities as well as their on request planning for your entire stay is what makes a visit to Srinagar more than just a stopover.

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Located just 40 minutes away from Srinagar International Airport, overlooking the breath taking Zabarwan Hills and Mount Mahadev, this stunning property offers design with luxury and exclusive comfort. Enjoy features such as Butler Service Swimming pool, Massage, Private villas, Spa and Steam showers.

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Room at The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

All 20 luxury single and double bedroom villas are garden-facing. The dedicated staff is for sure to make your vacation a memorable one. Even though the resort is equipped with all luxuries of a modern hotel, it is the outdoors that that take your breath away. The view of the mountains, the calm and soothing atmosphere, chirping birds accompany you in the orchard turned garden giving you the much needed blissful moments.

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Breakfast at The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Food: The Orchard Retreat and Spa, Srinagar offers four food and beverage restaurants: An all-day dining Restaurant –Flavours, will offer wide range of cuisine across the globe, The Club Lounge, Poolside Nest will offer more of live barbeque and indulge in the culinary wizardry with their Master Chefs, Café by the name Little Bites with an alfresco is an ideal place to enjoy hot beverages or Shesha.

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The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar

Try: spend leisure hours in the orchard gardens over sheesha of your choice and some mouth-watering appetizers right outside your room. Stay at the orchard is all about pampering their guests and turning their cravings into delightful experiences at your convenience.

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Best Burgers in Hyderabad

Nothing says summertime like a big, juicy hamburger. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers have been the go-to fast food items for decades in almost every part of the world. While the hamburger owes its name to the city of Hamburg in Germany, the hamburger, as it is known and loved today worldwide. With multi-national companies giving these burgers an Indian touch, we Indians see many variations in the original recipe but each one of them being mouth-watering in its own way. Here are 10 places in Hyderabad that can bring the world renown delight to your table or doorstep! Also Happy Hamburger Day (28th May) forever.

Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Café
What: Chamorro Burger
Price: Rs.599
With just the ambiance of a mild club, Hard Rock Café is the perfect blend of a calm Sunday brunch and a loud Saturday night. Live music, good lighting and a number of factors make it the most desirable place for a modern-day outing. The service is great and the burgers are just outstanding. The Chamorro burger, in particular, is an extremely cheesy delight with the fluffiest patty ever. It is a heavenly juice burger from the World Burger Tour summer edition of the café.
Location: Ground Floor, GVK One, Road 1, Banjara Hills

Jonathan's Kitchen
Jonathan’s Kitchen 
What: Ham Burger
Price: Rs.450
Located within the Holiday Inns, Jonathan’s Kitchen is a perfect dine-in restaurant and is quite reasonable for the variety of cuisines being served. The staff is polite and the place has a Mexican holiday vibe. It is also very aesthetic for taking pictures. The HamBurger served here is a true delight, loaded with just the original ingredients it brings you the taste of the more original recipe. It has the perfect blend of flavors and is true to its American style. Overall, it is one of the best hamburgers in town.
Location: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Gachibowli

Chili's

Chili’s
What: Southern Smokehouse Burger
Price: Rs.600
Chili’s is the place for anyone who is vibrant, bold and just fun living. With huge screens playing sports or music, a nice audio system to keep you moving and a bar that always looks cheerfully happening, Chili’s is the place to do your weekend right. Coming from the Mexican background, one can be certain that the biggest burgers in town can be found here. The southern smokehouse burger is just the right melange of sweet and spicy. It is a juicy burger with a caramelized aftertaste and is definitely worth the price. The burger is quite heavy and could put a full stop to your meal after.
Location: Opposite Vengal Rao Park, Road 1, Banjara Hills

Deli 9

Deli 9
What: Tex Mex Lamb Burger
Price: Rs.320
With the setting of a small café, Deli 9 is a typically calm and quiet place for a decent afternoon lunch. It is a good place to quietly work while you enjoy some good food. The reasonable prices and a variety of fast foods make it just the right place for a quick snack. However, the Tex Mex Burger is quite a heavy one. By now, it is pretty obvious that a hamburger is a meal by itself but this one tastes best with a good beverage. It has just the right amount of cheese and no vegetable overpowers, which is usually the matter with onions in most burgers (for me). It is a spicy burger and hence has a slight Indian tinge to the taste.
Location: Gachibowli

Burger King

Burger King
What: Chicken Tandoor Grill
Price: Rs.249
The world-renowned multi-national company, Burger King is known for serving top-notch burgers. Usually super crowdy yet offers efficient service. However, ditching the world-famous burgers and going for something Indian turned out very well here. With the original recipe, the chicken tandoor grill is a quite safe experiment for the Mexican and Indian cuisine melange. While the sauces and bun hint the American tastes, the patty is a burst of Indian flavors. It is quite a ride for the taste buds for those who love experimenting and trying something different and new.
Location: Near Lemon Tree Premier, Phase 2, Hitech City

Big Byte

Big Byte
What: Mutton Burger
Price: Rs. 95
With the vibe of a chaat center, this place is usually quite busy but has good food in store for everyone nonetheless. The service is good but the ambiance is a little crowdy. The food still tastes excellent and the mutton burger here is like a variation of the hamburger with a very similar taste. It is like a dupe and for anyone who does not prefer pork or bacon. Found at an extremely reasonable price, the quality still remains very good and it is simply a good alternative to pricey burgers when out with a big group of people.
Location: Road no 1, Dwarakapuri, Near SR Club, Srinagar Colony

GD's Burger

GD’s Burger
What: Galaxy
Price: Rs. 250
When the name of the place itself says ‘burger’, one feels certain that the burgers will simply be amazing. It has the perfect summer feel and has a very picture-perfect setting. It is the place to get a burger by the sunset. Initially, out of all the burgers to pick, the galaxy just sounded like a creative name and concept and indeed, it outdid its name. The burger was delicious and is non-pork eater friendly too. The barbeque aftertaste is the perfect varying taste introduction to the original hamburger. However, the buns can be better flavored as the case with most hamburgers. The other burgers on the menu are also worth trying.
Location: APHB Colony, Jayabheri Enclave, Gachibowli

Burger Point

Burger Point
What: Chicken Burger
Price: Rs. 90
Surprisingly in this part of the city with a majority of Mughlai and Indian cuisine restaurants, a burger place can hardly ever stand out. But the case with Burger Point was different. Although a small place with satisfactory service, there is no denying that the burgers outdo one’s expectations. With a rather Indian taste to it, this burger is quite the delight. It is budget friendly and reflects how every part of our town has its own unique taste to the original hamburger.
Location: 7 Tombs Road, Aditya Nagar Colony, Surya Nagar, Tolichowki

Dirty Burgers

Dirty Burgers
What: Aloha
Price: Rs.300
The minute one walks into this café, it is pretty evident that they feel like this place was specifically made to be a part of a movie. The restaurant is so aesthetic and pleasing to the eyes, it is hard to actually not get completely muffled by the entire vibe of the place. With a variety of burger, Aloha stood out because, well, it had pineapples in it. Pineapples are quite debatable in meals by most people and this just felt like a good experience. But, the taste sure outdid what most could expect. The burger has the most generic, normal taste bursts into confetti when paired with the pineapple. It becomes juicier, tastier and sweeter, on a whole new level.
Location: Central Apartments, Opposite Star Hypermarket, Gachibowli

B Dubs

Buffalo Wild Wings
What: Big Jack Daddy Burger
Price: Rs.650
This sports bar lives up to its name. With sports memorabilia everywhere, it truly is a paradise for any sports fan. To add to this, the place has huge TV screens with consoles with games like Call of Duty and Fifa; it even has its own VR station to delight the gaming audience. The ambiance is hearty and merry, with exceptionally friendly and helpful staff. Known for its delicious wings, Bdubs is definitely the place to go for great food and an amazing experience. The Big Jack Daddy Burger comes in at a price of 650 rupees. With two lamb patties, bread chicken fillet and a savory southwest ranch dressing, this is the burger to die for. The juicy meat is perfectly complemented by the dressing and well-toasted buns. To make this even better, this Big Jack burger is served with a side of onion rings. Great food, staff and ambiance, Bdubs certainly has one of the best burgers in town.
Location: Rd Number 36, CBI Colony, Jubilee Hills

This list of awesome goodness is contributed to the blog by  Hafsa Hussaini. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for more such awesomeness right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @Fashioneatista , Facebook –FashionEatista, for more instant updates on all things Fun Food Fashion… and Travel

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Good Cow Café

The new café on the block, which is the brain child of Masaba Gupta promises to satiate your appetite for both good food and a good coffee.

Cappuccino at Good Cow Cafe

This post made it to my blog almost 3 visits later, the place has a very artistic vibe and somehow ambiance to me matters as much as the food itslef.

Iced Americano and Falafel at Good Cow Cafe

Good Cow Café offers both indoors and al fresco seating, both huge on design. The indoors are more of monochromatic drama full of bright light and cow figures, while the outdoors is a burst of colours, perfect for a summer outing. The place is full of wooden tables; old school benches outdoors, glass windows, book shelves but our favorite parts are definitely the black and white tiled floors and artful walls all around the place.

Grilled Cottage Cheese at Good Cow Cafe

The interiors of the place are done by Masaba Gupta herself. Anyone who is familiar with her designs will see its shadow in every corner of the place from cushions, caricatures, art pieces and even on the menu.

Monochrome interiors at Good Cow Cafe, Hyderabad

A dream come true for any voracious reader who can settle on a comfortable couch and satiate an appetite for both good coffee and books here. It makes for a great outing spot, be it with your friends or family; with its location away from all the hustle bustle of the city you can end up spending hours without even noticing it.

Pizza party at Good Cow Cafe, Hyderabad

The menu is a novel treat at the Good Cow Cafe, while their signature cappuccino that comes with their logo is fast becoming most Instagramable coffee in town, their iced Americano is just as good. For tea lover you have plenty of fascinating flavours but what will catch your attention is the range of special ‘Good cow shakes’ that offer flavours like brownie rocher, classic cheesecake, chilli alphonso mango, cookies and cream and berry merry.

The Wholesome Salad and Iced Americano are perfect summer treat at Good Cow Cafe

Coming to food i start with  their ‘Wholesome Salad’ that is flavorful and delights at every bite; and it makes for a hearty appetiser. ‘Arinchini’ is a crispy delight filled with goodness of carrot, beetroot, garlic flakes, served with tangy sauce on side that completes the dish.  Their thin crust pizza are in for the run of best pizzas in town, you must try their ‘Lamb Pepperoni’ that tastes as good as it looks and for vegetarians the ’Quattro Formaggi’ pizza is the one you will go home thinking  about.  My vegitaraian companions also tried their ‘Falafal’ and ‘Grilled Cottage Cheese’ relishing it with smiles on their face.

Arancini at Good Cow Cafe

The menu doesn’t have desserts yet, but they promise there is lot more to be added in the menu. Something for later right?

Place is brought alive by two talented architect’s – Soumya jagarlapudi and Apoorva Balakrishna 

Location:  Good Cow Cafe, Road No.21, Jubilee Hills.

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