Friday, July 14, 2017

A Breezy Afternoon through SodaBottleOpenerWala

I have been a huge fan of the SodaBottleOpenerWala restaurant at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon for quite a while. Moving to Hyderabad, I was curious to explore their outlet here. Sometimes multi-city brands dilute over expansion in different cities. Sometimes they change and evolve. So I was all set to venture into their branch in swank Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad and find for myself, how it is. 

I must say I loved the restaurant at first look. The outdoor porch area is full of antique bric a brac with character and colour. Inside, it is a much more spacious restaurant with all the quirky fixtures one associates with Parsi memorabilia. Quaint, black and white family portraits, vintage furniture, hand written menu items on blackboards, a checkered black and white floor, red and white check tablecloths and bright hanging lamps and retro bollywood music(I always end up hearing 'Mannu Bhai motor chill pom pom pom'.  On one side is an entire row of high tables with perched chairs and natural light seeping in through lace curtains for cosy couples who still have the 'looking deep into each other's eyes' thing going. 

Rest of the tables have eclectic seating to choose from depending on your mood and company.With SodaBottleOpenerWala, the Olive group gives you a concept that is unique to India; the dying legacy of the wonderful chaotic, crowded, bustling, colourful, quirky, cluttered, eccentric world of an Irani café. One can only be thankful for  their clever and aesthetic revival of the dying legacy of the disappearing race of these cafes.

SodaBottleOpenerWala is your quintessential Bombay Irani Café and Bar with all its idiosyncrasies in place. It brings with it typical Parsi cuisine, some Irani specialties, pearls that sparkle on the streets of Bombay and signatures from old-world clubs, along with a well-stocked bar - in a fun, quirky and contemporary avatar.
Crispy Corn Bhel

Gwarfali Cutlet

We start with the perky Raspberry Soda that can literally chase the blues away with its radiant redness. I wanted to try something different from my usual favourites. So we start with the Crispy Corn Bhel and Gwarphali Cutlets. Both are such startling vegetarian creations that I savoured truly. The crunchy cheeslings and pomegranate seeds in the Bhel is a nice touch. The Gwarphali inside is soft and firm at the same time with a cheesy and creamy texture and golden-hued crunchiness on the outside. I do try an old favourite nevertheless which is the Kolmi Fry, I think the best dish ever with brown onions as the absolute stars!
Talahuwa Gosht from Hyderabadi section
Hyderabadi Biryani

This SodaBottleOpenerWala also has a special Hyderabadi food section to cater to local clientele and lend the restaurant a distinct flavour. I am told the quintessential Hyderabadis love their staples too dearly to let go of them. Thus from this section, we tried the legendary Talahuwa Gosht and Hyderabadi Biryani. I am reaching a Biryani numbness by now, living in Hyderabad so would say the biryani was fine. Talahuwa Gosht was nice and tender, coated with just the right amount of masala, making it a great bar snack. I was lucky to even try the Anaida Haleem and Irani Haleem which was part of their Gyarah Handi Haleem during Ramzan. The Anaida Haleem, created by noted pop singer of yesteryears exclusively for SodaBottleOpenerwala gets my vote. There are many more Hyderabadi options that I am sure to try in my future visits such as - Marag with Naan, Nihari and Khatti Dal. This time I stick to the eternal Parsi favourite Mutton Dhansak maintains its richness with the irresistible brown caramelised rice.

There is no scope for dessert but we get tempted to share the Red Velvet Brownie and ReadyMoney Cheese Cake Jar. The Red Velvet is a delicious melange of white chocolate and cream cheese, one of the best I have had. The jar has layers of raspberry green tea infused cream cheese, biscuit and chocolate shavings that fill you with wholesome gooeyness. It is multi-layered and multi-flavoured, just like the facets of a microcosm like India, and you come away appreciating and embracing India's rich diversity a little bit more each time!

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