3Bs – Perfecting Perfection

 

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With Buddies, Bar and Barbecue, the management of ABs takes the barbecue concept one step further – retaining the unlimited starters, doing away with the extensive main course and introducing drinks at enviously competitive prices, they have yet again managed to find the perfect ruse to keep people coming in.

Ambience: Set in the 3rd floor of the same building that houses ABs at Jubilee hills, this place gives the buddies and bar vibes right from the entrance itself. The first thing that catches your eye as you enter are the absolutely gorgeous Absolute Vodka bottles that light up the uniquely done ceiling. Two live counters, spacious outdoor seating, comfortable high chairs and foot tapping music set the perfect tone for an awesome evening to come.

 

Service: Could not get any better. With friendly staff waiting on you cheerfully, it truly feels like dining at a buddies place! Heard they even provide hired valets to avoid drunken driving. Hospitality definitely doesn’t get better than this.

Drinks: Barbecued fruit cocktails sounded interesting, so Chilli Watermelon it was. The chilli hits you hard and good but the Watermelon liquer and vodka just weren’t proportioned right and couldn’t find the mint at all.

Food: 5 veg and non veg starters each, biryani for the main course and a couple of desserts is an apt menu for the partying crowd.

The beetroot and cucumber salad in a glass with a tasty dip in between was novel, crunchy and tasty.

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Amongst the non veg starters, bbq chicken was succulent and definitely the best and the grilled fish was well marinated, light and mildly spiced.

 

Sheekh Kebab though got the flavor right, the meat could have been softer and though the tandoori chicken wings were juicy with a crispy skin, I’d rather prefer messy, spicier barbecued ones anyday.

Veg starters were equally interesting and good especially the dahi ke sholay.

Couldn’t get enough of the crispy corn and the bbqd honey cinnamon pineapple was warm, juicy and epic!

American cheesy potato and grilled paneer were decent.

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Chicken biryani could definitely have been better since that was all the main course offered. It was dry and lacked flavour, the raita however was good.

Wished they improvised on the desserts too rather than sticking to the pastries, gulab jamuns and cut fresh fruits but the pan ice-cream more than made up for the lack of variety.

Unlike most places where the pan flavor is infused into the ice-cream, here it gets the cold stone treatment and biting on huge chunks of gulkhand while gulping down the ice-cream was absolutely sensational. The best part, it isn’t heavy and one could easily gulp down a couple of cups even on a full stomach.

VFM: The prices are pretty decent for the variety and the taste offered not to forget the killer drink deals.

All in all, when getting together with buddies for barbecue at a bar gets tastier and affordable too, you know the restaurant stands true to its name! I couldn’t be happier since it made my 3 hours spent stuck in traffic totally worth it (the things I do for food!).

Rating: Food – 4.0/5 (Keep the starters coming, main course and desserts need variety)

Experience – 4.0/5 (Since I’d prefer a quiet place to a loud one any day)

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Morning Coffee

The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce – Oliver Wendell Holmes


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Most people I know who profess perpetual love and loyalty for the morning cup of coffee happen to have the routine instilled very early on in their lives. Well, I’m not one of them. Despite being a morning person and having a tea-aholic dad, morning beverages never interested me. The occasional cup of tea/coffee was had either as a respite during exams or to calm down a bad headache and the coffee invariably was of the instant variety – the kind that tastes nothing like what they claim in the ads. More often than not, the coffee would go down the drain (when mom wasn’t looking of course). I would prefer a strong ginger tea to instant coffee any day!

 My earliest memory of filter coffee  is from the kitchen of a dear childhood friend. The enthusiasm with which their family geared up for the ritual and how religiously the decoction was prepared and the coffee served used to amaze me. Still remember the first time I caught the scent of freshly brewed coffee and how involuntarily I inhaled in the richness a little bit more with each breath. I couldn’t help wondering what would it be like to taste something that smells so heavenly. After politely declining the coffee offered a couple of times, I decided to try it one day and though it wasn’t bad and tasted so much better than the instant kind, the bitter aftertaste somehow marred the experience. (I later realized that my friend loved her coffee really strong). Got used to having an occasional cuppa after that, sometimes at restaurants, tiffin centres, friend’s places, each time hoping to find the taste that I imagined in my head. There were times when I used to wonder why we couldn’t smell and taste with the same organ! (That’s perfectly normal by the way, those of you with doubts, kindly consult a foodie friend). Tried my luck at numerous coffee shops too and till date haven’t been able to fathom why those humongous cups of frothy tame liquids called cappuccinos and lattés (which look totally cool by the way) are so sought after!


My first cup of authentic filter coffee was at Saravanabhavan while we were en route to Kanchi from Chennai in March 2012. We stopped by to have a late breakfast and I can still vividly recollect how enthralled my senses were that the taste finally matched the aroma and the way the richness of the coffee lingered on for a couple of hours. So refreshing it was, I felt the day actually began the moment I finished that cup of coffee (not exaggerating). Luckily, a few weeks later, a couple of friends and I had to treat our favorite teacher, he picked Minerva Coffee Shop (Himayathnagar) and effortlessly I found the best filter coffee place in Hyderabad. (A brimming cup of fresh filter coffee at the end of an early breakfast at Minerva deserves a separate blog in itself!) Apart from the awesome filter coffee my sister’s MIL makes, (that coffee twice a day makes my visit to Bangalore all the more worthwhile) coffee at home was still not happening (I now wonder why!)

A few months back, while I was taking a shortcut to home from work (trying to make the 5km drive even shorter!), the distinctly rich aroma of freshly ground coffee beans from a nearby CCD outlet caught my attention and on an impulse  brought home my first batch of coffee powder (60:40) along with the filter. As my clueless parents watched on in dismay at my never before seen display of dedication in the kitchen, I set out on brewing my own cup of that perfect golden liquid. My woes seemed never ending for nearly a week the decoction was either too light or too bitter or somedays it just refused to trickle down! Finding the right proportions of milk, sugar and decoction to get the desired frothiness and taste and maintaining it at that temperature (trickiest part!) took another week. One fine ordinary day, my perseverance paid off and I brewed my first steaming cup of perfectly balanced filter coffee – The joy is inexplicable!

Holding the hot cup in hand (especially in winters), taking a moment to relish the aroma and sipping the liquid while leaning on the balcony wall and gazing at the world waking up around you is one of the simplest pleasures of life. A good cup of morning coffee awakens my senses, gives me time to introspect, contemplate on last night’s dreams (yes,I do that) and cheers me up the whole day. A self brewed cup of strong morning filter coffee isn’t just a daily routine, the lingering aftertaste sets the standard and raises the bar for everything else I taste/feel that day and that’s what makes it so special.