Biryani Review – Behrouz Biryani (Multiple Outlets, Hyderabad)

Today, I am reviewing a a biryani ‘PALACE’ I’ve heard about quite often in the past but never really got around to trying…. Behrouz!

Every Hyderabadi knows that if there is one thing that we cannot resist, it is Biryani. We are known for making it, for eating it and for discussing it everywhere we go. So, naturally, I have to do justice to my local heritage. Here it goes!

As usual, we have three major parameters that we are going to judge this by:

  1. Delivery / Service
  2. Packaging
  3. Food

Delivery / Service:

I am particularly pleased to say that their service was amazing. Due to personal constraints, I placed an order four days in advance and I then forgot about it. But they did not. They came on the scheduled date, at the scheduled time and delivered my food promptly. Definitely not disappointed.

I give the service 5/5.

Packaging:

This was the part which I was enthralled about. The packaging was GORGEOUS. I did not know that the biryani box could look better than the biryani itself! Okay, enough gushing. See for yourselves…

I give the packaging 5/5.

Food:

The biryani box came with a generous portion of biryani, a tiny portion of raitha and two gulab jamuns. This satiated my craving for biryani as well as my insatiable sweet tooth. There also was a tiny sachet of cardamom powder which was so delightful.

Starting with the biryani, one thing I noticed first was the delicious spread of dry fruits. The vegetables were scrumptiously fried to the right extent and the tandoori paneer was perfect – crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. One thing I didn’t like, however, and this is my own personal opinion – is that there was far too much dry spice to it. That, I am sure, will be a definite treat for those who relish that kind of food.

Coming to the gulab jamun… what can I say? They were filling, juicy and such a wonderful touch to the end of a lovely meal.

I give the food 4/5.

Overall:

An experience I don’t regret. Good food, great taste and lives up to the Hyderabadi vibe!

Final rating: 4/5
Verdict: Go for it!

Behrouz Biryani Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter, An Awaited Memoir

 

Amidst the lull of three generations lies a tale so splendid that it is sure to awaken our minds and spirits. Such is the story of The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter which promises to show a glimpse into the backward society that we often fail to realize as a part of our own. Set in the backdrop of a tiny village down in the south of India, the book talks about the taboo that surrounds the ‘untouchables’.

Coming from one such family herself, Shilpa Anthony Raj is the first person to recall her own memories and showcase her livelihood from an insider angle. Delving into societal issues such as poverty, discrimination and hardships, The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter deals with some major hindrances that can be related to. Shilpa’s ease and flow make the writing all the more diverse, showcasing a unique perspective towards our societal issues. The writing follows a narrative style that makes the connection with readers more personal.

For decades spanning over centuries, the upper castes have been crudely dominating the voices of those beneath them – thereby forming the main essence of portrayal. As the title suggests, this first person memoir is one of its kind in the way it captures pain without glorifying circumstances. While each minute detail has been painstakingly written to the most realistic possible sense, there are multiple undertones, characteristic portrayals and sequences that surpass the worst that can be left to imagination.

Caught between the world where the burden of suppression looms large and the world of windows where opportunities come through, Shilpa’s has a question of a lifetime. Where does she truly belong? It is the author’s ability to rise beyond the oppression and continue to pursue her passions relentlessly despite the traditional values weighing her down that forms the central theme of the memoir.

Shilpa’s journey of self-discovery highlights the pages of the book and has created quite a buzz right before its release. Expectations are high on this one and they all, I am sure, will be met. The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter is already available for orders since 10th of July, so, you can get the book before it’s launched officially on 28th this month! Block your calendars!

 

Pizza Review: Oven Story Pizza (Multiple Outlets, Hyderabad)

Today, I am reviewing a place I am SUPER excited about. Oven Story Pizza.

I have been WAITING to try this place out for ages. Because I love Pizza. We ALL love Pizza. So, anyway, when I got approached for an honest review, there was NO way I was going to say no. Thus began my Oven Story journey. Check it out!

We have three major parameters that we are going to judge this by:

  1. Delivery / Service
  2. Packaging
  3. Food

Delivery / Service:

I asked for my food to be delivered around 8:30 PM and I got a call at 8:15 to confirm the address. I was very happy with the service as the Pizza was delivered piping hot, with decent quantity of seasonings and was on time.

I give the service 4.5/5.

Packaging:

Whenever I order food, I love to look at the packaging quality. Given the number of Pizza outlets and the competition, especially in Hyderabad, I was enthralled to see how Oven Story would stick out.

The packaging is very cute, just like the store’s name and I thought it was perfect.

I give the packaging 5/5.

Food:

Now, the Pizza! *Drum Roll*. The moment I opened the box, I was welcomed by the sight of the generous toppings and oozing cheese. Definitely no complaints! The Medium Pizza looked quite big, stuffed with toppings and mouth-wateringly delicious.

I ordered the Peri Peri Tandoori Paneer Pizza and I was surely not disappointed. The first slice, I believe, is the make or break slice. As I carefully picked my slice, trying not to let ANYTHING topple, I was in awe.

First bite? Scrumptious.

It was then that I knew that Oven Story is probably the only decent competition to Domino’s (Haters, stay away!) that I have come across. Just one word. AMAZING. I will relish the taste for a long, long time to come.

I give the pizza 5/5.

Overall:

A fabulous experience that made me want more instantly. Oven Story is now the crowned glory.

Final rating: 5/5
Verdict: You Wont Regret It!

Ovenstory Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wraps Review: Faaso’s (Begumpet, Hyderabad)

Today, I am reviewing a quickly growing brand called Faaso’s.

The delight of receiving a food delivery is unmatched. The anticipation when the delivery guy calls for the address, the rumble in the tummy when you know the food is nearby, the excitement of getting to eat something that you hope will be delicious… Every single phase of the above is unmatched. This time, I wasn’t disappointed.

Let me take a shot at reviewing Faaso’s with three major parameters:

  1. Delivery / Service
  2. Packaging
  3. Food

Delivery / Service:

I asked for my food to be delivered around 8 PM and I got a call at 7:45 to confirm the address. The guy delivering my food was extra sweet, very respectful and quite quick too. He handed over the food and I couldn’t wait to begin.

I give the service 4.5/5.

Packaging:

This was the most thrilling part for me. I LOVE the way Faaso’s does its packaging. It’s vibrant, colourful and just makes the food all the more tempting. The wraps came in cute boxes that were so endearing. Bonus points for all that colour and excellent marketing strategy for sure.

I give the packaging 5/5.

Food:

Now, the main part. The Food. I ordered two wrap, one vegetarian and the other Non-Vegetarian. They were both piping hot which complimented a rainy Hyderabad perfectly. The outside was fresh and soft, which was quite a relief given the number of stale and hard wraps I’ve eaten in the past from other restaurants.

Coming to the fillings, they were hot, delicious and melted in the mouth. I specifically loved the Faaso’s masala that came with it.

Definitely an excellent meal.

I give the food 4.5/5.

Overall:

It was a genuinely great experience. I surely didn’t regret it even one bit. I recommend this to anyone who has a flavor for fast food, varied taste buds and / or loves Non-Vegetarian food because these guys surely know what they are doing.

Final rating: 4.5/5
Verdict: Just go for it!

Faaso's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato/

Book Review: If Wishes Were Horses by Tim Hemlin

I just read If Wishes Were Horses by Tim Hemlin which is a collection of short stories. Here is what I thought…

BOOK COVER:

I personally did not find the cover too appealing. It was dull and not catchy at all. I feel like something different can be done too make it attractive.

Cover Rating – 2.5 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

I loved the title. It’s from a famous quote “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” It is catchy and interesting. Makes a person want to grab the book and give it a read.

Title Rating – 4.5 / 5

Theme

This is the first part of a mystery series by Tim Hemlin centered around the character “Neil Marshall”. It has a ‘Richard Castle’ vibe to it from the famous ‘Castle’ series. This book is a gripping tale of an emotionally damaged and financially unstable man whose passion is literature. When circumstances require for him to work for a restaurant an move in with his friend, he finds himself trapped in a sticky situation. This is centered around his friend’s murder and the horses he breeds for a living.

What really shone through was the research and the situations that the author very clearly has thought through thoroughly. It is impeccable and shows the passion that he has towards writing. I really commend him for his skill. The narration is done very cleanly, without even a little confusion and the style of writing is very clear.

There aren’t any major grammatical errors. The suspense is maintained very well throughout the book.

Rating – 4 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

All in all, this was a great read and something I would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in mysteries or thrillers.

Final Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

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My new novel, ‘Twisted’ is now out in stores. Take a peak into the sample chapters and order your copy today at Amazon!

Cake Review: CakeZone, Madhapur

Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. It is no secret that I enjoy food and I am pretty sure that you can relate or know someone who can relate, as you read this post. Why else would you want to know about this bakery, right? 😛

But I am not JUST a food lover.  I also have a humongous, gigantic, massive sweet tooth (As you can tell from my cheeks) and when CakeZone reached out to me for a cake review, I was absolutely delighted. Knowing I had a cake box waiting for me at home in my refrigerator was enough motivation to help me get through my long and boring day.

So, let’s just cut the story and get to the mouth-watering part, alright?

The Outside

My first analysis was of the packaging. I wanted to see how much effort this place put into its boxes. So, that was the first thing I did. Maybe I have seen the best of the best in Hyderabad, or perhaps I am difficult to please when it comes to art and beauty… but the cake box was a huge letdown.

It was just that square box we’ve been seeing from childhood. Plain and boring. Also, it was yellow, of which I am not a fan. Here’s my suggestion to the management. Please try and spruce up your packaging because as shallow and silly as it sounds, appearance really does add a LOT to the marketing strategy. People are attracted to beautiful things and your job is half done when you invest in the outside because that is what people see first.

Make it fancy, make it your own individual style, make it colourful… but mostly, make it stand out.

Rating: 1/5

The Cake

Obviously, this is the most important part. I got a Red Velvet cake because though I have tasted multiple of these before,  I wanted to know what the craze was all about. To be honest, I am not a fan of this flavour which is why I will not mention my opinion alone in this review but will conglomerate the opinions of six other people who tasted this cake (mostly Red Velvet lovers).

Appearance:

On the outside, the cake looked very beautiful. Extra points for that. What lacked in the box, definitely made up in terms of how the cake looked. In a combination of red and white, it glistened within, utterly scrumptious and delightful in the simplest way. I almost didn’t want to cut it.

Rating: 4/5 

Texture:

The moment I put the knife on the cake, it sliced through beautifully, feeling so soft and filled with moisture, just like it should be. It didn’t fall apart, it didn’t crumble and it stayed perfectly intact. The icing remained fluffy and the layers within were beautiful. Overall, it was picturesque.

Rating: 4/5

Taste:

This is obviously the most important factor of a cake. First, the pros. It melted in the mouth the moment I tasted it. It was moist and fluffy. That is one of the best things about a cake.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. However, coming to the cons, I found it highly scented. I didn’t like the taste of the artificial flavour. It also had a strong sense of coconut in it which just didn’t seem right to me.

However, I know that  I can’t base a review of a bakery on just one cake, so I inquired from my friends who have been here and they only had good things to say. Their most delicious cakes are supposed to be the Black Forest and the Chocolate cakes. They sell 1/2 kg and 1 kg cakes for which are customization as per requirement is done. That is the best part. Your cake is tailor-made for you.

Price

I was going through the menu to check the prices out. There are multiple other bakeries that are priced lower than this one and I will say that the price is definitely on the higher side. However, given the customization aspect and the quick delivery, it definitely deserves a try.

Overall

I will recommend this place for you to give it a shot. The cakes are fresh and high in quality.
Here is the address:

Plot 588, Sri Sai Nilayam,
14-15, 100 Feet Road,
Swamy Ayyappa Society,
Jaihind Enclave,
Madhapur,
Hyderabad

 

CakeZone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

If you would like a review of any kind, mail me at shravya.gunipudi@gmail.com

My new novel, ‘Twisted’ is now out in stores. Take a peak into the sample chapters and order your copy today at Amazon!

Book Review: Transitions and Beyond (4) by Inderjit Kaur

I just read Transitions and Beyond (4) by Inderjit Kaur.
While I was expecting it to be like yet another self-help book, it proved to be so much more than just that. Here is what I thought…

BOOK COVER:

I wasn’t very sure what to make of it at first. I found it utterly confusing and weird. But then upon trying to analyse it, I liked how it shows a piece of a puzzle, a direction moving across a cracked path and growth among rubble. It sent many motivational messages to me though I wished it could be represented in a more attractive way.

Cover Rating – 3 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title is perfect. It’s apt for the subject which is about change from a disorganized and haphazard way of living. It also promises of teaching something more than just that. I liked how it sounds.

Title Rating – 4.5 / 5

Theme

The main focus of this novel is how the right way you transition from your existing way of life can drastically change how success comes to you. It speaks about structure, modification and dedication, all of which are essential to be able to move forward from an unclear future. There is immense positive feeling that one derives from the way the author has portrayed these lessons.

Additionally, in order to make it more catchy and memorable, the lessons and motivational guides are split into modules. This is another strong point which makes implementation quick and easy. to elaborate, there are a total of three modules. The first is ‘The Change’ which speaks about exactly that. It highlights some very valuable points about how a person develops a patterned way of living which needs to be altered to succeed. The second is ‘Interventions’ which is more of a self-analysis about the present and the progress. This is the one that contains the most depth and philosophical teaching. Lastly, we have ‘Revive and Renewal’ which is like a refresh button to your own life. It is acceptance, understanding and tolerance.

What really struck a chord with me in my personal life is how the concept of change and stress merge into one another. This was something I could relate to very well. The knowledge derived may not be completely new, but it is, to the most extent, quite catchy and read-worthy. That is the strength of this work.

The writing style is simple, to the point and lacks any major grammatical errors.

Rating – 4 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Though the information is probably something we’ve thought about every now and then, the presentation is excellent and I found the book worth my while. I would recommend this to someone grappling with life or struggling to strike a chord with difference.

Final Rating: 4 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

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My new novel, ‘Twisted’ is now out in stores. Take a peak into the sample chapters and order your copy today at Amazon!

Book Review: Principles of Success by Roopleen

I just read Principles of Success by Roopleen.
In an ocean of fiction, this self-help book shines through.

BOOK COVER:

I like how refreshingly different the cover is, with the title written in a tilted fashion to represent the steps of success. That is how I deciphered this cover, and I really found it innovative. Hats off for this aspect.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

Given that this is a non-fiction, I am not going to rate the title the way I usually do the rest. I found this one apt to the subject and it complimented the author’s intentions perfectly.

Title Rating – 5/5

Theme

To keep it simple, this book highlights the fourteen steps that one needs to take in order to achieve success. Each of these principles is divided into chapters, making this read very effective. I found it quite engaging and since I don’t have the time to complete a book in one go, I was able to read a couple of chapters at a time and still retain the depth of the content. For this reason, I applaud the author. She ensured that each of the steps is clearly distinguished so the reading from a previous session doesn’t go in vain.

Additionally, in order to make it more catchy and memorable, the lessons and motivational guides are split into bullet points. This is another strong point which makes implementation quick and easy.

What really struck a chord with me in my personal life is how the concept of happiness and success merge into one another. This was something I could relate to very well because I’ve often struggled with these two components of life. Somehow, this read eased that stress for me.

The writing style is simple, to the point and lacks any major grammatical errors.

Rating – 5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Though the information isn’t all brand new and is probably something we’ve thought about every now and then, the presentation is excellent and I found the book worth my while.

Final Rating: 5 / 5

Verdict: Definitely Recommended!

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Book Review: Psycon by Varun T

I just read Psycon by Varun Tejwani. What started with apprehension ended with amazement.
Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

I love how the cover has an element of suspense and mystery to it. Darkness is the most intriguing factor and upon first look, it develops in readers a sense of curiosity. Good job on being able to do that.

Cover Rating – 4 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title is a conglomeration of what I presume as psychological and a con based story. It is unique and unlike any other I’ve seen. I like the build it presents of the story,  leading to a variety of guesses about the plot.

Title Rating – 4 / 5

PLOT

This novel falls broadly into the genre of a Political Thriller which revolves around the  IT department, black money and corruption. It builds slowly yet steadily into a massive tale of gripping suspense. It falls rightly into the thriller category as the author has beautifully woven a serious masterpiece.

The infusion of ‘Satyameva Jayate’ with ridiculed patriotism and the intervention of CBI are commendable, to say the least. The story revolves around Prateek and Yashwardhan who constitute ‘Psycon’ in an attempt to get involved in the ruling party’s regime and con their way out with massive wealth.

The writing style is strong with a good sense of language and grammar. It is an easy ready and will keep you hooked till the end. The plot compliments the author’s sense of satire.

Rating – 4.5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

If you are into a thriller of its best kind, then Psycon is the book for you. Pick it up, give it a shot and you are sure to be enthralled. This will be an excellent addition on your shelf. I guarantee it.

It is available both as an e-book as well as paperback and the best part is that whatever royalty the author makes from this book gets donated to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

Order your copy!

Final Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

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Book Review: The Moon in the Sun

I just read The Moon in the Sun by Sanjay Kumar Singh and found it quite refreshing.
Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

I loved the symolism of the novel though I did not find it to be very attractive.  However, the plus points are the strength and the vibe that resonates from it.

Cover Rating – 3 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

My only complaint is that I found the title quite long and difficult to remember. It comes with a byline ‘A novel in the poetry of love, life, soul and wildlife’. I really like how it all sounds though I thought it could have been shortened a bit. The main title is witty, catchy and quite mesmerizing.

Title Rating – 4/5

PLOT

The book is a lot different from most that I’ve read which is why I will definitely give it brownie points. The author is clearly fascinated by the natural aspects of livelihood which shines through the book. The main plot centers on how the protagonist finds his oneness with nature and wildlife.

What really moved me was the interception of the tiger in this person’s life and their similarities which was the underlying factor of the novel. It is incredibly difficult to portray these aspects but the author has done a very good job. It is obvious that he put his heart into it.

Rating – 4.5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

The book is a pleasurable read with interesting scenarios and moving scenes. Do opt for it if you are a nature lover or if you would love to discover how much it affects our lives.

Final Rating: 4 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

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