Memorable Eat-outs in Hyderabad

Hey everyone, apologies for having been missing in action but well, I am back with something fun and exciting!!!

As work takes me to Hyderabad multiple times-I thought why not share with you all some of my favourite meals and places you must check out when in Hyderabad next! Trust me, the food in the city wouldn’t disappoint you even a bit! So in no particular order, here are few of my recommendations…

1. The Food Court at Ikea,Gachibowli- Well, I was damn hungry so the meal here was a good respite. This makes it to my list for the different experience it offered and is worth exploring specially when you have had a hard day shopping!!!IMG_2468

2. Fab Cafe, Banjara Hills-Hyderabad is also lucky to house this gem! I absolutely loved their twist to the mainline dishes. My favourites here include the Tri-Grain Papdi Chaat Medley, Spicy Sprout Filled Golgappa and Chocolate Cake.A5AB1F79-60E8-47DC-AC89-AAA0F1FF2FEA (1)

3. The Glass Onion, Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club, Gachibowli- Truthfully, I have never really had a bad meal here. Each time around, the taste and presentation have been on point. While evenings here are amazing with the golf course in the backdrop, the Sunday Brunch is equally fun and leaves you with much to choose from! On a regular day, I would definitely order the Quinoa Avocado Chaat and Broccoli Cheese Kebab!

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4. Ulavacharu, Jubilee Hills & Gachibowli– It serves authentic South Indian Telugu cuisine and is a good place to taste the local food. However, to be honest I have had both good and ordinary experiences here but the reason for that I blame on poor ordering. So, be very clear with what you want and they would be happy to help!

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5. Exotica, Banjara Hills- I absolutely love their Mughlai and North Indian food. Their Roti Pe Boti and Galouti Kebab are absolutely divine. For me they are among the best for North Indian food in Hyderabad! And to add to that, the ambience of the place is pleasant and soothing!
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6. Sante Spa Cuisine, Jubilee Hills– The food here is made with healthy ingredients without compromising on the taste factor. And for someone like me who is quite conscious of my food intake, a healthy eat-out option is absolutely a great idea!!! Their Valrhona Chocolate Pie with an oat flour base was absolutely heavenly so much so that we ordered it twice and so were the Thai Spiced Fish Cakes!

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7. The Fisherman’s Wharf- Well, this place absolutely has my heart. Ask me why? One of the major reasons is that it quickly disconnects you from the city life and that itself is a super reason to keep visiting this place. Their food and drinks are worthwhile as well but trust me, the vibe of the place pretty much takes you to Goa in no time!

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8. Feast, Sheraton Hotel, Gachibowli- It totally lives up to its name and makes for a memorable feast. The Sunday Brunch is absolutely worth visiting. Take my pro tip, have a light breakfast and then, have a meal to remember and let it be stretched outing!

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9. Yi Jing, ITC Kohenur, Madhapur- This is another top favourite of mine and no matter how many times I have been here, each time around the experience has only been better than before. We swear by Chef Shloke Chhabra’s recommendations and he does not disappoint ever! If you are on a look-out for a quality Chinese meal, this is it!

Here’s wishing you the best meals and experiences in Hyderabad and I look forward to sharing much more with you all!

Love,
Sonali

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Time for Tea Party!

Hey, while it is the best time to be on a vacation right now but there is never really a bad time to have friends and family over, right?

So for those like me who have weekdays packed with work, sometimes hosting lunches or late evening plans may seem tough but I truly reckon the new age way to party is to organize fun and tasteful tea parties. Trust me when I say this that I feel people are still not so exhausted to meet in the evening, it doesn’t require so much effort and you are pretty much going to find this concept as a breath of fresh air.

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Yes, even the present generation can have fun at tea time. So, here are some tips to help you plan your ultimate tea party-

  1. Colour Theme- I always like my main table done up really well so we could fill up our vases with nice flowers- go for pink and white or yellow and white. Else, you could stick to pastels. Make sure some basics like napkins, plates and the like are in line with your colour theme.
  2. The Tea- Make sure you have a variety on offer. Don’t forget that Tea has to be the highlight and why not? There are just so many variations available. However, do not serve something you have not tried before, please! So there must be a house favourite which should be pouring. Then lay out the rest for the guests to try-out and to involve them, this could make for a perfect “DIY” activity. Also, keep the essential ingredients readily available such as Milk, sugar, honey and lemon. When in India- Masala Tea be a hot favourite. Another favourite of mine which got to make the list is the Chamomile Tea. What would be helpful would be to display the Tea Menu!

    Also, you could offer some cooler versions like Iced Tea on the menu as well.

  3. Food Factor- Like any party, you can’t ditch or ignore this aspect even a bit! Here are some of our recommendations:

    -Scones with Nice Berry Toppings and Whipped Cream OR a Pastry Platter
    -Mushroom Quiche
    -Finger Sandwiches (these are done well at most homes)
    -Cookies (a variety here would sure win hearts)
    -Cake (we absolutely love the Victorian Vanilla Cake from The Daily Gourmet and we usually add some Orange Marmalade to it)
    -Chocolate Muffins (again think no more and use the ones from The Daily Gourmet as they are so easy to make)
    -Fries (everyone loves them no matter what the age)
    -Cheese & Crackers
    -Fruit Platter
    -Last but not the least, no Indian Tea party is ever complete without Samosas so this is a definite winner always!

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  4. Dress Code- Well why not? How about nice floral dresses with hats? In case you feel that is a little over the top for you then how about everyone dressing up in white?
  5. Value Additions- Soft Music is a good idea and you can have some tarts or muffins as giveaways for all! And keeping some games which can be played as guests sip on their tea is a fabulous idea.

Pro Tip: There would be lots of used tea bags- make sure you station a small bin to dump them. And, warm water must be available throughout!

Hyderabad-it doesn’t get greener and prettier than this!

Well whether you’re a local or a tourist or visiting for a business meeting- when in Hyderabad besides gorging on Biryani or experiencing the Ramoji Film City or visiting the Charminar or for that matter shopping at Ikea- you must make time to visit the Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club!

The 18-hole championship golf course has been designed by Peter Harradine and truly has it all to challenge a golfer and for the rest, it is a beauty like no other!

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And you need not stress about bringing your own equipment, the club is well stocked to offer a variety on rental and their very friendly panel of coaches shall make your golf lesson extremely fun! Taking to golf has a plethora of advantages- you meet an excellent profile of people, invest in a sport that you can pretty much play for life, spend enough time amidst nature and the list can go on!

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The weekends at the course are extremely busy so make sure your book your tee time or lesson in advance! Also, when at BHGCC- do grab a seat at their cafe which is pool facing and gives you a jaw-dropping view of the golf course and order some tasteful snacks!

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In fact, Boulder Hills is a lot more than a great golf course. It offers venues for your special occasions, whether it is a wedding or a proposal or even a corporate day-out, discuss with them and see them going all out to ensure the delivery is top-class!

Having mentioned about the swimming pool already, the club is also equipped with   squash court and gymnasium facilities.

Now, wait no more and gift yourself an experience like no other!

Pictures Courtesy: Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club

Club Address: Opposite Indian School Business, Beside Infosys, ISB Road, Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Telangana 500032

For the love of Health- Sante Spa Cuisine, Hyderabad

So, while it has been a while since I last posted here, I am extremely excited to share with you, all about a fun yet unconventional dining experience (it’s an all day eat-out) in the heart of Hyderabad, i.e. Sante Spa Cuisine in Banjara Hills. Before you get thinking that there is a spa twist to this as well, hold on as there isn’t but the food here promises to be made with the choicest of healthy ingredients without compromising on the taste factor. And for someone like me who is quite conscious of my food intake but has been travelling quite a bit in the recent teams, a healthy eat-out is absolutely a great idea!!!

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Getting Started- They have an elaborate menu on offer and just because their offerings are healthy does not mean that they have a limited menu! You in fact, would land up spending some good amount of time mulling over what really to order. In the starters, the Thai Spiced Fish Cakes totally won our hearts!!!

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WOW Factor- Well, for a pizza lover, pizza on the order is a must! And believe it or not but most of their pizzas have a Ragi Base! And as you can see our pizza was very colourful and trust me, very tasteful as well!

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Sweet Endings- You have to really love a dessert to ask for a repeat, right? Their Valrhona Chocolate Pie with an oat flour base was absolutely divine!

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Lastly, its not a compact but a rather well spread out outlet with a good vibe to it!!! And we were told the Activated Charcoal Lemonade is a must order as well. You can even buy their homemade healthy cookies…The owner was extremely welcoming and we truly believe much hard work is going in to deliver a very international yet healthy experience! Having said all this, as I have visited here- I am happy that I have been able to get another tick on my- MUST VISIT PLACES IN HYDERABAD list 🙂

Best,
Sonali

The Oasis Spa for an experience like no other!!!

Okay then, some of the finest things take time… Hence, this review is coming now- well, I was in Bangkok in February like many of you already know and a ritual of sorts for me is to pamper myself at the top quality and extremely rejuvenating spot- The Oasis Spa.

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Once you enter its surreal setting, you’re sure to leave behind all your worries and stress and trust me on this, I always feel when I am here that I am no longer in a city but truly in heaven.

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It truly is an Oasis of everything pleasant and positive! The tranquility develops as you pass through the gate into an exotic world of beauty, serenity and pleasure. Here you are in company of a place of lush foliage, wooden bridges and walkways, waterfalls, reflective ponds and private treatment villas encompassed in the arms of ancient venerable trees.

The manner in which you are greeted as if they were only waiting for you (even though they keep quite busy), the welcome with fruits, towel and a drink that follows, then the entire process of ensuring you get the most appropriate and effective therapy taking into consideration several factors- everything is dealt with utmost care and professionalism.

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I am not new to this spa at all as have been visiting it for years but this time around I wanted a loved one to try it for she is getting married soon. And with the wedding preparations comes enough anxiety and stress, so I thought this would be the most ideal spa date and gift for her! And while I shall take you through our treatments, I must share upfront itself that my lovely was blown away by the services and the experience and towards the close of our trip, said without a doubt that the visit to The Oasis Spa was the highlight of the entire trip for her!

While she opted for the King of Oasis Signature Massage which is a two hours massage and ensures utmost level of release, relief and contentment using a unique combination of “East meets West” massage techniques. It employs kneading, thumb pressure, stretching and compression combined with a warm aromatherapy oil massage and a Thai Herbal Hot Compress. Tired muscles are soothed to allow stretching that removes energy barriers and re-open all the body’s energy pathways. Eventually you find relief from stiff muscles and muscular discomfort, and gift yourself improved sleep and reduced stress.

King of Oasis Spa Signature Massage

 

And I this time around went in for the Queen of Oasis Signature Massage which is also a two hours massage combining the best of Eastern and Western therapies to promote a woman’s health and sense of well-being. The ancient oriental massage integrated into this therapy concentrates on the Meridian Lines to detoxify, improve organ function and promote self-healing. The Swedish, Hot Stone and Aromatherapy massage further restores and enhances vitality. It realigns a woman’s life-energy, improves digestion and promotes inner harmony. And you know what? This treatment quite rightly has been compared to doing yoga without the effort while receiving acupressure treatments!

And let me make an honest confession here that the hot stone therapy is absolutely blissful. I also believe that a good spa experience always helps you get some relaxed sleep and guess what? We both woke up totally refreshed post our treatment, still wanting more.

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I always say this and shall say this again- when in Thailand, a visit to The Oasis Spa is a must!!! The Oasis Spa has over 10 branches in Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations of Bangkok, Chiangmai, Pattaya, and Phuket. This is a special year for the brand as it completes 15 years of excellence in 2018!

Happy Spa-ing you all!!!

xoxo,

Sonali

Nailed it with ease and style!

Hey, so finally I am getting to talk all about the wonderful experiences I had in Bangkok lately, though all of you who follow us on Instagram would be privy to all the fun that we had but time to blog it all out too…

So, when girls decide to spend some time on personal care and pampering… nails definitely feature in the to-do list! Hence, we decided to take some time out for our nails and give them a good make-over! So, we headed to the Pretty Cozy Nail Cottage in Thonglor. The name of the place truly gets reflected in its ambience and interiors, for they seemed both pretty and cozy!!!

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This nail spa provides a plethora of services including Classic Spa Manicure/Pedicure, Manicure/Pedicure Spa with Gel Colour, Soak-off Gel Removal, Polish Change, Acrylic Nail Extension, Nail Art, Kiddies Manicure/Pedicure and a lot more.

Here’s sharing about the service we opted for which was a Spa Manicure and Gel Polish Color with Nail Art. For Spa manicure, first, they started with nail clipping and filing, and then scrubbed with a high quality spa product. The scrub we were told helps to remove the dead skin. Then they cleaned and soaked our hands, put some lotion, then pushed back our cuticles which was followed by buffing. Then came in the sanitisation of our hands with alcohol. The last step was to put moisturizer and massage our hands for the much needed relaxation. After the spa was done, they started the process of putting Gel Colour on our nails. Well, choosing the nail colour here was no easy task for their options seemed just unlimited. We were informed that they have more than 180 Gel Colours available from OPI and CND shellac.

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After the nails are properly prepared with OPI Bond Aid (to up the durability and ensure less chipping), they normally start with base coat, then do the colours/nail art, then put the top coat of our choice (glossy, matt, chrome) then finish it off with cuticle oil .

Well, both of us were extremely happy with our nails but what truly impressed us was how meticulously the nails were done and also with much swiftness otherwise I always shy away from such treatments, thinking that the whole day will go in just a salon visit but the staff here was extremely professional and valued our time.

So, when in Bangkok and in search of a quality nail spa- Pretty Cozy Nail Cottage is a good pick and also you would be thrilled to know that they aren’t expensive.
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xo,
Sonali

 

For the love of Good Skin

It is quite well believed that the best cosmetic is great looking skin! Hence, we reckon that one should go deep into the skin-care products we use and lay utmost emphasis on the quality of what gets applied on our skin!

Though I love my basic make-up but I also truly appreciate natural beauty, I mean we would all love it if we could just step out more often in our no make-up look. For if the skin is glowing and radiating- who needs loads of make-up? Anyways, even if we do apply make-up often, there is still no missing on a regular skincare routine.

Up your confidence in your skin by upping the quality of products in your beauty closet.

Now accelerating focus on a brand we came across few days ago and got a chance to unravel more about… Sharing all from our chat with Zahara Gizelle Nedou, CEO, Zahara Skincare. Let me tell you the brand sure looks promising and I am thoroughly enjoying applying their refreshing Spring Scrub and before calling it a day, I love to apply their Walnut Oil on my face and body for some nourishment!

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Q: Tell us the story behind Zahara and what led to the coming up of the brand?
A: My English and Kashmiri grandmothers were my biggest influences, watching them every day make something out of pure recall of what their cultures of parents did-was for a 6 year old almost a miracle! At the age of 9, I already knew what Cleopatra did as a beauty regime and I would fill my bathtub with milk and roses and was very well aware that it would moisturize and lighten my skin! So, I grew up replicating and adding to what I knew about organic skincare. With my diverse family culture and all my travels and knowledge and love for organic skincare regime grew. However, it was not until recently that I decided to commercialize it.

Q: How has the response been so far?
A: Fantastic! I tested my products in Dubai when I first started making them and it was there where I realized what Zahara Skincare is actually capable of and what it can do as an organic skincare company. I came back to India with the same zest and it has been a positive if not a similar response like I had internationally. It is slower but very positive as the awareness of using or switching to an organic lifestyle is still in its initial stages in India. But we are growing as a brand on a daily basis and it’s becoming a really fun journey!
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Q: What is the uniqueness of Zahara products which sets it apart from the rest?
A: I do understand that each organic brand has a few things that sets them apart. At Zahara Skincare, we grow most of our ingredients and harvest them on family run farms across the valley and our very own orchards. We also pay detailed attention that everything is grown chemical-free and most importantly, we are reviving and modernizing traditional beauty regimes and recipes from the Middle-East as well as Kashmir. These are tried and tested methods from the past, which we re-introduce today!

Q: Tell us about the hot buys of Zahara and what makes them must try products?
A: Hot buys would be-
1. Shine Bright like a Diamond- It’s a glow pack with a history of hundreds of years of Kashmiri culture!
2. Spring Scrub- It’s a rose and oatmeal scrub with just the right amount to give you a scrub and a soft rosy glow!
3. The Bow-tox in the Bottle- This is a traditional Arab recipe for removing fine lines and shall plump your skin for that young look.
4. Our rare product “Mulberry Silk Worm Cocoons” that no one in the country has and we at Zahara skincare, have got a raging response for that.

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Q: One unhealthy beauty routine according to you which must be done away with right away?
A: I can sit here and list a million routines that we still practice in India which really aren’t very good for our health or bodies. But if I had to choose the worst according to me, then it would be the constant use of “Skin Bleaching Creams/Products”. Some cosmetic products, including skin-lightening creams contain high levels of mercury.

Mercury is primarily used in skin-lightening creams because it blocks the production of the skin pigment melanin. It can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and very young children.

Q: The healthy home beauty routine which must be a part of our routines?
A: First up, not many people are strict about their water intake, so- hydrate, hydrate and hydrate yourself! If you find it difficult to have plain water, add some lemon or mint or even fruit. Add whatever but have water! Most people don’t realize how water affects a human body.

About the beauty aspect of it, try to reduce the use of chemicals on your skin. Try applying organic turmeric with coconut oil on the face at least 2-3 times a week- it eradicates acne, any toxins or any form of infections that may start to begin on your skin and the coconut oil hydrates and lightens your skin.

Q: What are the future plans for the brand and where can one get their hands on Zahara products?
A: As for now, we take orders and are very efficient on both our social media platforms, i.e., Facebook and Instagram. Just “like us” on either of the pages and send us a message and we would guide you through your skin concerns and offer you a few of our products and BOOM within the next 24-48 hours, our jars of joy will be with you! We will be now available on various other platforms just for the comfort of our clients like Amazon, Scootsy, Sublime Factory and many more. We also plan to be available on ground across the country in many organic/multi-brand stores! And we are even available in Dubai, Oman and New York at selected stores.

 

Well, I can only sense goodness for the brand and being offering by the brand. Here is wishing them the very best, always! And I am almost running to try out their Shine Bright like a Diamond pack!
Best,
Sonali