Home Archives 2016 September 2

Daily Archives: Sep 2, 2016

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Spa Ceylon’s host of spa rituals will hydrate, treat, purify and soothe your body and soul 

It is never a massage at Spa Ceylon. Instead, it is a ritual – almost sacrosanct in nature and serious about connecting with the guest. The new luxury Ayurveda spa at Road no 36, Jubilee Hills says it is all about bringing in royal relaxation, rejuvenation and healing rituals of Ayurveda, practiced in the grand palaces of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the form of treasured formulae and rituals that promise to ‚hydrate, treat, purify and soothe‘ body, mind and soul.
Talking about what’s different about their spa, Suresh Kumar, the outlet manager who has been into spa therapies for the last ten years and has undergone in-house training in Sri Lanka, says, “We are a beautiful country with a natural core untouched by modernity. We bring in the same to you through our organic and natural products. Be it the authentic essential oils from our tropical island home to the organically grown sun kissed fresh Aloe Vera, therapeutically proven pure extra virgin coconut oil, fabled Ceylon spices, nothing comes between nature and you.”
Therapist Pem greets the guests with a quick ‘Ayu Bowan‘ (may you have long life) and ushers them into the therapy room. The 5,000 sq feet spa has a ten-seater Foot Spa, two body massage rooms and an exclusive VIP couple Spa room.
Maybe it is the stark black decor of the spa or the gentle forest music with flute notes, the trickling water, or Pem’s ‘welcome touch’ gesture where she applies a sleep balm to your temples, the place lulls you into a relaxing standby mode. After the mandatory clean up, scrub and a 20-minute massage, she covers the feet with a black towel only to reveal smooth and happy feet. (Price `2,250 for a 90-minute foot massage).
It is their Royal Kandyan Signature 90-minute body treatment that is the king in the list. The crystal massage on pressure points makes it special, he adds (`4,500).
The spa also has an exhaustive product range comprising massage balms, essential oils, exfoliating bars, shower gels, body scrubs, lotions besides foot care and herbal compress. The 50-year-old brand which has opened its second in the country here treats the guests with a piece of jaggery, fresh cut fruit and ritual tea. Conscious shoppers will love the disclaimers on products – not tested on animals, chemical-free, paraffin free etc that may tempt you to gift their range. The red box with a matte silk exterior packed with the best of their products is something you would want yourself.
Their product range comprises their Signature Sleep Therapy, Range and Peace-Lemongrass, Cardamom Rose, Ceylon Tea, Forest Trail etc, Sensual Sandalwood and a wide range of Home Aroma products and Essential oils. If you love customising gifts, you can pick one for your friend based on her body type. – Vatha kapha etc. Details: 9100555997

—Manju Latha Kalanidhi

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The new Bikram Yoga Center in the city tries to usher in flexibility through its 26-posture package

Bringing back the traditional art and science of yoga back into the city is the US-based Bikram Yoga. Located in the heart of Hitec city, this centre has two hot rooms where the asanas are performed on a daily basis.
Bikram yoga, a four-decade-old concept, is a routine of 26 poses based on Hatha Yoga which works the whole body in 90 minutes. Synthesised from traditional yoga techniques, Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga that uses hot therapy by practicing in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) with a humidity of 40%. The poses work synergistically and cumulatively to return the body to a balanced state. “The postures help one build energy, stamina and flexibility. It incorporates strength, challenge, gravity, balance, and most importantly the tourniquet effect,” says John Nelson, Instructor, Bikram Yoga Telangana.
“The technique allows stretching, squeezing and massaging of the internal organs, flushing out the cardiovascular system and stimulating the endocrine and nervous systems in order to release any deficient hormones and enzymes,” he explains.
All Bikram Yoga classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures including two breathing exercises. The classes are taught by Bikram-certified teachers, who have completed nine weeks of training endorsed by Bikram Choudhury himself. The 90-minute session is divided into three sections – breathing, standing and sleeping asanas.
The session begins with breathing exercises and then the standing asanas follow. The standing postures begin with Ardha-Chandrasana (Half moon pose) and ends with Tadasana (tree pose). Before the sleeping asanas begin, the Padangustanas is a mixture of standing and sitting posture. One of the highlighted postures in this section is the Salabhasana (locust pose).
The first class is free. At the 5,500-sq ft studio, every client is given a mat and towel for use along with accessibility to shower rooms. Open seven days a week, classes are held in three shifts. Timings: Morning 9 am and Evening 7 pm. Details: 65559642

—Nishad Neelambaran

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The ubiquitous traffic junction is the new sweet spot for the high society to drive a hard bargain

e are all at crossroads, literally and figuratively. More so while having to shop for stuff at crossroads at traffic junctions. From tissue boxes to mosquito swatters to clapping monkeys, it can be anything. But the latest attractions are mobile extension-like screen enlargers.
These contraptions are magnifying glasses, plain and rectangular, stuck to a mobile and it literally enlarges images and text. I observed it at the Jubilee Hills check post recently when six dealers steered through busy traffic to sell these gadgets. Within minutes, people haggled and even bought them. It was amusing to watch shopping happening between a red and a green light.
In case you drive around Necklace road or busy areas like Ameerpet, there are roadside fairs and stalls constantly attracting passers-by. They sell flowers, fruits, toys or car accessories but the point is that they sell and we buy. We usually see bike-riders with women as pillion riders pausing and packing stuff into their bags. While the husband awaits green, no one to put a red signal to this veteran shopper.
Drive past the Old City and you may get anything from fresh cut fruit in a Styrofoam cup with a toothpick to kids’ nightwear. An average red light is for about three minutes. We can see, bargain and decide to pull out cash and even get past the place without others honking at us- all within the few minutes. Isn’t that amazing? We in Hyderabad do it with élan. We go home triumphantly with a five- tissue box set for a hundred rupees and feel on top of the world. Can Quick Gun Murugan from Chennai do that? Can Mrs Sen try out something insane like this in Kolkata?

Swapna Sundari
—  The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)

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Sumukhi Suresh promises to make your weekend funny with her wry takes on corporate politics and  pretentious hobbies

Stand up comedy is for sure witnessing an upward curve in the city, what with one top group performing almost every weekend. Comics from different cities have performed in Hyderabad in the recent years. Hyderabadass Comedy Club, the city’s best known funny guys is roping in a girl who came to Hyderabad as a rookie but is now the Queen of Indian comedy. Sumukhi Suresh, who is known as the motormouth Hindi speaking Tamalayali will be in the city for a show after a gap of two years. We find out what to expect from the Nagpur-born, Bengaluru-settled and soon to be a Mumbai-based part Tamilian, half Malayali comedian.
“My journey in stand up comedy began after a heartbreak but has now become my full-time passion,” says the comedienne. She is also a theatre actress, sketch artist and is best known for her improvisation comedy. Previously a corporate employee, she derives her jokes from her absence in the gyms and about her association with the corporate world. Speaking about her performance in the city this time she says, “I would be talking about daily experiences in my life and my observations about people who work in the corporate industry. My jokes will also be on politics, pretentious hobbies, troubles of mum calling you and my growing up in a poor family.”
Drawing inspiration from Naveen Richard, Sanjay Manaktala and Vamsidhar Bhogaraju who pushed her to hit the open mic sessions, she is now associated with popular YouTube channel, Better Life Foundation. The 28-year-old will be heading to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa and Delhi after her performance in the city. She would be joined by Bhavneet Singh, Hriday Ranjan and Toby Thomas. Apart from her performance, Sumukhi is also hoping to spend some time with members from her fraternity in Hyderabad. “Last time I had come to Hyderabad I had to fly back immediately after the show. This time I hope I get to spend some time with the local comedians in the city,” says Sumukhi.
So what does she think of the man of the moment Donald Trump, “A man who makes an appearance in Hugh grants rom coms can be a threat to any nation. Also, I hope he doesn’t win because comedians will definitely run out of business.”
The Live Comedy Show is at Heart Cup Coffee, Jubilee Hills on September 2 , 8 pm onwards. Ticket at `299 Details: bookmyshow.com

— Nishad Neelambaran

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Enjoy the new and improved version of brunch at Okra

A Sunday lunch turns brunch only when there is a holiday mood around, soft live music playing along with exquisite beverage selection, kid’s corner, outdoor cocktail bar along with delicious dessert wall. That is what Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre‘s signature restaurant Okra has lined up. It has revamped its Sunday Brunch from September 4.
There will be live food counters of waffles, pancakes, dosas, salads with a regional cuisine showcased every week. They counters also have interesting names – Chaat Bhandar, Jalebi Kii Dukan, Andaa Pav Bandi.
The hotel has reserved a special play area to entertain kids and a relaxing swim in the pool. There will be fruit beers along with a select collection of margaritas and cocktails. We recommend pork belly, grilled items of corn and meat, chicken pâte & mushroom mousse, Chicken 65, Pandanus Macaroons, Raspberry Gateaux and more other mouth watering gastronomical delights.
For desserts, try Citrus Pannacotta, Pistachio Financier, Vanilla Mousse, Lemon Tart, Macaroon Magic and Raspberry Gateaux. Price for two with alchohol: `4,700++ Time: 12.30 pm-4 pm. Details: 27522999

— Saima Afreen

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Punjab Grill, the new restaurant in the city offers exquisite delights from the region with a touch of exotic flavours

Who doesn’t know celebrity chef Jiggs Kalra? And when his illustrious name is associated with the recipes of a particular restaurant, one is bound to get tempted to dine there. Punjab Grill, founded by the master chef, comes to town.
The master chef may no longer be associated with the restaurant, but it does have his signature recipes. Sample this: Eucalyptus tree bark applied on lamb-ribs chops. This gives the dish a unique flavour which is both mild and mouth-watering. They have more such interesting combination and plush-serene interiors to woo the guests.

The decor
The interiors done in teak and sal-wood lit up with lamps in yellow glow remind you of those quaint Irish cafes with large windows half-draped with cream curtains where you can overlook the pathway canopied with tall trees. The tables have cushioned chairs and the upholstery is in pastels. This combined with polished wood gives a comfy look. There is one small room done in wood especially reserved for private dining. The restaurant is roughly divided in two sides- one where buffet is served during the lunch-time, the other one for a la carte.

The taste
That’s where the restaurant stand outs from other places in the city which promise you authentic North Indian food. Elsewhere you typically get over-spiced, super-oily dishes in loud red colours. The food is mild here with spices and flavours nicely balanced and layered on one another. You can choose from the wide array of items like Chaanp Tajdar, Veg Kurkuri, Hara Bhara kebab, Bhatti Da Murgh, Tandoori Broccoli, Paneer Tikka Multani, Tandoori Pomfret, Butter Chicken, Paneer Jalebi and Litchi Ki Tehri. It’s Chaanp Tajdar that is marinated with eucalyptus tree bark and combined with other herbs. It is called Tajdar (crowned) is because the lamb-ribs crowned with the thin bones look unique. The taste, too, didn’t belie the name.
Says chef Vijay, “People prefer barbecued items here. The challenge is to keep the spices balanced according to the local flavours.”
We recommend Veg Kurkuri – a crispy wrap filled with processed cheese, bell peppers, olive, sun-dried potatoes and mushrooms. The dip of sweet and spicy sauce gave it a delicious taste. We also liked Litch Ki Tehri – a sweet dish of fresh/canned litchis cooked in thickened milk, mixed with crunchy fox-nuts. It tasted somewhat like Umm Ali, an Egyptian dessert. But it was better on health quotient with its fruits and roasted nuts. Those who don’t care about calories can go for Paneer Jalebi, the sweetened loops of mashed cottage cheese – not to be confused with the Bengali Channar Jalebi.

Price and portion
The portions of the starters were decent and sufficed for two. The pieces of Bhatti Ka Murgh, succulent and juicy, were large enough for the appetite. However, Tandoori Broccoli pieces were a bit too large. The management prefers booking from the guests beforehand. Price for two: `1,300++ Time: 12 pm-12 am. Details: 33194169

— Saima Afreen

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An exclusive look at Prost, Hyderabad’s latest microbrewery with rustic decor and a variety of brewed beers

In Prost, which opens to public this Sunday, the city has its first exclusive microbrewery. This brand new place at Road No.45 Jubilee Hills is a popular franchise in Bengaluru and is founded by five Hyderabadis – Teja Chekuri, Harsha Vadlamudi, Vidhatha, Subbaraju and Rajkumar.
Prost reminds you of a grand old mansion with its rustic feel. For instance, in place of a staid reception desk, Prost places an old scooter giving the place an instant quirk. There are two sitting areas outside (which double up as smoking zones). There’s also a foosball table for those who want to have a little fun with a beer.
“People can book this section for private parties. Another advantage is that you can play your own music. There are two speakers and we will leave an AUX cable to groove to your own tunes,” shares Subbaraju, one of the founding partners at Prost Hyderabad.
Of the two floors in the indoor section, on the top most floor is a small balcony for those who want to step out for a conversation and a smoke.
There’s a separate enclosure for a DJ, who will be there every night. There are six types, each laced with different flavour.

Burnt Stone
This is essentially stout beer which is dark, rich and heavy. At Prost, the Burnt Stone is the dark and sweet variation of ale, and is slightly different from your usual Pint of Guinness. `299 for 500 ml pint; `809 for 1.5L pitcher.

Hyderabad Hurricane
A fixture in every microbrewery, this is wheat beer. It’s light and brewed using German wheat, barley malts and a specially selected Bavarian yeast. Smooth and cool, with a burst of flavours, this could well be the most popular drink with Hyderabadis. `289 for 500 ml pint; `799 for 1.5L pitcher.

Rocky Road
This is a fruity twist on the classic lager. Also a wheat beer, this is somewhat similar to Hyderabad Hurricane, except the Rocky Road is even lighter and has a strong (but not overbearing) lemon flavour to it. Still not 100 per cent ready at the time of tasting, this drink is only going to get better when Prost officially launches. Made with premium malts, corn and select American hops. `269 for 500ml pint; `749 for 1.5L pitcher.

Cider Rider
If you like drinking Appy Fizz, then you’ll love this. Made with Himalayan apples, seasonal fruits and spices. A huge hit with the ladies, the Cider Rider is basically like drinking apple juice, except that it gives you a kick as soon as you finish the glass.
`259 for 500 ml pint; `749 for 1.5L pitcher.

Brewer’s choice
This is a special drink made by the restaurant that keeps changing every week. For the opening week, the beer will be made with honey-ginger and will appear red. It’s a wonderful experience as you search for different flavours with each sip. Strongly recommended.

Red Alert
This is the classic English ale. It is copper coloured and is brewed with four different malts and zesty hops from Kent and Suffolk. It‘s different, pleasant and easy to drink. Those who enjoy Ale would love this drink. `289 for 500ml pint; `809 for 1.5L pitcher. Details: 23556236

—Suhas Yellapantula

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What to make of the microbrewery trend in Hyderabad

kingfisher, Millers,Tuborg, Hoegaarden will soon be a passé as beer aficionados in the city will get a chance to relish freshly brewed ale thanks to the microbreweries that will dot the city soon. Besides HyLife Brewing Company that was opened last month (on Road Number 36, Jubilee Hills) and Prost (on Road Number 45, Jubilee Hills) that will open its doors to the public on September 4, Heart Cup Coffee is also set to come up with a brewery at their Jubilee Hills branch. Tabeer Osmani, director of marketing, HCC who is looking forward to opening his brewery in 30 days, says, “Since we got the license we got cracking.”

long wait
While the business of microbreweries started catching up in 2009 in Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Gurgaon, it gathered momentum in the city this year after the government agreed to grant the licenses. Kedar Selagamsetty, the owner of the first microbrewery that came up in the city Hylife Brewing Company, says, “It took me one year to convince the government to allow microbreweries here.” Interestingly, Telangana is one of the largest beer producing states in India and around 6,500 lakh cases of it are sold every year, including three crore in Hyderabad itself.
Enough variety
“Previously, I could try fresh brews while I went to the US for vacation or travelled to Bengaluru for work. Now with locally brewed beers, the prices will also become more reasonable and there will be delicious new ales and seasonal varieties that we can try,” says Karan Kurani, co-founder of a health start up DoctorC and beer enthusiast. Kedar quips, “ We sold 6,000 litres of beer in six days and that’s a record.” A thousand litres a day is the maximum amount that the government allows microbreweries.”

Fun flavours
From Belgian beers to German ales to brews with an Indian twist (read mango infused), the beer lovers in the city will be spoilt for choice. “Besides the favourites such as Wheat Beer or Lager, we also have our own concoctions. Our brewmaster is from Belgium and so we will have some delicious Belgian ales on the offer,” says Tabeer. Talking about the ales, that the German brew master Franz Weiger storfer (who incidentally has 50 years of experience) is rustling up at Hylife, Kedar says, “We have several different brews like Wheat, Stout, Pilsner, Hops, Dark beer, and Mango beer which is seasonal.”

—Paulami Sen

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Hi-Life exhibition to bring in 200 designer houses with wedding and festive essentials this season

Travelling exhibitions have been making their presence felt in Hyderabad for a while now and keeping up with that trend, Hi-Life Luxury Designer Exhibition, in its fourth year now, is back this weekend. Talking about the three-day exhibition that flags off at HICC (Novotel) on September 2, Aby Dominic, chief organiser of the exhibition, says, “This time we will have around 200 design houses from across India. We want to be a one-stop arena for buyers shopping for wedding essentials or the festive season and target the more sophisticated audience and the NRIs.”

Spending power
If you are thinking about the reason behind the spurt of travelling luxury exhibitions Karan Bhangey, co-founder of The Indian Luxury Expo, says, “I think that people on an average are now earning at least six times more than their basic monthly needs; hence they have the ability to start investing in luxurious accessories like clothes, watches, bags etc.” No wonder, there is a steady rise of the nouveau riche frequenting such expos; they are the ones newly getting acquainted with designer prêt-a-porter, given the rise in the disposable income. Exhibitions like these target Hyderabad’s burgeoning matrimonial industry (worth `8,000 crore). Also, as the wedding season is in full swing, it is a smart move to hold such shopping extravaganzas in the month of September. The luxury expo also sees number of wedding planners stopping by to pick up clothes, accessories and items of decoration and furnishing. The cost of the custom-made designer lehengas can go up to `4 lakh.

Festive buys
Fashion jewellery from Vamika Silver from Jaipur, Creative Gems & Jewels from Bengaluru are big draws for their exquisitely crafted silver accessories, that is going to be quite the rage this festive season. Popular home decor brand from Mumbai, Ashu Nath‘s Meraki has an array of handmade cushions and bedspreads from the brand can go up to as high as `50,000. Mojaris by Nidhi Jain are set to be big hits with the buyers here.

celeb quotient
This pan-India exhibition is no stranger to the world of glamour as names like Soha Ali Khan and Mugdha Godse have been spotted at their outings in various Indian cities. Actress Sanjjana Galarani who inaugurated Hi Life last year says, “At such exhibitions, I think one should pick up arty things that are not otherwise available in the city. For instance, I bought some fancy hair accessories from Hi-Life once that I really cherish.”
The exhibition travels to Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi and even Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Details: Entry is by invite or an entry fee of `60. Details 9833706996
— Paulami Sen

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From professional ones to those you can fold and tuck into a bag, Bike Studio stocks bicycles you’ve only dreamt of

If you love terms such as ‘high-end’ and ‘cutting edge’ and cycling is your passion, the newly opened Bike Studio is likely to become your favourite hangout spot soon. Besides fueling the desire for fitness among the youth, the new store is all about taking cycling to the next level by providing professional bicycles to pedal pushers. The 1,000 sq ft showroom at Road No 12 Banjara Hills is home to different brands such as Infinite, LA Sovereign, X-bicycle and Angry Birds.
Gleaming new cycles are suspended on the walls with a holder with a passage in the centre. As soon as one enters the showroom, the first section on both the sides have professional road track or racing cycles by Infinite. Light as a feather, these cycles are equipped with finger tap gears which make riding easier and saves time. The body is made of carbon and this makes it light-weight. The specialty of this cycle is that the whole frame can be dismantled and tucked into a bag. Danny Singh, sales manager at Bike Studio says, “Most cyclists abroad carry their cycles to different destinations in a bag, especially when they are on a riding holiday. That is what we have provided for the people here. It is lightweight and easy to carry along.”
Besides this, the showroom has mountain bikes which have a wheelbase of 29 mm for a faster and smoother mountain ride. “Generally, when you ride on a mountain you always go slow because of the smaller wheelbase. With this bigger base, one can tread the rocky terrains faster and easier, says G Rakesh Chowdhary, owner of the franchise. The store has cycles for kids and teenagers in different colours with seven and 11 gears.The store houses cycling accessories such as helmets, back and helmet lights, braking cables, disc and rubber brakes, handle grips and much more. Price `10,000 to `1.3 lakh. Details: 9908021219

—Nishad Neelambaran

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