If you are looking for quirky places in Hyderabad that offers a combo of lip-smacking food and out-of-the-box environment, then perhaps the recently-opened bar-restaurant Free Flow: Traffic Bar at Jubilee Hills fits the bill. You’ve always hated signal posts and traffic, but you will fall in love with it here. The place looks like a traffic junction complete with signal lights, road-dividers, reflectors.
Located on third and fourth floors the place comes alive after dark. As you enter you see a traffic signal blinking its red, yellow and green lights that fall on the rooftop which is also the sitting area. Behind that traffic signal is a huge graffiti of a sports car on the wall and beneath that the DJ plays all the Rock numbers. But the sound coming from huge LED TV on the wall fades as the music picks up. Up the mezzanine floor we saw youngsters celebrating birthday with a cake, grub and choicest drinks. The bar is huge at both the floors.
One floor is air-conditioned while the other is the rooftop where all the action happens. On breezy late evenings the old-fashioned lights that you may have seen dangling from old railway stations – the dim yellow light from the bulbs – seems soothing . On the walls and ceiling are water-pipes in bright red colour amid which are stickers with sign like ‘Bottle Ahead’.
The place offers a variety of food choices beginning from starters, appetizers, soups, main courses, biryanis and even, quite surprisingly thalis. For the starters we had Buffalo Chicken Wings – chicken fried with different spices and sauces. It was hot on the tongue, but good in taste. The pieces were cooked tenderly. What we also liked was Bheja Fry Pav. It was goat brain cooked with spices and served on a platter with pav. The flavour was balanced and blended well with bread loaves that were lightly-toasted with butter. Other than that there’s a choice of Tomato Basil Bruschetta, Quesadilla, Calzone and platters of mutton, chicken and fish kebabs. Sadly, salad list has only three items. The non-veg main course is appetising with Norwegian Fresh Salmon Steak, Lamb Chops with Apple Marmalade and Prawns Peri Peri. It’s interesting to find Roghan Josh Biryani in their biryani section. Proprietor Naren Singh Pal informs, “Hyderabad is known for its biryanis. The challenge was to keep something extraordinary. We introduced Roghan Josh Biryani cooked with spices used in the original lamb curry.”Price: `200 onwards ++ taxes. Hard drinks are priced decently as are mocktails. Time: 12 pm to 12 am.
What we liked the best about Free Flow is the way they care for guests especially women. In an emergency, you don’t need to get embarrassed or think of running to the mall that is five kms away. The powder room has sanitary pads, hair-clips, rubber bands, safety pins, combs and even a small sewing-kit just in case the hem or the sleeve of your dress has ripped apart.
Adds Naren, “We don’t charge for this. These items are complimentary to women. We wanted this to be a neighbourbood hangout where people enjoy and feel comfortable.” What put us off were the innumerable spelling errors in the menu card where beer reads as ‘bear’ and broccoli isn’t written correctly along with basil written as ‘besil’. But overall it’s a good place to chill as celebrities frequent the bar. We spotted Tollywood star Rana Daggubati chilling with his friends over his mug of beer.
— Saima Afreen