When you are out with friends, what is it that you do? ETC! Don’t get me wrong…I don’t mean etcetera. Rather Eat Talk Chill!! And when in Hyderabad, around Jubillee Hills, where best to hang out? ETC again! Ok, now you might think I am tripping on you; but I am not! Im referring to ‘ETC – Eat Talk Chill’, which is the new concept bar at United Kitchens of India. United Kitchens of India has made a name for itself for being a Multi Cuisine Restaurant that serves Specialty Cuisines from all parts of the country, from Kerala to Rajasthan, from Andhra to Kolkatta etc. So you do not have to wonder what the specialties of certain states are, you just gotta see the menu, and there you have them all listed under the various states.
At ETC by UKI, you will find everything to be quirky, right from the names of the drinks, to the drinks themselves, and the interesting containers its served in and the interiors too. I loved the bar stools that look like uni-cycles! All the drinks are specially created by the award winning mixologist Sharad Arora. The incredible concoctions that he comes up with, and the ingredients that he mixes together are those that you wouldn’t imagine putting together; but when Sharad does it, it turns out to be some of the best you have ever tasted.
Now I am not much of a drinker, because I do not like the taste of alcohol much, and hence requested them to get out more mocktails for me than cocktails. But once the drinks started coming out, on tasting them, I found the cocktails to be so incredibly tasty, without the taste of alcohol overpowering it, that I invariably kept going for it. So a drink that is all flavour, without the taste of alcohol, yet having the potency of it, is a good cocktail according to me. And Sharad has got it bang on!
Almost all the drinks were incredible, with interesting mixes. My favourites are given below
- Espresso martini – which is a coffee lover’s cocktail! I absolutely loved this. It both looked exquisite and tasted incredible too. The froth on it is amazing! Coffee any day for me in any form!
- Sufiana – which is Sharad’s take on the Absinth, with the green colour. And what is its secret ingredient? You can never imagine it…its ‘Saunf’ – hence ‘saunfiana’- hence ‘sufiana’- get it? 😉 Now that’s a cocktail you gotta taste it to believe how amazing it is
- Litchi surprise – this mocktail was the most refreshing drink on the table. Simple yet yum! Tasted almost like a sorbet.
They even had warm drinks that were out of this world, and could very well be a post dinner drink.
- Apple Cider – which doesn’t have apple cider in it, yet tastes exactly like it. Now he got it about it is a mystery in itself. And the copper glass it comes in..looks so regal.
- Indian Punch – now that’s a drink flavoured with cinnamon and cloves. And wow does it taste incredible or what?
Can u imagine, they even had something called ‘Beer-tails’, which are beer cocktails, and I imagine them being a hit amongst the beer lovers.
Now to help with all these drinks go down smooter, we got to have a bunch of food, which was equally yum. And trust me..its a long list…so I am just going to list out my favourites.
- Angara Kebab – I loved the presentation and the taste equally! The skewers in the coals felt apt to its name.
- Mirapakaya Kodi Roast – the Andhra girl in me loved this starter. With the number of the chillies in it…it hit all the right spots!
- Red Chilli Fish – this isn’t officially on the menu yet, but it was fantastic!
- Malai Panner rolls – this was one mild and amazing tasting starter, where the panner was rolled real thin and it almost tasted like Mozzarella. Definitely a Must have!
- Bhutteyan de kebab – this is one dish where the dip makes the dish. Loved the mustard flavoured dip that went beautifully with the corn kebab
- Kolkata Style mutton curry with Koraishitur Kachori – was really good.
- Kozhi Milagu curry – Tamil style curry which was bang on!
- Sambar rice – I know, you might be wondering why would we have sambar rice after all this…but it’s the ultimate comfort food…and with the amount of ghee in it..it definitely was comforting!
Food that they could work on to make it more authentic :
- Laal maas – definitely tasty, but missing the heat of Rajasthan. The original version is hot as hell!
- Kerala style fish curry – mild and loved by all, as it tasted close to a thai green curry, as lets face it…similar ingredients are used…but definitely needs more tempering to get back to Kerala.
Assorted Indian breads went really well with all the curries; my personal fav being the Laccha Paratha.
Now coming to the desserts, they decided to do a fusion of this too.
- A fusion chocolate and red velvet cake which was interesting, but I would have loved it if they had some cream cheese frosting on it.
- Apricot Trifle was good in parts, with the apricot crumble and the toffee sauce, but did feel a tad dry. Maybe some extra syrup would do the trick.
This being a bloggers meet, we got to interact with Sharad and got to know his experimental streak and how he got to concoct his amazing drinks, by incorporating our indian spices; and the thought process that went into coming up with such a diverse food menu. This was one Cocktail Dinner that I truly enjoyed!