Review – Andhra Kafe, Hoodi Village

At this breezy, upscale Andhra dhaba, your taste buds may not get blown away, but your zero-waste, recyclable leaf plate might. We hold on to ours as another gust of wind appears, waiting for it to be weighed down by an order of AK special kebabs and mutton chops. The chicken kebabs are tender and well-spiced, but the mutton in traditional green masala is stringy with more bone than meat to bite into.

But don’t leave just yet. What Andhra Kafe lacks in heat, it makes up with cold.

A swig of buttermilk from a spiffy bottle and we’re on to mains, for which we choose the popular thali and recommended Hydrabadi Dum Biriyani. We’re hoping for a big hit of spice here, but sadly the thali doesn’t deliver a punch. It’s a rather generous portion though, and includes pooris, pulav, a standard vegetable cabbage fry, chutney, rice, two types of dal, rasam, sambar and a sweet. Phew! The tangy onion chutney is the highlight of the thali, and remember to ask for some chutney podi to elevate this platter to Andhra spice levels. This large meal is the obvious favorite with the office crowd for its substantial helpings and we suspect, mild flavour. The biriyani too lacks the complicated layers that make this Hydrabadi favourite such a hearty meal.

But don’t leave just yet. What Andhra Kafe lacks in heat, it makes up with cold. We’ve been seated with a view of the hand-churned ice cream menu this entire time, which we admit has us rather distracted through the meal. We finally get scoops of fresh ginger-honey, fig-rum-almond and jaggery-black sesame (other flavours include magai pan and filter coffee-almond). All three work well in pairing varied ingredients and their personalities, proving that this café’s dessert chef has an alternate career in match-making.

The rest of the kitchen however, needs to find hotter mates.

Getting there: ITPL Main Road, opposite Prestige Shantiniketan, New #198, Hoodi Village

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