Although I shall shortly start posting my reviews about places in bombay, I thought of starting this with the place i am presently residing in,Vizag.
A couple of years back, there was the famous raji da dhaba here for any outings. There were a couple of other restaurants which served authentic andhra food (like people wouldn’t have had enough of it in their houses). For burgers and Pizzas, our favourite hangout used to be Mr. softy, where they would let you choose your pizza toppings (just like a sub). So in short, it really was a foodie’s nightmare.
Come 2011, we have swanky new restaurants and hotels springing up from nowhere and surprisingly serving pretty good food. When we landed here in Feb, it was quite nice to know that I wouldn’t have to give up on the chicken risotto that I had grown so fond of in Bombay.
The first stop would a top favourite of ours : The square at Hotel Novotel.
The entrance to this amazing beach side hotel can seem a little weird, cause the moment your car turns in from the gates, you find yourself staring into the dark tunnel of the parking lot. Though once you go up the driveway, you get a clear view of the entrance and it’s nice. The Valets, the guards and the doorman are extremely polite and I just loved the fact that they spoke in crisp English. Maybe not with a verbose vocabulary, but then I am not really going to stand there making a conversation with them.
You step into the hotel through glass doors and are immediately hit by the opulence of the place. For a few who are regulars at other 5 stars, like Leela or even Trident might find it a bit tacky, but once you take a moment to absorb it, swivel on your heels to get a 360 view, it will all fall into the proper places and the overall effect seems pleasant.
The staff there is a cheerful lot who are well mannered (not at all pushy, they will first give you enough time to make up your mind, and approach you only when they find you floundering). The first time we visited Novotel was for the “Oriental” buffet (This is another wonderful thing about this place, they keep hosting these totally gorgeous buffets with cuisines from different places. Quite refreshing if the only other option is sambar dosa for you.)
Over the last five months we have been to The Square for four different buffets and one a la carte dinner. They have all been simply fabulous.
Buffets : Oriental, Chinese, Andhra food fest and the lazy Sunday lunch.
The spread always has a good variety. Everything tastes good. I remember the tom yum soup from the oriental buffet was so awesome that I had it thrice during my entire meal. And the Sunday lunches come packed with so much that they are definitely lazy. We spent almost three hours in that place, I was busy getting high… on sugar from the beautiful sweet dishes they had.
The staff is very helpful, in case you don’t like something, they will immediately offer to whip up something to match your whims and fancies. The server at our table could speak English!!! (That is really a big achievement since in a small city like Vizag, it becomes quite difficult to converse with the serving staff). They are fun, they chat you up in case the food’s getting delayed, they even gave us a complimentary plate of assorted pakodas once just cause our order was taking time. They are well versed with the menu and are open to adjusting things for your preference (I hate a side of veggies… usually prefer mashed potatoes and fries instead.)
I know all this seems normal for anyone who’s staying in a metro, but for a place like vizag, it definitely is a big deal.
Ambience : 8/10 (lunches are beautiful as then you can stare at an open sea, but at nights you will have just your reflection gawking back at you)
Food : 9/10
Serving staff : 9/10
Value for money : 9/10
Things to try : Burger with the Potato bun (A la Carte)
The cheesecakes (They are like small bits of heaven)