The Spicy Venue
The Spicy Venue is a well known landmark for Andhra Cuisine and biryanis and has been consistently on the news for food excellence. The place owned by Mr. Sampath Srinivas Tummula who also owns The Spice Village , Kondapur. This place has always in my pending list ever since I got introduced to The Spice Village and went there repeatedly with my family for comfort and absolutely good food. Such places are never about fine dining or experimenting with our palates but for tasty and declicous food at VFM prices. So when we foodies planned for a mid-week lunch , what other option will crop in my mind. Overall, I should say their FOOD delivered - TOP NOTCH.
We, a pack of hungry pandas were planning for a lunch meet up and we immediately picked The Spicy Venue based on Amir Bhai's previous dining experience and also time for date with My dessert Love - Apricot Delight. Another strong reason was to try their MLA Potlam Biryani which is being talked about as its not available in the other restuarant. We planned for a wednesday lunch on 24 Feb, 2016.
Ambiance (Decor & Interiors):
Located in the hot n happening Jubilee Hills area, you would assume that the place would be a top class dining but when I landed I was in a bit of a shock to see a normal residential kind of building converted into 2 sections of restaurant. With little disappointment , went in to see the ambiance was nothing more than a typical dining restuarant and unassuming decor and obviously simple setup. I felt that its meant that way to go with the unassuming and direct flavorful food. So I would say I was taken aback on the decor as my expectations were different considering the area, but then it simply reminded me of my first time experience at The Spice Village as well. No complaints, as the tables and chairs / sofas were very very comfortable.
We started with our lunch with Fruit Punch, Chepa Vepudu, Fried Quails and Golden Fried Prawns.
Fruit Punch was nothing but a regular fruit mash up and served the purpose though it lacked any punch in it.
Chepa Vepudu (Fish Fry) was served on a bed of oil roasted green chillies and curry leaves. The fish was beautifully done, good crust and nice reddish brown color which made it totally appetizing. The fish flavor as such was amazing though I felt It could have deliverd a bit more spiceness on the crust. The fried green chillies did that compensation to me and were super crunchy.
Fried Quails was my first debut with quails and it was average to me. 3 big quails fried almost close to chilli chicken style (dry fry). The dish frankly felt very dull and simple. The quail was well cooked as such and we were kind of feeling too much less meat for a pricy dish but then we atleast tried quails and now we know if we like it or not.
Golden Fried Prawns was a disappointing dish as the prawns as such was under cooked a bit though the sauce and the gracy coating was flavorful. My friends didnt like it that much.
We then ordered our main courses - MLA Potlam Biryani, Ragi Sangati and Munnikaya mamsam (Drumstick mutton Curry)
MLA potlam Biryani was a very unique biryani I have ever eaten in India where well cooked flavorful biryani rice with minced Kheema and prawns are mixed up and packed inside a thick omlette layer and drizzle of spice powder on top for garnish. As you break through the omlette (which by the way was absolutely brilliant) and mix it with the kheema, prawns and the rice , THE MARRIAGE IS PERFECT. It was an amazing dish that we licked till the end and were so fulfilled with the quality and taste of it.
Ragi Sangati and Mamsam Curry was another PERFECT MARRIAGE. The ragi was well made (3 servings) and very soft though it had minced cooked rice in it and with ghee drizzling on it, oh man its a gastronomic delight. The curry was absolutely brilliant and I loved the way mutton was cooked almost to perfection and the bit tanginess of drumstick aided the dish to be in a whole new flavor profile. The combination was lip smacking.
Now If we say we went to this place and we didnt had the obvious, then ITS A SIN and you would think is this guy nuts? Well yes, for people who are not aware , its their specility dessert APRICOT DELIGHT. This dish is one their signature desserts which many people tend to copied and are still but still not able to perfect it and this place does it every single time. This marvel has 3 layers - sponge cake - apricot kinda jam filling - custard and also apricot sauce dipped in complete cream. I have gulped them multiple times during my vist to the other outlet but this was my first in Spicy Venue and one bite - U will start humming if you know what I mean. To me this dessert always puts me to think "HEAVEN ON EARTH". I'm not sure of others who dont like it, some feel its less of a sweet but to me Its hands down the best I have ever had and reaptedly keeps amazing me. People who havent try it for what its worth to be. Bleive me it wont dissappoint you either.
Service & Hospitality:
Now here is were I really felt things fell apart throughout the dining experience. Seated promptly, they took time to recognize that were in and sitting for quite sometime. The order was placed and we instructed to bring them in a sequence which was later totally messed up. When we were served 2 servings of MLA potlam biryani, we did ask the server to bring one and then after another friend joins, another one and then we get served both plates at the same time. One of us told lime soda was not at all sweet and asked to re-do it. The second attempt was also pathetically done. I had asked for Ghee while having ragi sangati to the same waiter and he turns twice to make me literally shout for the Ghee when I had gulped half of it already. Same way the delay and confusion messed up my soft drinks order as well.
The order was taken and delivered properly but serving and the requests done made a mockery out of itself. I expected a clear service (nothing fancy nothing over the top) but something similar to the other place where I have nothing but pleasant experiences. I would say after the food delivered Bullseye, service is a let down and I hope Mr. Sampath looks into it and puts the right mix of staffs to ensure the service doesnt hamper an otherwise amazing FOOD experience.
Overall a must go place for amazing food choices, nice flavor profiles and no over the top spices and if you are not convinced for any other reason - APRICOT DELIGHT. I think that's enough for a foodie like me to go back to this place again. The bill came around 800 per head for 4 people and I feel no qualms in saying worth the money and the hype. The food overall delivered a gastrohogger harmony to me and now they proved to me why they are the "TIMES FOOD AWARDS 2016" for "Best Andhra Cuisine in Casual Dine Restaurant Category". I'm definitely going back with my family to try their other dishes and of course my love - APRICOT DELIGHT.