Celebrations is a multi-restaurant complex if you give it enough benefit of doubt. That's because the menu is the same everywhere, it's just the ambience and staff that changes. Yes, something like Telugu films. Fitting, perhaps, since they are located in the area where most of Tollywood stays.
Diaspora reminds you of Touch
, in its make-up and decorative lighting - there are blocks of light in wall panels in a dark place, giving out the feel more of a pub or bar. Unfortunately, thanks to the rather small floor area, the first impression is that of a cramped and dingy place, almost seedy. The seating is plush, but it takes up too much space in trying to accommodate about 50 when the area is best for just about 70% of that. Perhaps as a result, the place is counter-productively more deserted, with most of the crowd preferring to go upstairs to the rooftop Horizon.
There's also an aura of inactivity about Disapora, but then negativities feed off each other. And the menu is dog-eared and unkempt, a sin in a place where the average meal for a couple is Rs. 400-500.
Celebrations offers a really jumbo menu, straddling North-Indian, Andhra, Chinese and Continental, and with depth in each. There are over 350 items in their hard disk, and it is amazing how mere humans can remember so many recipes.
With about 110 items, the North-Indian spread spans the gamut from soups and kebabs/tikkas to curries, dals, rotis rices and desserts, in vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Apart from all the standard dishes, there are specialities like Dal Palak Shorba, Kalmi Kebab, Zafran Murg, Jeera Hara Dhaniya Pulao and Dal Matka.
Even more elaborate, perhaps expectedly given this is Hyderabad, is the Chinese section of the menu, with close to 160 items. 10 each in vegetarian and non-vegetarian soups include exotic names like Garlic Coriander Soup, and there are about 40 starters, including standard items like Chilli Corn Kernel and Salt & Pepper Mushroom, and rareties like Tangra Chilli Chicken and Veg Money Bag. Fish and Prawn starters are a separate (and entensive) category by themselves, just like in the main course. The main course includes almost 50 dishes, apart from 25 items in rices and noodles.
A little less in numbers is the Andhra page, but not in ambition. About 30 items there include specialities like Guthi Vankaya, Dosakaya Masala, Royyala Koora and Munakkaya Kodi.
And finally, there's an unexpected variety in Continental fare, with about 30 dishes featuring names like Cauliflower Fritters, Corn & Potato Croquette, Veg Satay, Chicken Shaslik With Tomato Chilli Dip, Butterfly Prawns With Tomato Sauce, Veg Au-Gratin, Spaghetti Napoletine, Chicken Stroganoff With Rissi Bissi and Chicken Mexican.
Desserts are mostly standard - Gulab Jamoon, Rasmalai and fruits salads with ice cream - but even there, a Shahi Tukda finds its way.
Yes, the Celebrations bouquet of restaurants does not leave you asking for more variety. And given the location and the ambience, the prices - soups cost between Rs. 40 and Rs. 80, and starters between Rs. 135 and Rs. 200 usually, and a vegetable biryani Rs. 125, to give you a broad idea - are fairly reasonable. Now if only they'd improve the service standards - the head waiter told us that the prices on our bill were higher than what we saw in the menu since prices had gone up, and a co-customer who asked a waiter to take away a dish since that was not what he ordered, was irate to see that interpreted as "takeaway" and get it wrapped.
Diaspora can appear more a place for a bunch of guys rather than a date or a family outing, thanks to the rather messed up look and feel. Thankfully, there's Horizons
on the terrace if you feel the same.