Okra overlooks a rather wide and deep swimming pool, which is quite inviting as you enter the place. And when the bill is produced, you may seriously feel like jumping into it. Yes, Okra is a 5-star hotel coffee shop, and the prices know that. If you are even thinking what it costs, it's probably not for you, and if you still really want to eat there, the best time is when no one is watching.
But if someone else is footing the bill, or you are actually big enough to be the one footing such bills for others, Okra has all the standard bells and whistles to make you feel important. A lunch/dinner for a couple can easily cost Rs. 1,500, and the place does justice to that price with the exclusivity that the Marriott
itself as an address provides, and the fairly slick yet subtle ambience.
Okra (meaning "Ladies Finger") is a venue suited more for a business lunch than a dinner date, and can be rather buzzing. While it's spacious and fairly plush, there's a good amount of constant chatter in the air - but then, it is avowedly a coffee shop. And you get to see a lot of white skin - a good number of people dining here are guests of the hotel.
The buffets at Okra are now something. The lunch and dinner buffet spreads at Okra can make a saint recant some oaths - perhaps just the dessert spreads can do it. With well over 100 items in all, including many named the way your grandmother always called them - "Vellullipai Podi" - the variety straddles North-Indian, Chinese, Continental and South-Indian, and how.
Custom-made sandwiches, pastas, pizzas and waffles with all potential ingredients delightfully spread out in front of you, a huge range of salads, pickles and breads, a half dozen starters and a dozen varieties in the main course, plenty of local stuff including biryani, sambar, curd rice and semya payasam, and a full 10 feet lined up with just desserts... if something is missing, they'll probably make it anyway especially for you, like they did mushrooms sauteed in chilli for us.
Lunch buffets cost Rs. 700 and dinner buffets cost Rs. 900 as we write this in Feb '08. Okra serves a la carte
too, with a fairly expansive menu featuring small numbers of dishes in a large spectrum. There are a dozen dishes in about every one of the categories - salads/starters, soups/burgers/sandwiches, pastas/risotto/biryanis, pizzas, the main course and desserts. There a bit of Indian, continental and Far-East everywhere.
A soup costs Rs. 250, pizzas average Rs. 400, and the Hyderabadi Gosht Biryani is priced at Rs. 425, to give you an idea of the prices. There's a dessert buffet priced attractively (well, relatively) at Rs. 400 - a reasonably good deal given you can indiscriminately devour souffles, mousse, brownies, cheesecakes, Khubani Ka Meetha, and even dessert pizzas.
If corpodom happened to you, or at least to your father, Okra is a good visit. Remember to keep the bill - even if you don't need it, it'll be good if someone you're trying to impress "accidentally" finds it.