There are times when you want to literally eat out, and Al Fresco is amongst the most expensive ways to do it in Hyderabad. And that's almost the raison d'etre
- people who come here do that simply because it offers the exclusivity of near-unaffordability.
Al Fresco is basically the lawns of the Taj Krishna
. The restaurant is expectedly open only in the evenings, and comprises about 10 small tables (seating 2-4 persons) and 3 larger ones to seat groups. A small pool and a rather vast grass-bed adding to the spacious and airy ambience (plus a live kitchen with the coals, plates and clay), and an added advantage is that you hardly feel like you are sitting in a large hotel, since the building itself does not loom over you from any side. In fact, you can persuade youself that you are in the lawns of a palace, and nobody will object. Least of all the mosquitoes. Yes, the Taj still can't make them
pay to dine here.
Al Fresco is a grills and barbeque joint, and you're tempted to ask why - the restricted cuisine is a deterrent to dining there. It's appears an easy decision really to offer the menus of Golden Dragon
here too, making Al Fresco then just about the ambience, which is essentially what it is. As it currently stands, it's a compromise - food or ambience, especially given that the food here is just about average.
The menu is limited to about 40 items, divided into Grills & Barbeques, Tikkas (Indian stuff), Flambes, Sizzlers and Desserts. Grills & Barbeques include names like Chargrilled Lobster, Salmon Fillet Madagascar, Grilled Halloumi Cheese, Canneloni and Arabic Lamb. Tikkas are mostly stock stuff - Achari Gosht Tikka, Jwala Murgh Tikka, Jumbo Shrimps, Dal Palak Seekh. You also get 4 select-your-options Mongolian grills (veg, meat, seafood and seafood + meat).
Flambes include names like New Zealand Lamb Chops, Spinach Pancake and Steak Diane (mushroom and shallot jus, veg spaghetti), while sizzlers include Teriyaki Tenderloin Skewers, Grilled Sausage, Chello Kebab and Tofu & Veg Sizzler. There are 5 rather unusual desserts, including Crepe Suzette, Chargrilled Pineapple and Grilled Fruit Skewers.
Like we said, the food is rather ordinary, especially given the prices, that range from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,400 per dish. A sizzler at 100 Degrees
costs Rs. 225 as we write this in March 2008, and tastes great, versus thrice that here - sure, it's all about the address, but 800 bucks should still make you feel at least as happy as 200. Al Fresco has no signature dishes or specialities for a restaurant where a meal for a couple can easily go upto Rs. 2,000.
Al Fresco is mostly a good place to sit at for a romantic evening - there's even a band that comes right to your table and plays, though we think they'll go away if you tell them politely. Just make sure whoever you are taking with you is worth it.