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Koyla

Koyla
C Venkatesh / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
7.0
Food
Service/Courteousness
Ambience
Value For Money
6.0
9.0
10.0
NA
Suggestions
Good for date/family
NA
Easy parking
NA
Long waiting
NA
The Scene
Black, n.: "Although strictly a response to zero stimulation of the retina, the perception of black appears to depend on contrast with surrounding color stimuli."

Don't believe what the dictionary says? The 6th floor of Sufi Chambers on Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, is where infidels like you go to get your just deserts. Toss your keys to the Valet. Sneer at the poorly maintained ground floor. Shrug off the could-be-better elevator. Step off at the 6th floor into Nuevo Hyderabad, where the surrounding color stimuli go a long way to deciding your perceptions of Koyla.

This is jaw-dropping d├ęcor, no two ways about that. There's a large central room with a log-finish swing door. The floor has that unfinished finish. The woodwork is carefully unpolished. This is the kind of simplicity that costs an arm and a leg to achieve. Hand it to the designer - she has achieved more than you have any right to expect.

Oversized glass windows, set in the "stucco" finished walls, create a soaring sense of space in the air-conditioned atrium. Floor level seating along the walls brings you back to earth, for the informal-charpoy-stylists. Rugged yet comfortable tables and chairs fill the rest of the space.

The terraces provide alfresco seating, with a rooftop for the adventurous. Intrepid smokers can call for multi-hued Hookahs. Hard to decide which's more irritating - the absence of belly dancers, or the presence of the hum of machinery from the neighboring buildings.

The Food
Amidst all the color, the waiters are all-in-black, perhaps to remind you of the central theme: ethnic food cooked on Koyla. This is not a multi-cuisine restaurant, so forget about ordering noodles with gongura pappu. Also ignore the refreshers and the desserts. Like Steven Seagal's smile, that's not what you paid for. Call me an ignoramus if you will, but I don't think Pina Coladas and Cheesecake owe anything to barbecues anyway.

Oh yes, there's no alcohol on offer. Food, in this restaurant, is what you chew, not what you drink or sip. The non-veg platter is a good starter, while vegetarians will do well to order any of the paneer starters. None of the in-your-face flavors or masalas that so many commoditised restaurants dish out. And certainly none of the gunpowder-kharams that local Andhraites cut their eyeteeth on. After you eat here, you will understand, and perhaps even appreciate, the meaning of the word "soupcon".

Yes, you'll appreciate the word in more ways than one. A smidgen of rice, a touch of rotis, a taste of prawns, a dash of sabzi, and a bit of lamb is what you should eat. The portions are large, so you'll need to be a part of a sizeable group to finish all of the above, but ordering just a dish or two won't cut it. The key is not to eat more than a little of each dish. The cook is just a little heavy-handed with the oil, and you need to mix the flavors to properly appreciate the message.

In case you missed the message, the bill will bring it home. 90 bucks for mocktails, 200 for non-vegetarian dishes, 150 for vegetarian dishes, 75 for dessert, and so on add up to an honest, respectable total. The kind that makes your credit card square its shoulders and straighten its tie.

Rs. 650 will get you a goodish sized meal for two, except that this place is designed for a party. Service is excellent. Lunchtime is relatively quiet and well suited for expense-account lunches for those out-of-towners you need to impress.

The world over, the night-time's when the stars shine. If the Mumbai Branch is said to be a favored hangout for various actors and actresses, the Hyderabad Koyla is no slouch at drawing the glitterati, either. You'd be well advised to call in and book a table on weekends.

The Verdict
The food's good, not great. You won't use "great" to describe the ambience, either. More like marvelous, wonderful, amazing, stunning, amazing, awe-inspiring, spectacular, breathtaking...
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