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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002

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The hub is in the pub

Liquid and working lunches take on a new meaning as pub lunches catch on with the corporate crowd.

JOIN THE GANG: Blockbuster at Taj Tristar is the newest kid on the pub lunch block. - Photo: Mohd Yousuf

SAY PUB and the first things that comes to mind are smoky interiors (cough cough), swinging music and bright lights. But hey, you could also chill out in the afternoons in a pub with music, your favourite pint, and a solid meal as more and more pubs in the city are offering lunch deals.

As Vinod Sharma, GM of One Flight Down in Nampally, comments, "Pubs were always lunch places. If you look at the etymology of the word, pub is an abbreviation of public house where they would serve steaks and mash or fish and chips. We are just continuing the practice."

Ten Downing Street in Begumpet was the first to offer pub lunches (December 2001) and it has been a big hit from the beginning. Like director Vinod Reddy commented, "We do an average of 60 to 70 on weekdays and weekends we have up to 150 guests."

One of the reasons for TDS' popularity is the excellent continental cuisine they serve. From steaks to Pepper Chicken and the bolognaise, they are all big time hits. TDS offers Indian and Chinese (vegetarian Rs. 90, non-vegetarian Rs. 120) menus and the continental option comes for Rs. 120 for the vegetarian and Rs. 150 for the non-vegetarian. The package includes a mug of beer.

"The idea is to cater to the corporate crowd who are short on time and would like something light to eat. The music is quieter at lunch so the pub is the perfect place to grab a quick bite in pleasant surroundings," Reddy said. TDS, incidentally, also plays host to kitty parties.

"We do the pub lunch on Fridays," says Shruti a content writer. "By Friday afternoon, we are already in the weekend mode and the pub lunch at TDS works as a wonderful starter. Gets you in the right mood to party!"

The lunch package offered at One Flight Down includes an Indian (dal, sabzi, phulkas, rice) and Chinese (noodles, rice, a gravy dish and a dry dish) option and a mug of beer or a soft drink for Rs. 99.

PARTY ON: Ten Downing Street is popular for its continental menu. - Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

"We started the lunch deal about five months ago and the response has been good," Sharma comments. "We have middle level executives, mainly the sales and marketing crowd patronising the lunch munch."

At One Flight Down, it is not strictly a lunch deal, "It is more like a mini meal that we serve till 5 pm and also for dinner if a guest prefers it. The idea is not make the place totally `pubby' you know. The emphasis is more on a meeting place with bonhomie, good cheer, good food and drink."

Hunt Pub in Amrutha Mall also offers pub lunches. For Rs 110, you get a choice of Indian and Chinese menus and a mug of beer. Started three months ago, manager Vicky Sharma says the response has been "very good. With all the offices in the vicinity, we get a great deal of corporate crow." The newest kid on the pub lunch block is Taj Tristar's Blockbuster. Introduced a month ago, the lunch deal is economical at Rs 85 for vegetarian and Rs 95 for non-vegetarian with a choice of Chinese and Indian cuisine inclusive of a beer or soft drink.

"We cater to people in a hurry," says General Manager, Pradeep Kumar Dutt. "Guests find it convenient to lunch at Blockbuster as it is quick and reasonably priced."

The multi-national culture is sure catching on in Hyderabad as people head to pubs not just to get smashed but for power lunches, to clinch a deal or unwind with a pint before facing the latter half of the day.


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