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Hyderabadi 'tehzeeb' and hospitality

In `Invitation 365', equal emphasis is laid on quality food, refreshing décor and a relaxing environment to make customers comfortable.

CUSTOMER COMFORT: The setting and seating is warm and inviting.

CROSS THE threshold into the eatery lit with fluorescent bulbs, and you will soon see why the place is called `Invitation 365'. Hospitality is its speciality. Well-lit interiors, unspoilt colours of the wall, warm setting and seating, red carpets, welcoming waiters and the ever-smiling Ibrahim brothers (the owners) — every element about this new place exudes hospitality.

"Well, isn't Hyderabad famed worldwide for its tehzeeb? We wanted our restaurant to radiate the same," says Rafath Ibrahim (Tel: 56576677). `Invitation 365' (situated opposite Ravindra Bharati, Lakdi-ka-pul) is more than just an eatery. The emphasis is not just on quality food; equal stress is also laid on providing a refreshing décor and a relaxing environment, to make customers comfortable. "Only when people are at ease can they truly enjoy the experience called food," explains Rafath.

As soon as one sinks into the snug sofas, tall glasses of refreshing water make an appearance. Ask for the menu and a royal red scroll is handed over. Peruse it, take your own time and before long, emerges one of the three Ibrahims, enquiring about whether you are comfortably settled before soliciting your culinary likes.

The menu is split into two halves — Indian (typical Hyderabadi) and Chinese (Oriental odyssey). The Hyderabadi cuisine is, however, more recommended. Start off with a royal Shorba and some kebabs. Some of the choices available are Murgh tandoori (whole chicken marinated in a mixture of yoghurt, malt vinegar, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, red chillies, turmeric powder and garam masala, skewered and cooked in tandoor), Sheekh kebab, Dum ki raan (whole leg of spring lamb, marinated in special Hyderabadi masala and black cumin braised in the marinade, skewered and then finished in the tandoor), Barrah kebab, Murgh barrah, Tarashe kebab and Tandoori pomfret (an exotic `ajwain' flavoured whole fish, mildly spiced with chilli, skewered and roasted in the clay-oven sprinkled with lemon-juice and kebab masala).

ATTRACTING PEOPLE: The restaurant has a regular clientele.

In the main course, one can try out a combination of Mutton or Chicken Biryani with Rishta (a semi-dry preparation of mutton cooked in brown colour gravy flavoured with maval and Kashmiri flower), or Tabakmas (lamb spare ribs marinated and braised with cardamom, saunf, peppercorn, shallow fried. ) and Murgh aloo qorma (rare Indian herbs flavour this smooth and delicate preparation of chicken and potatoes).

Veggies can have a take on Vegetable biryani with Baingan ka bharta (brinjal cooked in a tandoor, flavoured with roasted cumin, onions, tomatoes and coriander) Aloo methi and Subz shahi qorma or Vegetable jalfrezi (a tangy dry vegetable preparation with a touch of vinegar). Aficionados can also find choicest Chinese dishes in the menu.

The desserts section, for the sweet-toothed, includes Phirni, Qubani ka meetha, Kulfi and Moong dal halwa. A meal for two would come for Rs. 100-Rs. 350.

The Ibrahims do not make any special claim about the food they offer.

"That's a relative opinion left to every individual." However, their claim about people coming for second visits can hardly be denied, going by the number of regulars the restaurant has managed to attract, within a week of its opening.


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