Inviting a niche crowd of business people and celebrities from across the city, Xora Bar and Kitchen dazzles with a DJ spin towards the weekend. The lounge bar’s palliative aura brings us to its drinking space: hedonists smell whiskey through the narrow rims of Glencairn glasses – as though a cologne. The sun never sets in the arena. Their novel fusion menu whose Telugu savours juxtapose a colonial twist became a localite’s muse, and we wonder how.
Before ordering in, we chatted with the alehouse’s Executive Chef, Harinder Singh, who told us that they have taken one step forward in food. Inside, the interplay of pervading twilight captured early evening shadows, while the tones of blue and maroon encircling us softly blended into each other. Xora’s setting which adheres to European impressionism also lets loose the chef’s Telugu undertones to the dishes. Figuratively, guests can have an artsy time in the French countryside from within the City of Nizams. As we note these epicurean keepsakes, Harinder adds, “Our reason is simple – to please the city’s crème de la crème through the food and ambience we offer.”
We sampled a Cheese Kulchapam next to Gunpowder with Baby Potato. A few bites of the former delectable and our appetite registered how it solely took stimulus from France, or what chowhounds would call ‘the land of croissants’. We relished the Andhra gunpowder seasoning and dipped the crispy potato balls in Thai Sriracha sauce. While we longed for a quaint tavern experience, the mixologist’s special, Lady of Eden – a vodka-based cocktail was served in teacups. We picked up our drink from an ivory saucer – the sight of martini glasses had already become monotonous. And rightly so – our brew’s extract of hibiscus tea, rosemary water and orange bitters attracted us like a hummingbird. It was a bemusing way for an intoxicant to fool teetotallers through the liquor’s eccentric, yet in-a-class-by-itself exhibit.
Later, for a bowl of Green Peas Kashmiri Morel Sabji Lacha Paratha, the chef tossed white button mushrooms with ground cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns and nutmeg. It had more to its taste than what met our mouths. The curry’s milky-sweet ghee was about to dissolve in thin air. But the layers of indulging parathas that resurrected its eminence took us to Rajapuri, the land of kings. “Our new menu doesn’t have a theme. Its primary impetus is to satisfy the taste buds of a Hyderabadi. The food is local and the presentation is continental,” he adds.
₹2,000 for two. At Jubilee Hills.
Photos: Sahithi Sirikonda