SodaBottleOpenerWala is situated on Road No. 1, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Its just about as great a location one can hope for in crowded Hyderabad these days. It faces the main road that circumvents KBR park, and it’s pretty much impossible to miss even if you’re new to the city and aren’t sure of where you are in your Uber hunting for a place to eat.
Service both times has been with a smile and by courteous chaps who hustle constantly to get you what you want. I felt that the food was good to above average and tastes great for what you pay. The dishes are very reasonable indeed and don’t leave you feeling looted by the time you’re indulging yourselves. In fact, the prices are surprisingly low for a place such as this.
I remember coming here during the month of Ramadan and instantly scoffing at the insanely high priced haleem, which I feel is a quintessentially Hyderbadi local food, best enjoyed at local places, the names of which have become part of the household by now (if you’re from Hyderabad that is). The haleem rigmarole in Hyderabad has always revolved these gharelu names and partly evolved to newer places in and around old and new Hyderabad. One constant though, is that great haleem is always found in restaurants that specialize in biryani and mughlai food, and is in the rough price range of between 150/- to 250/- Rupees per portion of mutton haleem (100% pure goat as the advertisements always say!). The first thing that instinctively made me lurch a little inside was the 2x price tag for the haleem. It’s just how I’d react if I went to eat haleem at say Taj Krishna, or the Hyatt. I’m not saying it would taste bad, but it’s haleem. It’s like paying 350 /- for a cup of irani chai, which again, is a local Hyderabadi favourite, best enjoyed at roadside cafe. The haleem was tasty though (that’s the important thing).
The decor, the lighting, and the furniture are all a heavy play on Parsi stereotypes with all the run of the mill parsi names figuring everywhere with dirty jokes and references to daily drinking galore. It’s quaint and comical in it’s own way and may be of some amusement to first timers to the restaurant or people who mostly only see Parsi’s in Bollywood films where they mostly always talk in that comical Bandra accent with the funny Hindi mixed in with bits of Gujrati. The utensils and cutlery are all old school steel tiffin containers and multi-level tiffin dabbas like the dabba walas. The drinking glasses are the solid old thick glass ribbed glasses. Like I said, its light hearted and comical. I can see my parents finding this place amusing and asking me if my close Parsi friends eat like this at home or something.
I would have preferred a little more seafood in the seafood bhel, and the paradise chicken roll is a little lackluster with a very simple chicken mayo with ‘saada’ lettuce in between a plain white cold bun (kudos to the server who informed me beforehand that it was cold). The chicken chilli cheese pav was very ‘homemade’. It seemed like something a mom would pack for her kids at school when she wanted to pack something ‘special’ for them that day. It was a good old cheese grated over some chicken with chopped green chilli and tomato. The chicken farcha is quite satisfying to chew on and the batter has a great taste. This was a great beer accompaniment. My friend loved the kolmi fry but I felt it had too much crunchy deep fried onion and too little prawn to the bite. Larger prawns would be great in this.
The gwar fali cutlet was a pleasant surprise. It was fresh and crunchy and the gwar fal taste was memorable and omnipresent throughout the dish. It’s a vegetable I’m not super fond of when it’s made at home, but I’ll finish it for its great fiber content. However, it tasted great in this form.
We had a solid round of cocktails and I can’t remember for the life of me what the names were. The girls at the table just asked for something with tequila in it, one had something with gin in it (the Finding Frenny Gin I think), which had a beautiful purple flower floating on the top of the glass, and one had the Old Bawa Scotch. All three were downright delicious. The drinks repeated a few rounds with no lack of enthusiasm in service, the taste stayed solid and fresh everytime, and both my Corona’s were ice cold. One of the tequila based cocktails we were told was not on the menu yet and would be out soon (that’s why I couldn’t remember the name). It had a chuski in it and was really tasty!
If I had to list any cons about this restaurant it would only be that the chairs could be more comfortable. A little more cushy for the tushy and some better back support would be nice. They’re extremely nice wooden chairs, but not that comfy to sit on for extended periods of time. The sofa seating options are just fine. The tables are also a little tiny. For a group of four, our table hardly had any space for all the food and drinks we were ordering.
We also loved the mango bite toffees in the glass jars at the entrance. They took us back to the good old years. Overall an excellent restaurant to spend a lazy afternoon drinking cocktails with great service. I need to go back there and do a solid round of traditional parsi food (which is essentially what the restaurant is famous for). I’d definitely keep going back though.