Hard Rock Café’s new menu might raise some eyebrows, but the food still adheres to the high standards the chain has setThe Foodist Andrew Josef
There are quite a few things associated with rock music: hair of the dog; the strange person in your bed; or Buffalo Wings and smokehouse ribs chased down by pitchers of lager. One thing that is not associated with rock is Saag Paneer and Chicken Pakoda. The good folks at Hyderabad’s Hard Rock Café, however, have succumbed to pressure from their local clients demanding more ‘Indianised’ fare and put the Saag and Pakoda on to their new menu. But if you think that this is the end of the Hard Rock culinary experience then you’re as mistaken as George Harrison thinking Clapton’s Layla was not about his wife.
While HRC may have added a couple of rather strange dishes to their menu to keep a segment of clients happy, they have added a lot more that should keep all us ageing rockers much happier than a Grand Funk Railroad reunion.
Just for the tune up, vegetarians can now try the corn
fritters and the Assorted Hummus Platter. Now before you go “Hummus…boring”, there’s a twist. There are three types of hummus here, the ubiquitous chickpea creation, but also one made from white beans, and another from black beans. Both are unique, and those Black Beans wail like Plant in his pomp.
For the chorus of your meal, the rockers have brought smokehouse to the masses; from BBQ’d chicken to ribs, you’ll be knocking on heaven’s door. This is HRC at its best.
The more adventurous Peter Gabriel-era Genesis fan must try the Caribbean Black Bean Burger (made from sweet potato). It’s vegetarian and may have an acquired taste, but so does a good malt, and as any self-respecting musician knows, that’s a taste once acquired, is banked for life.
Certainly the crowning solo in the sandwich section is the pulled chicken sandwich (they also have an oink option). Dripping with BBQ sauce, and ably supported on bass by ranch beans and rhythm by an almost-perfect coleslaw, it leads the new menu.
Of course if you’re too uptight to get your hands (or your shirt and trousers) messy then try the Stuffed Chicken on Vegetable Spaghetti. Be warned, like a Danzig track, you don’t get what you expect. The spaghetti is in fact sublimely julienned vegetables. The dish looks stunning, a la veggies, and perfectly matches the flurry of flavour.
The new menu boasts a huge selection of local (some faux, some authentic) dishes to cater to those who like a bit of Keralian [sic] Fish Curry and Murgh Makhani with their red Hot Chilli Peppers.
But make sure you leave space for the encore, because just when you think the show’s over HRC’s new menu dishes out a Mojito Yoghurt with Fresh Fruit and a White Chocolate Banana Pudding, bit solid efforts, but eclipsed by Tres Leches.
This moist Mexican cake with cream and fresh berries is to desserts what Johnny Cash was to red wine…a personification.
Whether you agree with some of HRC’s additions to their menu or not, it doesn’t matter. While the restaurant has gone out of its way to cater to its customers’ requests it has made sure that the ethos of the chain has not been lost, or even diluted. In fact, it has bolstered the experience.
So head out there, pull a chilled pint, order the ribs, and sit back and let the greatest music in the world seduce you into a sensory bacchanalia.
But if you see one roomali roti being tossed…run!
Name: Hard Rock Café
Meal for two: Rs.1,000 + taxes
Address: GVK One, Road no 1, Banjara Hills