Cuisine: Italian, continental, north Indian | Format: High-end formal and casual dining (separate dining areas) | Location: Road no. 36, Jubilee Hills | Alcohol: No | IQ’s eco-friendliness score: 3/5
We recently went out to dinner with some old friends, and decided on Tatva for two reasons: it was a five-minute walk away, and we were all vegetarian. We had been there before, but even though the food had been good, it hadn’t been extremely memorable either. But when we ate there this time, we realized that things had changed.
Elegant—if slightly overdone—décor
Tatva is quite unassuming from the outside. It sits on the first floor of a commercial complex on Road no. 36, with an understated signboard at ground level that doesn’t even mention ‘vegetarian’. That changes once you enter, though. The first dining area you walk into is a café/bistro sort of setup, with group seating and lots of hipster knickknacks on the wall. Walk past that, and you enter the more formal dining area. Here, a darker theme, more sophisticated seating and decorative wall ornaments give the place a richer and more elegant ambience.
Walk past the café seating, and the formal dining area has a richer, more elegant ambience.
Overall, though, one gets the feeling that they’re trying a little too hard. While the ambience is elegant enough, I would have preferred it if they had dialled it down a little bit. Of course, it finally comes down to the food, and that’s where Tatva delivers.
Surprisingly good food across the board
Think of vegetarian restaurants in Hyderabad and south Indian idli–dosa joints invariably come to mind. Add to that the term ‘multi-cuisine’—with the bad reputation it’s earned over the years—and your expectations sink by the second. But Tatva puts the polish back into both concepts by being a truly excellent vegetarian multi-cuisine restaurant.
Tatva puts the polish back into the ‘vegetarian multi-cuisine’ concept.
During our meal, the five of us thought we’d explore the menu by ordering lots of starters and desserts, and some main courses in between. We were not disappointed. Whatever we ordered—and we ordered a lot—we had nothing to complain about. And that’s rare! But though the main courses were quite good, it was the starters and desserts that stood out.
Aside: You can tell that the food was good by the very few pictures I remembered to take before polishing it all off!
Yes, tons of places serve vegetarian Caesar salad, and no, hardly any of them ever gets it right. But Tatva is one of the few places that does. Light, with just the right amount of Parmesan cheese and flavourful dressing, this is one salad that is worthy of the ancient Roman emperor. I can’t venture an opinion on whether the recipe is authentic (especially because it’s vegetarian), but it’s definitely good to eat!
Kamalkakdi ke galouti
Any non-vegetarians reading this will have heard about the famously soft galouti kabab of Lucknow. As a former non-vegetarian myself, I can safely say that Tatva’s kamalkakdi ke galouti comes extremely close to the original, despite being vegetarian. In fact, these flavourful pan-fried patties of minced lotus stem and fragrant spices will even lift the mood of a grumpy meat-eater being forced to eat in a vegetarian restaurant! Be careful if you have a low spice tolerance level, though. These morsels leave a long afterburn in the mouth.
Tender coconut panna cotta
This Asian spin on the classic Italian dessert is definitely worth trying. Served with pears poached in red berry liquid and a mousse of citrusy dragon fruit, this panna cotta is fusion cuisine the way it should be done. It might take you some time to get your mind around the presentation, though. Once you manage that, the flavours actually come together very well. We’re not usually big fans of panna cotta, but we really enjoyed this one.
Another fusion of a continental dessert with Asian flavours, this cheesecake uses tamarind not so much for its sourness but for its flavour. The result makes for a very interesting end to the meal. The raw tamarind pod that comes with the dessert—no doubt just as a garnish—might catch you off-guard. But if you’re one of those that loved to chew on tamarind pods when you were a kid, then this will probably be a welcome addition.
Honourable mention: Banoffee
The slightly boring name of this dessert hides the fact that is a rich and satisfying combination of flavours. And though it may not be exactly what you expect, this mousse of banana, caramel and nutella is a pleasure to dig into. The chikki-style peanut brittle on top and the brownie crumbs at the bottom add even more texture and flavour. I only wish they would use more brownie crumbs.
IQ’s eco-friendliness score: 3/5
Tatva is fully enclosed and offers no outdoor seating, which means their entire setup is air-conditioned. On the other hand, they do offer regular drinking water (unlike some places where only bottled water is available). Their formal dining area also doesn’t have paper napkins, plastic cutlery or plastic glasses, so that’s a plus point in my book.
Getting to Tatva
Tatva’s location is quite straightforward, but its signboards are not very visible because of the bright lights around. If you’re approaching from the Jubilee Hills check post, it’s about 500 meters further down on the left, at the overhead metro rail pillar number 16. Watch for when the road slopes downhill and then curves right; it’s on the left corner when the road curves, just inside a little lane and above the very-obvious Ratnadeep supermarket. If you’re approaching from the Hitech City side, it’s opposite the Opulentus visa centre just before the road starts climbing uphill, about 500 metres before the check post.
Here is the Google Maps location.
The bottom line
With its extensive menu and excellent food across cuisines, Tatva is one of the best high-end dining options available to strict vegetarians and Jains in Hyderabad. In fact, the food is good enough for absolutely anyone to enjoy a great meal out. It’s also quite conveniently located, on the main artery connecting Jubilee Hills with Hitech City. Parking is a bit of a problem, but the valets can take care of that for you. And though it could be friendlier to the environment, it’s still doing more than some other places I know.
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