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The sweet destination

The newly opened `Almond House' on Road no.3, Banjara Hills can be checked out for its sweet and savouries.


DOWN TO EARTH: Jinan's terracotta masterpiece.

THE ORNATE iron trelliswork on the exterior befits an entrance to a haveli. The interiors belie the fact that it is a sweet shop. But for the glass shelves like in any other shop, the ambience is ethnic. Enter an ornate door and you are transported to a world of sweets in Almond House (8-2-348/3, Road No 3, Banjara Hills, Ph: 6628084).

Immediately on entrance, a fairly large terracotta panel with ethnic motifs draws your attention. For a minute your eyes shift to this. Designed by K.B. Jinan and executed by the craftsmen of Aruvacode village, Nilambur, Kerala, this panel depicts the theme of women pounding grain. The billing table too has an interesting painting mounted on it.

Move ahead to the glass shelves and you will notice many of them filled with the goodies the shop has to offer. A refrigerated case with egg less pastries, glass shelves with neatly wrapped boxes of dry fruits, a long shelf displaying the barfis, laddus and the range of sweets, one displaying savouries - these are neatly arranged and the place has a welcoming ambience. Importantly, it is spick and span. Incidentally, it is air-conditioned.

This branch is a little more than a month old. The concept of another branch was "to reach out to the customer where traffic does not permit,'' says Nagarjuna, the man behind the sweet outlet. The special feature besides the interior is the egg less confectionery.

There are barfis of nuts like cashew nuts, almond, pista, dry fruit and figs (worth trying out) besides malai, kismis and chocolate, laddus like besan, motichur, sunni and bandar, rolls like badam pista and kaju pista and others such as son papdi, pedas, gujia, kalakand, rabdi, peta, rasmalai, rasgolla, puta rekulu, jamuns and the like to tempt you. "The khoya is made in the shop and not purchased from outside,'' says Nagarjuna. But the prices (slightly on the highest side) may deter you from purchases. The taste is a strong influencing factor for purchase. The sugar content is low and there are more of other ingredients.

The savouries too are many - from the chudwas, sevs to the matris, dals and samosas. The alu samosa sends the taste buds ticking on sight. Served with khatti-meethi chutney and marinated green chillies, these are heavenly if one decides to have them with tea. The pyas potli, interestingly fashioned like a wrapped basket, is akin to a dal kachori. The samosa and the potli may be spicy for some but that is the fun of it - having it slightly teeka.

The natural ice creams are worth checking out. The ice cream is made in the good old hand churner with fresh ingredients and this is what constitutes its special taste. At the moment about four flavours are being served - mango, coconut, chikoo and jackfruit.

The eggless confectionery includes cakes, pastries and bisticks. It was introduced as those who cannot eat eggs invariably feel left out. The array of pastries may not be running into a long list, nevertheless there are a few good ones to choose from - almond, black forest, chocolate, pineapple and butter scotch. These are soft but the fluffiness present in cakes with eggs is absent here. But this way a lot more people can get to eat them.

The highlight of the shop is the bistick - a slightly longish cookie shaped like a stick with almonds, which make a good accompaniment with tea, or can be eaten by themselves. These are even given as samples to taste.

Add a sweet touch to your lives this festive season with the sweets of Almond House.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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