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A 'mela' of cuisines

Brush shoulders with your favourite stars, savour exotic food amidst an inviting ambience at Melaa in Secunderabad.



CELEB HUB: Art director Sharmistha trying out the food.

NOT YOUR average Secunderabad-style restaurant, Melaa is an odd confluence of homemade Mulagakaya kari, Masala vadalu pulusu, Kaikari Chettinadu biryani and more, traditional Warli art and Hollywood theme instrumentals. The artistic sophistication, well-laid interiors, spacious cabins and an assorted menu have already made the swanky eatery a hub - where tinsel stars are found hobnobbing frequently.

With Mahesh (who has belted out movies like, Preminchukundam Raa, Jayam Manadhera, Kuch tum kaho..kuch hum kahein etc., as co-director) as the owner of the place, the claim - that every week a star will be brought in at Melaa, can hardly be disputed.

"I have put up a signage board which will bear the signatures of all those stars who come to eat here," says Mahesh enthusiastically. With less than a week of the restaurant's opening, the board already flaunts autographs of Sureshbabu, R.P Patnaik and reputed art director Sharmistha Roy, among others.

Apart from the star appeal, the restaurant boasts of a unique menu. With an ideal mix of cuisine from the kitchens of Andhra, TamilNadu ( including Chettinad, in addition to the Chinese line and desserts for a sweet finish - the Carte du Jour has a spread of over a hundred delectable delicacies.The prices are a little upscale though, (a meal for two would come between Rs 150-450).

While a regular vegetarian meal at Rs. 65 comes with 13 different bowls, the Melaa special non-veg thali, - comprising soup, salad, pickles, pooris, two pooris or rotis, vegetable pulav, rice, sambar, rasam, two non-vegetarian curries, three vegetarian curries, curd, seasonal chutney and dessert, - comes for Rs. 180.

Among the vegetarian dishes, some worth trying are Guthi vankaya kura, , Poondu kozhambu and vegetable sheekh kebab. The non-veg spread is quite expansive with several varieties like Nellore fish curry, Natu kodi iguru, and Pethalu vepudu. From the kitchens of TamilNadu, there is Kola urundai kozhambu and Varuthi vanjaram meen.

"I have three main chefs who are proficient in culinary skills of Nellore, Coimbatore and the Karnataka style, respectively," says Mahesh. With an ambience as inviting as the hospitality of the waiters, Melaa is fast becoming popular going by the mad clamour for parking space during lunch or dining hours. "We have introduced the valet, which will take care of that," says the owner who is as passionate about his movies as about Melaa (telephone: 27716555).

As for Secunderabad, perhaps it has never seen such a Melaa (housed in an inconspicuous corner in the busy R.P Road, near Kalaniketan) before.

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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