Review: Expect pizza pani puri, pull-apart garlic bread and masala chai at Big Owl Cafe in Sainikpuri
There’s a burst of flavours as we stuff a whole crispy puri in our mouths. Along with an overload of cheese, there’s also tender chicken, veggies and chilli flakes, reminding us of a pizza slice. We’re sampling a unique fusion dish — Pizza Pani Puri at the newly opened Big Owl Cafe. For Hyderabadis who love their street food staple, this maybe experimental but it’s delicious all the way. “This dish has become quite a hit. We did trials for about a couple of months, and that’s when we thought of coming up with a fusion variety of two favourite dishes of the city’s foodies — pizza and pani puri,” says Mohit Chandra, who owns the outlet with Ravit Kumar, Dheemanth, Salman Khan, Amalraj Thotten and Pushyami.
That’s the tea!
When you reach Verka Residency in Sainikpuri, you spot a bright board that guides you to the third floor where the café is located. Although unpretentious from the outside, once you walk in, you spot bright lights and a hanging garden fill up the rather spacious outlet. The outdoor is all about lush grass, climbers and fresh air with a beautiful view, while the air-conditioned section boasts a huge floral wall painting, a small dessert corner and portraits of puns on owls.
The 60-seater also offers table-top foosball and board games, stocked up beside a beautiful glass art that has tiny boxes filled with bright coloured paint, making for a great spot, especially during sunset.
As we enjoy a hot cup of Blooming Tea, Mohit gives us a background of the café, started by a group of friends. “We were all students in the same college and have been interested in starting something together for a while. Initially, we thought of having a food truck, but the moment we stumbled upon this space, we couldn’t let it go. We took turns and worked on the interiors by ourselves for four months,” he shares. Meanwhile, the Blooming Tea — consisting of a bundle of dried flowers put together to form a bulb — is calming with a subtle taste of jasmine. When you place the flower in a cup of hot water, it opens up slowly, making for a fun boomerang.
While we highly recommend the Pizza Pani Puri (available in vegetarian and meat options), the menu has a lot of comforting fusion dishes. Look out for a curated Chinese section, Continental options and a range of shakes and mocktails. Replacing the regular garlic bread, Big Owl Cafe has a Pull-apart Garlic Bread, which is more like a bun filled with cheese and garlic seasoning.
The Veg Continental Platter is quite the combo — crispy potato wedges, tossed veggies, garlic bread with generous seasoning, paneer in Thai sauce and garlic parsley tossed rice. If you’re looking for a filling meal, we suggest you opt for this —right mix of subtle Thai sauce and spicy garlic bread. What we love the most about the café is that it’s perfect for multiple occasions — some masala chai and fries, wholesome lunch with a fresh mojito or a pleasant evening with waffle and ice cream.
Price for two: INR 600.
Pics: Vinay Madapu & Snehasish.