Often in city life we spend our days cooped up indoors in air-conditioned rooms all day. I even live in a high-rise, on a slightly higher floor for the first time, and there are days when I feel a palpable disconnect with mother Earth. Nothing refreshes me more than descending down those floors once or twice a day and walk on terra firma and breath in some fresh air. It is like starting afresh, on a clean slate, energised to deal with a cluttered lifestyle again. Clean slates are important, to de-clog the brain, to clear your lungs, to teach your heart how to throb again.
Which is why it is always so good to find open air restaurants and cafes. Al fresco dining has a charm of its own. Not only is it eco-friendlier, it is a sure shot way to rejuvenate your senses and breathe in some fresh oxygen. One of my most exciting discoveries in this category, this fortnight has been the Tabula Rasa Bar and Cafe at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Nestled amidst fragrant frangipani trees and cobbled floor, and an understated, trendy and contemporary set up, Tabula Rasa is an open air bar that serves great drinks and plays classy music. Tabula Rasa is a Latin phrase often translated as "blank slate" in English and originates from the Roman tabula used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it. This roughly equates to the English term "blank slate" or more literally, "erased slate" which refers to the emptiness of a slate prior to it being written on with chalk. Visiting this place is sure to help you unwind to the core and feel rejuvenated.
Tabula Rasa features live music gigs through the week, showcasing brilliant young, local bands and artists. On Saturdays they have a DJ night where you can dance into the night and let your hair down. As far as the menu goes, they have some wonderful cocktails that are perfect for the setting. I started with a Berry Blossom which is a vodka based cocktail with berries infused in vodka, cranberry juice and ginger ale. It is a wonderful blend indeed. The mood is set and live music begins to add to the experience.
|Thai Grilled Chicken|
|Jalapeno Cheese Poppers|
For bar nibbles we try the Thai Grilled Chicken and Cilantro Prawns which both possess a distinct flavor. We also try a Sauteed Herbed Vegetables which are really nicely done, crunchy and not even a bit overcooked, simply perfect. For vegetarians the Jalapeno Cheese Poppers are also a great option that we loved. My drink needs a refill and this time I try to be more adventurous. By now I know Tabula Rasa has a list of their own unique cocktails crafted to perfection. So I try a Spiked Kerouac which is a Margarita along with a shot of strawberry infused Tequila. The presentation of this cocktail is stunning. It is however quite heady and perfect for someone who can handle strong spirits well.
For the main course we try the dependable Fish and Chips which are served with flair. But what is a review without some experimentation! So we try the Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops (Great sauce) and Mushroom Fried Chicken Burger (a decent burger) and Blackened Fish with Cherry Tomato Butter Sauce which is served with Paprika Rice(a bit too tangy for me). In fact all their burgers are pretty good with interesting elements such as Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken Burger or Pork Back Rack Burger.
|Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops|
For vegetarians there are ample interesting choices such as Grilled Corn and Spinach Cake with Fricasse of Green Peas and Broccoli or Mexican Veg Pizza or a Bean and Zucchini Burger.
The lively music and the animated conversations all around the island bar keep your spirits high through the meal. The crowd too looked very artsy and bohemian that gives the place a cool vibe. Our senses were sated, so there was no scope for dessert but we decided to share a plate of Tres Leches which helped end the evening on a soft, mushy note. Tabula Rasa would definitely be a great place for a romantic date with its soft lighting and casual ambience and cute tables and perched chairs under the frangipani trees. It is also a perfect setting for de-stressing with friends at the end of a hectic work day!