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With Chefs nowadays willing to experiment a lot more than earlier, the many other regional cuisines of India are now getting their due. I’ve always been an exponent of the richness of Odia cuisine and extolled of it’s many nuances. But sadly the Odia food was always relegated within the borders.

Odia Food Festival 1

You’d find Odia chefs all over India in literally every kitchen, yet they’d be cooking everything else other than their own food. For a cuisine which has been always compared and termed similar to Bengali, it’s great to see chefs finally it’s due.

Odia Food Festival 4

And I must say Chef Amit Dash has done one fabulous job. It isn’t just the regular dishes which were already known like the Pakhala and Chenna Poda which made it to the buffet but also the ones from Western and Southern Odisha too. He has done his research by bringing in such richness of food heritage to a food festival.

Odia Food Festival 2

I was very happy to see the Pakhala Live Counter. I was pleasantly surprised when there was a comment that it’s a poor man’s food. The Pakhala is a meal in itself, a one bowl meal of sorts. Much like the Ramens, Thukpas and the likes, the Pakhala packs itself in a single bowl. The accompaniments do a great job to enhance the taste but aren’t specifically necessary. That’s the beauty of the fermented rice dish.

The other dish which completely stunned me at the buffet was Mudi Mangsho, a typical wedding/tribal dish from Balasore. In originality the puffed rice is tossed over with fresh produce and mutton kassa of sorts to make a beautiful and enticing dish. It’s like Jhalmudi (Bhelpuri) had a non-vegetarian cousin.

The main course paid homage to the rich non-vegetarian heritage of the state while also showcasing it’s temple food. Many of Odia food have their origins from the numerous temples which dot the state. The Jaganath Temple, Puri has been instrumental in changing the desserts in India. The Dalma was there and so was the Kanika. But my happiness was unmatched when it comes to the Chilika Crabs.

My grandmom was born in and around Chilika, so whenever we had relatives visiting. There would be a huge basket of fresh crabs which came alongside them. Chilika Crabs for me literally define the term ‘Foodgasm’. And Chef Amit Dash cooked it perfectly. Happy was I breaking away at the claws and mixing along the runny gravy with plain white rice.

Odia Food Festival 3

Does the Odia Food Festival at Feast, Sheraton do a great job at showcasing the food of Odisha? It’ll be a resounding Yes from my end. With Chef Amit Dash at the helm it couldn’t have been any better. And also did I mention the dessert section is just huge.

Odia Food Festival 5

Odia Food Festival 6

The Odia Food Festival is part of the buffet at Feast, Sheraton Hyderabad.

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Last Update : 31st March 2018

We felt that most of the lists for the best Haleems across Hyderabad have never been updated. Some of the outlets have ceased to exist while others rely on crowd sourcing. A personal opinion in compiling an extensive list has been lacking. So I’ve taken on the task to have at least 30 Haleems this year to provide an updated list of places in Hyderabad. Kindly note the word ‘personal opinion’ and all of these have been personally tasted and compiled.

The Ramzan month especially heralds the start of our “Iftaar Walks”. If you haven’t signed up yet, all of the event details have been posted on the FoodDrifter facebook page.

1. Pakwaan Grand : If there was an award for consistency, these guys deserve it more than anyone else. It’s been 3 years since I’ve had my Haleem here and they have blown my mind every single time. I mean just look at that plate of Mashad Haleem. The recipe uses chunks of mutton with minimal bones. The result is a much meatier and flavorful Haleem than anyone else. Generously added on top are Ghee, Cream, Fried Onions, Pistachios, Cashews and Lime. It had come very close to being the No. 1 on our list last year. This year it might just be?

Mashad Haleem priced at Rs 180/-

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2. Simply South, Filmnagar : One of my favorite Haleems of last year. In fact they’ve been so consistent with their Haleem that I drop by for a visit no matter what. A makeshift traditional handi over firewood is made at the back of the kitchen. All of the spice mix is hand pounded and the Haleem made using the traditional recipe.

This year Simply South has tweaked the grain to make it a different variant of white broken wheat. This lends it a much darker shade due to the spices and meat. The recipe is more of the Nizami style with a great flavor profile coming off the peppercorns and cinnamon. Its quite a huge quantity, enough for two people. Served alongside are the fresh lime wedges, mint, fried onions and cashews.

Priced at 450 AI

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3. SodaBottleOpenerwala : A Gyarah Haleem fest which started off last year with great success has been recreated this year too. Expanded to include an outside stall for the showcase of all the Gyarah Handis, they’ve gone on to make nearly 3 veg variants.

But Haleem and vegetarian, two words which shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. In fact I’d go nowhere close to the Chicken one too. But they should be awarded high marks for the Duck, Turkey and Prawns variants. Absolutely nowhere would you be able to get such varieties. But my standard order as always went for the Persian Haleem. Their Persian Haleem till date remains an absolute favorite of mine among the Gyarah Handi. Mild on spices, a nice little wheatish color and the strings of mutton that I can feel with every spoonful. They’ve now tweaked their Irani Haleem too.

Persian Mutton Haleem Price – Rs 400/-

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4. Peshawar Restaurant, Lakdikapul : I was quite excited to try the Haleem at Peshawar despite the fact that this is the first time they’ve put a stall. The restaurant has slowly but steadily become one of my favorites in the city. The Nalli Barrah, Chapli Kebabs and Biryani are some of the best you can entice your tastebuds with.

But we’re here to talk about the Haleem, aren’t we? Mild on spices with beautiful chunks of mutton in every bite. They’ve done a very good balancing act between placing the taste between a homemade Haleem and a commercial one.

I’d make do without the whole peppercorns which seem to appear once in a while. The texture is lovely and also ain’t that rich that you can’t slurp down a bowl.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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5. Al-Saba, Gachibowli : Imagine having one of the most worst tasting Haleems that you vowed never to return back to the place. Well that was Al-Saba for me once upon a time. To this day I look at the place while driving across and think “What do people even like over there?”

But this year I’ve gone back to pushing away my earlier notions of the past and giving old haunts another chance. And I’m glad this led me back to Al-Saba. For all the people who live towards Gachibowli, do yourself a favor and chuck the Shah Ghouse and Pista Houses. Al-Saba is actually so so much better. Plus I really really liked the fact that they were patient in explaining it to a Haleem newbie with a smile when the person beside me enquired about it. The refill of brown onions and mint was given to whoever asked. And most importantly there was no Sherwa but gher which they dolloped on top. It has definitely won me over.

Priced at Rs 140/-

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6. Cafe Bahar : There is something about going back to the oldest cafes in Hyderabad. An underlying reason as to why such legendary places continue to survive despite the expansion of the rest. Cafe Bahar for me is one such. Their Biryani till date is one of my favorites.

But its their Haleem which has remained consistent too year after year. There is no over the top marketing or combos offered. Other than the pet bottle of pepsi you get free with you Haleem, one that they’ve been giving for years now.

The Haleem is still great, the person at the counter still smiles as he hands me over a bowl. And neither do they object when I ask for a refill of some fried onions on top. People park their vehicles, have a quick bowl and go about their way. Cafe Bahar continues to be a legend in its own way.

Priced at Rs 140 with a free 250ml of Pepsi

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7. Ohri’s Group : Ohri’s Group of restaurants have a lovely iftaar platter across few of their outlets with Jauzi Halwa, Dates, Lukmi and Haleem.

The Haleem was quite flavorful and rich. Doesn’t go overboard with the spices and maintains consistency. Infact, I did keep some in the refrigerator to be had the next day. And my morning breakfast consisted of Toasted Bread with a spread of Haleem. Has anyone tried it this way? Also btw Haleem on Pizza is the absolute BEST.

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8. Hotel Nayaab : And diving right back into our Haleem stories is this one from Hotel Nayaab. A little spicy, very peppery and overall a great texture.

Hotel Nayaab is one of the initial Cafes which started serving Haleem commercially. What was supposed to a breakfast dish soon became a Ramzan special coz of the preparation time and heaviness of the dish.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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9. Cafe 555, Masab Tank : First up is the legendary Cafe 555. You’d imagine that this Irani Cafe which was a favorite of mine 2-3 years ago and still does good numbers would be making delicious Haleem. Sadly not, 3 spoons down and I couldn’t have it anymore. The bones were minimal but it was just damn spicy. I actually kept getting whole peppercorns in my mouth.

The ratio of meat has significantly reduced. And they really need to clean up the place, its much dirtier than I remember it to be. Its just the start of Ramzan so hopefully they take care of this as the month progresses. The sherwa was still great though. They are really famous for their special Haleem which is topped up with Chicken 65, Zubaan and a boiled egg. Top it with anything, but if your base ain’t good. It just doesn’t work then. Enjoyable but a shadow of it’s former self.

Bowl of Haleem – Rs. 160/-                                          Special Haleem – Rs. 300/-

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10. Hotel Sohail :This year it has been a bit disappointing of sorts when it comes to the Haleems at the legendary outlets.

Maybe its that the newer entrants have upped their game. Or the fact that I’ve been having some really good stuff as of late. I mean don’t get me wrong, the Haleem from Hotel Sohail was nice.

But you know the feeling that it could have been so much better. They top up the Haleem with two types of ghee. One in which onions had been fried and one the regular. Good stuff though.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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11. Hotel Shahran : Another one among the Haleems from Old City. I should really stick to either the Boti or Seekh Kebabs with Warqi Paratha.

The Haleem is definitely not their strong suit. In fact they were so much better last year. All I could feel in mouth was fat from the mutton. Entirely coated my throat making it hard to swallow another spoonful. This is one money which could have been better spent elsewhere.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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12. Shahi Dastarkhwan, Lakdikapul : When located in front of better ones as the newly opened Peshawar and Chicha’s , you really need to pick up your socks to make a very very good Haleem.

But sadly Shahi Dastarkhwan didn’t really put that to any use in their Handi. None of the large LEDs, bright enough to replace the street lights will be able to get in customers if you’re product isn’t good.

The Haleem is very pasty where the broken wheat’s taste overpowers the taste of meat. Also it doesn’t help that they have a large number of whole peppercorns.

Priced at Rs 160/-

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We as humans have evolved from a civilization of gatherers. There was time when royals would venture out on hunting expeditions which sometimes lasts days. The game meat then had to be cooked in the wild using rustic cooking methods. This gave evolution to the Sand and Stone cooking methods.

The Sand pits were quite popular in desert and arid areas where the meat was packed in a parcel and placed inside the hot sand. This heat cooked the meat evenly giving way to a dish which was nearly fall-apart. The marinades for the meat could be of different types based on the spice availability of the region. The sand cooking technique was liberal in it’s use of spices making the food, fiery hot. This led to the body giving of sweat which in turn acted as a cooling mechanism. There’s always so much history to learn through the evolution of food. And this is exactly what Chef Angshuman and Team at Bidri, Marriott Hyderabad showcase with their ‘Sand & Stone’ Festival.

Pathar ka Paneer Tikka

Two years ago Bidri had organized a Stone and Wood Fire festival. This time there is an extension of selection in the food options which have lot of vegetarian options too. Off the vegetarian side of the menu my favorites were the Bharwan Karela and the Sand smoked mushrooms. I absolutely love bitter-gourds unlike many, especially when it comes with a filling. With the Sand Roasted Bharwan Karela, the chefs have filled the bitter-gourd with spicy potatoes, nuts and cilantro and cooked it in sand. Bidri has actually built a make-shift sand-pit in the outdoor area which heats the sand from the bottom.

Arbi Aur Chnna ka Shammi

The Pathar ka Gosht is quite a familiarity with Hyderabadi cuisine. If you ever venture out to the Old City, you’d find a lot of street vendors making this famous Hyderabad dish on a slab of granite. Thin strips of meat are let to break down with raw papaya. This helps in cooking the meats to cook much easier on the stone slab. The rest among the non-vegetarians include Pathar ka Pomfret, Prawns among many other. My favorite among all the dishes was the Sikandari Raan where a whole leg of lamb was marinated in a mix of malt, vinegar, spice rub and cooked in the sand. The meat was deliciously tender and beautiful.

Sikandari Raan

Sometimes you want to sit down for a meal and not have to think on what’s happening on your plate. The traditional Indian style of cooking methods have always been special and will continue to do so. Kudos to the chefs of Bidri for truly showcasing Indian history on a plate.

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Brunches are like a gift that you should shower yourself with once in a while. I’ve always been a fan of brunches and still occasionally go for them once in a while with friends. Waking up late on a Sunday and heading straight for a brunch. That’s my kind of lazy Sunday pampering.

Kebabs

There is no denying that The Park hotel is a beautiful hotel. Overlooking the Hussain Sagar with an infinity pool, I don’t mind sipping on G&Ts al day while soaking in this view. The Brunch at The Park had a bit of everything. I started off my afternoon with a bit of childhood memories. Delightful Maggi Counters and Croissants, just the right start to my day. The Maggi can be prepared in any particular way of your choice.

Popcorn At The Children's Counter

Fruits Counter

But don’t fill up just yet. This is just the start to so much more creative counters set by the Chefs. Going along the gourmet lines are Sushi and Pastas. There were almost 3 variants each of Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian sushi during my time. The Salmon Volcano was my favorite, where the substituted a roll of salmon instead of rice. The Barbeque Station offers a mix between Hyderabadi and North Indian. There were fillets of chicken and marinated fish. The Seekh Kebab were good too.

Irani Chai Counter

Irani Chai

Now to my favorite side of The Park brunch. Seldom do I see any hotel in the city offering Mandi as part of a brunch. Biryani always plays a much bigger role, but this Arabian dish has been slowly stealing away at people’s heart in the city. The Khabsa served at The Park was a standout and spectacular. The aroma of the rice gave way to an even exquisite taste. The chicken was tender and went wonderfully with a side of tangy tomato chutney. If you still have more cravings post this, there are still a huge array of main courses lined up.

Mandi

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Special mention to the Beer sorbet which was spectacular. I waited in line patiently as the Chef whipped up a fresh Beer Sorbet with slivers of ginger using Nitrogen right before my eyes. The Park brunch is priced competitively at 1500 AI and make for an amazing afternoon Sunday indulgence. You can upgrade it to 2000 AI for unlimited IMFL drinks.

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Seldom do you come across pop-up which you can’t afford to give a miss. The Culinary Tales Pop-Up by Karavalli, The Gateway Hotel at Firdaus, Taj Krishna is one such. My earliest memory of Karavalli was one where I had walked into the Gateway Hotel while wandering around Bangalore for a quick lunch. The expanse of greenery in between a city felt so fresh and the setting, apt for a thali. It was one of the most memorable lunches I’ve had walking out a happy man. Serving patrons since 1989, Karavalli has set a bar high when it comes to coastal food.

Firdaus

I couldn’t afford to not be there when the food of Karavalli was on offer in the city. For four days, it’ll only be the Kodagu food, Coastal Mangalorean, Goan and other dishes of the Konkan belt which will be served in Firdaus. The first dish on the table ended up being my favorite among everything else that lunch. The Koli Barthad is a Coorg preparation of chicken pan-fried in spices. The Coorg vinegar gives it a bit of acidity in a beautiful amalgamation with the pepper.

Koli Barthad

Dishes cooked in Banana Leaves is one that I find in most regional cuisines and the Meen Eleittad was no different done in a fiery marinade of Malabar masala. The Tiger Prawns Roast is the right example on the showcase of Kerala spices while still maintaining the delicateness of the prawns. There was burst of fresh green chilies, coconut and spices in the roast masala. All I needed was either an Appam or Parotta to neatly polish it off my plate.

Tiger Prawns Roast

But there was one dish which was interesting and it turned out to be vegetarian. Enter the Oggaraneda Aritha Pundhi, a rice dumpling lightly flavored in coconut and cumin. These small delicate balls of rice were like the perfect snack which you could sit down for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The light spicing ensured that it wasn’t overpowering and took seconds to pop-in.

Oggaraneda Aritha Punde

Oggaraneda Aritha Punde

My Main Course consisted of a plate of Sungatache Kodi or as we commonly know it as Goan Prawns Curry. I thoroughly enjoyed how each of them prawns were delicately cooked making it shine through despite being in spices. The other main courses included Allapuzha Meen Curry from Kerala, Karavalli Mutton Curry and Avial.

Idiappam

Chitranna

Ending the lunch with desserts from the Goan belt were the Bebinca and Dodol. The Ada Pradhaman too wasn’t overly sweet.

Ada Pradhaman

Bebinca, Dodol and Ada Pradhaman

Karavalli has been the epitome of South and West Coastal cusine, showcasing the intricacies of dishes from the Konkan Belt. With the 4 day pop-up at Firdaus, this is one meal you should definitely not miss.

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It’s been 70 years since the historic day of 15th August 1947 and some of the Taj properties across India have come up with a promotion so beautiful. The recreation of the pre-independence dinner at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai in 1947. The idea all materialized when someone at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, stumbled across a menu from the night and this converted to the food we sit to partake, a recreation of India’s past.

The menu for the purely non-vegetarian and the menu was purely eclectic French and Continental. French Cuisine was going through a revolutionary phase and chefs had been employed from Goa and other European occupied states to give it that deft touch.

IMG_20170808_195337-01

Although the original recipes aren’t available, Chef Nitin Mathur and his team at the Taj Krishna have done a fabulous job at recreating the original menu. We started off with the Consomme al indienne. The Consomme was crystal clear, with the enhanced flavors of the chicken shining through. The julienned veggies on the bed, showcasing the colors of India parted out as the consommé flowed right through. I thoroughly loved it. The appetizer of the night is one which didn’t feature in the original menu and had been added in. Delicacies a’l Hindustan literally translating as ‘Delicacies of Hindustan’ were three cottage cheese in three different variants of marinade.

Delicacies a’l Hindustan

The mains comprised of Paupiette de Saumon joinville (Salmon roulade, soft creamy mash, wilted spinach, turned vegetables and Joinville sauce), Poularde Souffle Independence (Chicken soufflé with steamed vegetables and lemon parsley sauce), Crepes aux epinards (Stuffed spinach crepes with Makani gravy) and Campignons vol au vents (truffle and wild mushroom with paprika cheese sauce). It was the Vol-au-vent which was my pick for the night. A classic Belgian dish, the vol-au-vent is a stack of puff pastry with filling of either mushrooms or chicken. The mushrooms give earthiness and with the crunch of the fluffiest puff pastry, this is an absolute beauty.

Paupiette de Saumon joinville

Poularde Souffle Independence

The set dinner ended with Vacherin de peches liberation (Peach infused Apricot Sorbet) served in Meringue cups. Having the sorbet alone was a bit too sweet for my palate, but it wasn’t until I broke down the whole dessert on my plate, that the deftness of it all shone through.

The recreation of the 1947 Menu at Encounters, Taj Krishna is a niche menu that comes along once in a while. It’s India’s history on a plate and with a pricing of Rs. 1947/-, this is one worth indulging in.

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It’s been almost 5 years now that I’ve moved to Hyderabad and it’s safe to say now that the city has embraced me completely. With Ramzan now here, the city is decked up with flickering lights, Haleem in every nook and corner of the city’s alleyways and gorgeous street food.

The first time when I had come visiting Hyderabad during the Ramzan season, my parents who were strict conservationists kept my away from having my Haleem. It was more of the thought of mixing Beef with Mutton in any of the Haleems served across the city. But they’ve now given up on after hearing of the endless tryst with different meats from across the world.

So approximately 5 years back is when I had my first taste of the dish that I had heard so much about. It’d be safe to say that it was the worst thing I ever had in my freaking life. It was in one word – Yuck. I gave up on the worst looking dish ever made on earth. Needless to say that whole month of Ramzan that year was spent eating everything else but Haleem.

Then arrived 2012 and by then I had made a number of Hyderabadi friends. With Ramzan arrived a fresh batch of homemade Haleem by one my friend’s mom. Falteringly I took my best bite and my completely perspective of the entire dish changed with that bite. It was exquisite, smooth and full of flavor. I literally still can’t comprehend how a dish which looks like it had been thrown up after an after-party, taste so good. Then started my Haleem quest in Hyderabad. From literally visiting each eatery to try their fare to becoming a self-confessed expert critic at it. Also a point to note is that the original Haleem just like the Kacchi Gosht ki Biryani tastes nothing like the ones made commercially.

Haleem at point in the city was served 365 days of the year. But there was a lot of time and patience that went into making the dish and also the heaviness of it. It was then that it got relegated to being a Ramzan only special. Hotel Nayaab was the first to start serving Haleem commercially in the hotel before the rest picked it up. The now famous Pista House was instrumental in getting the GI tag for Haleem for Hyderabad. It’s now become as much a part of the city as the Charminar itself.

As the city progresses, so does it’s cuisine. Restaurants started serving variants like the Emu, Fish, Topping it Zubaan and Chicken 65. The wow factor of the dish had finally descended on us with some going far out to making Haleem with Oats, Italian herbs of Oregano and Thyme. But they forgot to realize one important factor. Haleem is a wheat dish first and the red meat is secondary. It is all about getting the consistency of the wheat beaten to correctness while the meat melts away in the pot.

For me it will always be the perfect fulfilling dish it’s meant to be. Next throw in the brown onions, fresh mint and cashews. You then generously add a ladle of Sherwa to have the best goddamn food that Hyderabad has to offer.

You can still check out the 20 Best Places To Have Haleem in Hyderabad we compiled in 2015 below. The list shall now be updated once again with 2017.

The 20 Best Haleem Joints In Hyderabad

 

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If in Hyderabad you’d think that you’ve seen it all when it comes to Biryani. The other day The Hindu ran an article on the list of places which have inspired Biryani related concoctions and dishes. While United Kitchens of India had their Biryani-cocktail with aromas which exude the one dish that can get a Hyderabadi to bow down at his knees. I personally haven’t been a Biryani person myself. But this city has changed me to an extent that I do crave a bowl of it once in a while. Yeah here in Hyderabad, you don’t eat by a plate but a Bowl-ful

However, there is one place which lies in the bylanes of Nampally which should get it’s due in this regard. Deccan Achar has been making Biryani pickle for quite a while now. It’d be hard to find this shop if you were new to the area and didn’t ask for directions. Even Google Maps would send you in a circle for Nampally traffic is notorious for pushing you into corners you’d not think existed.

Deccan Achar (3)

Standing tall is the Deccan Achar where you’d see a throng of people busy having small plates in their hand as they taste each of the pickle varieties before buying them. From small packets to kilograms of the pickles, the customers parcel them in droves. I’d gone to Deccan Achar a couple of years ago while researching on interesting food and had totally forgotten about it. It wasn’t until that I got a call from Chef Kunal Kapur for new inventive pickles for his “Pickle Nation” that I did remember it.

When discussions go deep on the ingredients in food with @chefkunal #fooddrifter #masterchef

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The pickles are all made in huge aquarium size-vats set along the walls of the shop. Like most commercial shops making pickles, they also do use a lot of vinegar. This super-speeds the pickling process but vinegar leaves a tingling sensation in your throat as you have it in pickles. The home-made Indian pickles though go through a rigorous process of drying and pickling before finally being put to use.

Deccan Achar (1)

Deccan Achar’s star product is their Biryani pickle. A product carefully made by the current owner to bring back business after he took over the reins. It was all about being the showcase-factor for the shop but it definitely worked. While I took a bite of the pickle, I could deny the quintessential aroma of Biryani you’d get once a lid is lifter off a freshly cooked one. As the owner explains it’s made using Biryani spices and mangoes without divulging any other secrets.

I bought a packet to have with a portion of hot rice. This is when it all comes together. When mixed with steaming rice, it almost can be passed off as a Biryanish-Pulav. The taste is almost similar and can almost be passed off as a 2-cent Biryani. Not wanting to order-in and yet craving for a portion of Biryani? Mix a little bit of the pickle and you’ve got your lunch/dinner going.

Deccan Achar (6)

Hyderabad has had it’s Biryani-fication of various products. And the Biryani pickle from Deccan Achar adds into that list. They do have more than 50-60 other varieties of pickles including non-vegetarian ones. My favorite though is the Kariyapak (Curry Leaves), Karela (Bitter Gourd) and a Mango Green Til.

Deccan Achar (5)

Location : Deccan Achar, Nampally Market
Phone: 040 2321 4571

Deccan Achar (4)

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There is a question I’ve been asked multiple times, “Why Jonathan’s Kitchen?” For people on my friend list to unknown who ping on the FoodDrifter FB page and Instagram. The number of times I’ve recommended Jonathan’s Kitchen or Komatose has been innumerable. There was a time when every 2nd day I’d been checking into JK. Then I became conscious about it, lest someone label it as too much of a favorite. It was then that I would be there but not check-in anymore. But photographing food as a habit that it is, that I’d whip out my phone and do a Insta Story of it.

Dumplings

Both of Jonathan’s Kitchen and Komatose has been a hangout for me of sorts. And this post is an ode to those countless hours I’ve spent there. I always am conscious about getting drunk. Yet Komatose is the only place where I’ve let go one night. Entertaining a friend or a client, an office party or a personal one. Komatose has been the answer to most of my answers.

From the countless times that I’ve been there to go through the entire menu, it was finally time for change. Their already extensive Sushi menu now has an even more options to choose from. The Uramakis, Nigiris, Tamagoyakis are emblazoned across the revamped menu. But it’s the Indian side of the menu that I’d like to talk about.

Sushi

Sushi

Jonathan’s Kitchen has been known for it’s continental fare. But little do people know that they can actually dish up pretty decent Indian food too. The Jhinga Khadi Mirch hits you with it’s chili and peppery nature of the prawns. But with a glass of whiskey is what you need to pair it with. Yep the light tingly feeling of chili down your throat as you wash it down with your favorite whiskey or single malt. That is exactly how’d love it. Not fan of the spice then the Murgh ke Parchey and Peshwari Chapli Kebabs should be your choice. I’ve had Chapli Kebabs innumerable times but have seldom seen it as part of a regular menu. Among the seafood is the a beautifully Grilled Pomfret. I’ve ordered it almost thrice now before writing this and the beautiful tandoor color on it is just exquisite.

Kebabs

Grilled Pomfret

Continental Cuisine has always been Jonathan’s Kitchen’s strong suit. Highly recommended is the Filet Mignon. A nice filet of beef, cooked the perfect medium rare and served with a side of veggies and mashed potatoes. If a bhakt had to sprinkle a million drops of the holy Ganga on me for eating the steak, then so be it. It will still be worth it. Also lemme tell ya that this marks the rise in the standard of how a filet should be cooked…EVER. Literally falling off the shank was my next dish, the Ossobucco. With both of these it’s just the right cooking that needs to be done to get the meat tender and JK get’s it perfect.

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Fish Steak

Ending with the desserts is the Tres Leche and Ghevar with Rabri. I’ve never been a fan of the Red Velvet anywhere and the Tres Leche at Jonathan’s Kitchen combines a Red Velvet with the traditional Tres Leche from Spain. While the people at my table did appreciate the dish, it wasn’t for me. Both of them are a little overtly sweet and people who especially enjoy sweetish-ly sugary desserts will do so.

Tres Leches

Meanwhile as I leave my table to head back to the Bar at Komatose, I can’t help but wonder how they’ve got another lovely menu on their hands. A comprehensive simple take on dishes and yet a sophisticated look which makes the new menu another standout. Jonathan’s Kitchen just gave me another reason to head back there just for the superb Filet Mignon alone.

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Tusacany in Trident Hyderabad has been one of my favorite restaurants in the city. The chic and simplistic setting of an Italian household coupled with the dim lighting makes it a beautiful place dine in. The one constant that I really like about Tuscany is that they keep reinventing themselves through their food. With the new Summer Menu, I might just label it as one their best menus yet. And all of this based on just a few dishes that I had.

We began our dinner with a Smoked Chicken and Rucola Salad, which believe me is as simple as it sounds. The beauty of the salad lies in the saffron and cheese spheres which had been nonchalantly arranged on the salad. As a salad, it was just the fresh greens and the smoked chicken, but you gotta burst the spheres to let the sauce flow in. The subtlety of the saffron wraps over the entire salad and gives it a whole different texture.

Smoked Chicken and Rucola Salad

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Next up was my favorite Carrot and Fennel Soup. Never have I had a soup so refreshing and summery. A cold soup, the soup is served with Orange Sorbet and an almond biscotti. I was literally scraping every last portion from the bottom of the bowl of the wonderful soup.

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Up until now the dinner had been all about freshness and truly light. This changed with the main course. A Lemon and Thyme Fettuccini with homemade pasta was a delight made over with cream, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese. Alongside on my plate was a Risotto Milanese. Just like any Masterchef show out there, I too believe that the Risotto of an Italian restaurant can make or break the place. I’ve had quite a lot of mushy ones in my time but never at Tuscany. The risotto at Tuscany is perfection and a couple of spoons and you’re set. Again the dash of saffron provides it a burst of flavor in the Risotto Milanese with smoked salmon and fried calamari.

Lemon and Thyme Fettuccini

Pasta

Chef Praful has been a wonder with the desserts. Whilst just written as Panacotta on the menu, I sure knew to expect something exquisite. Sure enough he delivered with the cold mango layer between the slices of Panacotta. The plating was a work of art with two Panacottas with the other being Blueberry with the vanilla crumble giving it the crunch factor. It was a marriage of soft and crunch whilst not overpowering with sweetness.

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The new Summer menu at Tuscany is superbly crafted and one worth visiting for. Take your partner out or indulge yourself for a quiet meal. The food by Tuscany shall not leave you disappointed.

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