Saturday, February 16, 2013

hyderabad :beyond biryani

My first ever trip to Hyderabad had me bowled over. From crumbling ruins, to sprawling malls, the city had everything. From being  part of a firmly South Indian state ,it still retained it’s North Indian roots.Biryani may be synonymous to Hyderabad, but there is a Hyderabad beyond biryani as well. ]

Bits and parts of the city stands out, and the Golconda fort is one such place. A sprawling fort cum palace which now lies in ruins speaks of better times, when the Kohinoor diamond had been unearth from its mines.
golconda fort by night

the view from the Golconda fort , from old to the new.

From the fort you can see the Old Hyderabad giving way to the new Hyderabad with its very own version of the Silicon Valley.It amazes me that people working 9 to 5 jobs, in a five working days a week can build such a great industry. The IT people as we call it, make up a significant part of the happy and happening crowd of Hyderabad.

TGIF a hangout for '5 working days a week' people as well as  those who enjoy a good time. this place had great happy hours offers.

bidcuits sold on the streets of old hyderabad

road side cart, old hyderabad

A major happening place is Banjara hills in Hyderabad, which is also home to some of the iconinc food places of Hyderabad.
One such place is Chutneys.

Chutneys, at Banjara hills
 As the name suggests they specialize in South Indian cuisine and it’s a pure veg restaurant. We happened to go there on sankranti and were greeted with a cheerful decoration of kites, infact we went home with kitesas return gifts from the place as well.The place seems perpetually packed and we waited in there waiting room where the walls adorn the many awards that the restaurant has won, as if telling us, this place is worth the wait.

the granular guntur idlis
an award winning eatery

We ordered the famous Guntur idlis, which were a lot like the plain idlis with podi and oil smeared on it. I some how had expected more, something like the Guntur chicken, with a really spicy Andhra flavor. The Idlis were nice and soft. They are very unlike Madurai Idlis. Madurai Idlis are homogenous sponge like idlis, while the chutney’s ‘andhra style idlis’ were more granular. Much like the kinds we get in other parts of India like Bombay etc.

guntur idlis

the chutneys of chutneys
Of the dosas we ordered the mushroom dosa, baby corn dosa, which were good, the mango Dosa which was terrible and the steamed dosa served with honey which was interesting but frankly we were stuffed by then.

mushroom dosa

the chutneys at chutneys

steamed dosa with honey

the absolutely avoidable mango doas

happy sankranti,curtesy chutneys

Of all the food we had, the chutneys were the most memorable. We are served the chutneys on the table and can choose to taste as many of them , as much as we want. The corn chutney was my favourite.

Another iconic food place is Karachi Bakery. Infact even people who have never been to hyderbad know about Karachi bakery and it’s biscuits. Now I have been a Karachi biscuits fan for a while, and I get my fix from the local Reliance fresh store at Madurai itself, but still I really wanted to see where these divine biscuits originate from.

lopsided picture , but nevertheless famous

In my mind I had envisioned an old brick and stone building with stone floors, and flour dust over the counter tops, and smell of fresh cookies in a high ceilinged building. An old world bakery, with dim lighting and cracked glass counter tops. What greeted me was a glitzy new age shop with biscuits in fancy packaging. Surprise of surprises, Karachi bakery is more than just about biscuits! Gorgeous chocolate truffles, and exotic fruit and chocolate cakes vied for my attention.

The glitzy Karachi Bakery

the luscious fruit cake

delectable cakes,Karachi Bakery

chocolate truffles, Karachi Bakery

And  ofcourse cookies. We tried the chocolate cookie which was obviously good. the oatmeal and chocolate mix cookie was kind of too much of a good thing to actually work; you expect the goodness of oats while you sin with chocolate, sounds great in theory but it just didn’t make the mark. After practically trying all the flavors of biscuits, my verdict is ‘ desh ki janta janti hai.’ Yes the best biscuit is the fruit biscuits which are famous throughout the country. After tasting all the biscuits in the shop I realized the ones I buy of the counter at the Reliance shop in down south Madurai is the best buy. The naan khatai was great, but then I have always been fond of Naan khatais.

karachi biscuits

The piece de resistance though was this mind blowing fruit cake we had. It had vanilla sponge cake with white icing, on one side there was pomegranates, and the cake had layers of diced apples, and topped of with an assortment of fruits. Luscious lip smacking cake, and considering I am the chocolate cake kinda girl, this is the first fulsome praise for a ‘non chocolate’ cake.  

sinfully good, Karachi Bakery

The find of the day however were the Karachi liquor chocolates. This is the first time I saw Desi liquor chocolates, sold over the counter, wonder of wonders they weren’t even exorbitant. Move over Anthon bergs, here comes Karachi chocolates! The chocolate however had a very mild liquor flavor, the baileys one actually just tasted of caramel, but I will give extra points for attempting Liqour chocolates to Karachi Bakery. They made great gifting options and even better self devouring options.

Now I don’t know why they named Karachi bakery 'Karachi'. I know this much that there is a Hyderabad in Pakistan too, and my google searches inform me that at one time the Indian Hyderabad wanted to be part of Pakistan as well , but by some great joy it was finally part of the India. I am just glad we got to keep this Hyderabad coz even though we lost the Kohinoor diamond to the British, Hyderabad still has many jewels worth treasuring.

lost world,Golconda, Hyderabad
special thanks to Amrita, Sudan and Pawan for being part of this foodie trail.