November 12, 2011

A taste of Hyderabad

November 12, 2011
Since my arrival to Bahrain ten months ago, experimenting with different cuisines has been a routine. This is mostly because Bahrain is home to one of the most diverse populations I have ever seen, paving way to a multitude of cultures - each expressing their own delicious glory by means of eateries. For someone who is still in the process of learning about traditional food, it is always a delightful experience to taste new things and discover the rich history behind the place it hails from.

It is for this reason my husband and I visited an upcoming restaurant in the city - one that is rich with symbolism of the Indian metropolitan city Hyderabad. Known globally for its iconic monument of Charminar, Hyderabad is a city that has a 400 year old history of cuisine that is highly influenced by Mughals and also by Turkish, Arabic, French and Irani food. These references itself speak volumes about the proposed grandeur of the food. 

Before trying out the food I was sure that Hyderabadi food would be very much like the typical Pakistani food I am accustomed to. After all, India and Pakistan were one nation not so long ago and I expected food variety to be on the same page. I was very wrong.

A trip to Hyderabad House was a real eye opening treat where I was pleasantly surprised with the difference in Pakistani and Hyderabadi (Indian) food. As we started off our meal with Vegetable Lukmis - which were, broadly speaking, a finely mixture of vegetables with Indian spices folded into pastry dough (similar to those of samosas) and fried to a soft perfection - I noticed that Hyderabadi food had a tinge of sweetness to it.

Malai Tikka, was the other set of starters that we ordered, and these cubic pieces of chicken were not only tender with spice, but creamy enough to justify the name they were given. In contrast to the Malai Tikka I am used to, which usually turns on the spice alert, this Malai Tikka was not nearly as vicious with the taste-buds. This definitely makes it a must-try for locals in Bahrain, who I have known to prefer minimal spices in their food.

Our Malai Tikka was served with a basket of Laccha Paratha, which unlike regular parathas that are a layer of kneaded and fried white flour - has several crispy layers over a smoother, softer base. Dipped in the minty green sauce and topped with pieces of Malai Tikka this Paratha was really a praise worthy delight.

The first of our two main courses was the Dumpukht Biryani. Dumpukht is one of the most intricate designs to cook meat, whereby the chicken is allowed to cook on very low heat in its own juices and bone marrow. While this technique is only 200 years old it is one of the most popular labels of Indian food and has been incorporated into various recipes - one of which is the famous biryani.  Even though it was my first time trying it, the dumpukht biryani at Hyderabad House was heaven. The grains of rice were long and evenly cooked, steamed to perfection with the chicken pieces - that were simply bursting with flavor. The spices used, which were a secret according to the chef, were a whole trip to what one can imagine to be an Indian Bazaar. The Dumpukht was served with a thin gravy, for those who prefer further spicing up their food.

We also ordered Paneer Makhni, as one of the main courses, which was by far my favorite item in the menu. The soft blocks of cheese cooked in tomatoes, butter and cream were a fantastic combination with the garlic nan (bread) that we had it with. While I have had Paneer Makhni on several occasions, this was by far the best version and kudos to the chef who prepared it. In my opinion, a trip to Hyderabad House would be incomplete without trying out the Paneer Makhni.

The meal drew to a close with some traditional Hyderabadi dessert - Double ka meetha - which is essentially fried bread soaked in cardamom syrup, cream and saffron, and topped with nuts. Even though I am not a fan of such sweets, this dessert was a breath of fresh air in the typical Indian/Pakistani sweets variety. In fact, just thinking about it makes me crave for more!

Overall, the trip to Hyderabad House was a pleasure and a must try for those who are looking forward to a quick trip to India and back! 

Some ratings based on my experience are noted below.

Favorite Items on the menu:
Vegetable Lukhmi
Paneer Makhni
Double ka Meetha

Price
Reasonably priced. Not too expensive.

Portions
Big enough for two, with ample left overs.

Ambiance and Service
Excellent. Hospitable waiters among a contemporary restaurant get-up with life size images of Hyderabad's landmarks and upbeat Indian Music in the back ground.

Children Friendly
Yes. 

Overall Experience
4.5/5

Location
66 Nouf Plaza
Um al Hassam
Opposite Ithmar Bank


Hyderabad House is going to be sponsoring a giveaway next week on this blog so make your presence felt by commenting on their review!




2 comments:

Ali Fareed

Nice review! I've been meaning to check out the place myself for sometime.. Your mouth-watering pics-loaded review did it for me!

afifa

you can come to my place and i can serve you all of this since my mom is a Hyderabadi :)

 
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