This Blogger Went to Hyderabad and All You Get is a Biryani Review

“Their biryani was really good, right?” This wasn’t a simple question; this was Masood’s way of saying he wanted to have biryani for lunch. Again. We were in Hyderabad for a couple of weeks to work on some personal tasks that were urgent in nature. And while the said tasks took half of our day, we spent the remaining time working online, since we weren’t on leave from work. I brought my beloved camera with me, as usual, but did not take a single photograph with it. This is so not me! Oh, and ten out of fifteen days we ate out for lunch and had biryani each time. This made for a crazy two weeks!

“Yes, their biryani is really good but we’re not having lunch there today,” I replied. We were driving along Banjara Hills where this restaurant, called Basra Pride, is located. We had biryani there just the other day and, although we fell head-over-heels in love with their food, showing up again in mere 24 hours would poorly reflect on me. I imagined the staff thinking that I didn’t cook and drag my poor husband out to lunch every single day. Masood thought I was overreacting, of course. But when do men understand such things? But since he was intent on getting his daily dose of biryani, we agreed to dine in different restaurants (to save my reputation).

Basra Pride

Like most restaurants in the city, the restaurant has a section for men (those who didn’t have women or children with them) on the ground floor and another section for families on the second floor. The family section is air-conditioned, has nicer chairs, and staffed by a more formally-attired crew. I have heard rumors that food served in the family section tastes better and are more expensive compared to the ones served on the ground floor. Regardless, we loved Basra Pride’s mutton biryani and chicken haryali kabab. The mutton biryani, pictured above, is garnished with fried onions, finely chopped coriander leaves, and hard-boiled eggs. The fragrant basmati rice is cooked to perfection, coated gently with the spices that were mild yet flavorful. Some may find their biryani less spicy, but I’ve discovered that to truly enjoy a biryani it mustn’t be too hot that you can not taste the wonderful ingredients that work harmoniously to create this scrumptious dish.

We ended up eating lunch here the most. The only complaint is that they play this really horrible old Hindi song over and over again. It was about some heart-broken man asking society permission to get drunk in order to drown his sorrows.

Shah Ghouse

You should see this place during the month of Ramadan! People from all over the city, and perhaps other parts of the country as well, come in to eat the famous Haleemย that is only served during the holy month. The streets are choked with traffic and you’ll need to stand in queue for about an hour for your turn. Fortunately for us, biryani is served all year round. The men’s section does not look very clean, but the family section is decent. Their special mutton biryani is as good as Basra Pride’s. But their tea is one of the best in the city.

And the staff will treat you as if you’re visiting a friend’s house. When the waiting staff, seeing my near-empty plate, came over to spoon a second helping of biryani, I refused simply because I was already full. But the determined staff insisted, “Please, Madam. Eat some more.”

Mandar

This restaurant is a mere five-minutes drive from where we live in Hyderabad. Their biryani is good but the serving size is smaller and more expensive as compared to other restaurants. Not too long ago, Mandar used to win each year at Hyderabad’s Biryani Festival and a lot of food enthusiasts still swear by its biryani. I personally like their kababs better than their biryani. What we found to be a complete disappointment, however, is the poor service and even poorer hygiene standards: the floor is dirty, the table cloth stained, and the utensils in need of a good wash.

Bawarchi

Having heard and read so much about how awesome their biryani was, we went in to have lunch at Bawarchi one day. First of all, their family section is dimly lit (I do not remember but I think they used blue lights). That, coupled with a low ceiling makes you feel closed in a cave. The biryani was too spicy for our taste and the gravy that came with it tasted like burnt spices. The dessert called Qubani ka Meetha was spelled “Qurbani ka meetha” that would translate to the dessert of sacrifice!

Oh, and we had a 20-rupee change from the bill that never came back. When we asked, the waiting staff casually told us that he took it as his tip.

So there you go…our Hyderabadi biryani adventure. Now I’m back in Dubai and just had lunch with my familyโ€”home-cooked chicken biryani.

51 comments

  1. I was waiting eagerly for Nadia to return, knowing she must be in a different part of the world taking tons of photos to come back and share with all of us because it’s been quite some time since her last post, and then it’s this “I brought my beloved camera with me, as usual, but did not take a single photograph with it. This is so not me!” – you’re right, I can’t believe it, it’s SO not YOU!! That’s okay though, even without pictures this was really interesting to read and I liked it ๐Ÿ™‚
    ‘liya recently posted..Hotel Review: The Zambezi Sun

    1. Haha ๐Ÿ˜€ I am truly sorry, but it was a tremendously busy visit to India. I still can’t believe I went abroad and NOT take pictures! But you still read the post and liked it, so thanks! You’re an awesome reader ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Nadia, Haven’t gone to Basra Pride, reason I guess we weren’t sure of the food being halal but can’t disagree with the other restaurant reviews. The last time, we along with another couple went to Mandar, there were so many mosquitoes that we had to leave the place ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. WOO-HOO, someone posted about my city!! Super excited to see a Hyd Biryani post….frankly, I rarely eat biryani anywhere else but home, spoilt by mom’s famed biryani ๐Ÿ˜‰ BUT, I once had this lovely fish biryani at an Andhra thaali place, it was to die for! Love this post, going to have to do a takeout from Basra Pride when I’m in Hyd next (to avoid sitting there and having to swallow that song…)
    I Live in a Frying Pan recently posted..Eating through a Gujarati feast at Rangoliโ€ฆall in the name of foodie market research.

    1. Arva, the best, most authentic Hyderabadi biryanis are the ones cooked at home! Oh, I must try fish biryani next time. Haha, yeah, my ears are still hurting from that song!

      BTW, your sister’s wedding pictures at Chowmahalla Palace are amazing!

    1. Thank you, Devina! You will love Hyderabad and the food it offers ๐Ÿ™‚

      I still can’t get over the fact that I didn’t take pictures. I hope this doesn’t happen again, lol!

  4. Hello Nadia,
    You gave me a few new restaurants to visit…thought with me being a herbivore…i can scarcely understand what a good biryani means ๐Ÿ™‚ ….i had heard of Paradise and Hyderabad House as serving the best biryani…but these are completely different names…would love trying them out on my next visit.

    Nice new blog btw…am coming to ur blog after a real long time.
    Janit recently posted..Alibaug

    1. Hello, Janit! Sorry, I have no experience with the veg biryani sold in restaurants. Paradise and Hyderabad House are big names when it comes to Hyderabad biryani. I have a post on Paradise restaurant, in fact. Their fish kabab are the best I’ve ever had.

  5. I knew you were somewhere else when you didnt write anything for quite a long time. Good to see you back, sis. And now you’ll have to excuse me, for I am going to the city centre to find the perfect place where I can rescue myself from drooling over a plate of biryani…!!!

    p/s: this is all your fault!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Ati recently posted..A sparkling love story

    1. Hello, Ati! Yes, I was away for a bit but not to some exotic location as I had hoped ๐Ÿ˜€

      Oh my, sorry about the temptation. But I hope you had your share of yummy biryani!

  6. OOOooo no pics of your wonderful trip to India ๐Ÿ™ I would like to visit India and Pakistan one day Incha Allah they seems to be so wonderful countries masha Allah.

    1. Oumhamna, India and Pakistan are indeed very beautiful countries with warm people and mouth-watering food! I’m sorry I couldn’t take any pictures, but will make sure to take tons of them during the next trip, inshaAllah ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I can relate to the cravings of your husband. Biryani just has this special taste that leaves me wanting for more. I didn’t know there is this many kinds of restaurants that offer the menu. Thank you for recommending them.
    Jason recently posted..DTS Home

  8. Ahhh…I love briyani. So happy to see you post again! A few years back my dad started making briyani and since everyone loved it so much…he just won’t stop. Now, whenever I go over he always has a tray of briyani ready. Can’t get enough of it. I haven’t been home for a year…so I’m definitely looking forward to it. I haven’t had good briyani in so long!! Would love to visit Hyderabad one day.

    1. You are so lucky to have a father that cooks biryani with so much love, MashAllah! ๐Ÿ™‚ My youngest sister can have biryani anytime of the day or night; in fact, she keeps her share in the fridge with her name written on it so no one would take it!

  9. OMG!!! you came to Hyderabad…we could have met maybe!! I stay in Hyderabad too.!! and to be honest..after living in this city for a decade…I’ve tried ONLY Paradise and Hyderabad House biryani..rest of the time..its always been mum’s biryani!!
    but still I can’t believe you came here and I missed meeting a super-lovely-photographer-fellow-blogger-sister!! sigh!!
    next time inshaAllah, ok?

  10. I used to think that I hated biryani but I’ve since realized that I’m just very picky about how mine is made – I especially don’t like it dry but still looking for a good place with biryani in Dubai.

  11. hello, nadia!

    haven’t answered your message, busy me. :c sorry po. but i guess, you’re even busier. ah, you’re into a lot of things. otherwise, why would you leave us with no new wonderful post to read? ahaha. ^^

    hope things are going well. i will await your new post, with excitement, as usual. hello to masood. ingat lagi! ๐Ÿ™‚
    35andupcynicismonhold recently posted..Of Valentines, Love and Other Falsehoods

    1. Hello San! Huwag kang mag-apologize; I’m guilty for not keeping in touch myself. But you went to HK. Hongkong! How awesome is that! You MUST blog about this trip of yours ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. hello, nadia,

        ah, we just played at disney, roamed around the city and ate street foods, haha. i marvelled at the pace of their construction there, how they keep their seas and rivers clean and took hundreds of pics of the harbor and sunset. is all… ๐Ÿ™‚ weh, no blog about it… :c

        will answer your letter when i’ve finished doing what i was supposed to have finished the other day, haha… regards! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
        35andupcynicismonhold recently posted..Off to a Place

  12. Hi Nadia!
    …. so which one tastes better – those restaurant one or ur home cooked chicken biryani !!

    Missed ur photography … but enjoyed ur reviews – niceest part is that it seems as if i can hear u speak rather than feel that i m actually reading it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sharmila recently posted..Copenhagen โ€ฆ

    1. I can’t compare, Sharmila. Home-cooked biryani is good, but those served in restaurants have their own unique taste. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you!

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