Hyderabad popularly known as “City of Pearls” and “City of Nizams”, was historically a pearl and diamond trading center, thereby Hyderabadi Cuisine has Iranian, Persian, Turkish, Arabic and Marathwada influence. So, the city has many vintage eating joints which have been there for more than 4 decades and are still going strong. Listed below are few of them.
This 110 year old sweet shop is famous for the Turkish sweet Jauzi Halwa. It was started by Mohd. Hussain who migrated from Turkey with his family. One day Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan was passing through the market where his shop was located, to honor him all shops closed except his. This gained Nizam’s attention and he eventually tasted Jauzi Halwa prepared by Mohd. Hussain. He loved the halwa so much that he became official supplier of Jauzi Halwa to Nizam’s kitchen. After few years Nizam’s son got married to Sultan Hameed (then the King of Turkey). To honor Sultan Hameed , Nizam asked Mohd. Hussain to name his shop after Sultan Hameed.
Celebrities like Dilip Kumar, cricketer Mohd. Azharuddin, Tabu, Kashif and many more visit this place for its specialty. According to Mohd. Anees – Ul – Hussain, grandson of Mohd. Hussain, the flavour and taste of Jauzi Halwa is same as it was century back because the recipe has been changed. They have in house production of milk, ghee and malai (cream) and therefore the halwa is soft and flavorful. Saffron used in halwa is sourced from Kashmir and Iran. Everyday at least 150-200 kgs of halwa is sold and around 200 -250 customers come daily to have this delicacy. Currently there are 2 outlets and they plan to open 2-3 more in the city in coming months.
This was the first Iranian restaurant established in Hyderabad in 1935. There were 12 partners when introduced during the reign of Nizam. In 1951, Late Mr. Ali Kashani from Iran joined as a partner. His grandson Mr. Jaleel F. Rooz is now the sole owner of this restaurant. Celebrated artist Late M.F. Hussain was a frequent visitor. Many politicians, beaurocrats, etc have been coming here regularly for its famous Biryani and Bun Maska.
Mr. Rooz says “ The reason why people still come to Grand Hotel is we still maintain the taste, flavor and ingredients of biryani. Recipes have been documented and haven’t been changed since my grandfather’s time. Even now we make our own masalas for the biryani. Currently we have chefs who used to assist bawarchis then”. The average footfall per day is about 1500-1800. This restaurant does not have any branches nor do they plan to expand as they want to retain the iconic and vintage building. So to have a mouth watering and flavorful Biryani you know where to go!
The famous and mouth – watering Osmania Biscuits (named after 7th Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan) were first baked in Subhan Bakery. Late Syed Khater started this bakery in 1948. Initially he used to bake only sandwich bread. In 1950, his son Late Syed Subhan (bakery is named after him) started baking Osmania biscuits, Chand biscuits and Khara Biscuits. Mr. Subhan had an institution that Osmania Biscuits will sell well.
Mr. Syed Rehan, great grand son of Syed Khater says “ The recipe is the same since 1950. The USP is that they are baked daily, are soft with sweet and salty flavor and just melt in your mouth. Hence, it is still the best bakery for Osmania Biscuits. The average footfall per day is about 100-1500 on weekdays and 1500 and above on weekends. Since they want to maintain the quality and taste they don’t have any branch and they don’t want to expand. But due to popular demand Subhan Bakery has started distributing their biscuits to mom and pop stores and retail chains.
Taj Mahal Hotel
This vintage restaurant famous for “Button Idli Vada” was established in 1950 by Mr. Sundar Rao, his brother Mr. Babu Rao and his friend Rao. Initially it started as a small eatery serving South Indian Cuisine. Mr. Adarsh Rao, grandson of Mr. Sundar Rao says “People wanted to dip Idly and Vadas in sambar completely, but due to the size of the idlis and vadas , it was difficult. My father Mr. B. Chandrashekhar Rao and his brother Mr. B. Aditya Rao invented bite sized idlis and vadas, so that they could be dipped completely in sambar and the famous “Button Idli Vada” was born.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi, when she was the Prime Minister used to visit this place when in Hyderabad. The other celebrities who visited were Late M.F. Hussain and other politicians. Currently director of Bahubali: Mr. S.S. Rajmouli, former cricketer VVS Laxman, Manchu Family , actor Pawan Kalyan to name a few visit this place frequently.
When asked how they maintain the flavor of the famous Button Idli Vada Mr. Adarsh Rao says “The recipe has been the same since 1950. They have documented the recipe in a customized software so there is no chance of changing the recipe. The new chefs who are hired, are not allowed to experiment with the recipe. We have chefs who are working with us from my grandfather’s time.” The main ingredient used in Button Idli Vada is the masalas used in Sambhar. Masala is made fresh in their kitchen daily for about 20 – 300 litres of Sambhar. They have 5 outlets currently soon they plan to open an outlet at Hyderabad Airport. The average footfall daily at their oldest branch is 2000-2500 and in other outlets is 5000 – 6000. If you have a taste of South Indian palate, do visit Taj Mahal Hotel.
The famous Fruit Biscuits of Hyderabad was first introduced by Mr. Khanchand Ramnani, a Sindhi who migrated from Karachi, Pakistan in 1953. Thus, the name Karachi Bakery.Lot of celebrities have been coming here for Fruit Biscuits. Currently there are 4 partners Mr. Vijay Ramnani, Mr. Rajesh Ramnani, Mr. Harish Ramanani and Mr. Manoj Ramnani, they are the 3rd generation in the business.
Mr. Girish, Operations Manager says “ Recipe has not been changed, thus we still have the same flavor. Each cookie and biscuit is made by hand, so you will notice that no two cookies or biscuits have same shape”. Currently there are 20 outlets in Hyderabad, 5 outlets at Delhi airport. They also have outlets in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Noida. The average footfall daily across all the outlets is 10,000 – 15,000. So to taste yummy Fruit Biscuits, this is the place!