There’s something about cuisines that have been laboured for the royalty of yesteryears. The mix of spices, scents and blend of textures has always got us weak-kneed. Plus, we feel that the reward is sweeter when your last meal was way before the rising of the sun. These days, revelling in bonhomie at iftaar, we feel, Hyderabad Xpress in Andheri might just be an immediate answer to your prayers and a grumbling stomach.
Located at the convenient location near Oshiwara’s lotus-shaped petrol pump, the humble gastronomical haven, serves a delish fare of Dum ki Biryani in three versions, and seventeen kinds of kebabs and an equally supportive number of curries. The menu might not prop a canopied affair of daawat but the promise that the owners, chef and the kitchen staff are all from the city of Nizams got us yearning.
While we punched in the number and placed our order, the attendant decided to slowly cook us up as per the Dum technique. Everything we placed needed a confirmation and explanation as the speaker cross-checked information from the man aside or perhaps, at the end of the tunnel as it seemed. We had called in at 10.30 pm but the paneer had already got exhausted.
We opted for the Sheekh Kebab (full), anticipating four succulent pieces of juicy meat (as per the menu) but we were told that it is actually three (we were charged for four pieces, i.e. `160). The tikkas for vegetarians use paneer as the core ingredient compelling us to give it a miss. Next, were — no drools and slurps allowed — Shahi Hyderabadi Dum ki Biryani (Mutton, `230), Chicken Hyderabadi Dum ki Biryani in a welcome pack (for those who want to test waters first) costing `130, Dum ka Murgh (half) was priced at `150 and Matka Veg (half, `120). All rates were inclusive of taxes. We topped our order with Butter Naan (`40) and Tandoori Roti (`15).
Promise of delivery was 40 to 45 minutes but our hot and sultry order arrived later in the spilling rain. The Kebabs were our Achilles’ Heel. In our head, we thought we gobbled up lush, fragrant tubes while our palates swirled around a coarse-ish, well-seasoned kebab — not the heavenly titillation it is famous for.
Next, we savoured the curries with our naans and rotis hoping to save the best for the last. Dum ka Murgh and Matka Veg bore similar demeanour bearing sandy brown tinges. But never has the tongue been more surprised as the vegetarian serving was well-spiced and counterbalanced with reasonable richness that spelled caramelised sweetness. Dum ka Murgh bore a distinct earthy flavour emanated from the pot it was cooked in. The Dum technique manoeuvred well with the curries. The Biryani turned out to be meshed in a coherent manner, living up to its Hyderabadi claim.
Butter-effete, the mutton pieces were profusely sprinkled all over, which do make us swear by the 400-year-old distinguished history of this cuisine. The chicken was equally reputable, and we couldn’t get enough of the copious serving. Crunching on cashews and fried onions in the Biryani, the Raita is a worthy accompaniment for the king of the meal. Keeping aside its initiatory hiccups, Hyderabad Xpress is your answer to a beatific banquet with the only minus, Phirni.
At 95, next to Lotus Petrol Pump, Adarsh Nagar, Andheri (W).
Hyderabad Express didn’t know we were there. The GUIDE reviews anonymously and pays for meals.