The Nizam’s Trio – Charminar, Biryani and Haleem

“Hyderabad – a city of pearls and world famous biryani”

— Anonymous

Pearls have never been in my list of priorities but the word “Biryani” casts such a magical spell on my senses, that some times, I do things beyond my imagination.

Back in April, I happened to be in the city of Nawabs for a day. Post touching down at the airport pretty late in the evening, I travelled almost an hour to check-in at the Marriott Hotel, bang opposite of the Hussain Sagar Lake.

THE PLAN

My plan was pretty straight-forward: get to the Charminar, have some chai at Nimrah Cafe and Bakery, soak in the hullabaloo of the chowk and then have Hyderabadi Biryani.

Now, things got interesting when I grabbed a beer and some Chicken 65 to start the evening, quite contrary to my plan. Once I was done, it was nearing 9.30 pm at night. A quick check on cabs and after waiting for another 15 mins, I got on to a Uber auto-rickshaw driven by a lady! My first such ride and contrary to my expectations, the next 40 mins was a Ferrari ride by this Lady Schumacher, through main roads, lanes, by-lanes. Finally she dropped us, couple of kilometers away from the Charminar. Tell me why?

Seeing the dizzying traffic and buzzing atmosphere, it dawned upon me that it was the month of Ramzan and post-Covid, this was the first time, when the hustle and bustle of Ramzan was back in its usual glamour and dazzle.

THE DAZZLING ROAD TO CHARMINAR

The atmosphere was something to experience as I walked through the enthusiastic crowds, who have come out at that late hour for shopping and food! The lane up-to the Charminar was dotted with makeshift food stalls, serving sherbat, haleem, fruits and what not! Let me show you this short 30 secs Instagram Reel what it feels like.

TIME FOR BIRYANI… No… first… HALEEM

Now, all this while I was contemplating on my plate of Biryani but the first board of Haleem, forced to change my priorities. Soon my long-awaited dream to savor Hyderabadi Haleem was reaching it’s destiny!

Well, if you are in the world of Nizams, then you would be spoilt for choices where to taste the best. Legends like Shadab and others could have been a worthwhile choice, little early in the evening. But considering, it was past 10pm, we thought of just parking ourselves in the Paradise restaurant, just overlooking the majestic Charminar, which was shining in the night in all its glory. It was already 10pm at night and Paradise wasn’t empty! I ditched my other cherished dream to visit Nimrah Bakery and let the Haleem draw me closer 🙂

Grabbing a table, we straight away ordered a portion of Mutton Haleem, one Mutton Biryani and a Thumbs-Up to wash it down.

Mutton Haleem… This was drastically different than what I tasted in Kolkata few years back. The first spoon into the bowl and you will be able to differentiate why they tag it as “Made of 100% Pure Ghee”! Minimal garnishing was done with some mint leaves, caramelized onions and cashews. Beneath that, it was the thick mix of the meat chunks, mingling in clear layers of ghee. Tasty? Damn yes!

The high-point of my trip was already ticked off with Haleem and some Paradise Biryani (I had tasted it before in Bangalore, so no surprises there!).

done and dusted…

The Haleem bowl was cleaned up, as if never done before. Biryani was gorged in at record speed. Once done, I just gave myself a moment to soak in the sequence of events that paced out over the last couple of hours. Charminar was still glowing in the light, crowds still thronging in, and here I was, landed three hours back in this city. May be, where people may not advise one to go at late hours, I ventured straight into the labyrinth of a world where I believe, good thoughts and delicious food, can bring people together.

You see, I have a philosophy…
Keep a plate of Biryani beside my grave and I shall rest in peace.

So with that, its good bye from your friendly neighborhood Honuman Traveler.

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