“It is in our nature to want more, especially when it comes to food.
We don’t know when to stop and frankly I don’t think we should either.“
Some of the most embarrassing times are when your loved ones narrate stories about your childhood- possibly an incident that pretty much establishes that you were a notoriously mischievous brat. Not surprisingly, I too have those moments but then again majority of my relatives also spoke a lot about my love for food- especially Biriyani. They say- round about the time I was going to playschool, I used to say Buruyani instead of Biriyani and if mom was cooking the same for lunch, I’d be right beside her, pulling her sareee asking, “Amma when will it be ready?”.
When I came to Hyderabad in 2011, I was soo fascinated about the Hyderabadi Chicken biriyani- again it was my brother Amithesh who took me around, showing which restaurant had the best biriyani and which did not. We were put up at Rethibowli– close to Tolichowki and Mehdipatnam– two localities, between them had about 20+ popular restaurants serving their version of the Hyderbadi Chicken biriyani. I must admit, all the restaurants were equally good and it was- sort of difficult to say that one was better than the other. But, as time went by, I discovered that most of the restaurants lacked something- consistency in the taste of their Biriyani. It was no longer about finding the best Biriyani, but finding a restaurant that was able to consistently deliver quality Biriyani everyday. Gulp ‘n’ Munch’s search ends here-
Located at Ghansi Bazar– less than a kilometer from the famous Charminar– I found Hotel Shadab to be the only restaurant that not only serves the best Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani but also has been doing that consistently. I have visited this restaurant n-number of times and also advocated my family and friends to do so.
Hotel Shadab has two sections- the ground floor- here they serve Tea (Irani Tea), biscuits, cool drinks and also doubles as a take away; then there is the family section on the first floor- at times this section can be a little stuffy because of the scores of people dining and the others who are waiting for a table. There have also been instances when the Air Condition was not functioning or at times switched off and the windows were opened for better ventilation- this happens during the peak summer time. But otherwise the ambiance is simple (rather minimal) and typical of a regular Hyderabadi restaurant that serves Biriyani. Service has been great with the exception of being a little slow when there are more-than-they-can-handle number of customers- which is understandable. Having said all that, lets talk about the food-
For starters, we ordered
Boti kebab- intensely marinated mutton cubes cooked on a skewer in a Tandoor, this was brilliant.
The mutton was extremely flavorful and cooked to perfection- the flavor that it collects, when cooked in the Tandoor
enhances the taste to a different level.
Mutton Seekh kebab- minced mutton mixed with spices and cooked in a Tandoor- again, this is another specialty and a must try
if you visit Shadab. Until recently, I always felt Hotel Shadab had the best Mutton Seekh kebab. (Just FYI, now its UKI)
Mutton Roast or Talawa- ideally, both are entirely different dishes- the former (above pic) is slightly deep-fried and has
a crunchy texture and flavor, whereas the latter is mostly cooked on a type of Kadai (or Karahi) with masala, onions etc.
This was lip smacking good- I would take a bite of the mutton and then pop one of the spiced green chilly and the combined
flavor would be nothing short of orgasmic.
Generally kebabs are served with a cilantro-based green chutney which has a contrast flavor to the former and therein
lies the key to tingling your taste buds. A special mention of this chutney served at Hotel Shadab- personally, the best in town.
Finally main course and what else can I think of other than Buruyani.. Sorry Biriyani!
I don’t think that I have to mention again- but your looking at the best Chicken Biriyani in town!
Hyderabad is very well known for the top-quality mutton produce available- imagine, then the quality of the rice used to prepare the Biriyani,
the masala- spiced just right and in quintessential quantity- Do not miss out on this!
Hotel Shadab is THE place to eat the best Biriyani in town; most people have heard about it but were reluctant to travel to Ghansi Bazar, because the area tends to get really crowded and parking spaces are tricky to find. On that note, Hotel Shadab extended their service by means of a take-away (Hotel Shadab take Away) outlet which is located near the TV9 Office, Banjara Hills.
Besides the Biriyani, Hotel Shadab is also known for their Friday specialty- Dalcha, which is Dal (and Tamarind) with Mutton and served with Bagara Rice (Ghee Rice)- unique and not served at every restaurant in Hyderabad
“But remember, only on Fridays and it is also available at the take-away outlet.“
Frankly, I cant think of any reason to complain about Hotel Shadab but a suggestion to expand (if there is an option) the existing restaurant, because that would help reduce the wait-time for a table. I am also happy that I finally found the time to mention and review this legendary restaurant a month before I finally bid adieu to a city I spent 5 wonderful years of- half a decade that features very significant moments in my life… You gotta eat here!