Hyderabad Food Trip – Tolichowki
In general, when someone utters the word culinary tourism in Hyderabad- it’s almost a given that they’re taking about the Charminar locality. The area around Charminar, often known as Old City has been at the helm of every food blogger’s bucket list. As I had mentioned in my travelogue- Hyderabad Food Trip – Old City, there are countless hole-in-the-wall stalls and street vendors that serve delicious, mouth-watering Kebabs. During the month of Ramadan, food lovers take part in food walks- venturing into this neighbourhood and tasting the flavorful local cuisine. In my travelogue, I have covered the most prominent eateries in the Charminar locality and quite frankly once you finish going through it, you would be in a position to indulge in a food-walk all by yourself.
But, this travelogue is about two localities- Tolichowki and Mehdipatnam. I spent half a decade in this neighbourhood- must’ve visited the restaurants n-number of times. So much so, that I could walk upto each and every restaurant and tell you what is on their menu (a little exaggerated, right?) and at most- what is their speciality. Ever since I relocated to Bangalore, my taste buds have been craving for the Kebabs, the Biriyani, Kabsa Laham and the legendary Haleem (there is more to this list). That was it- come this Ramadan, I decided to drive down to Hyderabad and spend an entire weekend gorging on what I was truly missing. Going to Hyderabad, also meant meeting my foodie compadres and that is when we- Pallab De (aka the Hyderabad Food Guy) and myself thought about going for a food walk, #ramadanfoodtrippin (see poster above). We spent the next few days shortlisting restaurants that we would visit and chalking a road-map that we should follow. I was in constant correspondence with Betson (my go-to web-designer) to design a simple but visually arresting poster to publicise the event. On the days that lead to the event, we sent invites to many, opened WhatsApp group chats to decide upon time/availability and shared the poster on our timelines to ensure it had a wider reach.
- Cafe 555, Masab Tank
- Prince Hotel, Mehdipatnam
- Hotel City Diamond, Mehdipatnam
- Hotel Sarvi, Mehdipatnam
- Mohammedia Shawarma, Mehdipatnam
- Shah Ghouse Restaurant, Tolichowki
- Rumaan Restaurant, Tolichowki
- Pista House, Tolichowki
- Al Zara Matbaq Al Mandi, Tolichowki
- Ice N Spice, Tolichowki
Frankly speaking, the above list does not entirely cover all the popular restaurants in these neighbourhoods; in fact there are a few more like Siddique Kabab Centre, 4 Seasons, Marhaba Restaurant and Al Hejaz Cafeteria. You may ask me- why some restaurants were included while some weren’t? In the end, it came down to which restaurant had more specialities, which restaurant was unique in what they served, to avoid eating anything that most people eat almost every other day (for egs. Biriyani) and restaurants that would be able to serve small portions (since we had a lot of eateries to visit).
Unlike Old City, where the entire locality can be covered on foot, the restaurants at Tolichowki and Mehdipatnam- some were within walking distance of each other while some were about 1-2 km apart. Thankfully, most of the foodies who joined us either had a scooter or a car- so hopping from one place to another wasn’t a problem. The restaurants mentioned in the above list when plotted on Google maps (see below) looks pretty convenient wherein you just have to follow the natural curve of the roads to get from one to another.
You could either start from Cafe 555 or Rumaan Restaurant but, based on traffic/road conditions we decided to start at Rumaan and move towards Cafe 555. Now here are the list of dishes you should try at these restaurants:-
*Rumaan Restaurant– Talawa Gosht (Beef), Beef Biriyani, Beef Haleem and Irani Chai accompanied with Irani biscuits.
Pista House– These are the guys who have patented Haleem and they are open only during the holy month of Ramadan to serve only- you guessed it- Haleem!
Al Zara Matbaq Al Mandi– this restaurant is known for its dastarkhwan like spread- have their Chicken and Mutton Mandi- both very delicious- order the fish fry here.
Ice N Spice– Tolichowki is home to scores of foreign students- typically from Africa and the Middle East. This is where you will see them come to dine- that itself speaks volumes of this restaurant- while your here, have their Arabian Shawarma, Murtabak, Shawarma Sahan and Falafal Mushakal.
Shah Ghouse Restaurant– the name itself is legendary and is known to every individual who resides in Hyderabad- try their Mutton Haleem, Chicken Biriyani, Mutton Talawa, Chicken Lajawab. Shah Ghouse is also known to serve delectable breakfast- every morning at 6 A.M, scores of people walk in to enjoy Kichdi Kheema, Bhaji Gurda (with Tandoor Roti) and the famous Mutton Paya. During the holy month of Ramadan, Shah Ghouse serves breakfast before sehri (Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting).
Mohammedia Shawarma– not just any other Shawarma joint- they are known to use good quality meat and are very generous with meat and garlic-mayo while rolling a Shawarma for you.
*Prince Hotel– another restaurant known to serve good food in the area- there was a time when this restaurant used to serve fresh Biriyani at 3 AM in the morning. But, recent restrictions imposed by the police, force them to close before midnight. You should try the Chicken Biriyani, Talawa Gosht (Beef) and Seekh Kebab (Beef).
*Hotel City Diamond– in the vicinity of Hotel Prince, another restaurant that serves good Beef Haleem and Beef Biriyani.
Hotel Sarvi– Haleem served at Hotel Sarvi is delicious- they are very generous when using caramelised onions as garnish, making it different from the Haleem served at the other restaurants.
Cafe 555– voted the best Haleem in Hyderabad for the year 2014- nuff said?
The restaurants marked * are the ones that cook and serve Beef- just a heads up to folks who are sensitive about it. On the day of the food walk, we were unable to cover all the restaurants on the list; here are the ones we missed out on- Shah Ghouse Restaurant, Hotel City Diamond, Hotel Sarvi and Cafe 555. Nonetheless, these are restaurants the foodies vowed to visit in the days/week that followed. A big thank you to Taher (aka Palate Journals) for providing the foodies with necessary insight about Tolichowki. As for me, it was about reliving a weekend in the City Of The Nizams or as I would call it- Biriyani City.
Loads of love to the people mentioned below without whom the event wouldn’t have been a success.
Shaima Syed, Herwin D’souza, Nazeef Nazir, Nihal Nazir, Zubair, Adil, Karthik Gandhi, Pallab De, Taher, Sharmili, Anusha, Nagaraj, Rukshar, Azad, Revanth, Chaintanya, Usha, Manisha, Pratima, Afzal, Amir, Arijit, Ajay and Betson for designing the poster which has appealed to many- Your the man!!