The Asaf Jahi rulers who ruled Hyderabad in the 18th century were epicureans and a visit to their palaces in the city today is a testimony to the lavish dining tables and fine cutlery that they sourced from around the world. No wonder, the Hyderabadi cuisine they left behind as a legacy is famous worldwide. One of the most prominent restaurants in the city today, Zaiqa-e-Hyderabad is your go-to place, even if you’re shipping food to Dubai or the USA. By Farida S
“When Awadhi cuisine was brought to the country, it mixed with the spices of the region: almonds and cashews were replaced with chugar (tender tamarind leaves), ambada (roselle leaves), coconut, tamarind, and chillies to form the the authentic Hyderabadi cuisine you know today,“ says celebrity chef Pradeep Khosla, who is CEO and Corporate Chef of Zaiqa-e-Hyderabad and brings the best of Hyderabadi food to gorumands in the city while featuring signature dishes from Afghanistan, Kashmir and Punjab on his menu. The restaurant is so popular and the restaurant too, that the food is literally shipped to Dubai and the US if so you wish to place a bulk order.
Chef Khosla is an industry connoisseur who’s earlier designed culinary fares for the likes of MF Husain, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Ratan Tata, Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Raj Kumar Santoshi, Boney Kapoor and Sridevi and many other Indian cinema biggies. Situated in the upscale Banjara Hills area of Hyderabad, the restaurant today has diplomats, ministers, Koreans, Italians, and Japanese travellers, and actors from Tamil and Telugu film industry, including Rana Daggubati dining here.
Bay windows filter ambient light as walls sport priceless royal crockery and rare photographs of young princes Mukarram and Muffakham Jah and the many palaces or Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last reigning king of Asaf Jahi dynasty, in sepia tones at Zaiqa – e – Hyderabad while rooftop restaurant Kebab Stories has a rustic setting. In the courtyard a life size hand painted panel of Charminar adds to the effect.
Indulge, reads the menu. ‘Haleem’, delectable wheat, lentils and meat porridge, a robust ‘Marag’ (spicy Arabian lamb soup) and the ‘Nizami handi’ (cashew based gravy with vegetables loved by Asaf Jahi rulers), make for a royal repast.
Wrap your meal up with a Sulemani Chai (black tea with ginger) and Leb-e-Shireen, a sweet delicacy from Lahore (fresh fruits and reduced milk topped with jelly) or an array of Hyderabadi desserts laced with saffron that’s sourced directly from Kashmir.