I am often invited to review international cuisines but my eyes sparkle when I get an invite of an Indian regional food promotion. A recent one was from the Hyderabadi Food Festival at The Great Kabab Factory, Park Plaza Gurgaon.
Hyderabadi cuisine needs no introduction as it has been famous not only in India but across the globe. The Hyderabadi dum biryani and haleem are delicacies cherished by all. Being the princely legacy of the Nizams this cuisine is an amalgamation of Mughlai, Turkish, Arabic and native Marathwada cuisines. Though there are numerous Hyderabadi food festivals which keep on taking place in Delhi, this one is really worth a visit.
Chef Mohammad Qamaruddin, has been specially flown in from Hyderabad to recreate the traditional and authentic taste. The tall chef greeted me warmly and seemed like a magician about to create a tasty and flavourful meal for me.
The menu has been designed with care, comprising area specific delicacies like Begumpet ki chat, Shamsbadi macchi, Falaknuma murgh to name a few. He began my meal with some local Hyderabadi starters. First to be served was kamal kakri ki shammi which was very crispy and flavourful. Begumpet ki Chaat was a burst of flavours with roasted pineapple, guava and apple in it. Fruits were spicy and tangy.
The non-vegetarian starters were worth all the wait. Kaleji taka tak was spicy and well marinated. I loved the natural aroma and flavour of the kaleji. Bhuni chaap of lamb was spicy and its meat was aptly cooked. It neither melted like a tikka nor was it too chewy. It had the texture a chaap should have. Falaknuma murgh had the aroma of charcoal and was full of subtle flavours.
Although quite happy to keep at the starters, I was also quite excited to taste the dum biryani and the famed Hyderabadi Haleem. Both are among my favourites. Kudos to Chef Qamaruddin for making one of the most authentic and delicious dum biryanis I have had in Delhi. The rice was layered with local spices and masala along with a salan that was finger licking. Haleem, which has a preparation time of almost a day and is quite tough to make, was again made to perfection. Fine shreds of meat with lentils blended very well.
I ended with khubani ka meetha and the refreshing in-house paan ki ice cream.
Festival ends on July 7
Meal for two: Rs. 2598 plus taxes