Beyond Biryani and Irani Chai, the most popular Nizami dish in Hyderabad is Haleem. Even a few years back Haleem in Hyderabad was only available during the Holy month of Ramzan, as part of Iftar food. Even now, though a few restaurants offer this dish throughout the year, it is only during this month that a few thousand stalls come up all over the city selling this exquisite meat and a wheat dish that Hyderabad is known for. Haleem is a sought-after item at Iftar, when the daylong fast is broken in the evening. Here are a few of my favourite places in Hyderabad which have been dishing out best quality haleem year after year during the month of Ramzan:
Pista House is a name which is almost synonymous with Hyderabadi Haleem. The organization sets up Haleem counters all over the city during Ramzan and also couriers the delicacy all over the country through courier services. The Haleem at Pista House here is known for its fine blend of ingredients and tender meat.
Shah Ghouse, Charminar, Hyderabad
Shah Ghouse has come up as a favoured destination for Haleem lovers in the last few years. From their original outlet in Shah Ali Banda in Old City, they have expanded their network to set up restaurants in the IT corridor. The Haleem from Shah Ghouse is favourite of people who like a higher spice quotient.
Café 555, Masab Tank, Hyderabad
The standalone restaurant in Masab Tank starts selling their Haleem from Shab-E-Barat, a couple of weeks before Ramzan starts. Apart from their usual single Haleem, they are also known for their special Haleem which has Chicken 65 pieces and jaban (tongue) in it. Definitely one of the top places for the delicacy in this city.
Shadab, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
Shadab has been known for its Haleem ever since it started operations in the 90s'. Their recipe is a bit different from the other places due to its high meat and ghee content. A Ramzan walk in the Old City is not complete without the Haleem at Shadab. Apart from the main location near Madina, they have also opened Shadab Go outlets where their products are available.
Paradise was known more for its Biryani than Haleem in the earlier years, but recently their Haleem has also carved out a niche for itself. The restaurant chain has a large network, with more than a dozen outlets in the city. Recent corporatization has resulted in setting up systems and processes which have resulted in a much more consistent taste of its dishes.
A huge favourite of food lovers, Sarvi makes its Haleem available through its tie-ups with various smaller cafes, apart from selling it from its own outlets in Mehdipatnam and Banjara Hills. The special counters set up during Ramzan do brisk business, doling out a special version with cream, and extra dry fruits and nuts. The Haleem at Sarvi is known for its quality of meat, and good quality Irani spices.
Café Bahar, Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad
One of the iconic cafes known for its Biryani and Haleem, Café Bahar has no branches apart from the original outlet in Basheer Bagh, which is more than 40 years old. The Haleem here has a very balanced taste, and as a result, most of the food lovers make sure to try it at least once during the month of Ramzan.
A passionate food and travel enthusiast, Sabyasachi is quite popular in the food and beverages circles of Hyderabad, the city he has made his home for the last twenty-five years. As a much-travelled sales person, Sabyasachi has been exposed to many international cuisines as well as regional food from remote corners of India. He blogs about his food and travel experiences at Foodaholix, and is a frequent contributor of food-related articles to the print media.