We woke up to a new day. Initially the plan was to get out for breakfast but we decided to eat at the hotel. With four of us having double orders of eggs during breakfast, am pretty sure they were running out of it!
We lazed around a bit and got out for some retail therapy but not before Srini got his regular pack of cigarettes from the next door kirana (general store).
Aanchal had lived in this area, Viman Nagar and being the social girl she is, the storekeeper recognised her and asked as to how she was doing. He assumed that her younger sister was getting enrolled in Symbiosis.
She mentioned this was the students hangout place in Viman nagar. From cigarettes to chips to anything, they would hangout here before running for their classes.
Honestly I don’t know how India would exist without these Kirana stores. They are the hub and heartbeat of every lane. Mega Supermarkets would come and go, but without kirana shops in lanes/galis, it felt incomplete. They pulsated with people in the neighbourhood getting stuff, hanging out and gossiping. This is in a way a community.
We wanted to do some retail therapy especially for me as I wanted to buy some stuff from Decathlon, Pune that was not available in any outlet in Hyderabad. And this is something I have noticed considering the number of treks I have done. The equipment to the clothes were very limited in my city compared to Decathlons in other cities. Maybe it was market specific requirement catering to a segment that was very narrow.
So off we went to one of those boutique malls, aesthetically very beautiful and when you have three gals you know what happens. We spent a good hour and half in Decathlon and I was finally happy getting the right trek pants. Yes people one can never have enough trekking pants, considering the natural elements we face.
After we finished shopping we realised we were at an awkward time, this was because we wanted to have lunch at this place, George Restaurant in cantonment area.
This place I give complete credit to my friend Atul Haldankar who brought me here two years ago. A Punekar knowing the old restaurants I remember us chatting and having a good lunch there.
An Irani place known for classic Irani biryanis and so many other items, this was something on our list. But what do we do now? It was almost 12.30 and if we started having beer, by the time we went for lunch the biryani would get over, so this time we decided to opt for lunch first.
This place is a classic. An old world restaurant running since the 1960s, the waiters knew all the regulars, mostly Parsis and there was a charm to it. Unpretentious,comfortable, one felt like home. It reminded me of Calcutta’s Moulin Rouge and Trinca’s in Park Street. You walked in, you knew your favourites and yes you absolutely felt home.
We ordered a Paneer Starter and can I tell you that this was the best Paneer I tasted? Yes way better than any chilli Paneer I had!
And then came the Chicken Biryani and Mutton Biryani, Aanchal was raving about the tender meat and subtle flavours.
It made me wonder about our own city’s Biryani. Let me tell you the authentic Hyderabadi biryani in restaurants doesn’t exist anymore. It came from the Iranians who migrated to the city hundreds of years ago, and primarily focused on tenderising the meat, use of saffron and very light spices. Now it’s just overdosed with masala. I was glad George was maintaining the authenticity, this was a true Irani Biryani.
We got enticed by the fresh desserts so we had Fresh Mango Milkshake, Caramel Custard and Kulfi. It was another sumptuous lunch on a nice sunny day.
Post that you would think we would hit the bed but nope Beer was pending so Aanchal booked an Uber cab to this awesome place, it was early afternoon and we didn’t know how the evening would unfold but the best moments happen when you don’t plan!
To be continued…