Experience Hyderabad’s famous biryani along with other royal delicacies like keema and mutabbak at Aish.
There are not too many restaurants dedicated to Hyderabadi food anywhere in the country, and even fewer that are dedicated to royal Hyderabadi cuisine, which is so painstaking that it was more or less fated to wither into oblivion. All that remains in the city of its birth is a motley collection of unpretentious eateries that concentrate on biryani. Certainly nothing even remotely suggests the long-forgotten era of the Hyderabadi nawabs and their fabled way of life. Except for Aish, that is.
The cutting edge, modern exterior of The Park, Hyderabad, hardly suggests the restrained richness of the settings of the restaurant itself, a modern interpretation of the royal era. All shades of cream and beige recreate a suitable setting for a menu that is so exclusive that it was inspired by a variety of sources. Aristocratic families of the city were asked for their family recipes. The food, as a result, never seems like a cut and paste of the usual suspects—kebabs, kormas and biryanis. Instead, the restaurant —designed by Tarun Tahiliani —has a number of rather unusual gems such as chowgra and mutabbak. While chowgra was a medley of six vegetables given a tadka (spices shallow-fried in a skillet) with kalonji (black cumin), mutabbak was an extremely unusual preparation involving layers of pastry interspersed with chicken and egg. It proves (if indeed any was needed) that the world is round and that nothing is unique because it has a likeness in some other part of the world. On one hand, mutabbak had a startling similarity to Italian lasagna and on the other, to martabak of Indonesia—the layered flaky paratha (Indian fiat-bread) filled with chopped chicken.
The kitchen must have gone into a frenzy in order to gather recipes. Narangi keema had the fragrance of orange zest while safaid qorma had all the delicacy that one associates with a royal kitchen. While some dishes recreate authentic Hyderabadi dishes from aristocratic kitchens, the rest enliven Telengana cuisine, known for its robust and spicy vegetarian and meat fare. The famous Andhra ingredient gongura (roselle) that imparts a typical sourness was on the menu in a full-bodied chicken dish cooked with the leafy vegetable.