Hyderabad Diaries: Irani Cafes

Continued from Part 1

Hyderabad is popularly known as the city of pearls. To me, it is also the city of Irani cafes.

From the famous Alpha, Garden, Paradise, Blue Sea, Café Bahar, Bawarchi, Madina, City Light, to my personal favourites Mezbaan, Ramser, G N Tea Point, Rambo, Sangeeth café and more.

Describing an Irani cafe is not as easy as locating one. Irani tea is served here primarily, along with food stuffs like Lukmi, Samosas, Puffs, Biscuits, Dilkush, Dilpasand, Cream Bun, Jam Roll, and Malaai. You can try coffee at your own risk. And Lukmi deserves an exclusive blog post.

Dirty waiters, wearing oversized, dark-coloured shirts/overcoats serve you. They are generally supervised by a very serious cashier who would be ever ready to jump to the f and b words on the slightest provocation.

You could spend hours together at some Irani cafes without ordering anything (If you are a typical Hyderabadi though, you would be ordering a cup of tea every 20 mts). In a few other cafes though, you would have to struggle to find a place to sit.

Giving directions would be very difficult without Irani cafes. And all movie theaters had to have an Irani café named after it and just adjacent to it.

For most hyderabadi males, Irani cafes are kind of extended part of their house. You can sit and have long discussions with your friends, relax, unwind, observe, contemplate. Women though, don’t frequent the cafes as much.

Times are changing, and so too are Irani cafes. Most of them now serve chinese fried rice and noodles and mirchi bajjis. And these days, all Irani cafes serve Haleem during the holy month of Ramzan. Few cafes have even started to serve idly, dosa and vada for breakfast.

No matter how much ever they may have changed, Irani cafes continue to be truly Hyderabadi.  Next time in Hyderabad, please visit some Irani cafes and have a few cups of Irani tea. I am sure it would be an enjoyable experience.

To be continued …..

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