“Now seven outlets old, SodaBottleOpenerWala is a tribute to the dying legacy of the Bombay Irani cafés. When we opened in Hyderabad, a year and a half back, we were overwhelmed by the love we received in the city which is famous for its Hyderabadi Irani Cafes & its infamous cuisine. We are now happy to introduce at SodaBottleOpenerWala, Hyderabad a Hyderabadi Irani cafe Menu which has been developed using old recipes & flavours!”
-says AD Singh, Managing director, The Olive Group.
For decades, the Irani Cafe tradition has grown here and become a big part of our Hyderabadi culture. Persian immigrants landed at Mumbai’s shores in the 18th century and made it their home. From here, some went to Pune and yet others, to Hyderabad. Like all immigrants, they brought with them a slice of their Persian culture – the Irani Cafe tradition to Hyderabad. Indian scholars, artists and local residents patronised these cafes as their addas or hangouts with friends and like-minded people for social and intellectual stimulation. In the 1970s such was the popularity of the Hyderabadi Irani Cafes that the areas around these places became synonymous with names of the cafes – such as Medina and Shadab in Old City. Today Hyderabad boasts of the largest number of Irani Cafes in the world; however, they too are slowly diminishing in number.
Irani Cafes catered largely to local tastes with the exception of Irani Chai that was unique to their culture. Tea leaves were boiled separately and milk & sugar (or sometimes khoya) were reduced separately: both were poured in the cup to make the famous Irani Chai. Some argue that original Irani Chai was served unsweetened and sans any milk. The intermingling of the Irani Chai and Hyderabadi culture led to the menus comprising of Hyderabadi delights like Lukhmi, Marag, Nihari, Haleem, Irani Kulfi and lot more.
The Irani Cafe’s always boasted of outstanding bakeries – the delicious moreish baked Irani specialties like the Bun Butter, Munshi Naan, Osmania Biscuits, Macrom, Badam Biskoot, Naan Khataais along with the signature Irani Chai
SodaBottleOpenerWala is happy to invite you to experience the wonderful chaotic, crowded, bustling, colourful, quirky, cluttered, eccentric and so real world of an Irani café which now, in Hyderabad serves us Parsi cuisine, Bombay favourites and a select set of Hyderabadi Irani cafe favourites. The whole experience is complete with a buzzing bar, an Irani Bakery and a Chai Bar menu.
Irani Cafes of Hyderabad:
These cafes flourished till the 1990s and then started disappearing as cities changed with modernisation – soaring real estate prices, arrival of lucrative career options for the new generation and opening of air-conditioned cafes. The iconic Garden Cafe has paved way for a metro line. On the long winding stretch of Sardar Patel Road, which had over 25 Irani cafes in the early 90s, only six stand today. The older part of the city still has some of the iconic Irani cafes & bakeries like Iqbal Cafe, Nimra Cafe, Nayaab, Madina Cafe, Nilofer Cafe, Shehraan Hotel, Subhan Bakery among others. A visit to these cafes kicks in nostalgia and is truly an experience.
The food at the Hyderabadi Irani cafes is delicious and some of the most popular in the city. We all wait for holidays when we can get it all over the city. Now we are elated to introduce the Hyderabadi Irani Menu at SodaBottleOpenerWala, right next door to you.
– says Shaaz Mehmood, Partner, SodaBottleOpenerWala, Hyderabad
Hyderabadi Irani Cafe Menu at SodaBottleOpenerWala, Hyderabad
Traditional Irani Chai pairs best with Bun Butter and freshly baked Hyderabadi biscuits like the famous sweet and salty Osmania biscuits that can lead to serpentine queues at some of their famous selling joints. There are others like Chand, Shatranj and Badam biscuits and Dilpasand puffs. Equally compelling are warm breads like Sheermal and Munshi Naan, the iconic 163-year-old square shaped naan, also called char koni naan by locals. Purani Haveli was once the residence of Nizam of Hyderabad. Here lies the origin of the famous Munshi Naan created by late Mohammed Husain who was the accountant (“munshi”) to The Nizam. This naan as all others is served warm as cold naan has no place in Hyderabadi culture. No visit to a Hyderabadi Irani Café is complete without the delicious mutton mince filled Varqi Lukhmis, which are savoury puffs, of which we make a vegetarian version too. Marag, a spicy and appetizing mutton soup, easily the star of any Hyderabadi wedding is served with heart shaped Dil Naan. Paya and Zabaan Nihari served with naan are delicious soupy delights made with trotters and tongue with dominant flavours of garam masala and dagad phool or stone flower; Talahuwa Gosht, a simple preparation of fried mutton, onion and basic spices, brings out the flavor of the meat and every Hyderabadi household has its own recipe for this dish; the Irani Haleem, a slow cooked preparation combines the goodness of wheat, barley, meat, lentils and spices. It is served with chopped mint leaves, a squeeze of lemon, fried onions, chopped ginger and green chillies. The Hyderabadi Mutton/Chicken Biryani will entice non-vegetarians. The Vegetarians get to enjoy delights like Talihuwi Arbi, Bagara Khana, Khatti Dal and a Veg Biryani served with Baghare Baingan and dahi ki chutney. Do not miss on the flavours of Kaddu ka Dalcha a preparation of lentils cooked with gourd which truly represents the Mughlai cuisine of Hyderabad. End your meal on a sweet note with Qoobani Ka Meetha, a delicious dessert made by combining apricots and malai.
“It gives us immense pleasure to bring forth the Hyderabadi Irani menu at SodaBottleOpenerWala. As one explores the food traditions of Hyderabad, the Irani Cafes, even with their diminishing realms are hard to miss. Each dish has a certain history, some told and some untold tales, attached to it. We hope that sampling this fabulous cuisine at SodaBottleOpenerWala will be every food lovers’ delight.”
– says Mohit Balachandran, Brand Head and Cuisine Director, SodaBottleOpenerWala