Food & Gourmet

Irani Chai | The flavour of Hyderabad!

Irani chai. Some of you must have savoured it either in Hyderabad or Bombay.

As avid travellers, we are also foodies. We love local food and our credo has always been “Eat local when you travel”. Pottu and Kadala curry in Kerala or Akki rotti and vegetable Kurma in Malnad or Pongal in Tamil Nadu or Poha and Jalebi in Bhopal or Khambir with butter in Ladakh…..we love eating the food of the place. In fact, we have travelled just to eat the special dish of that place!

Irani chai always beckons us to travel to Hyderabad! Whenever we are in Hyderabad, we don’t miss going to the iconic Garden Restaurant to eat “Tie biscuits” and the wash them down with cups of Irani chai. Did you notice we said, “cups” not “a cup”. Yes, if you go to Garden restaurant yow will never be satisfied with one cup!

We were in Hyderabad in December last year to attend the wedding of Poorna’s friend Venu’s daughter. This was like a boon in disguise. Another chance to savour the famed Irani chai of City of Nizams.

Irani Chai. How is it different from regular chai we all drink? It is different. In fact, after travelling across the country and drinking numerous cups of tea,we can list out 7 different chais.

1 Indian dum variety – Milk, Tea and Spices boiled together.

2 Indian English type – tea decoction prepared separately in a tea jug and small quantity of milk added. The English like it light!

3 The boiler tea – Famous in south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Check out more details here Chai tales from North & South!

4 Suleimani chai – The flavour of Bhopal, central India. Check out details here In search of suleimani chai!

5 Irani chai

6 Kashmiri Chai – The salt tea of Kashmir. Check out details here Kashmiri chai & Buttered buns!

7 Kalladaka Chai – KTea as it is famously known from a small town of Kalladka near Mangalore.

We were always intrigued by Irani Chai. A year back when we were in Hyderabad, Venu, Poorna’s army batch mate took us to the iconic Garden restaurant for a cup of Irani chai. It was a pleasure to sip the thick tasty chai from the ceramic cup!

Welcome to Garden Bakery and restaurant. The original Irani chai shop in Hyderabad.

We enter and place the order for their famous “Tie Biscuits” and Irani chai. We had never heard of this “Tie biscuit” before. Baked in the shape of a “Bow tie” it is tastes like the “puff” as we call in Bangalore. Let us take you through the tour of Garden restaurant and its Irani chai!

The frontage of the Iconic bakery and restaurant near the Clock tower. Parking is an issue here but we have found a space behind the bakery which is an open space of an erstwhile bungalow. Pay the Security guard ten rupees and he will allow you to park your car there!

Irani chai

The biscuits, cream rolls, tie biscuits, buns etc are stacked up at the counter where you pay the money. Being self-service joint, you pay first and then pick up your chai. The man at the counter recognises that we are from Bangalore and start talking to us in Kannada. He tells us that he is from Bidar which is two hours drive from Hyderabad and famous for its fort.

Irani chai

Irani chai

We now come to a pigeon-hole where the chai is served. We give the receipt and chai is delivered!

Irani chai

Here we are…. sipping the famous Irani chai with tie biscuit!

Irani chai

After we finish drinking, Poorna goes inside and speaks to the boy who is making the chai. Imtiaz, explains how the chai is made.

Irani chai

Take a look at the picture below. One litre of milk is boiled at low heat in a pan of water and reduced to 750 ml. The thick milk is then mixed with thick tea decoction – made in the boiler next to it – to make the tasty Irani chai!

Irani chai

The place is always crowded by office goers and people who come to down town for shopping

Irani chai

We order another cup and savour it. We bid good-bye with a wish to return as soon s possible!

Here is a nice video on Irani chai –

Next time when you go to Hyderabad, don’t miss visiting Garden restaurant to savour their Irani Chai. We bet you will come back happy!

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