L. Ramnarayan, [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2010-11-10 22:27

The stark difference in tastes in the north and south Indian variety is largely due to the mode of preparation and the varied use of spices native to those regions. But bringing a confluence of both the regional flavors is the distinct Hyderabadi cuisine, generally believed to be a princely legacy of the Nizams.
Hyderabad cuisine is seemingly a blend of Awadhi, Mughlai and tandoori laced with spices and herbs native to the areas surrounding the southern city. There is also an emphasis of coconut and tamarind, used generously in south Indian food, in its cuisine.
That’s what makes the Hyderabadi fare distinct — the use of ingredients that are attentively chosen and cooked to the right degree and time. In addition the use of a specific herb, spice, condiment, or combination of all these lends a distinct and aromatic taste.
It is no wonder than with a bustling Hyderabadi community in Jeddah that the taste of Hyderabad is alive and thriving in a lively corner of Aziziya for the last 16 years.
The success of Shadab restaurant is not only because of the frequency of people from the Andhra Pradesh state, of which Hyderabad is the capital, flocking to the eatery for a taste of home but because of the growing number of assorted clientele.
Owner Ayaz bin Sayeed said: “Initially we had a more or less fixed clientele when we started with monthly cards for lunches and dinner. But over the years, with a wide menu of Hyderabad food on offer, we have seen a growing number of people from all Indian states and even Arabs coming to Shadab. Today 20 percent of our patrons are Arabs — Saudis, Lebanese Syrians ad Egyptians — and we hope to build on it.”
Ayaz, a former National Commercial Bank employee, started the eatery in 1994 because there was no restaurant catering to the large section of Hyderabadi expat population in the city. “I liked to eat good food and also entertaining guests. I just extended the idea from home to restaurant,” he said.
“To start a business is easy. But to sustain it is the difficult part. My secret is simple. Provide good food and service. And that has stood me good stead,” he added.
“To live up to the Shadab promise I have chefs only from Hyderabad. And till today get all the needed herbs and spices from the regions nearby to keep the authentic Hyderabadi taste and experience,” Ayaz said.
“We use traditional utensils for cooking. And cook the Hyderabad way — patiently. For slow-cooking is the hallmark of Hyderabadi cuisine. The method is called ‘Dum’ when the layered rice, meat and spices are cooked on slow fire,” he said, adding, today our kitchen provides biryanis and other fares to other eateries in the city.
Though the menu offers variety of chicken and mutton delicacies and kebabs it is the distinctive Hyderabdi dishes — both in the main course and desserts — that has made this restaurant a popular haunt. Biryanis, baghara baingan (stuffed eggplants), mirch ka salan (chilli curry) and the patented katti dal (lentils in tamarind juice) are the regular dishes that are on offer but Shadab’s signature dishes — the sufiyani biryani and haleem (a seasonal delicacy of wheat & meat, and cooked for hours to a porridge-like paste) — are the big draw as are its desserts ‘gajjar ka halwa’ (carrot halwa), ‘double ka meeta’ (made from toasted bread in ghee) and ‘qubani’ (mashed dried apricot in cream).
Shadab has recently started a family pack that offers a choice of biryanis along with either chicken dhamka or chicken 65. The pack, that is good for four people, is inclusive of breads and desserts and is priced at SR50. Smaller packs too are on offer.
“We felt the takeaway is a good service for people on the go,” said Esa bin Ayaz, who assists his father in running the restaurant after completing a course in hotel management.
Esa is brimming with ideas and is now hoping to bring fine dining in a bigger and better place in the city while retaining the authenticity of Hyderabad cuisine. “We are looking to set up in either Andalus or Khaleediah. At present we are looking for the right place. Once we get it, we’ll not only provide the Hyderabad experience, but also cater to multicuisine fare,” Esa said.
“We even plan to hold a Hyderabad food festival in this place,” he added.

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