Fast and feast: Our picks of the best iftar boxes in Chennai
Iftar boxes look a little different this year, with the impact of the lockdown. One notable change is that a staple dish on the menu — haleem — might be missing. This can be attributed to skyrocketing mutton prices at the moment to the tune of INR 800 to INR 850 per kilo wholesale and, of course, a lack of manpower for the labour-intensive preparation process. The second notable change that will more likely be felt by loyalists and families who have ordered from the same establishment for years on end is that for some restaurants or takeaway spaces hit by the crisis, Iftar spreads simply won’t be available this year. A case in point being the very popular Pista House, which is shut for business, as well as Haleem Express (within the Big Mosque compound). The latter is possibly the only place in the city that does not wait till Ramadan, but serves haleem throughout the year, and has done so for the past 15 years. Until now.
Nevertheless, mutton haleem is available for enthusiasts, if you know where to look. While some restaurants are serving chicken haleem instead, for a more cost-effective option, alongside contemporary alternatives to traditional favourites like samosas such as chicken nuggets and even chicken cheese steaks!
Here is our pick of Iftar spreads around the city:
Mutton haleem, Nombu kanji and the much-loved Khubani Ka Meetha — find all the traditional favourites under one roof here. Also don’t miss their Hyderabadi Chicken 65 and Mutton Biryani made by cooks who hail from Hyderabad. Four Iftar boxes are available priced at INR 150, INR 250, INR 450 & INR 1,000. Haleem starts at INR 260 for 350 grams. Home deliveries from 12.30 pm to 3 pm and 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
Lucky for us, we have Hyderabadi cooks on our payroll, so it wasn’t a question of not having skilled labour to make our Iftar specials like mutton haleem and biryani. In fact, we have a dedicated Hyderabadi section that has been serving a list of staple delicacies for the past six months.
— Abid Zahid, partner, Abid’s
With mutton prices through the roof, this popular spot in Georgetown has decided to go all out with popular chicken favourites. Think Chicken Nuggets (INR 30), Crispy Fried Chicken (INR 60) and even a Chicken Cheese Steak (INR135). The menu also includes traditional Iftar delicacies like Kheema Samosa (INR15) and Beef Sheekh (INR100). Takeaways and home delivery available from 3 pm to
Due to lockdown restrictions, our sales is now 20 per cent of what we do every year during Ramadan. And our Iftar menu which is usually 40 items has been pared down to 15.
— Mohammed Mustansir, Owner, Hatimy’s
Choose from three varieties of Iftar boxes -— Middle Eastern, Indian and Western. The Middle Eastern box will include dates, labnesh, shush taouk, nohutlu pilav, baklava and bottled water. The Indian box comprises dates, fruit chaat, apple juice, mutton lukhmi, Hyderabadi chicken dum biryani, khubani ka meetha and bottled water. And finally, the Western option serves up dates, fruit salad, guava juice, a vegetable patty, a honey mustard chicken wrap, a chocolate brownie for dessert and bottled water. All boxes are priced at INR 599 each. Home delivery available between 6 pm and 11 pm.
Yasmin Osman may not run a restaurant. But her home kitchen, which has been serving up Mutton Biryani during the Ramadan month for over 20 years, is just as popular. This year, despite a shortage of manpower due to the lockdown, her menu is shorter, but just as sought-after. There is a mix of ready-to-eat options like Mutton Biryani (starts at INR 450) and Butter Chicken Boneless (INR 800 for a 1,000 ml tub) as well as ready-to-fry options that you can stock up on, like Chicken cutlets (INR 600 for 12) and Chicken Samosas (INR 400 for a box of 20). For quick DIY meals, she is also making pizza/pasta sauce, INR 300 for 1,000 ml. Delivery available within a 4 km radius from Kilpauk.
Break your fast with two specially curated deluxe Iftar packages.The first, snacker box, comprises Date and Walnut Cake, a bottle of nuts, a box of hand rolled rose pralines, chicken puffs (four) and saffron bread that can be paired with a bottle of orange marmalade. Wash this down with a pack of canned fruit juice.You can also opt for a more elaborate meal box which includes haleem or Murgh Tawa Kebabs, Mutton Rogan Josh or Dum Ka Murgh, Tawa Paratha, a choice of chicken or mutton biryani with Mirch Baingan Ka Salan and accompaniments, as well as traditional homemade desserts. Both priced at INR 5,000. Home deliveries from 9 am and 9 pm.
Savoury Sea Shell
Choose from an Iftar snack box with five types of Malabar snacks (INR 199), a mini Iftar kit (INR 199) and an expansive Iftar meal kit (INR 399). The latter serves up dates, water, cut fruits, fruit juice, snacks, a piece of BBQ chicken, chicken shawarma, Hyderabadi chicken haleem, mutton biryani, paratha, mutton gravy, kuboos, thoum and a sweet. Chicken haleem purchased separated is priced at INR 230 (small), INR 330 (medium) and INR 450 (large). Home delivery after 5 pm.