Firdaus in Taj Krishna is back with a bang and here's all you need to know about their new menu
Finally, Firdaus opens up for the public again, and it seems to have undergone a 360-degree change to sport a shiny, new look. The Hyderabadi and Mughlai speciality restaurant in Taj Krishna, Banjara Hills, was always about an elite fine-dining experience. This time, it’s just gotten better. The restaurant has added crystal chandeliers from Iris Cristal Bohemia, a wall painting by famed Rajasthani artist Naval Kishore, featuring a peacock in a garden motif, and has added a patio, optimising the green outdoor space it has. “Yes, we are much more Instagram-able now,” quips K Mohanchandran, General Manager – Taj Krishna. An interesting change we notice is how the famous Hyderabadi Biryani is now served in transparent glass jars with lids, instead of the regular heavy copper handis. “Now you can see, smell and eat your biryani. The experience is much more sensuous,” he says. He also informs that they serve finger foods in sharing plates, in the patio. This is to make the most of the pleasant Hyderabadi winter that lasts till February.
New chef, new menu
To add to the list of new additions is Shahid Hossaini taking over as the Executive Chef from Nitin Mathur, who has served the restaurant for nine years and is now moving to Mumbai. With many requests from international guests about what goes best with wines, the chefs have also curated a wine-pairing menu. So the popular red wine Cabernet Sauvignon is paired with mini breads, Chilgoza pulao (Turkish biryani with pine nuts) and even Dal Tadka. Surprisingly, Chenin Blanc (in mango and mandarin flavours) goes with the desserts such as Green Apple Kheer. “This combination is a great way to end the meal,” informs chef Nitin.
Classics retained, innovations added
We begin the elaborate meal with the promise that the classics have been retained and a fresh set of delicacies added, thus ensuring the Firdaus signature dishes remain intact. We begin with Kebab-e-Firdous, which comes as a kebab on a sugarcane stick dipped in a small shot glass, half filled with sweet tamarind and date chutney. Hot, spicy and sweet, it is all of that at the same time. Next came the Bhuni mirch aur makai ka shorba in a deep-bottomed saucer with a few popcorns floating around. The viscous yellow chicken delicacy tasted amazing with the addition. Who needs croutons when you can have corn?
What’s interesting is how Firdaus, known for its Nizami and North-east Frontier cuisine, has so carefully curated a menu which has as many vegetarian delicacies as non-vegetarian. What’s more, the humble Vegetarian Haleem (which has for long been ridiculed for being a cross between the very Indian pongal and upma) has made an entry here. We loved their haleem, a smooth, gluten-rich pasty dish that’s like comfort food with the goodness of wheat, ghee and nuts and lightly spiced. Needless to say, the Mutton Haleem, lamb simmered for hours together with whole wheat and Indian spices to make it soft and musky, was everyone’s favourite.
Revamped and retained
“We have many international and Marwari guests, and vegans too who often ask for vegetarian dishes and we felt it was time to be inclusive and give them a good choice. As you can see, there are seven dishes each in veg and non-veg,” states Mohanchandran. As always, this set four-course menu comes in ellipse-shaped plates that are special to Firdaus. We enjoyed watching the biryani arrive in transparent jars that whetted our appetites. The revamped menu has all the classics — Nalli Gosht, Nizami Handi, Hyderabadi Kacche Gosht Dum Biryani and a few other regulars such as Kaddu Ka Dalcha. The meat in all the dishes had the right kind of spices and with no loud food colouring.
Innovations in desserts
In the desserts, the new addition was Crispy Kalakand, milk cake in a potli-shaped dough layer. Crispy outside and yummy inside. The Apple Kheer (grated apple boiled in milk with sugar and nuts) was smooth and mildly sweet and an amazing wrap-up to the meal.
If you still need something to add to this experience, they have a live Sufi concert for dinner, Tuesdays through Sundays. Wine, shorbas, biryanis, desserts, music… promising a wholesome new dining experience.
Price for two: Rs.5,000.
Available for lunch and dinner.
Pics: R Satish Babu