From the kitchens of Paradise, we bring you the history and making of  the 'world's biryani'

Paradise is a landmark in Hyderabad and has been so for the last 60 years, and with good reason. Here's all you need to know about it. 

Manju Latha Kalanidhi Published :  02nd November 2018 12:53 PM   |   Published :   |  02nd November 2018 12:53 PM
Paradise Food Court Hyderabad

Executive Chef Pankaj Kumar at the Imax outlet of Paradise

It takes sheer confidence to call yourselves the ‘World’s Favourite Biryani’ in big, bold letters and then add the subtext – ‘A legend since 1953’, that too in the biryani land of Hyderabad. But Paradise biryani believes it has rightly earned that status across its 60-year journey in the city.

Selling over 23,000 plates of biryani a day in Hyderabad alone, this 32-outlet food chain has experienced phenomenal growth in the last 10 years. The Secunderabad outlet, with 1,500 seats and 700 staff serving them, is touted to be among Asia’s biggest biryani place. “In the twin cities, biryani is not food, it’s an emotion and we are glad we evoke that every day,” says Gautam Gupta, CEO of Paradise Food Court. Even though they intend to open new outlets in the Middle East and the UK sometime in the future, they believe that their reach is much more than geographical boundaries. 

On a platter

“Every day, our outlet near Shamshabad (they have no outlets in the Hyderabad Airport currently and are working on getting their own shortly) attracts hundreds of international travellers who drive in an hour earlier than their check in, eat our biryani (11 am to 11 pm non-stop), pick up an ‘Airport Express Pack’ and take it back home. We pack it in such a way that it can be carried in their hand baggage easily and it stays fresh for almost 18 to 20 hours,” Gautam adds. Interestingly, although biryani is always about mutton, Indians seem to love the chicken version. The restaurant’s patrons swear by its succulent chicken drenched in masala and buried in layers of aromatic Basmati rice served with a boiled egg on top. 
Ali and Dr Kazim Himmati, the promoters and board members belonging to the family that opened the chain, believe that constant innovation of procedures and practices while keeping the quality and taste are the cornerstones of their success. Not many know that Paradise Secunderabad also has a full-fledged Hyderabadi breakfast comprising bhaji, gurda, kheema-roti and lukhmi which begins at 6 am and also has a tea and bakery section. In summers, Paradise falooda, a coolant with sabza seeds, is a universal favourite. Their quarterly kebab and annual haleem festivals are also popular during Ramadan and Eid. That the world’s who’s who visits them is evident from their hall of fame wall in every outlet, with the likes of Rahul Gandhi and Aamir Khan featured in it. The wall is the unofficial selfie point.

Considering there is huge competition in the biryani arena, what does the chain do to retain its top position? “We have, what we think is perhaps the world’s biggest loyalty programme. We have over four lakh patrons for our ‘Circle of Happiness’ programme which rewards guests with points whenever they eat here. In fact, we launched this programme this June and we invited our oldest customers to launch it. Every time a customer walks in, our app sends them a message and a link where they can give us feedback about our food and service. We have a live tracking mechanism to ensure things are going smoothly. Every morning begins with the bouquets and brickbats our customers have served us the previous day. We analyse, fix it and start our work,” he explains. 

Even as Hyderabadis are busy fighting it out online and offline about whether or not Paradise biryani qualifies to be called the best in the city, the brand knows that for now, they are a landmark and in every tourist’s bucket list. The itinerary usually is Charminar, Golkonda, Ramoji Film City and Paradise biryani – and not necessarily in that order.

Pics: R Satish Babu.