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Noodles and naan

Zafraan and Shanghai Dice bring eclectic flavours and a spread spanning from North West Frontier to Far East


CONTEMPORARY CHINESE and ethnic Indian restaurants blended with a bar in the centre, is how entrepreneur Nirmal Khaitan describes his new twin restaurants complex on Raj Bhavan Road, a stretch that is soon turning into another eat street after Banjara Hills. Zafraan is a North Indian restaurant, predominantly featuring cuisine from North West Frontier, Punjab, Kashmir and Lucknow. "We found that many IT professionals working in the twin cities hail from Delhi and other northern states. There are very few restaurants in the city that serve exclusive north Indian cuisine, which made us come up with Zafraan. As for Shanghai Dice, the cuisine is more of a Chinese fare," adds his son Mithun Khaitan.

Designed in shades of the exotic spice, Zafraan is a fine dining idea - floral motifs in pure silver on 24-carat gold leaf coated pillars and crimson drapes, along with a generous sprinkle of knick-knacks from the highlands -- hookahs, hand woven carpets, leather mushqs. The menu is replete with robust Amritsari machchi, Chana pindi, Sarson da saag, Tawa gurda kapoora, Murgh Peshawari, Bhuna gosht, Khumbh hara dhaniya, Lasooni naan, Missi roti, Zafraani murgh biryani, and raitas— pineapple, boondi, mint and aloo. But the USP of the restaurant is the uncommon fare from chefs here who received rave reviews from Bill Clinton as they served him during his earlier visit to the country.

Raan alishaan — whole leg of lamb flavoured with rum and Indian spices, Dahi ke kebab made with hung curd, Seekh do rukhi seekh kebab with an outer chicken and inner mutton core and saffron-laced desserts — the Moghul Zafraan kheer and Kesaria kulfi are some of the new dishes to whet the Hyderabadi palate.


Fusion glass pillars of the bar in jade tones mark the beginning of Shanghai Dice - a territory of familiar silk upholstery, porcelain figurines and the auspicious bamboo. Along with Chinese chopsuey and Darsaan one finds a generous helping of Thai food -- Bahmee noodles — northern style rice noodles, salads, and assorted vegetables and mutton in red and green curries and a dash of teppanyaki as well.

As in Zafraan, Shanghai Dice presents new Crackling spinach and potato, Onion pancakes, Double mushroom — button and black mushrooms in hot garlic sauce and Sliced lamb with zucchini. "Tastes are changing. Also we would like to bring in more seafood — lobsters and crabs, shortly mussels. People are getting health conscious. We have consciously included steamed food on the menu like dim sums, as also Lettuce wrapped chicken, where the chicken is steamed, and Standing pomfret Shanghai styled — again steamed," says Mithun.

While at Shanghai Dice, roll the dice before you leave. If lady luck favours, you probably can walk out with the meal `on the house'. About the game, "in China people are pretty used to gambling while dining. This is single side play and you have nothing to loose. For instance, if you dine on a Monday, and the dice reads 1, you get 10 per cent off on the bill. You get another ten per cent if your dice reads 1 again. But, if it doesn't, even the earlier 10 percent discount is void," he explains.

Zafraan and Shanghai Dice (4th Floor, Uma Hyderabad House, Raj Bhavan Road, Somajiguda, Tel: 55151177/88) are open for lunch (12 noon-3.30 p.m.) and dinner (7 p.m.-11.30 p.m.).

A word of prudence, each cuisine is served in respective restaurants with suitable chutneys and sauces. It would not be a good idea then to plan on a chicken fried rice, paneer butter masala and tandoori roti combo, the conventional idea of a multi-cuisine, for once. Bon apetit.

SYEDA FARIDA

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