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    Pots of spiced rice are already drawing in the crowds at Paradise’s first outpost  in OMR.

    THE next time a friend visits from Hyderabad, I will have to ask for something other than a parceled portion of the famed Paradise biryani, because now we have our own outlet in the city. From a tiny canteen in Secunderabad six decades ago, Paradise has grown to become a biryani powerhouse —with 16 outlets in the country, the latest located down OMR. With a seating of over 160, the restaurant has simple interiors with brick walls featuring photographs of all the food from their menu. We are joined by head corporate chef, Vijay Bakshi, who hails from Hyderabad. He introduces us to his list of Paradise’s specials, starting with an assorted platter of kebabs, in varieties like chicken tikka, kalmi and hara bhara. Vegetarians have a subz aur moongphalli seekh to try, a first for all their outlets.
    As we are discussing the legacy of kebabs and their oath keepers in Lucknow and Old Delhi, our biryanis arrive, after being cooked in handis for over six hours. I choose the double spice variant of the mutton biryani for a piquant smack. Its tender meat falls apart easily and the signature masala flavour—which is made centrally in Hyderabad—turns out to be worth all the hype. From desserts, I opt for the popular qubani ka meetha—a quintessentially Hyderabadi dish. The apricots are well soaked, with a semi-solid jammy consistency, which along with the sugar syrup, provide a lasting aftertaste. Bakshi says it’s best had with ice cream and I couldn’t agree more.
    Meal for two from Rs 600.
    Details: 45566713

    — Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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