The new foodpreneurs of the city, mostly in their 20s, are tweaking old concepts to go truly national
While one introduced the drive-in concept in Hyderabad, the other took the city’s signature dishes to other metros. Then there are others who tweaked the idea of breakfast and brews. No wonder, the gastronomic map of the city has changed drastically in the last 12 months.
Partner, Autumn Leaf Cafe
She’s as fresh and vivacious as the ambience around her new joint Autumn Leaf Cafe at Jubilee Hills. The place offers delicious and unique continental food like Avgolemono, bruschettas and more. The lush green garden café always buzzes with people. Shares the bubbly restaurateur, “This year has been a big learning curve for us when we were setting up the café. It was all about balancing the elements.” She and the other partners of the cafe are working on introducing a brunch, thanks to the success of their English breakfast recently. Expansion is on the cards. What’s an average day at work, we ask. “Full of surprises. The garden offers something new every day – a flower, a butterfly or a strange plant taking roots in the garden,” Deepti beams.
Owner, Gallery Cafe
This 22-year-old Hyderabadi who graduated in Business Economics had always aspired to open a café where art lovers
discussed their favourite subject over delicious food. Gallery Cafe, which she started in 2015, has now become one of the favourite places to host events and stage plays. Daughter of gallerist Rekha and Prshant Lahoti, she says, “We have an exotic range of coffees such as Colombian, Kenyan, Turkish and Arabic kahwa, along with a range of others from India including filter and Bella kaapi.” Their teas such as hibiscus, chamomile and jasmine to the classics – Darjeeling and Assam tea – have also been a hit with the café loyalists. In the coming year, she hopes to open another branch in the city. Currently, she is busy expanding the dinner menu with new Mexican and Lebanese platters.
Qutub Alam Khan
He runs Chicha’s, the restaurant that offers homemade delicacies, Hyderabadi style. On a regular day, you can see this six-footer running around overseeing the preparation of Pathar Ka Gosht or checking the taste for the right mix of condiments. Opened last Ramzan, the place has been frequented by every foodie in the city which this Nawab says is ‘quite an achievement in such a short span’. Coming up next is a branch in Mumbai. “It was singer Talat Aziz’s idea. We will curate an elaborate menu at the new joint,” says Khan. Early next year, there will be another Chicha’s at Hi-Tec City area. The best time to meet this 30-plus restaurateur is past midnight, after he wraps up work. “These are the initial months and I don’t want to compromise. I want to be hands-on,” he says.
Owner, 36 Drive Inn
Arjun Goud, 28, realised very early that the best way to enter a Hyderabadi’s heart is through his stomach, even better through a drive-in. Thus he started 36 Drive Inn at Jubilee Hills in December last year, one of the first in the city. Goud’s masterstroke was to incorporate his food stall Junoon – which serves Lucknowi delicacies to the Hyderabadis – in the concept. It serves the choices Nalli Biryani, Raan Biryani and kebabs in the city. “I owned a piece of land and I decided to put it to best use by picking the best of the food joints that are popular in the city and lining up them under one roof. From engineering their kitchens to tweaking their menu, I handle a lot of things. I get a royalty of three per cent and nominal rent,” says the B-school boy who loves to travel to learn new cuisines. His to-do list for next year is to start drive-ins in Bengaluru and Goa.
Partner, Nawab’s Dine
Buddies GJ Prasad and Goutham, both 24, have three things in common. They are Hyderabadis, share their birthdays and their passion for biryani. When they stepped out from the Pearl City to Chennai to pursue B Tech from SRM University, they realised they were missing their hometown’s delicacies. “In 2010, we decided to start our unique food joint to feed those like us. That’s how Nawab‘s Dine came up in Chennai. In two years, we expanded to Mumbai and in the city too,” says Prasad, co-founder and managing director. The client list of the techie-turned-hoteliers includes big corporates such as Flipkart, Max, Landmark group, Baxter and Instakart. “We started our catering service last year. From daily lunches to conventions, and other corporate events, we look after every catering service. We deliver nearly 2,700 packs a day to our corporate clientele. We hope to touch 10,000 by the year-end,” Prasad says excitedly.
Text: Saima Afreen, Paulami Sen & Purnima Sriram