There’s something about guntur idlis … Chutneys, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad

guntur idlis and chutney

I had the most incredible idli for breakfast today.

No, my account hasn’t been hacked. Yes, my disdain for idlis are well documented. But bear with me. The idlis in my life are surgical glove ones that I order from Shiv Sagar, at Mumbai’s Bandra, as an evening snack. More out of guilt, and a belief that they are healthy, than because I like those tasteless gastronomical crimes against humanity. Or the sweet sambar which comes with them.

Gaurav, in the flight, whom I mentioned in the previous post, strongly recommended Chutneys at Hyderabad for breakfast. He seemed like a guy who knew his food and my lunch yesterday at Southern Spice proved my instincts right. Others had spoken in favour of Chutneys too and I headed there this morning.

Chutneys at Banjara Hills is the first branch of the chain and was opened as ‘recently’ as in 2000. There was a queue of people waiting outside when I reached. Like yesterday the manager quickly figured out I was “one person” and said I had to share a table.

I walked in, sat down and a chutney tray were placed in front of me. ‘Coconut, sweet, peanut and ginger’ the waiter explained. The steward took my order and said that steamed dosas were famous here. I asked about idlis and he recommended Guntur idlis.

chutneys

 

The idlis came first. Thin. Covered in a red powder. Guntur masala. A mix of red chilli powder and three types of lentils – udad, masoor, moong and channa if I remember what the waiter told me.

I took me first bite and did a double take. The idlis were silken, muslin-like. The masala was mixed in a touch of fragrant ghee. The ghee that is so insidiously addictive at Hyderabad. The masala a mix of salt and heat which sent shivers of incredible joy across your palate. So petite and yet completely holding you in its grips. This was sheer food epiphany. The sort of culinary excellence which seemed so apt in this city of Nizams. The guntur idlis at Chutneys is an apt inheritor of the the cultural finesse of Hyderabad.

If the natu kodi iguru at Southern Spice was all about fiery passion then the guntur idlis at Chutneys were platonic and angelic.

guntur idlis

The chutneys, each tickled your senses. My favourites the robust earthy peanut one and the very sharp and lively ginger one. Hidden treasures for those of us who are not from here.

@chnavin on twitter, on hearing that I had ordered the steamed dosa, tweeted “u’ll love the guntur idli…people, except Chrianjavi never ordered steamed dosa twice”.

He was right. The steamed dosa with its thickish texture and and swirling ghee salt flavours was interesting but the guntur idli was  one of Azza’s delicate leg side flicks.

steamed dosa

And all rounded off with a nice filter coffee with a nice cappuccino like froth.

A nice vegetarian start to a day where loads of biryani was scheduled to follow.

I rarely mention hotels I stay at while travelling at work but as I write this post sitting at the poolside patio of the The Park at Hyderabad looking on to the lake while the breeze caresses me, I must that the property is one of the nicest I have stayed in at a long time and with such a great downtown location too.

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