Etiquette,decency and curiosity demand that one enters The Golconda Bowl in Bandra,on a mission to sample the biryani which Hyderabad is famous for. Fragrant with saffron and a dash of browned onions,the long grains of Basmati rice hide the large chunks of meat. It ranks high in terms of quality. But devoid of the spicy masala layers that make the biryani unique,this mild dish leans more towards the Lucknow style rather than authentic Hyderabadi.
Biryani aside,theres no reason why one shouldnt visit this new Hyderabadi pakwaan. It has opened on Hill Road on the ground floor of Hotel Metro Palace that once housed Pause and Oriental Palace. These properties may have shut shop for several reasons a shortage of patrons being one of them but The Golconda Bowl could enjoy a different fate. Bathed in warm lighting and decorated with elaborate mirrors,the dark wooden chairs and tables add to the look. The space is well utilised without being too cramped. Theres also an area in the corner that is cordoned off with translucent curtains for a larger group.
Keeping with the tradition,the menu is dominated with specialties such as Nalli Nihari,Patthar Ka Ghost and Bagara Baingan. It also has a good balance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian options,but the mutton dishes truly stand out. The Patthar Ka Ghost is so tender that one neednt bother cutting it with a knife as the piece melts at the slightest touch. Gosht Haleem,served in a deceptively small pot,is a rich and creamy blend of grain,spice and mutton,that gets a sweet crunch from the onion garnish.
For the vegetarians too,there are plenty of options. The juicy mushrooms in the Sigri Ka Khumb go pleasantly with a marinade of malai and green chutney. The Mirchi Ka Salan must be tried,regardless of food preferences. With its orange curry,it may look harmless,but has a mean kick to it from the chilli thats balanced with a semi-thick cream-based gravy.
The Golconda Bowl is a family-style restaurant that doesnt offer anything that Mohammed Ali Roads cafes and street stalls havent mastered through the ages. Its advantage,however,lies in its location and ambience thats suited to those who cant often brave the citys chaos,traffic and parking woes to visit the iconic street on a whim.
Meal for two: Rs 1,700 (with taxes,without alcohol)