One fine afternoon, a friend and I set out to explore some parts of Old Hyderabad. We were actually visiting an old library, the state of which almost sent us into depression. So we quickly crossed the river Musi before the sun went down. And stopped at the Nayaab Hotel for a cup of tea. Now Irani Chai is something that you hear all the time in Hyderabad. People love to have it with Osmania biscuit which has a peculiar taste of salt in its basic sweet nature. To be honest, I am not fond of either the Chai that is too milky for my taste or the biscuits, as I do not like to mix sweets and salt. Surprisingly I was introduced to Kesar Chai here.
Kesar Chai – Nayaab Hotel
So, as my friend ordered his tea, the hotel owner came and asked why am I not having the tea and I told him the same. He said let me get you something that you would love to have and came the Kesar Chai on the table. It was reddish in color and was definitely different and better than the Irani Chai.
I got curious as I had never heard of this type of Chai anywhere. Even after living in Hyderabad for almost two years now, this is the first time I tasted this Chai. So the young Owner took me to the kitchen and showed me how these two types of Chai were made.
Kesar & Irani versions
Irani Chai is made in these huge Degchis or pots that are constantly on fire. For the Kesar version, the concoction is made like coffee with tea powder generously mixed with Kesar. To this concoction hot milk is added when a customer places the order. This milk comes only from a particular dairy to maintain the consistency of taste. In fact, he corrected me that Nayaab is a Teahouse and not a hotel as the board outside suggests.
Customized for Locals
An interesting coin drop desk caught my eye and I thought about how creative we used to be before the era of standardization. Now that the interest was up, he took me around the first floor of the hotel. Where there are low tables for families to sit around and eat. Another unusual and unique feature I was to discover about these Old Hyderabad hotels. They were customized to the local tastes and habits rather than expecting customers to come and adapt themselves to the western style of eating. I thought that is quite cool. This floor still showcases the original paintings that were put when the hotel was built along with a very symmetrically organized switchboard.
Type of Customers
Looking at two different parts of the hotel I was curious about what kind of customers primarily come to the hotel. To which Omer smiled and said ‘Yahan Gaali Galauj se lekar Aap Janaab – Sab Aate’. i.e. people with an abusive tongue to the most sophisticated one – everyone comes here. I loved the way he summarized the range – based on the kind of language people use as a measure of class. And not anything else that we as a society usually like to categorize people into – money, vehicle, dressing up, caste, religion – nothing – your language is what defines your class.
I was then shown the main delicacy served at the hotel – Paya. Interestingly, the oil in which Paya is fried also sells like hotcakes. He showed me various bakery items they make. And spoke about the 5 Gs (Gosht or Meat, Gehun or Wheat, Ghee or Oil, Garam Masala or spices, and Gota as in the rod used to make it) of Haleem, a dish that is primarily made during Ramzaan only. Can not say too much about these being a vegetarian. But I enjoyed the small conversation with young Omer. I wish more and more businessmen have that kind of passion for their businesses. It will keep both them and their customers happy.
I definitely came out as a happy customer. And the blogger in me was happy to have found something to write about.
Recommend you read the following travel blog on places to visit in Hyderabad.