Hyderabadi Food Festival @ Leela Ambience, Delhi: Beyond Biryani

The Leela group of hotels as most of us know comprises of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts offering warmth and grace of Indian hospitality and popular for it’s luxurious look. However what many of us do not probably know is that the group is named after the founder Capt Nair’s wife with the first hotel established in 1986 in the city of dreams Mumbai.

In late 2015, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel near Yamuna sports complex, Vivek Vihar was added to the group’s portfolio. My visit to the hotel has been long over due given the distance from my home but I could finally make it for the ongoing Hyderabadi Food Festival that started this Monday, 13th November and shall be on till Sunday 26th November for dinner between 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

Dine like a Maharaja as the festival is named explores the city of Nizams Hyderabad with Chef Ashwani Kumar Singh recreating delicacies from this regal cuisine. A lot of research has gone into putting the festival together with the Chef and his team having traveled to Hyderabad to bring in authenticity to the cuisine. The festival being held at the outdoor section of their restaurant Dilli 32 wears an extremely impressive look and is a treat to the eyes. The hotel has recreated a red-green look that fits the city of Hyderabad with touches of forts, jharokas and a beautiful stage set up with live ghazal singing giving it a very nawabi feel.

While in conversation with the GM of the hotel Mr Jaideep Anand who has a F&B background and has worked in Hyderabad, we got to know that  Hyderabadi Cuisine is influenced by 3 different stratas of the city. One being the underprivileged man’s food which mainly consisted of Ragi Millet and to add flavour to the same they used the oil of whole red chillies. Andhra Pradesh being the leading state for red chillies in India this spice is popular and common to all food influences here. The second influence comes from the Telangana region where tomatoes, tamarind, spicy and hot pickles and gongura leaves are an important part of the food. And finally the royal food by the Nizams of Hyderabad which adds the regal touch.

The buffet priced at Rs 1599/- (including taxes) per person has a huge variety to offer from starters (both in non veg and veg) to desserts. Live counters serving Paya, Haleem, Shikampoor kebab etc (which was a great start and we had a first hand experience of the hard work and reasearch gone in by the Chef), bhagare baigan , paneer tamater ka kut, besan ke nimboo (which I found quite interesting in the veg fare main course) and an array of chutneys, breads that include Ftiri, Rogani Roti, Jonna Roti besides other popular ones, a chai counter wearing a local tea stall look, desserts from the famous double ka meetha and shahi tukda to aloo ki kheer made for an excellent meal with no disappointments.

This Hyderabadi food festival is one that you wouldn’t want to miss and is worth travelling the distance. After all its not so often that we rate any buffet so high.

Ratings (Out of 5)

Food: 4.5 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.5
Meal for Two: Rs 3000/- + | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes
Address: The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel , 1 CBD, Maharaj Surajmal Road, Near Yamuna Sports Complex, Delhi 110032 | Phone: 011- 71721234

Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.

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