For Dr.S who is a Typical South Indian, as far his food habits are concerned, his ‘biryani meal’ has a few ‘must haves’. They are a plate of chicken biryani, avicha mutta (boiled egg), thayir pachadi (raita), spicy potato chips, applam and chicken gravy/ salna. He will not consider it a meal even if one of the above ingredients is missing!
He found out that there is this biryani joint in Connaught Place where they sell mouth watering Hyderabadi Biryani. So we set off in quest of a good Saturday afternoon meal.
Connaught Place is a planned shopping area in the centre of the town. You can get there by taking a turn off the Jalna Road at the Agrasen Chowk (Chowk, meaning a road junction in Hindi) , near the Ajanta Ambassador hotel. I think the town planner put a lot of thought into the planning of this shopping area especially from the pedestrian point of view. All shops open out onto a covered gallery so even if it rains, or is very hot, the shopper feels sheltered. All the shops are numbered, however none of the streets within this grid layout have a name. Parking is on one side of the very wide road on an odd-even day basis. Beware: If you do park on the wrong side, your vehicle could get towed away!
I really liked the street cafes where you can order a vada pav or a tea, sit around roadside tables with your family/ friends, stretch your feet and just soak in the shopping experience. You watch and are watched in these cafes.
The shops include a Car Rental store, Imported goods store, Rubber stamps store and Shree Sai Sports store. ‘Naturals’, ‘Nawal’s’, ‘Hair and Skin Studio’, Face and Fame’ and ‘Varad’s Family Salon’ are a few of the beauty salons here and they are lined together on a street. I recommend a stop at the ‘Wonderweave’, a handmade shop for furniture and weaves…… at least to see the place for the sheer craftsmanship of the wares. There are a couple of ice cream shops – ‘Dinshaw’s -Really rich ice cream’ , Kwality Walls and bakeries such as ‘Monginis’ (Purely veg) and ‘Celebration 365 days’ where you get lip-smacking pasteries and chocolate cakes. There is this place called ‘The Chocolate Shop – a cafe for chocoholics’ where the entire menu is chocolate based. Need I say more? I definitely intend to spend more time in this kadai during my stay here at Aurangabad.
The ‘Quadrangle’ is a one stop store for Books, Magazines, CDs, gifts, Toys and stationery. Books of authors ranging from Enid Blyton to Dan Brown are found in the shop’s mezzanine floor. There are also books for hobby enthusiasts such as drawing, painting, crafts and the like. The gift section is well stocked with collectibles for all age groups 0-3 upto +60.
What is rather stunning about the Connaught place is the ‘Maharana Pratap Udhan’ or garden right in the centre, amidst all the shops. The gates open on the northern and southern side of the garden.
Right next to this garden is the famous ‘Koyla Biryani’ kadai where you get mouth watering Hyderabad Biryani served with salna and raita. I do recommend that you order take-away rather than sit in the kadai and eat. Do order a curry or kabab with your biryani as the salna supplement given here is hardly a curry. They open at 12pm and close at 10.30pm.
We ordered a take-away…. believe me, the aroma of biryani in an Ac car is nasal torture for a hungry soul after 2 hours of intense shopping! Our Saturday afternoon lunch had all the necessary ingredients – Biryani, boiled egg, raita, salna, applam and chips (from Hot chips…. I will post another write up on that one!) and of course mangoes.
Here’s to a happy ending! …..And they ate happily ever after.