There's a time and a place to talk about ambience and service, and for a long time Niagara wouldn't feature at either. One of the landmark places for Hyderabadi cuisine, spoken of in the same breath as Madina
, it didn't need to - people would (and continue to) get off expensive wheels for a plate of mutton biryani here, irrespective of India's growth story.
Fortunately, there's a separate air-conditioned family dining section now that takes itself seriously, with muted lighting and all. There's even a small pond inside in a rock theme with rather large eel in it. And there are different people to take your order and to serve. Too much.
The ratings on service and ambience are for this section, just in case you call our class into question. If you sit in the Irani chai section, you'll see the core of Niagara - our waiter tried his best to cheat a tip out of us after throwing atrocious attitude.
You've heard about it, you've tasted it, you've burped. The Niagara biryani is famous, and there's a reason that's best found out. It's available in the chicken and mutton variants (they politely inform you they don't have even egg biryani forget vegetarian, and then perhaps go into the kitchen and laugh their guts out), and, if you are willing to spend twice the Rs. 75, as Noorjehan Biryani Niagara, a special proprietary cocktail.
There are elaborate Chinese (soups, spring rolls, noodles, fried rice, chicken/fish/prawn/veg starters and gravies) and Mughlai (again, chicken/mutton/prawn/fish/veg curries) spreads on the menu, too, aside of the expected paya, zaban, sikampur, shami, sheermal and nehari. Plus, some authentic Hyderabadi desserts, including the Double/Qubani Ka Meetha, Gile Firdous and a Kheer that looks great in its own small clay pot.
And the smarter people don't eat the biryani just as a lone dish the evenings, they ask for Seekh Kebab as well for accompaniment. Yes, there are a variety of these, plus tandoor chicken. The prices are the best part - it's hard to run up a bill of more than Rs. 250 for a couple whatever you do, and it usually stays at around Rs. 150.
Chadarghat isn't where you go to eat unless you stay there. And you won't want to stay there even if you like to eat there. Fortunately, Niagara belongs to Hyderabad, not Chaderghat.