Finding a niche like this one can't have just happened by luck. Who knew that the Hyderabadi palate - which you might think had been dulled to anything but the rich flavors of Andhra and Nawabi cuisine - would take so instantly to the simple delights of good, home-cooked food? Food that's almost entirely devoid of all those crucial ingredients - red-chilli powder, gallons of oil and the shrill pungency of garlic and onions? And who knew the flavors of Indian Harvest would last longer than a season, to become an all-year-round favorite? When you've figured exactly the way to your diners' heart, you don't need luck.
While many people have no clue about the existence of this place, Indian Harvest has a list of regulars that would be the envy of any establishment. This all-vegetarian restaurant has such a definite mood and taste to it, that when you've got to eat Gujju, you've got to go here. You're hooked for life.
The hands-down hit here is the thali (Rs. 95), and this is the best way to sample all the flavors of Gujarati food. You're served buttermilk before you start, and then the laying of the thali begins. First a satisfyingly large steel plate with fresh pickle, chutneys and dahi. Then the bowls of dal, dry subzi and wet subzi, Dhokla, Farsaan (aloo vada or any other kind of pakoda), Kathor (gravy with moong/channa dal), fluffy pulkhas, miniature puris that you can eat at least 6 of in one go, and rice. As much as you can eat of everything. Oh, and did we mention dessert? It changes everyday (like the rest of the menu), but it's usually Gaajar Ka Halwa, the ghee-soaked Moong Dal Sheera, Kaddu Ka Halwa or hot Jalebis.
Weekends here are for Special Thalis (Rs. 120), which include one extra subzi, Farsaan, Dal and the much loved Gujarati Khaddi. If you prefer to go a la carte
, try the Methi Thepla, which is methi-stuffed paratha served with curd and sweet pickles. Or try another kind of roti with the Maharashtrian Thali Peet Pitla, which is roti made from wheat, bajra and jawar, and with a liberal sprinking of green chillies and onions. This is served with curd and and the besan-based gravy, Pitla.
The Corn Capsicum Pulao is another popular choice. As is the Dal Dhokli, pieces of masala roti dipped in Khatta (sour) Dal. Every meal goes great with the Aam Ka Panna, or raw-mango juice. Indian Harvest
also serves some items that aren't on the menu, and you will have to give them advance notice if you want to try the Special chutney-filled Dhokla, or the Pathra, which is a savory pastry-like dish, wrapped in an arvi leaf and steamed.
If you happen to visit any time between January and May, you must finish your meal with the hand-churned Strawberry Ice-Cream, with chunks of juicy strawberry frozen to last you all summer. The Chickoo and Strawberry Crunch ice-Creams are available throughout the year. Indian Harvest also serves some excellent chaat between 4 and 9 pm.
This is a lovely place to visit, with its chattai
curtains that let in the sunshine, and its muted but tasteful decor. Even though it is a small restaurant, it uses its space well.
Indian Harvest is the kind of place you go when you crave the warm comfort of fresh home-cooked food, minus the cleaning up afterwards.