Ghazals in the background, super-ornate decor and rich North-Indian food in all its sleep-inducing forms - this is what Mehfill has come to mean for many people. Before the hipper coffee shop Pickles
opened next door, this was one of the very few proper restaurants that the Secunderabad area had to offer. And although it's multi-cuisine, Mehfill is best known for its biryani, kebabs and rotis.
Apart from the usual favorites, you'll find a few unusual items on the menu here. If you want a break from chicken corn and the other common varieties of soups, you should try the Indian version, the Shorba. Thick and not too heavily spiced, the Muqqavi Shorba is quite a lovely way to begin your meal here. Non-vegetarians can try the delicately flavored chicken Jahangiri Shorba.
Kebabs come in all varieties and shapes, the most interesting and popular one being skewered on a sword and served. Apart from the Talwar Kebab, you'll also enjoy the Kalmi, Boti and Jhinga Shaandaar, made from tiny, tender prawns. If you can't make up your mind, get the Kebab Milan, which includes nine different varieties. Vegetarians can't go wrong with Makkai (corn), Paneer Tikka and the sesame-flavored Kebab Tiltilla.
You'll find a good selection of rotis here also, like Missi Roti, Kashmiri Naan and stuffed Kulchas. Team these up with Mutton Rogan Josh, a specialty of the house, or the smoke-flavored Dhoon Murgh. Go veggie with the Paneer Begum Bahar, which is cooked in mint sauce, stuffed with peanut chutney and served in a makhani (butter) gravy. The spinach rich Nizami Hundi is another find here, as is good old Dal Makhani. Or skip it all completely and get the Dum Ki Biryani, which is a meal in itself.
Chinese at Mehfill isn't a bad bet either, and the Taipei Crispy Chicken, the Golden Fried Prawns and the Tepan Yaki, a Beijing chicken sizzler, are all recommended. If you're going Continental, try the Penne Pastas In A La Pesto Sauce, the Chicken Japanese Sizzlers, or the Chicken Stroganoff.
Dessert is mostly an Indian affair. You'll find Jaffrani Phirni, Qubani Kulfi and a Bengali Sweet Of The Day, which ranges from Cham-Chams to Malai Sandwich. Or you have a big hunk of chocolate pastry with the Bull's Eye.
Every night 8pm onwards, Mehfill has live ghazals for its diners, who also request songs from time to time. This band of musicians has been accused of getting stuck in a rut, so don't be shy about asking for your favorite numbers.
Mehfill is more of a dinner restaurant, and is good for more formal occasions.