Before all the swanky joints came up, this was where you went when you wanted to go posh. With its elaborate trimmings and marble statues, PH stood for the warm and lavish hospitality of the Nizams' city, and is still very popular with old Hyderabad and with tourists who are being taken around the sights.
It's a formula that's worked very well, for the restaurant shows no outward sign of change and attracts just as many people for dinner on the weekends as it used to eighteen years ago. A large restaurant - the second largest in India, the manager assures you - PH is popular not just for its food, but also for the lovely panoramic view of the city from its 8th floor. You can see the Charminar
all lit up from here, if you squint a little.
Although you're served Chinese and Continental too, Indian food, especially Hyderabadi, is the most popular here. In fact, experiments of the pasta kind have been known to backfire.
Start off with Crispy Vegetables or Cheese Balls With Pineapple. Bhutan Chicken, and Drums Of Heaven are also good to nibble on while you wait for your main-course. If you're in the mood for soup, try the asparagus or lung fung, which is a mixed meat soup.
It goes without saying that the biryani here is a specialty, and goes very well with the Khandari Vegetable or the Dum-ka-Murgh. The Andhra Chicken is also good and spicy. With rotis you can have Kadai Vegetables, Navratan Kurma or the Achari Gosht. They're all on the rich and heavy side, as all Hyderabadi khaana
In the Chinese section, try the spicy Philippino or the Prawn Noodles With Schezwan Vegetables or Ginger Fish. The Mixed Fried Rice and American Chopsuey are also much in demand. For Continental, sample the Chicken a la Kiev or the Lamb Steak.
A slightly-too-sweet Qubani-ka-Meetha with ice-cream is the best-loved way to end a meal, though PH does offer chocolate mousse, soufflé³ and the Baked Alaska, which is a cake-and-cream-based dessert doused with brandy and served en flambé®¦lt;br>
The service here is pleasant, and the dé£¯r, though it's so grand, is tasteful and unobtrusive. On the whole, the kind of place you'd go for to sit a while, eat to your heart's content and toast the city.