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Deepa Menon /
Value For Money
Good for date/family
Easy parking
Long waiting
They've done it. Ohri's has outdone itself. But before we get into the happy details, here's a warning: do not try the biryani here.

One of our firm beliefs as pucca Hyderabadis, is that we know where the best biryani is served. Sure, we may disagree over a few things, but on the whole we've got it narrowed down to around three or four places. And we hold on to these favorites, because it's one of those few things in life that you know for sure. But then along comes this new restaurant that brazenly topples all those beloved old friends from the top spot and takes their place in one instant. Such nerve. So please resist all temptation - especially from the devilishly succulent Gosht Dum Biryani - unless you want the other greats to lose their flavor forever.

That said, we move on. Tadka is a 100% North-Indian restaurant, with very lavish decor and friendly service. And if you get there after 8:30 on a Saturday night, you're in for a longish wait. The places fills up real quick, and you'll find mostly families and large groups dining here. Definitely a special-occasions type of place.

Kebabs are a pride of the house, and they're, most of them, very good. Although non-vegetarians have more choice in this area, a couple of the appetizers like the deliciously marinated Peshawari Ajwaini Tikka and the extra-cheese Kurkuri are good bets. Otherwise, try the Saboota Talwar Kabab, tangy chicken-legs served skewered on a sword with a flame lit under them. Just as excellent are the capsicum-filled Tadka Murg Gilafi, with minced chicken and assorted peppers, and the Adraki Chaamp Aur Barra, tawa-cooked, wonderfully tender lamb chops.

Tadka has an interesting assortment of drinks, and their most innovative one is a combination of tender coconut water and vodka called Chakde-Patte. If you prefer mocktails, though it isn't on the menu, ask for the Volcano, the cool and refreshing ginger-and-lime flavor of which makes it the perfect accompaniment to rich food.

Lovers of spicy food will enjoy the Lal Mirch Ka Paratha or the sharper bite of the Hari Mirch Ki Tandoori Roti, for main course. The Paneer Tikka Lababdar, in an onion gravy with Kashmiri chillies and honey, is absolutely delish with rotis. For a definite glimpse of heaven try the Murg Dahi Kalimirch, cooked in a divine pepper gravy. A Hyderabadi specialty here is the Nalli Ka Salan, mutton shanks in a thick gravy.

Then, of course, there's the biryani. But you've already been warned about that. Foolishly people still go ahead and order it, and this is their hottest selling dish. Go figure.

Of course, you can always order up from Havmor, but Tadka has a couple of interesting desserts of its own. Gulab Jamuns turn exotic as they're served en flambe, and the Chocolate Mousse With Mirchi Ice Cream is as delightfully surprising as it sounds. It has all the sweetness of ice cream, with a lingering fire of green chillies.

The thought that's gone into the creating of the menu is evident. Many restaurants have watered down their winning formula by focussing too much on style, appearance and other things that don't matter that much to their diners. But at Ohri's, the food is still top-priority; it just gets better all the time. And Tadka is undoubtedly their best yet.
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