Sampling The Vegetarian Delights At Paradise, Whitefield

Paradise, that legendary seller of biryani and kebabs in Hyderabad, came to Bangalore sometime in 2015. The husband and I had always wanted to visit Paradise, but somehow kept putting it off – we had a feeling we might feel out of place, considering that we are vegetarians and that the eatery predominantly specialises in non-vegetarian food. So, a couple of days ago, when I was offered the opportunity to visit the newly opened Paradise outlet at Virginia Mall, Whitefield, and sample the vegetarian fare there, along with a group of other foodies, I was more than prepared and thrilled about it.

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Wow!

First things first, I loved the simple and functional, but tasteful decor of the place.

There are two seating areas, one at ground level and the other upstairs. There is a separate takeaway counter – quite spacious and decent, unlike the cramped ones I have seen at many other restaurants.

The eatery has a comfortable vibe to it.

I especially loved this ‘spice wall’ (as I prefer to call it) in the upstairs dining area. The wall showcases jars of spices that are commonly used in the preparation of the star dish of the eatery – biryani! Lovely idea, I say.

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The spice wall – beautiful, no?

The photographs on the walls – many of them from the kitchens of Paradise, I assume – are beautifully shot. They add a whole lot of atmosphere to the place, and only serve to increase your appetite for the biryani. 🙂

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Some of the photographs on display on the walls of the outlet

Some of the wall decorations had little nuggets of the history of the biryani and about how Paradise cooks it, all of which made for very interesting reading. So, if you have time to kill at Paradise, ever, you know exactly what to do!

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History of biryani, anyone?

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Now, let’s get to the food part of the visit, shall we?

We were served a pre-set menu, showcasing the best of what Paradise has to offer. There was no need to sit and pore over the menu, leaving us with enough time to chat, sit back and relax, and really taste every mouthful. I love that feeling, I have come to realise. 🙂

Starters

First up, the vegetarians were served three of their starters – Achaari Paneer, Paneer Tikka, and Subz Aur Moongphali Seekh. In both dishes, the paneer was tender and fresh, breaking at the touch of a fork. I would rate the Achaari Paneer as good but not great. The Paneer Tikka was good, but could have done with some more flavour. I loved the Subz Aur Moongphali Seekh – it was perfect in texture and flavour, I would say.

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Paneer Tikka at Paradise

The non-vegetarians among us were served an assortment of starters, including Chicken Garlic Kebab, Chicken Tikka, Mutton Seekh Kebab, Fish Tikka. Every non-vegetarian starter served was much loved, but the Mutton Seekh Kebab was voted as the winner.

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Chicken Tikka and Mutton Seekh Kebab at Paradise

Main Course

Then came the biryani, which all of us had been eagerly waiting for.

The vegetarians were served a Vegetable Biryani, which was quite flavourful and well cooked. The paneer in the biryani was moist and succulent, and the marination was very well done. This was my first-ever tryst with Hyderabadi biryani, so I can’t say how it compared to the original biryani from Hyderabad, but I liked this quite a bit. The raita and salan served with the biryani were tasteful, too.

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Vegetable biryani at Paradise

For the non-vegetarians, there was Chicken Biryani and Mutton Biryani, of which the mutton one was hugely loved.

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Mutton biryani at Paradise (Photo Courtesy: http://www.akshayamrecipes.com, reproduced here with permission)

Apparently, Paradise makes all its biryani using the ‘dum‘ method and a layering technique. The first layer is that of good quality rice that has been a little cooked, on top of which goes a layer of well-marinated meat or vegetables. This is followed by another layer of rice, this time a little more cooked than the first layer. On top of this is a layer of marinated meat or veggies, followed by another layer of rice, this time almost fully cooked. The container is then sealed using atta, and the biryani is allowed to slowly cook.

This technique is what brings about most of the flavour of Paradise’s biryani, we were told – that and the use of the best quality of rice, the choicest of vegetables and meat, good quality spices, and the precise cutting of the meat and vegetables.

We were also told of how you can customise your biryani at Paradise, depending upon your personal spice preferences. All you have to do is explain your prefences to the staff waiting on you, and they will make the biryani as spicy or as little spicy as you want it to be.

Drinks

We were served fresh lemon water and lemon soda along with our biryanis. I think it is tough to find a good glass of lemon water, and this one was just beautiful. I am not normally a fan of lemon soda, but I loved the one that was offered to me at Paradise.

Desserts

Next up for grabs at Paradise were their desserts, which were a huge, huge, huge hit with me. I loved both the desserts served to us – Double Ka Meetha and Qubani Ka Meetha – to bits!

For the uninitiated, the Double Ka Meetha is a Hyderabadi specialty, a sweet pudding made using bread, milk, and sugar. Bread is often referred to as ‘double ki roti‘ in Hindi, considering that the bread dough rises to double its size after the addition of yeast – whence the name of this pudding.

The dessert was very well made, served warm, and tasted gorgeous. My cupful was gone in absolutely no time!

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Double Ka Meetha at Paradise

The Qubani Ka Meetha is another Hyderabad-special, a sweet dish made using stewed apricots (locally known as ‘Qubani‘). This was simply beautiful, mind-blowing I would say. The apricots were sweet and juicy, and added a whole lot of flavour to the dessert, which was served warm. The Qubani Ka Meetha was, I think, my personal star of the entire visit.

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Qubani Ka Meetha at Paradise

We left with our tummies full and our hearts sated. And that was the end of a very good afternoon. 🙂

I am definitely going back to Paradise again, the next time with no qualms.

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Disclaimers and notes:

  1. All of us at the Bloggers’ Table at Paradise were invited by the restaurant, and the meal was served to us free of cost, in exchange for an honest review of the place.
  2. Like I said in my post, this was the first ever time I had Hyderabadi biryani, so I wouldn’t be the best person to judge how it compares to the original from Hyderabad. I liked the vegetable biryani that was served to me, though.
  3. A meal for two at Paradise can cost between INR 700 and 1000, including starters, main course, and dessert.
  4. I would definitely not recommend going to Paradise and eating only the biryani there. They have some lovely starters there, and some beautiful desserts. Don’t miss out on them!
  5. The portion size of the biryani at Paradise is large, one platter good enough to serve two to three people. Do keep that in mind while you order.
  6. In spite of being one of the very few vegetarians in the foodie group, I did not have any problems eating at Paradise. There are no unpleasant smells or sights, if you are concerned about that. There is a decent enough menu selection for the vegetarians, including starters, curries, and rotis.
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