NAMED after the capital of southern India’s Telangana state, Hyderabad Dine-in brings the rich and colorful flavors of India to Cebu’s ever-hungry community of foodies. There are a few Indian restaurants in the city, but this one sets itself apart by focusing on uncompromising authenticity without the intimidating approach.
Last Sept. 1, Hyderabad Dine-in celebrated two huge milestones: the first anniversary of its Banilad branch and the grand opening of its new Banawa branch. Owned by Megan Lim, the Indian restaurant became an instant favorite among both locals and Indian nationals in Cebu for doing South Asian cuisine justice, plus its generous portions and affordable price range.
At the helm of the kitchen is executive chef Arifa Saw, who grew up watching her mother cook and eventually, inherited the same passion for food. While she is well-trained in different cuisines, she considers Indian her personal favorite.
The restaurant is proud to have most of its ingredients, the spices most especially, sourced directly from India. A lot of the core components like the milk, butter, cheese and yogurt are made from scratch in-house as well.
Hyderabad’s menu consists of an extensive array of Indian classics, featuring a good mix of meat and vegetarian options. For appetizers, one can’t go wrong with the crunchy Samosa, which you can have with four different fillings: vegetable, chicken, cheese and chocolate. The Roti and Paratha are also must-try starters. The restaurant’s powerhouses are the gravies: the Palak Paneer (spinach with Indian cottage cheese), Dal Tadka (lentil curry), Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken, to name a few. Should one prefer rice, the Biryani — basmati mixed with 21 kinds of spices and topped with a choice of protein — is worth indulging yourself in.
After enjoying all these spicy dishes (whose spice level you can have adjusted according to your liking, by the way), a tall glass of Lassi, a yogurt-based drink, makes for the perfect beverage to extinguish the heat. You can have it plain or flavored such as Mango, Namkin (a salty kind) and the Special, which has rose syrup. The Milk Tea with Cardamon is also a delightful post-meal palate cleanser.
Hyderabad Dine-in currently has two locations: the first branch is located along Gov. M. Cuenco Ave., Banilad, Cebu City, while the new branch is located along R. Duterte St., Banawa, Cebu City (right across Auto Gas). Dine-in guests are welcome. Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Deliveries are catered through its in-house delivery, as well as through third-party apps.