Why you should revisit the Indu Deluxe thali in Hyderabad

Hotel Indu Deluxe, the 38-year-old landmark restaurant, has been revamped. Its famed thali and side dishes keep their place on the menu

Updated - May 12, 2023 01:34 pm IST

Published - May 11, 2023 03:46 pm IST

Inside Indu Deluxe

Inside Indu Deluxe | Photo Credit: Sanjay Borra

In Hyderabad, apart from biryani, the other default option when eating out is the thali. It is ubiquitous, in various avatars across the twin cities. Its all-in-one variety with ready service makes it the most popular choice for a working lunch. Hotel Indu Deluxe at Saifabad, a 38-year-old eatery — also referred to as MLA Hotel by old timers owing to its proximity to the Secretariat — thrives on the lunch crowd who throng the Secretariat on work.

Venugopal Reddy, a tobacco trader who worked in the vicinity, started the restaurant in 1985 after he heard his father Jagan Reddy, an MLA at the time, rue the lack of an eatery for visitors at the Secretariat to eat or have lunch meetings. With a lack of Andhra meals in the city back then, Venugopal decided to serve hearty Telugu bhojanam at Indu Deluxe. It was an instant hit and much to his surprise, became popular even among visitors to the Birla mandir, the Birla Planetarium, Sanjeeviah Park and Ravindra Bharati. Any tourist who spent even half a day in the Old City, would head here to dine. 

Biryani at Indu Deluxe

Biryani at Indu Deluxe | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

It became famous for its meals, biryani and select non-vegetarian sides like chicken fry, mutton fry and omelette, all prepared in the traditional Telugu way. For decades, Indu was known as an Andhra meals place, with nothing else to offer in terms of interiors, ambience or comfort. Yet, nobody complained.

Cut to 2023, Hyderabad transformed and the pandemic changed the world. When Indu Deluxe reopened after being shut for two years due to the pandemic, it kept pace with the world. The restaurant which until then had a government office canteen vibe, reopened with a swanky look, complete with bright, well-lit, pastel interiors, cosy couches and arched windows that let in more natural light. The facelift has been received warmly by regulars and attracted, family gatherings too.

The change was wrought by the generational shift in the family; Venugopal’s son Rohit Reddy took over in 2020 and decided to give it a new look albeit without touching the menu. Rohit had returned from the USA after completing his studies and working there briefly before joining the family construction and aggregate business. He had grown up listening to his father’s stories about Indu and felt that he should focus on the restaurant. Once he spent some time around the restaurant, he made plans to start running the day-to-day operations. 

A thali at Indu Deluxe

A thali at Indu Deluxe | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Rohit wanted sure of one thing; he would update and upgrade the Indu experience without compromising on its food. So, when we tried the meals, the one pointer that confirmed the ‘no change in food’ policy was the fresh pachadi (chutney). So when the thali came with a dollop of fresh vegetable pachadisI knew it was safe to order my ‘usual.’ Mutton roast and chicken roast had to go on the side with the veg thali. Regulars will vouch for this as the perfect match.  For the uninitiated, a vegetarian thali (even at Indu) comes with two varieties of vegetarian curries, chutney, pappu, rasam and sambar, served with hot rice, ghee and papad.

There is a royal thali — a tweak to the regular veg thali — which includes mutton curry, chicken roast and a small portion of biryani. The spice levels in the non-veg curries, except the mutton dalcha, is not for those with a low threshold for spice tolerance.

Natu kodi curry

Natu kodi curry | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Gulab jamun

Gulab jamun | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

When everything is done, ask for a portion of gulab jamun, it is served hot with an assurance that it will melt faster than ice cream. It lives up to the promise.

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