Pauna or Khade Chamach ki chai?

An Irani café that effortlessly puts you at ease

Updated - March 06, 2017 02:25 pm IST

Published - March 06, 2017 02:23 pm IST

A trip to Nimrah is incomplete without Irani chai and Osmania biscuits

A trip to Nimrah is incomplete without Irani chai and Osmania biscuits

The refrain that women don’t venture into Irani cafés is being done away with. A few cafés known for their Irani chai in the Old City have become tourist savvy, thanks to food walks and the incessant urge of foodies to blog and instagram their food experiences and city vignettes.

On a balmy morning, when many vendors have barely set shop on the stretch leading from Charminar to Mecca Masjid, one needs to jostle for space at Nimrah Café and Bakery.

A few steps into the café, one of the staff members spots me near the counter enquiring about boxes of Osmania biscuits and asks if I’d also like to taste the tea. “Chai bahut achcha hai,” he recommends. The sweetish chai arrives along with a jeera biscuit and salted Osmania biscuit, all at Rs. 20.

The tea done with, I try taking photographs of the different cookies at the counter. “You can step inside and take better photographs,” I hear a voice from amid the crowd. The owner Aslam leads me to large trays fresh out of the oven, each displaying coconut, oats, jeera and salt cookies. “Every half an hour new stock comes from the oven,” he says, in impressive English.

Minutes into the conversation, he says he studied only till class X and learnt to speak English to converse with tourists. “I told my friends to write down sentences, teach me the pronunciation and I’d learn the lines. That’s how I learnt to communicate,” he says, beaming with pride.

Nimrah was established in 1993 by his father Abood Bin Aslam al Katheri. “My father learnt baking and was working since 1967. After a lot of effort, he opened this café in 1993,” says Aslam. Nimrah has grown in popularity as the café positioned itself to be tourist-friendly.

The kitchen continuously supplies Irani chai, coffee and pauna (three-fourth milk and one-fourth tea decoction). Butter buns, dil khush, a variety of biscuits, milk and fruit breads are baked fresh through the day.

The footfall is immense and the staff members are on their toes. The café opens at 4am and is open till 11p.m.

What : Nimrah Café

Where : Between Charminar and Mecca Masjid

Chai varieties: Pauna (milkier version), Sulemani (black tea), Cutting chai (strong, smaller portion) and Khade Chamach ki chai (supposedly laden with so much sugar to make the spoon stand straight).

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