It ‘s once again that time of year when the streets of Hyderabad overflow with numerous haleem joints, and every Hyderabadi worth her or his salt is out there every day in search of the perfect bowl. Dhruv jumped on the bandwagon yesterday and I opened my account last night. Dhruv and I were chatting about trying out more places near Hitec City, where we both work, and decided to start right away. We managed to drag Nikhil along, just like the last time we went to Hitec Bawarchi. After a bit of debate on where to go – I was in favour of the nearby Kothaguda junction, but Dhruv wanted to go the Hitec Bawarchi, which was the venue of a rather gargantuan lunch we had some time ago. After an abortive bid to ride triples on Nikhil’s bike (it was raining, and we did not want to get wet), we hailed an auto and set off.
As we were passing through Madhapur, well before Hitec Bawarchi, Dhruv cried out to the auto driver to stop. I thought he’d dropped his phone or his wallet and was preparing myself for a wet search on the road when I saw the reason for his sudden reaction: a brightly-lit board was advertising Sarvi haleem at a stall by the roadside.
Now, the name Sarvi has been invoked many a time when good haleem has been discussed, but I’ve never had a chance to see a Sarvi stall, let alone taste some Sarvi haleem. To top it off, Sarvi was adjudged by Hyderabadis as the best haleem joint of 2008 (at least those Hyderabadis who read the Times of India that is). In my mind, all these put Sarvi haleem something to be tasted at least once before I conk off. Without wasting much time, we got down to business and ordered three portions. Each portion cost Rs.65 and came packed in its own individual plastic box with flimsy plastic spoons. Hungry and expectant, we set about right away.
The haleem was, as expected, really rich with ghee and fried onions on top, and we had to work a bit to get them all mixed in. One taste of the haleem, and I knew Sarvi deserved its reputation and more. The haleem was finely balanced – it was rich without being over the top, delicately spiced without being full of spices, and meaty without being too bony. It was well-pounded (with a wooden mallet, as Dhruv informed me – he called it an anchor-shaped device, and we had to work out the mallet bit, but we were having great haleem, so what the heck!). We polished off our portions in record time – around five minutes or so, and headed back, full and fulfilled.
Personally, Sarvi was everything I had expected, and truly lived up to its reputation. However, this being my first haleem of the season, it is too early to say if they will retain their crown – but they do have an impressive start.
We are hoping to sample at least a few more haleem joints in and around Hitec City, and hopefully they will inspire me to write a few more of these reviews. Jump in and leave a comment about what you think of Sarvi’s haleem, or any other haleem joints you have been to. Maybe we will swap reviewes one day over hot haleem and Irani chai!