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Hyderabad House Buffalo Grove

Hyderabad House Buffalo Grove
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  • Hyderabad House Buffalo Grove

    Post #1 - June 30th, 2019, 11:02 pm
    Post #1 - June 30th, 2019, 11:02 pm Post #1 - June 30th, 2019, 11:02 pm
    Today, I had lunch at Hyderabad House in Buffalo Grove. I had been in this space during its two previous incarnations (India House and Mango Leaf), but is is now unrecognizably changed -- bright, modern decor with little to show that it's Indian, other than the fact that everyone in the very crowded restaurant was Dravidian. Not too surprising, once one looks at the menu, which leans very solidly to the south of India.

    For lunch, they offer a buffet -- and on Sundays, they offer a really extensive buffet. Being primarily southern Indian, there was more coconut in evidence than one might see elsewhere, as well as a large platter of yummy fish (pomfret). Their were "snacks" that I've enjoyed while traveling in southern India and coconut chutney. There were several biryanis, four goat dishes, six or seven great chicken dishes (including one that is considered "Desi Chinese" [or sometimes Indo Chinese] -- Manchurian chicken -- love it), and a stunning array of vegetable dishes. I'm not usually much of a dessert person, but the extensive dessert table offered some treats I couldn't resist, including excellent gajar halwa and rasmalai.

    Beverage service is unusual, but also very Indian -- there are bottles of water on the table, and indeed water is generally the drink of choice with meals in India. In addition, there was a cooler filled with "fruit punch," mostly watermelon (watermelon juice being a common drink in Kerala) but with other fruits added in this case. (I did see a mango lassi being delivered to someone ordering off the menu, so water isn't the only option, but it's the option included with the buffet.)

    They said the lunch buffet on weekdays is a bit less extensive, and at dinner, one orders from the menu. Didn't ask about other prices, but the Sunday buffet, being so extensive, is $15.99 -- which includes the bottled water.

    So a great meal. I'm really delight to have Hyderabad House in Buffalo Grove.

    228 McHenry Rd
    Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan
  • Post #2 - July 1st, 2019, 5:39 pm
    Post #2 - July 1st, 2019, 5:39 pm Post #2 - July 1st, 2019, 5:39 pm
    My post on Hyderabad House originally had a comment about the introduction of drinking tea. Someone wondered about the dates, and I explained them, but rather than going into detail in a restaurant review, I figured I'd just delete the comment. It has now been suggested that I add the explanation, just not as part of the review.

    The tea growing industry was introduced in India in the 1820s. This was intended to meet demand among the widely dispersed members of the British empire. Over the next century, the Indian Tea Association was built into a world-class business. But in time, they realized that there was a great, untapped market right on their doorstep. In the 1930s, the Association created "special demonstration units" that went around to towns and villages, starting in Tamil Nadu in southern India, introducing the indigenous population to the correct way to make a proper cup of tea. Of course, its being India, the proper cup of tea didn't stay unadulterated for long, as it soon carried the load of spices we identify today as "masala chai." (Though most Americans just say "chai" when they're talking about this beverage, "chai" just means "tea." That word will get you what you want at Whole Foods or Starbucks, but at an Indian restaurant, you need to request "masala chai.")

    So when I wrote that tea was introduced in the 1930s, I was referring to the promotion among Indians of tea as a beverage -- though it is still not generally something you'd drink with a meal, but would more likely be sipped on the porch during a mid-afternoon tea break.

    I learned about that afternoon tea break on the porch while traveling in India, but the info about the "special demonstration units" came from the lovely book Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, by Lizzie Collingham -- and it is a topic of sufficient importance to qualify for its own chapter.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan
  • Post #3 - July 3rd, 2019, 11:47 am
    Post #3 - July 3rd, 2019, 11:47 am Post #3 - July 3rd, 2019, 11:47 am
    Thanks for the addendum, Cynthia.

    This figures nicely with my experience growing up in Hyderabad in a Tamilian family. Tea was always looked at as a North Indian beverage. It was made very irregularly, and only in the afternoons. Coffee, OTOH, began the day. In fact, most South Indian restaurants will have this on the menu as Mysore Special Coffee, if they make it the traditional South Indian way. You can kinda tell this if you travel by Trains too. When you reach south India, the hawkers will switch from the incessant shout of "Chai, Chai, Chai" to "kapi, kapi, kapi".

    Plus in Hyderabad, there is a tradition of Irani Chai Cafes. They start their tea making in a BIG cauldron early in the morning. They keep adding more liquid and tea leaves as the day goes on. By the time it comes to around 10-11 PM; the tea gets much stronger. I was part of a batch of four friends who used to go to get midnight Chai in the nearby Irani Cafe at least once a week. We did what is called 2/4. Two orders split into 4 cups; as the tea was bloody strong. But we got 4 cups anyway as the cafe was getting rid of the remainder for the night.

    I know I am rambling, but your aside got me thinking of the best times of my life. Thanks.
  • Post #4 - July 3rd, 2019, 9:57 pm
    Post #4 - July 3rd, 2019, 9:57 pm Post #4 - July 3rd, 2019, 9:57 pm
    And thanks for your reminiscence, IndianBadger. Lovely memories.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan
  • Post #5 - October 9th, 2019, 11:59 am
    Post #5 - October 9th, 2019, 11:59 am Post #5 - October 9th, 2019, 11:59 am
    I went last sunday and as they say, "your mileage may vary", like most such buffets it changes. I did not see any punch, but there was sweet coffee and masala chai.

    Only one goat dish, but there was a mutton dish too. The mutton was way more meat than bone, unlike how goat dishes typically are.

    I counted 32 savory dishes including two soups and rice, but could be off a little. There were 7 desserts including mango mousse and fresh fruit.

    Condiments were different (southern influence?) than I have ever seen before: no chutney, no mint sauce, others new to me. No tandoori chicken or western lettuce salad (no loss).

    Their website says "northern and southern Indian", maybe Northern is available when ordering off the menu?

    There are 4 related restaurants, I gather. The Schaumburg location's buffet was about 2/3 the size when I scoped it out, and at BG they said theirs was largest. Chicago doesn't seem to have a website, and the storefront across the street is labeled "Hyderabad House Family Restaurant" from Google street view with similar signage. I thought I saw that Naperville is not open yet.

    The food was mild to my taste, similar to other places; go to Rivaj of India, as others have suggested, and I agree, is more highly seasoned.

    I forgot my camera and wasn't careful with my phone, the photos were marginal to useless, so I created one composite of maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of what was there.
    hyderabad-composit.jpg some of the buffet dishes

    Oh, fyi, at BG they told me it gets crowded by 1:30 on Sundays.
    --Carey aka underdog