A few Hyderabad-based Iconic restaurants such as Hotel Indu Deluxe at Saifabad, Niloufer Cafe at Himayatnagar and Blue Sea at Abids revisited their space after the pandemic induced lockdowns with a ‘go big or go home’ policy. Considering these spaces have been taken over by the second generation, did they feel the need to revisit the menu of the family-run iconic food outlets as they went for a decor makeover?
Rohit Reddy, who took over the 30-year-old Indu Deluxe from his father Venugopal Reddy Cheruku, says he knew it was the food that attracted diners and so he decided to retain the old menu. Rohit says, “ When my father asked me to take over, my first thought was that of a makeover. That makeover was not needed to bring in customers but to make the staff happy and also surprise our loyal customers. I never felt the need to rework the menu; the menu is the reason why our restaurant is so loved.” The consistency in the taste is because 80% of the restaurant’s kitchen staff is as old as the restaurant (they have been a part of the restaurant since the start),shares Rohit.
Consistency in the taste has to be the key when expanding a brand and sporting a new look, says Hassan Athemadnia of Blue Sea, an Irani cafe in Secunderabad famous for its chai, dilkhush, puri sabji and puffs. “Hotel Alpha in Secunderabad is also our family business. My dad Mohammed Jalal Athemadnia wanted to offer the Alpha and Blue Sea experience together at a new address.” So Hassan opened a bigger Blue Sea in Abids and included a family dining section on the first floor of the new building with a menu that has most of the signature dishes from Alpha. Hassan says, “My dad always wanted to expand the Blue Sea. After he passed away, it took me two years to take up the plan and complete it.”
Hasan consciously retained the menu of both Blue Sea and Hotel Alpha. He says, “It is not quite feasible for everyone to walk into Hotel Alpha or Blue Sea, primarily because of its location near the crowded Secunderabad railway station and Regimental Bazaar. The new Abids address takes care of those issues. I wouldn’t change the menu because the brand names and the menu go hand in hand. Blue Sea is synonymous with tea and Hotel Alpha for biryani.” At Abids, Hasan gets a cross-section of diners ranging from office workers, and shoppers to tourists, exactly what his father wanted.
When it comes to chai in Hyderabad, no one ever misses mentioning Niloufer Cafe at Lakdikapul. When it was time to expand the cafe brand established by Anumula Baburao in 1978, , Baburao wanted his son Shashank Anumula to take over. “I did whatever I could, now is the time for the young generation to cater to the crowd they connect with . When my son spoke about expansion, he told me ‘I want to to make drinking tea at a cafe as happening as coffee.’”
Shashank adds, “When I planned to give Niloufer a makeover, it was not because I was ashamed of the original look. Back in 1978, that was trending and meeting the requirements of its loyalists. At our Narayanguda Cafe, our best sellers are our chai, biscuits, and bun maska., but since we wanted to offer an entirely different experience to our diners, we added a menu that complements our chai. The menu features sabudana vada, vada pav and masala kulcha sandwich which gowell with our brand.
Cafe Niloufer is opening a 4200 square feet tea cafe at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport arrival waiting area and also plans to open outlets at the arrival and departure terminals.
- Hotel Indu Deluxe at Saifabad is also known as MLA hotel. Its South Indian thali is popular
- Niloufer Cafe first opened at Lakdikapul in 1978, then opened at Banjara hills and Himayatnagar
- Mohammed Jalal Athemadnia started Blue Sea with his brothers at Rezimental Bazar