By now most of you would already know that I can travel for food. Whether it’s for a Rs 50 Dosa in Old Hyderabad or a fancy Andhra Meal at Feast House in Suryapet. And ever since I’ve moved to the outskirts of Hyderabad, I quite literally travel for food! Yesterday being a Saturday, I and a few foodies decided to visit Babai Hotel in Manikonda, Hyderabad for breakfast. It wasn’t a party or invite, but just a casual catch-up with friends to talk about food, life, social media, and everything else.
Like always, this is going to be my review and thoughts about Babai Hotel Manikonda. PS: This might be the fastest blog post I’d have written after visiting a restaurant! I’m just back from the restaurant and writing this post.
Babai Hotel – 75 Years & Going Strong
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a lot of eateries that have grown from humble setups to developing cult following. Subbaya Gari is one such place that is quite popular. Started in Kakinada serving full meals for Rs 2, today the brand is popular across the southern states.
Babai Hotel too started back in 1942 by Patruni Samba Murthy in Vijayawada. The hotel never had a name, but the locals fondly called him Uncle (Babai in Telugu), and hence it got the name Babai Hotel. Today, it’s expanded to many cities across the southern states, with outlets in Hyderabad too.
I visited the Babai Hotel outlet in Manikonda, Shaikpet Main Road. There’s one in Kukatpally as well. It opens at 7:30 in the morning and is open until 3:30 PM and later opens in the evening from 5:30 PM. While the place is known for breakfast items, their lunch thalis are also popular.
Simple Setup Flocked By Many
The setup at Babai Hotel is very simple and basic. The area outside this outlet doesn’t have much space, so if you’re going by car, parking can be an issue. Once inside, they have a stand-and-eat area, a sit-down section, and a self-service counter. Babai Hotel reminded me of Adigas and SLVs from my Bangalore days, it’s a similar setup. There’s a separate tea counter outside.
Apart from that, you’ll see some interesting movie history on the walls, quirky quotes, and paintings along with a poster of all the famous people who have visited the eatery’s original branch. The list includes our beloved (and one of my favorite politicians) Atal Bihari Vajpayee & Chandra Babu Naidu to name a few.
While they do have a separate counter for parcel and dine-in, the place gets extremely crowded as you near breakfast hours. We were here by 8 and by 9 there were people staring at us hoping we vacate the table. There’s queuing up at the counters and you suddenly realize that there’s a sea of people inside!
Gheelicious Food at Babai Hotel
The menu is very straightforward and doesn’t have any fancy items on the menu. Most of the items are in the range of Rs 60 – Rs 80 with maximum ones reaching Rs 150. The popular dishes here are Babai Idli and Babai Dosa. Apart from that Chinna Garelu, Purnam, Rava Kesari, and Masala/Onion Dosa are quite popular. And guess what? We ordered all of it except Masala Dosa.
The Idli came in first and was topped with a generous serving of ghee and a little bit of podi on the side. The idli was soft but not like the melt-in-mouth I’ve had at Royal Tiffins and Rambharose. It’s different but good. The Babai Dosa on the other hand was very good. it’s a crispy, ghee-laden dosa with a generous treatment of podi. Even without the masala, the ghee and podi played their part and made the dosa worth it. Chinna Garelu (Small Vada in Telugu) was regular Medu Vada while I expected it to be some dal-vada sort of.
One good thing I liked is that they have a separate station for chutney and sambhar in the middle of the restaurant from where you can take your chutney, sambhar, and saago. You don’t need to go back to the counter for refills. A concept that I loved.
Moving to the sweet stuff, we had Purnam and Rava Kesari. I expected the Kesari to be like the ones I’ve eaten in Bangalore, but this turned out to be different. First, there was ghee floating on it which wasn’t appealing at all. They could have surely done away with the extra ghee. The taste was also dampened due to the ghee. The Purnam on the other hand was nicely done. It’s a dal and jaggery mixture that is coated with Maida and deep fried. It’s served with ghee. So you make a hole in the Purnam, pour the ghee in it, and eat it. The was different and good worth trying if you haven’t already.
Tasty & Affordable Food
Whether you’re in Vijayawada or Hyderabad and looking for a scrumptious breakfast, Babai Hotel is a good choice. Their signature dish, the Babai Dosa, is definitely worth trying as it’s both crispy and flavourful. The Ildi and Purnam were also tasty and well-made. While the excessive use of ghee in some dishes like the Rava Kesari was a bit of a downside, it’s something that can easily be improved upon. We paid Rs 330 for the above meal and with that pricing, it’s no wonder why the place is always packed with people from all walks of life.
That’s about it for this blog post, hope you found it insightful. Have you already been to Babai Hotel? Let me know some of the worth-trying dishes there in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram, or Get In Touch.