Being a gang of foodies, my friends and I have had a tradition every year – Haleem hopping.
As you would have guessed, this is an excuse for all of us to jump into a (crowded) car, and dash of to the ‘old city’ to taste the usual assortment of Haleems on offer and decide whose was the best this year.
Last night 5 of us crammed our large selves into a car and hit the narrow congested lanes of the old city.
We decided that each of us will rate the haleem on a scale of 1-5 (5 being highest), and we would average out the ratings to arrive at the final score for the haleem.
Of course, we did not want to be too objective about this, because with food you cannot be.
The Haleems that underwent tasting were:
1. Pista House
2. Cafe Bahaar
5. Shah Ghouse
Let me not draw it out for those of you unwilling to go through the entire post, the winner was a surprisingly yummy Rumaan. But it’s not for everyone though, read on to find out why.
Still reading? Good for you.
The biggest name in Haleem (and the holder of the GI patent for haleem), Pista house was the biggest disappointment this year. And all of us unanimously punished them for it with the lowest score.
Cafe Bahaar wasn’t up to snuff either, also going against it was the fact that it was towards the end (but not the last, which scored higher). But there was no differentiating factor for Bahaar. A meh.
Speaking of ‘differentiating factors’, 555 wins the prize here with their ‘zabaan haleem’, which has a big piece of tongue on the haleem. A few of us (embarrassingly your’s truly included) were a bit turned off with this, but tasted it and were impressed. This was a big deal especially since 555 was the last haleem we had, and all of us were pretty haleem sick by then.
Sarvi, where we started out our journey was a solid start, and served to be a good benchmark. And for many, probably most of you, this will be the best Haleem you will have this year. Why then isn’t this the winner? Well, you will have to read on to find out.
Shah Ghouse, my personal favourite place for biryani served up a deeply divisive haleem. Some of us (Bear, Viva and I) loved it, but the haleem snobs – Gotz and the cowboy came up with some technical reasons to punish it (“not stringy enough” WTF!!!). We also had some amazing ‘kaddu ka kheer’ and ‘double ka meetha’ here, which we all loved.
Rumaan – our winner this year; I hadn’t even heard about its existence, but some of us were big fans of their tea and we wanted to check out their haleem. But first we started with their tea and biskut, both of us them were so yummy that a couple of us even parcelled some biscuits. We suspect that the tea set the tone and possibly contributed to their high haleem scores as well.
The elephant in the room, let’s address it. Rumaan serves beef haleem. Thankfully none of us had a problem with this, so we tried it out. Here’s the thing, if we hadn’t known it was beef – we wouldn’t have known it was beef. Beef is known to be a bit…chewy, there was none of that here.
Sure the ‘this is great..for beef’ factor did contribute to its high score (as did the yummy chai), but I think that judging it purely on its taste, it still beats the socks off the big names like Cafe Bahaar and Pista House.
So there you have it. Our winner this year, but one that many would not agree with, but what even they would agree with is their chai, so even if you do not go for their haleem, you do not come back with an empty stomach.
Some pics and the scores below. Happy Haleem hopping.