Get ready to be pampered with a hearty meal at the iconic Kakinada’s Subbayya Gari Hotel outlets in Hyderabad. First things first. How big is your appetite? Can you eat a meal with 30 dishes? Yes you’ve read it right. This eating challenge unfolds at the Subbayya Gari Hotel, now opened on the busy Kothaguda X Roads in Kondapur.

The hotel décor is simple sans any frills; wooden tables and chairs, cheerful waiters wearing green tees with their brand name prominently printed on it and happy faces walking away after a satisfied meal.

My all-time favourite song ‘Vivaha Bhojanambu’ plays in my head as I wait for my turn to occupy a table. I use the waiting time to listen to stories and anecdotes and trace the hotel’s journey which began in Kakinada. “We serve authentic traditional food. This is our attempt to introduce items of yore to the new generation,” shares owner G Srikanth and grandson of G Subbayya, who started the iconic hotel in Kakinada in 1955.

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He considers his grandfather a role model in the food business. “He toiled hard to create this brand. He was humble and even after the hotel’s popularity rose, he would do things all by himself. He would go to the market to buy vegetables and groceries required for the hotel,” he shares. The hotel’s first meal started from 50 paise in Kakinada and people flocked the place for its hospitality.

“Kosaru kosaru vaddinchadam ma pratyekata. We love feeding people and our waiters encourage diners to taste every item, the way we coax children to eat,” smiles K Ramaraju, a partner in the hotel.

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Hyderabad was introduced to the meal at Subbayya Gari Hotel at its first branch which opened last year in Kukkapally. One remembers photographs people posted on Facebook of their wait in long queues to try the food. With one branch opened recently at Malakpet too, the hotel now has three branches in the city. “Kukatpally hotel was based on a mess concept; the three outlets are by collaborations and and reach out to families, corporates and youngsters,” adds Ramaraju.

As the stories continue, I begin my meal with the first item perugu vada. The thali arrives with small quantities served on a banana leaf. The pulihora leaves a lovely tangy taste and I taste the munakaya special curry. It is nice and spicy gravy curry which can be be mixed with rice. If you are pakodi lover, you have a choice between vankaya and dondakaya pakodi curry and punugula kurma curry.

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Have a bite of aritikaya bajji before trying the keema biryani made of soya chunks. Mamidikaya pappu on steaming hot rice with a little bit of ghee is irresistible. Bite into vadiyalu and you will relish the crunchy taste. I am already full but rice-lovers with a big appetite can try try kanda pulusu, sambaar and rasam with rice. I save the best for the last to try nethi barfi which just melts in the mouth. Madatha kaja and annavaram prasadam complete the sweet menu.

If you have any space left, have a glass of butter-milk and sweet paan served at the end.