I have always enjoyed Deccan Deewan. I have been here several times, and I have never left disappointed. I have never eaten the buffet, so I can’t speak to that. However, I have eaten a variety of a la carte dishes, and have always tasted what I consider to be a distinctive and authentic Hyderabadi experience.
Sometimes the food can be a bit oily, but never to the point that I was put off. The real standouts for me are the mutton biryani and the weekend haleem special.
Haleem is the pounded porridge made of wheat berries and lamb. I have had it on several occasions (as Harees) in the Gulf context, but have always found it to be bland and forgettable. When reinterpreted as a Hyderabadi dish, it really comes alive because it is full of Indian spices and flavors. It is a completely new experience, and I highly recommend it.
To be clear, Deccan Deewan is not my favorite Indian restaurant, but honestly since I have moved here my concept of “favorite Indian restaurant” has taken on a whole new set of dimensions. I now experience Indian cuisine based on different parts of India, whereas back home I conflated all Indian cuisine into like ten dishes.
I now experience Kerala cuisine, Bengali cuisine, Hyderabadi cuisine, etc., as well as the myriad other options based on other regions and adjoining countries. I taste similarities among the different flavors, and yet over time I am able to increasingly appreciate the discrete diversity in all of those flavor combinations.
My palate is a work in progress. I am still overcoming the limitations of my homeland. But I am moving forward, and I find Deccan Deewan to be an exemplar of what I consider to be Hyderabadi cuisine. Recommended.