“Kolkata biryani is the best that the human race has ever created” …
“okay, sir, which other varieties have you tasted? ”
” Hyderabadi is jhol bhat and errr … Is there any other variety ??? “
Biryani in Kolkata is almost like a religion. Now, I know that I might get killed for this nonsense talk. But please spare a minute and read this. When we’re in trouble, when we’re depressed, we take the help of religion- for inner peace. and to think of it, biryani does almost the same. So, here’s my experience with biryani in Kolkata, other than Kolkata biryani.
Seriously, In India, there are more than 15 known types of varieties and multiple sub-variants. Well, I donlt consider myself as a very knowledgable person, but, there are more than 5 varieties of biryani in Kolkata is available. So, here, let’s talk on them …
Biryanishk is a pretty new entrant in Kolkata biryani scene. It actually is a reincarnation of the earlier brand named The Biryani Company. Well, for some reason, they have been off the scene for the last few years. And this time, apart from a restaurant at Santoshpur, they have set up their cloud kitchen. And above a nominal order value, they order throughout Kolkata with their own delivery mechanism. They have 2 sizes for Biryani. The small packet serves 2 persons and the large bucket serves 5-6 persons. So, please order wisely.
Please check their menu by clicking here … RestaurantMenu_April19_final .
Recently, I’ve ordered through their booking helpline 9874567678 /9830402345. The items are prepared once the order is placed and delivery takes little more than 4 hours from the time of order. I must say, the packaging is fantastic. They serve in good quality food-grade plastic containers (looking like buckets) and each dabba had some seed attached to it The concept is to promote sapling plantation. I’ve ordered for their Gobindobhog chaler Biryani primarily. Now Gobindobhog is an extremely aromatic rice variety from Bengal and I didn’t really expect it for biryani in Kolkata. But, as they say, surprises do happen.
Let me be honest, the Gobindobhog chaler biryani was good– tastewise. It had the perfect aroma of the rice cooked with some star anise and very less spiced meat. Yes, this biryani is super subtle and is not meant for someone who loves their biryani with the strong aroma. The meat was well cooked and the combo tasted well. But there is a basic issue. If you cook gobindobhog rice and then do the layering with meat for a second dum, the end product tends to get a bit overcooked. And though it tasted fantastic, that issue prevailed.
Prawn biryani and special Kolkata biryani
Rather the Prawn Biryani was fantastic. it had the aroma of prawn in place and that took elevated the entire product. Few may call it as Prawn Pulao, but this dish is definitely in my choice list for Biryani in Kolkata. The third dish was the special Kolkata Mutton Biryani. And honestly, it was a good aromatic Kolkata mutton biryani with long grained fine rice. I am not too finicky on meat cuts for biryani and rather tend to focus on the meat quality. And it scored pretty high.
At biryanishk, they serve Egg Salan with all the variety and it’s nothing more than a slightly sweetish egg gravy. If you don’t expect the typical Hyderabadi salan, it’s not bad as a complementary side dish.
Holiday Inn beer and biryani festival
Though I love my city like anything, I’ve always felt inferior to Bangalore in one aspect. They had a beer and biryani combo there. Please imagine the chilled bitterness of a lager complementing the aroma of biryani in a sultry, humid summer dinner. Yes, I am talking exactly of the same thing. Now, I am not a restauranteur, and all I can do is to request for one such thing. And finally, Holiday Inn Kolkata had a Biryani and Beer combo in their Social Kitchen restaurant recently.
The spread was offered as part of the special a la carte menu and the pricing was super-competitive. One pretty large portion of biryani, one bowl each of raita and salan and one beer/ mocktail – all at 500/-. I must say, even for Kolkata, it’s a steal. Well, we are normal human beings and for 4 of us, we ordered for Nalli Biryani Lucknow tehri, Hyderabadi moti biryani and chef treated us with Parda biryani. Don’t laugh please, yes, we do eat veg biryani.
Tehri and Nalli biryani
The tehri was subtle. Tehri or Tahri (coming from the Awadh kitchen) is a variant of veg biryani, however oxymoronic it may sound. But in certain parts of Bangladesh and Pakistan, meat is added. The taste should be subtle and so was it here. Well, it had chicken pieces here but was definitely enjoyable. The distinct aroma of green chilly made it even more interesting. The Nalli Biryani, on the other hand, was simply brilliant. 2 pieces of juiciest mutton shanks, finished by the dum process with fragrant rice, can’t really go wrong. The rice probably had an overtone of star anise (or am I getting biased here with the spice ? ) and they both complemented each other.
Hyderabadi moti biryani
The Hyderabadi moti biryani was the usual stuff- slightly spicy, garnished with chopped mint, coriander, and small mutton balls. The super strong aroma and spicy nature is the backbone of Hyderabadi biryani and this was no exception. The pardah Biryani is basically a jackfruit biryani. Before serving, the pot is sealed with dough for sealing the flavor and thus the name. The dish is definitely interesting for someone who loves the vegetarian dish. But after these 3 varieties of beautiful meat biryani, it tasted okay-ish to us.
The whole package is great and pricing is done very very competitively. Please check the bill attached for a final idea. And the final place, that I’d like to mention is a small restaurant in South Kolkata named Coastal Macha.
Coastal Macha is a small restaurant in South Kolkata, at Hindustan Road. The place, run by the young gun Mr. Piyush Menon, specializes on coastal and south Indian non-veg and veg food. Please check their location on Google map here.
Potli biryani and Pork keema pulao
They have a number of seafood items on their menu, but I’ll try to stick to their Biryani offering here. Potli biryani is an interesting item, which is offered here. IT’s more of a South Indian biryani, where the rice and meat are cooked together using the Kacchi method. The whole thing is then wrapped with banana leaf and steamed and dry roasted on a griddle. The very distinct aroma is imparted in the biryani and that makes all the difference. I guess, when we went there with my friends and family, it was on their festive menu. But if one asks politely for it, I am sure, it can be recreated.
The second item that I’d love to mention is the Pork Keema Pulao. Well, it’s not a biryani in Kolkata- but it’s meat and rice and tastes damn good- so who cares? Pork meat has got a very distinct texture with fat to meat ratio. So, when pork keema is cooked (or rather bhunaoed), the fat mixes with the dish and gives it originality. Same happened to this pulao. It’s neither very spicy nor bland- but a very balanced taste. Please do try this once you go there.
I know it’s slightly off topic, but I felt I should mention another dish here. Please try their tender coconut pudding while you’re at Coastal Macha. Piyush uses the sweet flesh of the tender coconut and makes a pudding out of it. Now whether it’s only the flesh of coconut or the pudding, it’s really difficult to judge. But this is definitely one of the most unpretentious desserts in town.
Honestly, I’ve lost the copy of my bill and can’t exactly recall the prices at Coastal Macha, but it’s around 800/- for a meal for a couple there.
Biryani in Kolkata comes in numerous varieties and Kolkata Biryani with Potato is definitely one of the stalwarts there. But I have got serious reservations against someone calling it the king without tasting other varieties. It may very well happen that after tasting some 6-7 varieties, a person may again fall back in love with the Kolkata-styled biryani in Kolkata, but please go out and try first. And till then, do let me know about your choice of Biryani …
Bon apetit !!!
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