Biryani By Kilo serves delectable biryanis, fresh and warm, to your doorstep
Very few food items are as fiercely debated in India as biryani. Biryani worshippers debate its origins. The followers of the three broad camps — Hyderabadi, Lucknowi and Kolkata — also get into full-throated arguments about the supremacy of their style. But all agree on one point — that biryani tastes best when it is freshly cooked and served hot.
Biryani By Kilo (BBK) goes to an extreme to ensure both. It cooks everything fresh after the order is placed — a jaw-dropping challenge by any yardstick — and delivers the food with a contraption to warm it irrespective of where the buyer is having it. The biryani is delivered in earthen handis with its lid sealed exactly in the same condition in which it was cooked. The result — when we worked through the seal and threw open the lid, the aroma overwhelmed us, preparing our tastebuds for the delicious eventuality.
But for those who want to have it sometime later, each handi is accompanied with an earthen bowl in which are placed a couple of candles. The instructions on the paper lid say that one should light the candles and put the handi on the bowl for 8-10 minutes for optimal heating of the biryani before serving. This extra care ensures that it can be conveniently eaten just about anywhere without a functioning kitchen or at a place where there is no electricity. Call it a gimmick or anything else, it is a novel addition by BBK, a chain that is a rather late entrant to Kolkata, a city that swears by its biryani as passionately as it does for its hilsa or football.
But the real magic follows when the candles have done their job and the lid is opened. The first sight of the long grains — BBK says it is the same quality that the best 5-star hotels offer — and the aroma titillate the taste buds just optimally. The rice that is in parts white, brown and yellow, is layered with the meat that has been cooked to perfection. BBK makes three varieties of biryani for the vegetarians too. Veg or non-veg, one has to order 0.5 or 1 kilo.
The kebabs, too, titillate the salivary glands. We tasted the mutton galouti kebab that was as smooth as any other served in the city and had a full-bodied but understated aroma, something ideally suited to go with the parantha. True to its origins, anyone without a tooth can enjoy this melt-in-the-mouth item. The chicken korma was full of delectably tender pieces in a thick, creamy gravy made with curds, spices and herbs that one could have with the biryani. BBK’s Chicken 65, which is basically an appetiser, is remarkably devoid of a thick coating of batter that made the teeth sink into the flesh almost as soon as it touched the pieces.
More than full by the time we polished off the biryani and the kebabs, we succumbed to the gluttony and tried the Gulab Jamun with Rabri and the Matka Phirni, the two desserts on the menu. The softness of the gulab jamun could be matched only by the tenderness of the galouti kebab and the accompanying rabri just made it heavenly. The phirni was a tad less thick than what is usually served in the market and had a consistency that is more like the Bengali payesh. But the taste could even have the Mughal noblemen — who were thought to have introduced it from Persia — ask for another helping.
For the lockdown, the service just appears to be tailormade, as indeed it is for normal times. The eatery says that it follows WHO guidelines for safety and hygiene. Kicking off in 2015 from Gurgaon, the start-up has expanded to more than 40 outlets in 21 cities. Since BBK is not a diner, one needs to just call them for the experience. From a corner of Sector V in Salt Lake, they would appear, on an average, within 90 minutes of placing the order within a radius of 10 km. The good news is that a few more outlets will very soon be sprouting across the city to cater to growing demands.
Price for two: Rs 700 ++