The Kolkata Biryani is famous for its subtle use of spices, its hypnotizing aroma and most importantly, the potato, which is as delicious as the meat in the rice, if not tastier. The Kolkata biryani incorporated its art of cooking from the Awadhi (Lucknow) style. The aloo special biryani dates back to the time of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (1822-87). When he was dethroned and exiled by the British to Calcutta in 1856, where he landed with about 100 biryani bawarchis and khansamas along with him. The city of Joy has since then become forever indebted to him. Unable to find meat, the cooks started adding potatoes to the dish, which went on to become the speciality of the Kolkata biryani.
The indescribable ecstasy which you experience when you take a swig of the exquisite aroma or bite into a soft biryani aloo which has been boiled to just the right stage has soaked up all the delicious biryani juices, Now that you’re either drooling with gluttony or sobbing because you’re not in Kolkata, you’re probably involuntarily picking up your smartphone to reach Arsalan. But, wait for a second!
Is it really Arsalan who has the monopoly over Kolkata’s lips smacking Biryani? It’s Kolkata where a Biriyani shop can be found around the corner of every third street. So, this time instead of snuggling close to our dear old Arsalan, try out one of these Biriyani Restaurants and realise how delectable their biriyani is.
Their main branch is in New Market area besides which they have a number of outlets around the city. The aroma of this Biryani restaurant will drag you inside. Their biryani is quite light and their mutton-Biryani and mutton-chap combination here is lip-smackingly good. Every Biriyani lover should try the biriyani of this place at least once.
2. Shiraz- The Golden Restaurant
With as many as six outlets in Kolkata, this is one of the oldest restaurants here. The main branch which is located at Park Street and another 6 outlets splayed across the city, Shiraz has been serving the people of Kolkata since 1970, Shiraz’s chicken chaap with the biryani is a must have. The restaurant’s decor might have changed over the years but their biryani is still made according to the recipe passed down from chef to chef.
“Our biryani is made from only three special masalas and they make the dish unique,” says bawarchi Abdul Hafiz who joined Shiraz in 1970 as a 15-year-old and trained for 20 years under Ustaad Samsuddin, who taught him his craft.
Prepared to the utmost perfection, Zeeshan’s Biryani tastes it’s best with their marvelous kababs and Kathi rolls. Everyone who passes Zeeshan’s is drawn to the place simply because of the aroma, even though the place has no real ambiance to speak of. Owing to its huge footfall, you can rarely find an empty seat in this restaurant located in the busy New Market area. But, a meal for two here costing 600 bucks at the most is absolutely worth a wait of a maximum of 10 minutes.
4. Royal Indian Hotel
Royal’s biryani is legendary and is featured on the list of go-to places of every foodaholic. Located in Rabindra Sarani, this exotic restaurant’s biryanis don’t have eggs or potatoes, but the taste of the biryani more than makes up for it. A combination of their mutton biriyani and the chicken chap is what dreams of every food fanatic are made of.
“Our biryani, for instance, is made without the customary aloo that you’ll find in other Kolkata restaurants. And this is the way the Lucknow Nawabs liked it,” says Gulam Nabi, the head chef of Royal Indian Hotel since 1975.
5. Biriyani house
Hidden on the first floor of Hogg Market is an old Biryani gem, Biriyani House. The quantity of food served here is commendable. The biriyani is perfect while the kebabs are juicy and tender. Highly recommended if you have devil’s hunger and are not expecting any fancy services but just good Biriyani. The aroma from the kitchen makes the customers in the nearby shops drool. The service is friendly and they waiters you feel like home. One of the things you must try here is the firni.
Honourable Mentions: Oudh 1590, Sanjha Chulha, Only Alibaba