Food Review: Biryani 360

Biryani360EDITOf all the dishes evoking strong opinions in this country, biryani is the one closest to our hearts. There are as many if not more iterations of the dish as there are Indian states, but our loyalties lie with no particular one. We can just as fiercely defend the Awadhi, Andhra, Hyderabadi and Calcutta variations, so long as they are masterfully cooked. Week-old biryani delivery service Biryani 360 has no regional affiliations and their offerings can more accurately be described as a home-style pulao. But they still get our vote for serving a dish well made.

Biryani 360 has a two-item menu – a vegetarian and a chicken biryani (we’ll get to why they don’t serve mutton later). The recipes for both were created in Mumbai by Biryani 360 founder Shayan Italia, a singer-songwriter and music composer turned food entrepreneur, who has no F&B background or training. Before launching his new venture, Italia consulted food blogger and home cook Nikhil Merchant, and several family members.

The numbers in the name stand for both the price and the grammage of each of the biryanis. You can place an order via their Facebook page, over live chat on their website or on the phone. Biryanis are cooked fresh and delivered in hourly batches within the operating hours (they’re open daily from noon to 3pm and from 6pm to 10pm). Our order arrived within the stipulated time and was neatly packaged in attractively branded red (for chicken) and green (for veg) boxes that concealed a plastic tray filled with biryani and a side of well-balanced raita flavoured with chaat masala and coriander.

Purists will argue that it isn’t really biryani if not made with mutton, and Italia has to field the question about why he doesn’t use the meat, daily. He said his menu eschews mutton because in his experience it can be cooked badly and he did not want to risk being inconsistent. Biryani 360’s recipes have been standardised to such an extent that apart from the presence of meat, the veg and non-veg versions taste identical.

However, even non-purists might wonder whether Italia’s version can be called biryani. As per tradition, the parts of a biryani are layered. In Biryani 360’s offerings, you get a tray of fluffy and fragrant rice scented with saffron and whole spices, and heaped with peas, carrots, beans and in the case of the non-vegetarian option chunks of tender chicken. The combination of ginger paste and whole spices lend heat to the rice generously garnished with raisins. In the vegetarian biryani, they overcompensate for the meat with the raisins, making it a tad too sweet. Notably, both options are light, non-greasy, and masala-free, which is why customers may be wont to contest their claim that they’re serving biryani. Italia has articulated his stance on this opinion-dividing national dish here. Our take on the matter, however, is that semantics are secondary to taste, and Biryani 360 mostly delivers on the latter.

The vegetarian and chicken biryanis are each priced at Rs 360 (including taxes). Visit Biryani360.com or call 75067 35085 to place an order. Minimum order of four boxes except for Bandra West, Bandra Kurla Complex and Khar.

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