Kolkata gives us several reasons to fall in love with it and popular among them is its biriyani. The “Kolkata style biriyani” is actually an innovative departure from the Lucknow style biriyani, that came into Kolkata with Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow. It comprises of long grained saffron infused rice, mild yet aromatic spices, a big meaty and juicy piece of mutton and boiled egg; not to miss the highlight of it all - the flavourful potato! Today it is widely prepared and forms a part of Mughlai cuisine in Bengal. Be it at weddings, birthday parties, first job treats, when East Bengal wins (at the risk of exercising an author's bias) and almost without much reason, any time is biriyani time!
I went on a biriyani marathon and drew up a list of the best the biriyani joints in the city (not just the Kolkata style). Although the taste of the potato as well as quality of mutton has gone a long way in determining the best.
Special Mutton Biryani - Arsalaan
Undoubtedly Arsalaan serves the most delectable mutton biriyani. My personal preference is the special biriyani that comes with two pieces of mutton.
What to order with biriyani: Chicken malai kebabs
Price: Rs. 225
Chicken Special Biryani - Zeeshan
Many may be of the opinion that biriyani is best relished with mutton. I too believed so, till I tasted the chicken biriyani at Zeeshan. One of the most consistent joints of the city, biriyani at Zeeshan never disappoints anyone. In fact, if you're hungry at any time of the day, a fat spicy double chicken/mutton roll along with a bottle of Thumbs Up, is another divine combination.
What to order with biriyani: Mutton chaanp
Price: Rs. 225
Mutton Biryani Special - Shiraz Golden Restaurant
Arguably the least spicy of all biriyanis, the long grained aromatic rice is the highlight. The biriyani at Shiraz is authentic Kolkata style, yet it boasts of being closest to the Nawab’s recipe. Long before Arsalan and many others that came by, it was Shiraz that ruled and was devoured by biriyani lovers of the city.
What to order with biriyani: Mutton pasanda
Price: Rs. 225
Mutton Awadhi Biryani - Aminia
For many of us, a visit to Aminia followed by desserts at Nahoum forms an integral part of shopping at New Market. Aminia’s biriyani is rich and has considerable culinary influence of Awadh. And you will always find juicy and meaty mutton chunks.
What to order with biriyani: Haleem and Mutton Rezaala
Price: Rs. 230
Beef Biryani - Zam Zam
Zam Zam brings forth a different variation of the biriyani. We’re talking about the goodness and incredible satisfaction from a plate of beef biriyani. Although, I admit that they are a little too generous with the ghee and oil. However, once in a while, this kind of indulgence is truly worth it.
What to order with biriyani: Beef malai
Price: Rs. 70
Mutton Biryani - Dada Boudi Hotel
Expect no frills, no décor and no ambiance when you visit Dada Boudi Hotel. Located in Barrackpore, some say you can smell the goodness of their biriyani from the nearest railway station. Their biriyani is known for its sufficient portion and large chunks of mutton. Even on good days, you’ll see at least twenty people standing outside the humble Dada Boudi shack waiting.
What to order with biriyani: Chicken chaap or mutton kasha
Price: Rs. 155
Kacchi Biryani - India Restaurant
The kachhi biriyani is essentially raw meat and rice, well spiced and marinated and put in layers before being cooked. Its unique flavours combine to form beautiful textures. Generous helpings of dry fruits are put in for the sudden bursts of crunch and sweetness.
What to order with biriyani: Mutton burra kebabs
Price: Rs. 170
Raan Biryani - Oudh 1590
Oudh 1590 which is a relatively new entrant to the biriyani scene of the city, serves Awadhi style cuisine. The raan biriyani is highly recommended - it's a leg of lamb well spiced, marinated and prepared in dum phukt style and severed in a clay pot! Owing to its Awadhi palace décor and ambiance, the dining experience is recommended by many.
What to order with biriyani: Nehari khaas
Price: Rs. 385
Mutton Handi Biryani - Naushijaan
Located in Kasba, Naushijaan has carved out a niche local clientèle for itself. Biriyanis from Naushijaan, a little spicier and not prepared in quintessential Calcutta style, are in fact closer to the Lucknow styled biriyani.
What to order with biriyani: Galauti kebabs
Price: Rs. 200
Royal Mutton Biryani - Royal Indian Hotel
Royal doesn't serve the authentic Bengal’s version of biryani, in fact it doesn’t even have the potato and the egg in it! History says, that when the Nawab was unable to feed people with so much meat, he introduced elements like potato and egg to the biriyani. Royal, retains the erstwhile concept and serves its biriyani only with meat.
What to order with biriyani: Royal chicken chaanp
Price: Rs. 155
Which of these biriyani joints are you going to visit next? Have we missed out on any other mouth-watering biriyani joints that are your favourites? Let us know, in the comments section below.