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Nadir Aslam’s obsession and purported ability to eat biryani for all three meals earns him the affectionate title of Biryani Badshah from the 64,000 strong Bangalore Foodies Club on Facebook. The owner of an undergarments store on Brigade Road, Nadir’s keen ability to tell a tale on the long (and short) grain of this dish has earned him a place on Bangalore’s speed-dial for biryani secrets. We call him to hash out his map of the city’s rice-st plates.

“To truly relish biryani,” he says, “you must get invited to someone’s house, because each kitchen has its own secrets and traditions that makes each of them super.” After some persuasion, however, he gives us a look at the top of his personal rankings.

“To truly relish biryani,” he says, “you must get invited to someone’s house, because each kitchen has its own secrets and traditions that makes each of them super.”

The Badshah’s Biryani Billings:

Rahham’s, MM Road
Best for Bangalore-Style Biryani
“This is an excellent example of the style of biryani where the rice and the meat are cooked together. It also has that perfect meat-to-rice-to-spice ratio. They have many branches, but you should eat at the original. The consistency has occasionally faltered but on the days they get it right, it still hits the spot.”
88, MM Road, Frazer Town, call 25486696.

Close second: Over 81 years, the Taj Hotel started off as a thatched roof in the middle of Shivajinagar, and now it towers over four floors. Regulars swear by the mutton biryani. 
383, Jumma Masjid, Old Poor House Road, Shivajinagar, call 25592006.

Aqni, HBR Layout
Best for Cutchi Memon Biryani
“The burst of aroma, a heavier hand with the meat, lighter on the masala and chunks of potato mark this style of biryani. At this restaurant, it’s completely heady, and the masala hasn’t drenched but just brushed the rice, which also makes it non-greasy.”
31/57, 8th Main Road, 2nd Block, Stage 1, HBR Layout, call 49652887.

Close second: Sait’s, which began as an Iftar food stall during Ramzan. 55, MM Road, Frazer Town, call 25802222.

Nagarjuna, Residency Road
Best for Andhra Biryani
“In this version, the masala tadka of spices, onions and tomato is ground and used to marinate the meat before it is cooked and added. The pungency runs through each mouthful because it’s been soaked up by both the meat and the rice. These guys have been serving the city’s best version for over two decades.”
44/1, Residency Road, call 25559848.

Close second: The upstart chain of Nandhana Palace has a “nearly-there” offering too.
Find your nearest location here.

Paradise, Frazer Town
Best for Hyderabadi Dum Biryani
“This Hyderabad import is still the best we have.”
Al Noor, Mosque Road, Frazer Town, call 67408400.

Zeeshan, Sarjapur Road
Best for
 Kolkata-style biryani 
“You’ll notice that each of the components – the meat, the rice and the potatoes – have been prepared separately and gently folded into one dish. It gives this biryani distinct crispness.”
25, Shree Vinayaka Elite, Amblipura Village, Sarjapur Road, call 9632207104.

Close second: The Lazeez on Commercial Street remains an old favourite for this style. 
75/76, Second Floor, Johnson Building, Commercial Street, call 25550202.

Alibaba Cafe and Restaurant, MM Road
Best for Bhatkali-style Biryani 
“Here, the rice is replaced by seviya or vermicelli, which adds interesting texture. And the spices are much more subtle.”
69, 1st Floor, MM Road, Frazer Town, call 40917163.

Samarkand, Infantry Road
Best for Mughlai-style Biryani
“The addition of veggies and dried fruits is the speciality of this version. While most places with higher prices don’t do justice to this dish, this biryani has been outstanding for a long time: no flavour overpowers, everything comes together beautifully.”
66, Gem Plaza, Ground Floor, Infantry Road, call 41113366.

Majlis, Kalyan Nagar
Best for Bombay-style Biryani
“In this style, the rice is kept quite bland with the masala and meat at the bottom, which makes the bottom quite gravy-ish.”
420, CMR Road, 2nd Block, Kalyan Nagar, call 41231221.

The Badshah’s Cat(ering) Calls:

For Cutchi Memon-style biryani: call Hajira Latif on 9343785566 and Sameera Jawad on 9945005111.
For fish & prawn: Cutchi Memon-style biryani, call Homira Irfan on 9742323474.
For dum biryani: call Kishwar Sultana Khan on 25475853.

Image courtesy: Aysha Tanya

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