Singer-songwriter and pianist Shayan Italia likens the construction of a complex piece of music to the process of putting together a good biryani. An unlikely food entrepreneur, he talks to bpb about his three-day-old biryani delivery service, Biryani360. The company has been conducting food tastings for bloggers and the media for the last couple of months, but has only now launched its service for the public.
Of Saffron & Solos
Conceived from a silly animation video, the idea for Biryani360 came entirely ‘by accident.’ Shayan created a video about an imaginary biryani place and found that most people thought it was real. “Suddenly I found myself with this fictitious product that had initiated a considerable amount of curiosity. Since I have lived in Hyderabad and love biryani, I figured that the business might not be a bad option. That, and the fact that my music career wasn’t exactly taking off in India.”
What followed was a six-month journey across the country to taste over 250 varieties of biryani. “I tried cheap and pricey plates from Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Kerala, Kolkatta,” Shayan rattles off. Eventually, a recipe was formulated with a team of scientists and experts - a rice specialist to determine quality, a meat connoisseur for texture, a spice scientist to understand the pungency quotient. “I only know how to boil an egg and make one meal, so I used all the help I could get to put this together.”
“I tried cheap and pricey plates from Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Kerala, Kolkatta,” Shayan rattles off.
The service itself is simple - log on to the website, create an account and place your order. You can choose to pick up from Bandra or have it delivered to your address during a particular time slot. Yesterday, our order of the ‘Veg’ and ‘UnVeg’ biryani arrived at the bpb office in neat, brightly coloured packaging with the brand’s signature characters. While we didn’t care much for the cartoon strips on the inside of the box, we appreciated the plastic containers that tightly held rice and raita without letting them spill over.
Biryani360’s version of Awadhi style UnVeg biryani featured fragrant, ultra long grains of Basmati rice with distinct saffron flavour, studded with tender cubes of chicken, raisins and crunchy vegetables. While we did find the biryani spicy, the mint raita balanced it out. The vegetarian biryani offered an initial burst of spice that simmered down after a few bites. Each portion could fill two small stomachs. We found ourselves immediately recommending the service for a friend’s upcoming Holi party.
Meal over, we quizzed Shayan about his favourite musicians. “There’s Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Elton John, but nothing can beat Kehna Hi Kya by AR Rehman. It’s Rehman at the peak of his talent. I just hope that clients think the same way about my food.”
A tall order, that.
Getting there: Order from Biryani360 via their website here, Rs 360 for a portion of vegetarian & non vegetarian biryani each, delivery outside of Bandra for orders above four portions.
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