Although the Hyderabadi Biryani gets all the limelight, there are several other delicious varieties of Biryani waiting to be discovered in the city. One of them is Kalyani Biryani, which is often referred to as poor man’s Biryani. Kalyani Biryani is always prepared with beef and are mostly served at roadside dhabas and shabby looking restaurants. Chowder Singh has discussed the history and heritage of the Kalyani Biryani on his blog. Check it out if you’re interested in learning more about this oft overlooked dish.
Upon Chowder Singh’s recommendation, I paid a visit to Kohinoor Hotel. Located just a few kilometres away from the glamour and glitz of the Taj hotels and posh shopping malls, this blink and you miss it restaurant serves old city food. Kohinoor has no ambiance to speak of. It’s basically just a set of tables and chairs laid out on the roof of a small cramped building. But, ambiance or service is not the reason why you come to a place like this.
I ordered a half serving of Kalyani Biryani, along with Tala Hua Gosht and coke. The food arrived within a few minutes, and in spite of the rustic presentation, looked tempting. The Biryani lacks the aroma of the Lukhnowi Biryani or the spicy flavour of the Hyderabadi Biryani. The spices used are simple everyday ones like jeera and dhania accompanied by tomato and onion. Coupled with the soft and juicy beef cubes, the Kalyani Biryani is both delicious and homely. The tala hua gosht is a similarly simple dish. It’s s small cubes of beef fried with garlic, onion, and ginger. Once again the beef was tender, juicy, and packed with flavour.
After my lunch at Kohinoor, I understood why Kalyani Biryani is often dubbed as the poor man’s Biryani. The half-serving that I ordered is sufficient for one person, and costs just Rs. 50. My full meal, inclusive of a pet bottle of coke and water, clocked just one hundred and thirty bucks.
Kohinoor Hotel is not for everyone. It’s quite obviously not a place you will bring your girlfriend to, or come to hang out with friends. However, if you enjoy good food, and are tired of the regular Hyderabadi Biryani, you’ll love the food served at Kohinoor. It’s simple, but not boring.