I don't think I've ever met a person who hates biryani. I definitely don't want to meet someone who hates biryani. People like that just can't be trusted.
You might love pizza or karhai or nihari, but you can't deny that every now and then, you get cravings for biryani. Like me right now, or last night, or yesterday afternoon... or tomorrow evening... I digress.
But have you ever ordered biryani, only to be dissatisfied with what you've been served? It may not be that the biryani didn't taste very good, it's just that it wasn't the exact flavour you were craving. By that, I don't mean wanting beef biryani but getting chicken. I mean the spice level, the layering of condiments, the style of cooking — after all, that's what makes one biryani place's offering different from the other.
The often forgotten truth is that 'biryani' doesn't refer to a single dish. And its varieties extend beyond just the type of meat in it.
With this notion of variety in mind, entrepreneur Ahmed Sadiq launched Biryani Mastani, Karachi's latest biryani joint.
"At Biryani Mastani we have made it our mission to ensure this variety is brought to our customers in the best possible way, trying to remain true to the origin of each type of Biryani that we currently serve and will serve in the future," says Ahmed Sadiq.
He adds, "We are the only Biryani restaurant that pays homage to and celebrates this amazing variety as part of the restaurant and brand vision and want our customers to pause and consider Biryani as a metaphor for the amazing history, diversity and unity that exists in Pakistan and in the sub-continent."
Well, the Biryani Mastani mission statement definitely caught our attention and we clambered to try some.
Where to go
Biryani Mastani is mainly a take-away and delivery place at present. However, considering how well they've set up their shop at Seher Commercial, Lane 5, they should start proper dine-in soon.
The eatery's interior is decked with wall murals of Pakistan's iconic sights in pop art style. The bright colours and funky designs will enamour you before you even taste their food!
If you want to order from the comfort of your homes, you can do that too. The pretty packaging of the biryani ensures that you don't miss out on the visual treat!
When to go
Biryani Mastani is open everyday from 12pm to 11.30pm.
What to order
Currently, Biryani Mastani has three main dishes: Shahi Pulao (Chicken), Bombay Biryani (Chicken) and Hyderabadi Biryani (Mutton). We also got our hands on their two dessert options, Peshawari Zarda and Matka Kheer... I mean, when you wanna go all out, you go all out, right?
Their delivery was prompt and the food arrived piping hot, so that was one basic requirement immediately taken care of.
The Shahi Pulao was interesting. The rice was well-seasoned and light in spice. It is enjoyable and worth a try but not if you are like me and prefer mutton in your pulao. However, considering the restaurant plans to add more dishes to their menu and they did a good job with their chicken pulao, I am quite confident that if they launch a mutton variation, it would be delicious.
The Bombay Biryani was the least popular in the office. Although it was marked hot in the menu, we found it to be a little lacking in spices. It didn't blow us away. Perhaps it was what I said earlier — i.e., it wasn't the exact flavour I was in the mood for.
It's the Hyderabadi Biryani that will beckon me to visit Biryani Mastani. Maybe it's my mutton bias, but the rice were well seasoned, it was spicy the way biryani should be and the mutton was also cooked to the right temperature, which is, from what I hear, not an easy feat in the field of biryani making. I tried all the dishes but went back to the Hyderabadi Biryani for seconds. And thirds... don't judge me.
After the savouries, it was time for the sweets. While the Matka Kheer was nothing extraordinary, I was smitten by the Peshawari Zarda. It was fragrant, delicious and overall beautiful. My problem with zarda in general is that it's usually made so sweet I feel it gluing my mouth shut. This gem wasn't overly sweet, but just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus, the coconut topping won me over too.
I can imagine many biryani lovers not being impressed with the current variety of Biryani Mastani but fret not fellow biryaners... biryanists.. I'm trying to create a new word here... the restaurant plans on expanding their menu soon.
"In time we will add Sindhi Biryani, Memoni Biryani, Lucknow Biryani and many more," says Ahmed Sadiq and it's definitely something to wait for. Why?
As Ahmed says, "We want Biryani Mastani to be a conversation starter and allow customers to think how we all come together and enjoy this amazing dish no matter which part of the region we are from. Biryani is truly unlike any other type of food, how it has adapted over generations and regions; it is truly Pan-Pakistan and Pan-Subcontinent."
Damage on the Pocket
Yes, we went all out with our order but even then, the price of two Hyderabadi Biryani, two Bombay Biryani, a Shahi Pulao, a Peshawari Zarda and a Matka Kheer totaled to Rs1500. Not bad at all! I see myself going for the Hyderabadi Biryani and Peshawari Zarda again. Maybe tonight... or tomorrow... or right now...
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