Lahore
24 May, Friday
30° C
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bir - Biryani Master of None

Biryani Master of None

Back in college, my best friend and I would buy biryani from a restaurant near her house and smuggle it into her room because her mother disapproved of takeaways. We’d spend hours giggling, gossiping and gorging down biryani. My husband is more tolerant of ordering in than my friend’s mother ever was. On my friend’s recent visit, I found Biryani Master. Bold claim with that name.

I looked up their number and dialed it. The manager picked up and starting reciting the entire menu. Apparently, Biryani Master offers a wide range of Pakistani cuisine. Biryani, pulao, mutton qorma, barbecue – basically the works. The manager explained that one double plate of biryani would be sufficient for two people. So naturally, I ordered two double plates of chicken biryani.

Unlike most biryani outlets, Biryani Master doesn’t serve complimentary Raita and Salad. I stock up on Nestle raita at home so I skipped ordering this separately. We didn’t have to wait long. Within 15 minutes of the call, our order arrived.

Biryani Master Fail

I quickly transferred the biryani into a platter and sourced plates and forks. As far as first impressions go, the aroma knocked me off of my feet but it was obvious that they were really skimping on portion sizes. I was glad I had ordered double because one serving was definitely not enough for a grown woman. The long fluffy rice looked enticing and we dove right in. The first bite failed to pique my interest so I went in for a second, and then the third forkful, hoping for a little magic. Nope. Nothing.

Biryani always tastes impeccable when it is extra spicy. This was an anomaly. The rice was heavily suffused with spicy chicken masala but the balance was totally off. Rather than focusing on a balanced proportion of spices, they decided to be heavy-handed. Every bite was specced out with oodles of cloves, cinnamon sticks, and black cardamom pods.

My friend, a Karachi native, remarked that Biryani Master failed to capture the true essence of biryani. The tang of yogurt, the pleasantness of green herbs and the magical mix of authentic spices was all missing.

The chicken was tender and moist, but also equally soaked in pungent spices. The potatoes tasted amazing. Apparently, there’s no over-seasoning potatoes.

The looming threat of heartburn caused me to throw my hands up before I could finish my plate. Biryani Master failed to live up to its name. Shame.