Ancient Hyderabad, Baner, Pune – Review
The Authentic Biryani Quest
Have been wanting to have an authentic biryani for some time now. There are quite a few places serving very good biryani and a variety of Biryani around town. One of the oldest and better biryanis I have had was at George on East Street.
It was very simple to order from already established places, hence wanted to try someone new in the same space. Had heard about Ancient Hyderabad kitchen starting in Baner. They are only a takeaway place and do not have seating areas (becoming a norm nowadays).
Ancient Hyderabad has restored my faith that the original will be restored somewhere. In the age of global cuisine and local resources, we are mixing and matching quite a lot, albeit creating new dishes and items, but I would not like the biryani to be touched in any manner.
The Best Biryanis
For academic and history purposes, there are quite a few views on how many types of Biryanis are there? Is it Indian origin? Which is the best Biryani? I would leave those answers and the following debate for later. My belief is that the Biryani, like any other food item, would change based on local resources and the taste of the locals. Separate article on the Biryani should come up for that.
This one was Online Order
I ordered the Ancient Hyderabad Special Chicken Biryani full, Kaju Biryani full (for my vegetarian wife), prawns masala and a couple of butter naans.
The packing was normal and nothing special there. The portion size was phenomenal. I paid Rs. 439 for the chicken Biryani and Rs. 329 for the Kaju Biryani with a discount of 30% from Zomato. I am not a big eater myself but had 3 kids with me eating from the same portion and I still have a full meal left over for myself.
My first criteria for Biryani being good is that, it should be moist. I should not be needed to mix it with a gravy or curds or anything else. Secondly, I like the rice to be distinctly separate and not stuck to each other in any manner.
Most important, the flavours should be there in every bite. Hyderabadi Biryani is a dum biryani and Hotel Paradise has probably kept the fire going for the Biryani in Hyderabad. This is also a layered Biryani with meat, covered with onions and topped with Saffron rice cooked with whole garam masalas. Again, will keep the cooked and kachi (raw) cooking styles for the biryani aside.
The Biryani Review
The flavours in both the biryanis (Kaju and non veg) were the same. Saffron, min and cardamom really stood out and every bite had the same flavours. I asked the guy on the phone and he said that they use the traditional Dum cooking style for their Biryanis. The Biryani was not spicy but full of flavours. I also believe that, it was cooked in pure ghee and could feel the fullness because of that.
The chicken was perfectly cooked, and the meat was still holding onto the bone. It had not broken off. It was soft and the flavours had moved in the flesh beautifully.
Biryani making is an art and Ancient Hyderabad kitchen, Baner masters it. I could compare this with the best Biryanis in Pune.
Coming to the prawn masala, I was happy with the portion, although the prawns were small. The gravy was again nicely flavoured with Andhra Masalas. There were enough of prawns in the gravy. In most other restaurants, I have seen a measured 8 prawns are served with a large amount of gravy. What I did not like over here was that the prawns were over cooked and were hard and a bit chewy too. Prawns generally tend to get hard and chewy when over cooked, is my experience. So would give feedback on that to let the prawns remain softer.
I saw on the menu that they do sell the Biryani on kilo basis, so this will now be my place to do my party orders for get togethers.
Would surely recommend this place for Biryani. Need to try their Double ka meetha.