The Kolkata vs Hyderabadi biryani debate has only helped up fine-tune our taste buds; but Kolkattans had no way of experiencing authentic Hyderabadi delicacies in the city – until now. Yes, Paradise Food Courts, the brand which has sustained and improved upon the biryani culture in the country for 66 years now, has made its foray into the east with its first outlet in Kolkata’s Southern Avenue.
In the last few years, the brand has rustled up a stunning repertoire, with 47 restaurants across Chennai, Bangalore, Gurugram, Vizag, Vijayawada, Guntur, and of course, Hyderabad. “The only city which shares Hyderabad’s love for biryani is perhaps Kolkata, so for Paradise, Kolkata is a milestone. There are so many different types of biryani in the country, they say every 200 miles biryani changes here. And we have always put our customers first, which has fetched us great results,” said Gautam Gupta, CEO, Paradise Food Court Pvt Ltd.
The traditional Hyderabadi biryani is much more dedicated to the spices which go into perfecting its flavour profile; the secret of Paradise’s biryani line-up is the coming together of the meat, the masala and the rice which are cooked in three layers. The biryani is usually prepared in the dum-style where succulent shanks of meat are marinated for over 24 hours and 29 ingredients are slow-cooked together with caramelised onions to be served over long grain basmati rice.
“We were always aware that Kolkattans like their spices to be low-key and their flavours to be subtle; we had sent a team to the city to research the taste buds of the city’s people, and that’s what we had observed, and that had an impact on our menu as well. The most important thing for biryani are the ingredients, and we have never compromised on the quality of our ingredients. And last year, we sold 91 lakh plates of biryanis! Which means people bought 9.1 million biryanis from us, which is huge. This means every three seconds we were selling a biryani,” says Ali Hemati, Chairman, Paradise Food Courts Pvt Ltd.
The menu at Kolkata’s first Paradise outlet stays loyal to its Nizami curations, as you’ll find trusty numbers like Nizami Chicken Biryani, Royal Mutton Biryani, Chicken Tikka Kebab and much more. We settled in with some juicy, well portioned tikka kebabs which were grilled just right and didn’t make our taste buds work too hard. We were obviously the most anxious about the biryani line-up, and decided to start simple with the Royal Chicken Biryani.
The biryani was exquisitely flavoured, and was very evenly seasoned; you can experience the distinct aroma of slow-roasted spices which have been allowed to seep in and permeate which is key in any Nizami delicacy. The biryani is also more intense and full-bodied in its flavour profile, than any Kolkata-style biryani you’ll find in the city, which makes it much more intense. Also don’t forget to try the traditional and festive Hyderabadi dessert Qubani Ka Meetha, which is tough to score in the city.