Restaurant review: Behrouz Biryani is a revelation, but we want more! [3.5/5]

It was on a stuffy Spring-Summer evening that a black box was delivered to our home. Its very packaging oozed royalty. It raised our expectations from the contents of the black box with the golden lettering that said “Behrouz – The Royal Biryani.” And Behrouz Biryani turned out to be a revelation!

Behrouz Biryani Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

However, it also felt like a bit of a letdown, because we have tasted similar biryani before, and there will be many fans of spicier versions of biryani who might not like what Behrouz has to offer.

That being said, one must also keep in mind that what Behrouz offers is not exactly a pushover. Here’s what I thought about it.

Dum Gosht Biryani [Boneless]

Your first spoonful of Behrouz Biryani might not make it seem like anything too different. But this is no offering that is meant to be wolfed down.

The Dum Gosht Biryani, which had been delivered to me by the good people at Behrouz, is a slow-burner. It requires the food equivalent of good wine being swilled around your mouth for all the delicate flavours to come through.

Now don’t be disheartened by the whole spices you encounter, and there are a lot of them. Simply cast them aside as you taste the sweet caramelised onions blend with the spicy masala of a fragrant biryani.

Then comes the titular gosht itself – a succulent piece of boneless goat or lamb meat that has has been marinated till every bit of it tastes of savoury freshness along with the original umami.

But honestly, I had expected a bit more from Behrouz. As in at least the quantity. When you are paying more than Rs 350 for biryani, you expect it to satiate not just your hunger but your lust for the dish as well!

The sides

Biryanis are usually served with either a spicy minty raita. A raita, for the uninitiated, is a yoghurt-based side dish that may contain chopped onions, tomatoes and even chillies, or can be mixed with salt and black-pepper or a mint paste.

And for dessert, Behrouz served up a Gulab Jamun that, while sweet, is not overwhelmingly so. A mild spicy aftertaste – I could not identify the spice – is kind of a bonus.

Final thoughts on Behrouz Biryani

Behrouz served up what was definitely a good biryani. But is it royal? The jury is still out on that decision. Nevertheless, Behrouz’s is definitely one of the better biryanis around.

One only hopes that they increase the quantity a little more. And that is one of the reasons why the review score here is 3.5 and not more.

Restaurant Review: Malabar Bay is a food destination if you can’t visit Kerala! [4/5]

Come in. Sit down. Order your food, and be transported to Kerala! That is what Malabar Bay in BTM Layout aspires to be. And speaking as someone who has always wanted to go to God’s Own Country but never managed, I was more than happy to share a table with friends and partake in food that would tingle my palate. That’s the shorter version of the review. For the longer version, read on…

Malabar Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Now, when you think of Kerala, the lush backwaters along the Malabar coast come to mind. Malabar Bay may not have an ambience like that – it is located in Bengaluru and nowhere near any significant water body – and yet its interiors are a reminder of the roots of a culture that has branched out all over the world.

A typical Kerala thaali

What’s on offer

When it comes to Keralian cuisine, it is a spicy mixture of ingredients that are primarily sourced from the sea, but poultry and mutton are also not unheard of. Of course, there is another kind of meat that’s popular in Kerala, but let’s not complicate matters here. Malabar Bay didn’t, and summed up the sentiment behind its offerings in a single banana leaf, as shown above.

The seafood offerings are quite interesting, actually. I mean, how often do you get crabs as the primary flavour in a soup?

Crab soup
Crab soup

Also on offer, by way of salad, were raw mangos spiced delectably – the kind that sends a shiver down your teeth with their sour taste and make you salivate.

Raw mango salad
Mango salad

Starters and main course

Now, I will admit freely here that I was too busy throughout the entire meal to note down what was what. However, I do remember some of them, but the language barrier stops be from understanding what the rest are. Nevertheless, I will try my best to tell you what was what, and how good it was.

You may also take it upon yourself to draw your own conclusions from the photos I am providing.

First up is one of the starters, a type of fritters and the third is a type of faltbread that looked like a slightly heaver and thicker version of the North Indian poori. The gujiya-looking fritters were actually savoury, and could have done with some sort of chutney.

Now, the three things in the photo came at different times, but ended up together here as a testament to the variety on offer at Malabar Bay. Clockwise from left are some appam and a duck curry, a variety of biryani served with some side dishes, and a drink that was a refreshing treat for us amid the enjoyable assault of spices on our tongues.

Here are some of the other dishes we were served. On top right is a prawn dish that was especially nice, albeit a little bitter.

Somewhere in between where these three dishes. Notice the use of glazed clay pots and banana leaf in plating of dishes. These alone were enough to transport me to a land I want to visit even more now.

And finally these two: The “confused chicken” on the left and volcano prawn on the right. Both delightful, but in very different ways!

Desserts

Now, you would not generally associate Kerala with desserts, but people down there do have a sweet tooth, and some great desserts to quell those cravings.

Here is a version of Shahi Tukda that was a pleasant surprise for me. The custard-like cream was fresh, and yet it had not made the bread beneath it soggy! The sweet and smooth cream with the crunchy bread can be revisited multiple times!

But that was not all! Here we have [clockwise from top left] the Banana Toffee Ice Cream, the Firnee, the Kairalee Jamun and a fourth dish that I cannot seem to identify now.

Final thoughts on Malabar Bay

If you want a proper taste of Kerala, Malabar Bay is the place. Of course, some of the dishes seemed to have been a little over-spiced, to the extent that they seemed bitter to my tongue. However, the “confused chicken” is a safe bet if you like Punjabi and Tandoori dishes, and the volcano prawn is a must-have, even though it is just for the looks of it.

Some of the other dishes I recommend is the general seafood fare Malabar Bay offers. In case you have had enough of the chicken, this is the way to go! And even if you are opting for the chicken, you are getting some authentic fare.

Got something to tell us about this review or something else? Like pointing out a mistake or giving us some interesting bit of trivia? Right this way!

Restaurant Review: Vaho Kafe blends health, fusion and taste! [3.5/5]

There are two versions of this review. Short version: Visit Vaho Kafe; order their fusion food if you are feeling adventurous, health food if you are feeling bloated or fat, and the weekday or weekend combos if you want to chill and enjoy their food. It’s simple, somewhat reasonable, and you can get takeaways! For the longer version, read on…

Vaho Kafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vaho Kafe advertises itself as a “Kafe and Pressery,” meaning you get food as well as cold-pressed fresh drinks there. Owner Umesh Reddy wants to project Vaho as a one-stop destination for healthy and fusion foods, as well as some combos – what came across to me as a mini-version of a thaali – of traditional food. Vaho has also recently added more to its menu, keeping in mind the demands and feedback of corporate clientele.

Vaho Kafe, and owner Umesh Reddy.

However, the primary offering of Vaho continues to be health food, as is evident right from the water they serve on the tables! On the day I went to the eatery, the water was infused with ginger, but it varies, from cucumber to cumin to other healthy alternatives.

The presentation on the table

The food we had as takeaway

In total, four things were ordered: Biryani with Peri Peri Chicken, Chicken Tikka Roll with Cheese, a Glow Onn juice [fresh-pressed and put in a handy, branded bottle] and a Wholesome Mexican Salad.

First, the roll. The idea of making any and all food healthy is extended here as well, with the wrap being made of Atta [wheat flour] and not Maida [refined wheat flour]. And even after about three hours of being made, the roll and its contents did not give way, like any Roti or other flatbread made of Atta does when exposed for a sufficient period to anything that has more moisture.

The chicken seemed a little bland and there seemed to be not much of a presence of cheese anywhere. But the freshness of it all was there in every bite, and I savoured it to the hilt!

The roll. Should have taken a pic after taking a bite, but I was too hungry…

However, we had had the Biryani first. Hyderabadi-style Biryani is always a treat, but this time the chicken was prepared peri-peri style. It was lip-burningly good, but the slightly tangy, vinegary aftertaste was a bit of a letdown. That, however, did not stop either me or Pooja from polishing it off to the point where ants would starve. After all, Biryani!

The Biryani. Hyderabadi style!

The healthier options

Then there was the salad. Put it in the fridge and had it next morning. Surprisingly fresh and crunchy, and every bit as wholesome as promised! If I was not partial towards Biryani, this would have been the pick of the entire meal! I mean, can anything else beat a salad made of freshly-chopped onions, halved cherry tomatos, chopped capsicum [bell peppers], cucumber, millets and an assortment of fresh ingredients with a dash of lime that you get to squeeze fresh into the prepared meal?

The wholesome Mexican salad made for a great breakfast!

And finally, the juice. Pooja appropriated it from my possession, but was gracious enough to give me a few sips. It tasted like the ingredients we were promised it would have, but was not to my liking.

Final thoughts on Vaho Kafe

Some of the things we did not order were the weekday and everyday combos, which we were assured were good and were often ordered for corporate lunches. As for the other foods, even the Biryani was made with less oil than what usually should go in. So if you are a health nut and want some good wholesome food, this is your place.

Umesh Reddy also wants his Vaho Kafe to be a place known for fusion food. To be honest, the fusions may be a bit of an adventure, and may not sit well with palates used to the authentic varieties. But if you crave adventure in what you eat, give this place a try: It will surprise you!

Got something to tell us about this review or something else? Like pointing out a mistake or giving us some interesting bit of trivia? Right this way!