My general perception of most places in the capital city is that they are pretentious. Very few restaurants actually manage to balance the fine line between the food, taste and its pricing. A delhiite friend who’s lived in Hyderabad coaxed me to try out a biryani place. My initial apprehension of pretentiousness were put to rest once we entered Smoked Biryani House. There’s nothing in terms of fanciness here as far as ambience is concerned. Except for a quirky sign that exhibits hyderabadi lingo and some odd frames on the wall showcasing Hyderabadi monuments and Nizams.
As for the menu , It was the smallest I’ve seen ever since moving to the millennium city. No mindboggling insane mix of Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisines , infact what one is presented with is a 20-25 odd dish menu leaving the patrons with limited options which is a blessing. The cuisine is Hyderabadi and most dishes are available in fish, chicken, mutton and vegetarian variants. We started with the Apollo fish which was cooked to perfection.. The garlic breathes life into this appetiser. The chicken 65 was ordinary, tangy with the slight bitterness of curry leaves. The veg shammi kabab exceeded my expectation. Chef bilal is a magician. There was the perfect balance of everything, the gram flour, paneer and vegetables . We tried the Andhra Mutton curry which was spicy and flavourful. The Chicken keema curry impressed my friend with its balance of flavours. The baghare Baingan was delicious and the garlic naan that went with it was soft. The Dum ka murg is an inhouse speciality where the Chicken is cooked in Dum with spices lending a strong intense flavour that leaves you hungry for more.
The biryanis are served in handis of 3 different colours to avoid any confusion. The vegetarian variety is served in green , chicken in red and mutton in orange . As my friend took her first bite she exclaimed how this tasted exactly like the biryani at the iconic Paradise restaurant in Hyderabad.On enquiry we found out the head chef Bilal did work at Paradise. According to bilal they do the kacchi biryani which means the raw meat, vegetables or mutton are cooked along with the rice so that the flavours penetrate to the core of every single strand of rice. This is cooked in dum to ensure that the aromas and flavours are sealed in only to be released at the time of serving .The rice was fluffy, light, non greasy and extremely flavourful even on its own. The salan strikes you with a tsunami of wonderful flavours. It was arguably the best Biryani accompanied by the best salan in Delhi NCR.
The dessert menu also sticks to Hyderabadi cuisine.The Khubani ka meetha , even uses apricot seeds ensuring that nothing is wasted and the incorporation of every element of the dry fruit intensifies the taste of this decadent dessert. The kaddu ki kheer is prepared with the peel of bottle gourd and not its pulp. The peel also lends a lovely light green colour to this dessert.
Smoked Biryani house is all about superlative food with no frills. The manager Kuldeep’s attention to every customer and Bilal’s expertise at his craft is the USP of this place. Delhi welcomes you with open arms ,Bilal.