As I walk into Food Consulate in Velachery on a bright Sunday afternoon the aroma of fragrant basmati rice cooked with tender meat wafts in the air. There’s an excited chatter as diners wait for the counters to be thrown open for the second day of the Biryani Fest. With some of the 10 best biryani brands offering their fare, lovers of the dish are keen to get their hands on a portion for themselves. While some are intent on trying all 10, others have their sights set on their favourites.
So excited are these foodies that some have made their way to the Fest for the second consecutive day. Akila Ganesan, a homemaker and mother of two, attended the Fest on Saturday with her entire family and is back for the second day with her sons in tow. “I’m here for Rahmathulla’s biryani. I do love Yaa Mohideen’s as well. But today it’s the former for me,” says the T Nagar resident, adding, “There are times when my auto/cab fare to get to Pallavaram has cost me more than a portion of biryani at Yaa Mohideen.” For her 10-year-old son Vinay, nothing beats Yaa Mohideen’s biryani. “But I tried all 10,” he pipes in. Ask him if the biryani his mother makes is as good as his favourite place’s, he instantly replies with an “Of course not,” before quickly shooting her an apologetic look and adding, “Please don’t stop making biryani for me.”
Shameem Begum, a resident of Nungambakkam, who is at the Fest with her daughter, says, “I want to see how these are different from the one I make at home. For me, biryani has to be ‘dum’ style and made with basmati. I really liked the ones by Charminar and Rahmathullah. I like how the meat is cooked in Rahmathulla’s biryani — it’s tender, juicy and the perfect pinkish shade; just the way it should be. Salem RR biryani’s masalas are fresh; so that’s also a good thing,” she says.