Review: Biryani & Kebab festival at Howard Johnson

Biryani & Kebab festival at Howard Johnson

Biryani and Kebab has come a long way and has evolved over the period of time. I have always heard many versions on the origin of Biriyani and to put it straight it is uncertain. In North India, it is traditionally associated with the Mughlai cuisine of Delhi and the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow; in South India, it is traditionally associated with the Hyderabadi cuisine. I have travelled different cities and it’s no hiding the fact that today every city has its own version of Biriyani in terms of taste and presentation. Though the name remains the same (e.g. Hyderabadi Biriyani), it tastes nothing like it.

I have been in Bangalore for over four years now, have tried Biriyani at multiple places but there is only few (1-2) that I can recommend others and go myself again.

Last week when I heard Howard Johnson is organizing Biryani & Kebab festival, I just couldn’t hold my excitement. Being a true foodie, the expectation was soaring high with tingling thoughts of relishing that perfect biriyani. And you will find out below if this festival emerged as a winner or failed to deliver.

P.S: I would only give my feedback on the non-vegetarian kebabs and biriyanis.

We started with variety of Kebabs served on the plate. For the non-vegetarians, there were four varieties, namely: Galauti Kebab, Labe-e-Mahi Muskan, Murgh Gillafi Seekh and Maas ke Shole. All these kebas are priced between Rs. 275-300.

For me, the best out of the four was Murgh Gillafi Seekh, this chicken sheekh kebab marinated with cheese, Cashewnut and coated with bell papers was cooked to perfection in Tandoor. The chicken was as soft as you can imagine with right amount of juiciness in every bite. This is one thing, the kebab lovers shouldn’t miss out on.

The time was here and I was ready to dive in the different varieties of Biriyani curated by Executive Chef Dev Bose. There were five varieties of non-vegetarian biriyani, namely: Lamhen Biryani, Thallesary Fish Biryani, Awadhi Murgh Biryani, Kolkata Biryani, Andhra Murgh Biryani.

All the biryanis mentioned above is priced at Rs. 325 except Lamhen Biryani which is priced at Rs. 350 and every biryani would be served with soup, salad and dessert of the day.

Ok, so let’s get into the details of the biriyanis:

Lamhen Biryani - a delectable lamb dumplings and basmati rice combination cooked with aromatic Indian spices. This is the first biryani I tasted and it was far away from being that perfect biryani. This is not the start I wanted. The lamb dumplings thought were soft but over cooked and very spicy. I love to indulge in spicy food but this was ‘bitter spicy’ that made it taste bad.

Thallesary Fish Biryani - Fresh water fish cooked on slow fire with basmati rice with delicate spices. Not every day and everywhere you find fish biryani. The fish was brilliantly cooked with the kind of smoky flavour I love, the spices were rightly used and it really complimented that beautiful aroma of basmati rice.

Andhra Murgh Biryani - a spicy biryani made with chicken and khada masala. Yes, Andhra biryani is meant to be spicy but again this did not compliment the taste. Can be given a miss.

Kolkata Biryani   - Perfect combination of juicy lamb, potato and rice with Bengali masala. I come from West Bengal so this is one biryani that I was looking forward to. I am very well aware with the taste of Kolkata biryani so if I compare, it doesn’t stand out. If I remove the ‘Kolkata’ word from this biryani, it tasted really good. The lamb was brilliantly looked and that potato just adds that oomph factor.

Awadhi Murgh Biryani – from the secret recipe of Nawabs, comes this chicken biryani cooked on “dum” with long grain basmati rice and handpicked spices. This was the show stealer all the way, an absolutely lip-smacking biryani. That’s the kind of Biryani I always look forward to eat. No surprise that it comes from the house of Nawabs, the rich and overwhelming spices takes this biryani on top of the list and a must try.

To conclude, I would say the Biryani and Kebab festival at Howard Johnson is a mixed bag with few disappointments and few wonderful surprises.

Verdict: 2.5/5

Must Try:  Murgh Gillafi Seekh, Thallesary Fish Biryani and Awadhi Murgh Biryani

Where: Howard Johnson, Near Manyata Embassy Business Park, Thanisandra Main

When: Till 23rd September 2015


Dreamer, Blogger, Writer, Foodie, Movie buff, Public Relations. Contributor for The New Indian Express and recently started a news publishing website 'Unkrate'.

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