Be it a house party, a family get together or even a quick lunch with colleagues; biryani is the ‘go-to’ food that a lot of us prefer. Not only is it delicious but it also isn’t very heavy on the pocket. It’s one of the few dishes that one can have by itself. No accompaniments required! One might not associate Mumbai as where one can get the best biryani places. Mumbai does have Delhi, Lucknow and even Hyderabad as stiff competition. However, there are a few places in the bay who do manage to serve a pretty mean version of what is (arguably) one of the most popular rice dishes in the world.
(Apologies in advance to all our vegetarian readers but there is NO SUCH THING as veg. biryani)
1. Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar, Multiple Outlets
Established in 1973, Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar is an institution when it comes to biryani. Today, they are popularly known as ‘The Biryani King of Mumbai’. I have been visiting this place for over 20 years. Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar manages to live up to all the hype that’s been surrounding it since almost 45 years now. Be it their Chicken Biryani, Mutton Biryani or even their Chicken Tikka Biryani. Although, of late there has been a lot of complains about the service at the restaurant – biryani getting over too soon and impolite staff. We only hope that this food chain gets it grip back and lives up to its name.
Chicken Biryani – INR 260 (full plate)
Mutton Biryani – INR 299 (full plate)
Chicken Tikka Biryani – INR 330
Mahim – 18, Lady Jamshedji Road, St Michael Church
Grant Road – 195/197, Patthe Bapu Rao Marg, Grant Road East
Marine Lines – 94, 1st Marine Street, Big Three Building, Metro Gol Masjid, Dhobi Talao
Jogeshwari – EE Heights Essa, Aziz Estate, SV Road, Jogeshwari
Vashi – 1/A, Next to APMC Market, Mafco Road, Ramlaxman Tower, Sector 18
Mohammad Ali Road – 151/153, Abdullah Mansion, SVP Road, Chaar Null, Dongri, Umerkhadi
Mohammad Ali Road – 84, Mohammed Ali Road, Near Crawford Market
2. Noor Mohammadi Hotel, Mohammad Ali Road
Having been in business for the last 94 years (Yes! That’s how old this place is), Noor Mohammadi Hotel has managed to carve a niche for itself amongst the meat lovers in the bay. Although they are very popular for their Nalli Nahari, Chicken Hakimi and Sanju Baba Chicken (the recipe for which has been apparently given by Sanjay Dutt himself), what a lot of people don’t know is that they serve a very unique version of the biryani. Known as the Chicken White Biryani, this version is unlike any other biryanis out there.
Instead of having the traditional brown/red masala as the base for the biryani, the folks at Noor Mohammadi Hotel prepare one with a reshami (white masala) base. This gives the biryani a very unique creamy flavour as opposed to the traditional masala flavour.
Tip: People who have tried this version of the biryani swear by it hence making it one of their fastest selling dishes. Make sure you reach there before 8 PM in order to sample this creamy goodness.
Chicken White Biryani – INR 90
179, Wazir Building, Abdul Hakim Chowk, Bhendi Bazar, Near, Mohammad Ali Road, Mumbai
Also read: Restaurant Review: Turban Tales, Powai
3. Persian Darbar, Bandra & Andheri
One glance at their menu and you will come across multiple options when it comes to biryanis. The one that stood out for me was their Chicken/Mutton Persian Special Biryani. This biryani, according to me, gets it absolutely bang on when it comes to the proportion of rice to meat to masala. Priced at Rs 450 and Rs 500 for the chicken and mutton version respectively, one portion of this biryani is good enough for 2 to 3 people.
Chicken Persian Special Biryani – INR 450
Mutton Persian Special Biryani – INR 500
Marol – Shop 101 – 102, Noori Baug, Andheri Kurla Road, Marol Naka, Andheri East
Bandra – Morya Mahal, Linking Road, Bandra West
4. Hotel Deluxe, Fort
Known mainly for its malayali offerings, Hotel Deluxe is not a place where one would generally go for a plate of biryani. Surprise! Surprise! Hotel Deluxe’s Boneless Chicken Biryani is truly a hidden gem. Prepared with short grained rice as opposed to the traditional long grained basmati rice, this version of the biryani is highly spiced. It is also doused with a generous amount of ghee (you can actually taste the ghee while having the rice).
On one of the occasions when I’d visited, they had also put small, bite sized pieces of pineapple in the biryani, which surprisingly (I’m against fruit being part of any kind of main meal dishes) proved to be a great contrast for the spicy masala. Don’t know why they’ve stopped doing this.
Chicken Boneless Biryani – INR 170
10-A, Pitha Street, Opposite Lane of Citi Bank, Fort, Mumbai
5. Café Noorani, Haji Ali
For biryani connoisseurs, the concept of a ‘Chicken Tikka Biryani’ might seem slightly scandalous. A true biryani is one where the rice and meat are cooked together. The various spices and masalas combine together and that’s when individual flavours from all ingredients complement each other. Voila! you have your perfect biryani ready. Although Café Noorani’s Chicken Tikka Biryani does not follow this route, be rest assured that there is no compromise at all when it comes to taste. Fragrant, colourful rice is topped on a bed of tikka masala along with huge pieces of juicy chicken tikkas. It’s far from being the perfect biryani but it surely hits the spot as far as flavor is concerned.
Chicken Tikka Biryani – INR 330
5 D, Tardeo Road, Haji Ali Circle, Tardeo, Mumbai
6. Kebabs & Kurries, ITC Grand Central Parel
The only ‘5 star’ restaurant to feature in this list, Kebabs & Kurries’ Gosht Dum Pukht Biryani is totally worth the bomb that you’re going to spend on it. Prepared in the traditional dum pukht style (it’s brought on to your table in a huge vessel which is covered with flour and the same is dismantled in front of you). The biryani is delicately spiced with pieces of mutton that melt in your mouth. This is the closest that you’re going to get in finding a truly authentic biryani in the bay. Highly recommended! (Irrespective of the steep pricing).
Gosht Dum Pukht Biryani – INR 1500
ITC Grand Central, 287, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, Parel, Mumbai
7. Zaffran’s Gosht Biryani, Multiple Outlets Across The City
A biryani list without the addition of Zaffran would have to be a crime! The next time you don’t have to wait for Eid to get some great Biryani, just head over to Zaffran and order the mutton biryani. The meat is succulent, it is just the right amount of spicy and it smells like what I imagine heaven smells like. I know a lot of people who think of dal-chawal as their comfort food. To me, it is biryani from Zaffran.
Gosht Biryani – INR 550
Malad – 4th Floor, Infiniti Mall, Link Road, Malad West
Lower Parel – Todi & Company, Mathuradas Mills Compound
Mumbai CST Area – B, Sitaram Building, DN Road, Crawford Market
R City Mall – 1st Floor, R City Mall, LBS Marg, Ghatkopar West
Kandivali – T 9, 3rd Floor, Growell’s 101 Mall, Akruli Road, Off Western Express Highway
Vashi – 1st Floor, Inorbit Mall, Vashi, Navi Mumbai
Bandra – Fernandez Villa, Opposite St Andrew’s Church, Hill Road, Bandra West
Andheri – Floor 2, Infiniti Mall, Andheri Lokhandwala, Andheri West
We’re sure that we haven’t covered all the best biryani joints of Mumbai in this article. Know a really cool biryani place? Please drop a word regarding the same in the comments section below.