Sunday, September 11, 2011

Biryani Pundits

Biryani Pundits is a restaurant that has come up in the same spot in Koramangala that once housed Sonakshi Sharma's (another restaurant). When you hear the name 'Biryani Pundits', you're bound to think of a joint where you'll be spoiled for choice with copious varieties of biryanis. Au contrare, one look at the menu, and you'll notice that the biryani constitutes a very small percentage of the total number of items on the menu. So much for 'it's all in a name!'. Located in Koramangala, a little after Umerkot, Biryani Pundits has colour-coded seating only on the first floor and can seat around 30 people or so. The ground floor, by the looks of things, is mainly the wait-for-your-take-away spot. The food on offer ranges from kulchas to iddiappams, from naans to idlis, and perhaps almost everything in between.

With a menu as diverse as the one they have here, it took 5 of us dissect it and put every section to the test (or in this case, taste). So after scanning through the pages, we thought of starting with the lamb head meat fry, but were told that it isn't available...on a Saturday night! Of all the days in the week, you'd expect restaurants to stock up on what's on the menu for the weekend, but that wasn't the case here. So a lamb liver fry, a chicken 65, a paneer chilli, chicken tikka, and chicken and lamb kottu paratha made up our starters.

Lamb liver fry

Chicken tikka

The paneer chilli was about the most atrocious excuse for paneer I've EVER had. Really, it was that bad. A coating of corn flour gave it an almost bullet proof-like jacket that our teeth found hard to penetrate at first, but we did make inroads, eventually. The chicken 65 was probably the best dish of the evening, being soft, juicy, and well flavoured. While I can't say with authority that I've ever tasted an authentic chicken 65 before, this one at least tasted good, so full marks. The chicken tikkas were the usual fare and there wasn't anything memorable about it. The kottu parathas were decent, although a couple of folks believed that the salt wasn't mixed properly as they got mouthfuls of more salt than what they'd bargained for.

Kottu paratha

For the mains, we had to try the Pundits special biryani. Along with that we wanted to have the iddiappams, which we were told weren't available. And the guy taking our orders gave us some extra info here: "Not available coz they smell bad!!!" Like we wanted to know that. Thanks, next time also tell which buddy of yours in the kitchen is digging his nose, and who's got their pinky waxing the insides of their ear! And that pretty much summed up the service in general - uninterested, just passing through the motions. This was exemplified by them bringing all the food at once and plonking it on the table, only to realise that there wasn't any space left, which then made them try to make space by removing plates that still have food on them!

So we went with the special dosa, egg appam, lamb biryani along with the Pundits special, a chicken pepper curry and a lamb curry. The special biryani was anything but special. There was hardly any difference between it and the lamb biryani except the meat. Both tasted below average. The special dosa, again, proved hard to decipher what made it special, because any of the Shanti Sagars will server you a paper masala dosa in the shape of the an inverted cone. The curries were just OK, but the biryanis, as mentioned, were below average, and so the overall dinner experience was one I'd like to forget soon.

Special dosa

Egg appam

Lamb biryani

Chicken pepper curry

The biryanis were supposed to be served with raita, brinjal curry, and a dessert. They never came. So we asked. And they asked back, "Do you want them?" I honestly started looking around to see if there was a hidden camera, a la candid camera show where we were the scapegoats. Alas, that wasn't to be. This was happening for real.

I don't know what kind of punditry got the owners to conceptualise this sort of an operation or what the philosophy was behind then name and the menu, but good luck to them is all I can say. I wish I could rate this place 1.5 stars, but I guess 2 should convey the message. If it runs for more than a year, they should consider themselves fortunate. Or they can just thank their stars that there are sufficient people who appreciate bad food. Whatever.

Food: You've gotta be kidding me!
$$$: Affordable - approximately Rs 300-350 for two.
Service: Uninterested
Verdict: Visit if you're a bachelor with no particular interest in good food because you're primary concern is to save up on your hard earned money.

Biryani Pundits, #1018, 80 ft Road, Near Wipro Park Signal (after Natural's), 1st Block, Koramangla, Bangalore. Phone: 8880050001

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