The real taste of biryani

Flavoured rice

The real taste of biryani

 The lavish spread. dh photo by Dinesh S K

Zaikaa means taste in Urdu. That’s precisely why Zaikaa was started by Mansoor Hassan five years ago. He found that there were plenty of restaurants in the City serving biryani, which didn’t taste as well as it should be.

A foodie himself, Mansoor decided to open something of his own to serve people the real biryani.

Zaikaa on M M Road, near Mosque Road has people who swear by its taste, hygiene and ambience. And Mansoor is on his toes 24/7 to ensure that taste, quality and service, all are in place. “Nothing must go amiss. It’s not about the price or profit, it’s just that I want people to come back for more,” Mansoor told Metrolife. 

Zaikaa has its exclusive dishes and Mansoor refuses to let us in on how it is cooked. While the biryani is cooked only on firewood in their factory at Hennur Cross, the rest of the food is cooked at the restaurant.

Mansoor says he doesn’t compromise on the taste whatsoever, “I always taste the dishes before they are served to our customers. The food has to rise up to a particular standard and it must be served in an attractive way,” insists Mansoor. 

There are a few must try dishes at Zaikaa. Chicken Nawabi is delicious and a meal by itself where the boneless chicken is first marinated for a good 20 minutes, stuffed with kheema and fried till light brown.

Murg Malai Tikka is cooked in cream and a variety of nuts, dry fruits and mild species are added to enhance the taste. Murg Afghani Kali Mirch might sound like it would burn your palate but it’s bland and non spicy, “It’s teamed with tandoori roti or plain naan. The older people and kids love this dish,” says Mansoor.

Another must try is Katt Kofte. This is mixed in with horse gram sauce. “This is cooked three days in advance. Mince meat balls or boiled eggs is mixed into the gravy which is thick. This is best eaten with plain rice or roti,” explains Mansoor.

He says this dish can be preserved for three days and reheated, “it’s the best bet during winter. Its ingredients makes sure that the dish doesn’t get spoilt,” he adds.

The biryani is always cooked in less oil. It comes with three accompaniments – raita, kheer and brinjal gravy. “The chicken and mutton biryani are popular with the people. We cook it over firewood and I think that makes all the difference,” reasons Mansoor.

The regulars at Zaikaa can’t stop raving about the food. They make sure they hop into the place twice or thrice a week.

 “My kids eat well only when they come here. There’s less oil and the food doesn’t leave a burning sensation. And the meat is soft and cooked well,” says Sheela.

T M Abraham says the food is worth its price, “the taste is surely different. The price is slightly on the higher side but the food is better than what is available locally,” says Abraham.

The menu is priced reasonably. The restaurant is open between 11 am and 11.30 pm with a three-hour break in between from 4 pm to 7 pm.

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