So, the Biryani Kabab festival 2014 is back at City Center I after last year, and it will be over on the 2nd of February, Sunday. This time, 12 famous joints around Kolkata have joined in. These are as follows – Shiraz, Lazeez, Oudh 1590, Zeeshan, Tamarind, New Aliah, Aminia, India Hotel Kidderpore, Mezban, Krazy Kabab, Dawat and Royal Indian Hotel. Notable absentees this year are Arsalan, Chhote Nawab, Rahmania and Haji Saheb, but I daresay, I did not feel the absence much.

Here are a few reasons why.

First off, many good new contenders who are absolutely bang on the buck. Second, the prices are very reasonable – in fact, for places like Aminia, the prices are the same as what they sell these for in their shops and if you are a Club Solitaire Member then you get more discounts. Third, the ticket counters are very well-manned, and they are distributed across the Festival, so you can pick them up when you need, in case you are running short. As always, the tickets are non-refundable, so if you have extra leftover, you might want to buy something more for home, or calculate and check availability of food before buying.

Price List.

Here’s a handy dandy price list. Enlarge it, check prices, and make up your mind before hogging.

I land up with a friend, and immediately start picking up food. I get the Mutton Pasinda Kabab from Aminia, Mutton Chaap from Royal, Chicken Biryani Chaap from Mezban packed. Then I start thinking about what I want for myself, and P joins in by then. Our eyes fall on Mezban’s Chicken Malai Kabab (180/-) and it is soft, creamy, and deliciously charred and crunchy on the edges.

Chicken Malai Kabab

Next up is India Hotel. I am especially kicked to see this place, since the Daryabadi Biryani is a favorite of mine. However, it is not on the menu. Sigh! But still, we decide to get the Chicken Cheese Kabab, and boy, we are good at making choices!!!

Chicken and Cheese Kabab 
The Chicken and Cheese Kabab (230/-) is a layer of thick cheese over soft chicken bits. P is not a lemon lover, but she squeezes the lemon right on top of the cheese, because the acidity cuts through the soft and milky cheese and perfectly seasons the tender white flesh. After that, we resign for a while at a nearby cafe with a diet coke and ginger ale, and wait for D to arrive because both of us are knocked out of the ring with overwhelming lashings of meat. 
India Hotel.
 We also get a 15% discount coupon at India Hotel, and the guys ask me to give them a review on Zomato. I tell them, laughingly, that they don’t have my favorite things on the menu and we share a quick grin over my lament of not having the Daryabadi Biryani on this menu. However, he promises to feed me that if I hit the place soon and claims that the Kachhi Biryani will make me happy (on retrospect… well, hmm, he was so right!).
I also meet A from Kolkata Kurry who had sent me a message early in the morning, telling me about the event. He poses for me while I click this snap and we discuss amiably about the different kinds of Biryanis available. I later got a shout from him on FB… most welcome A!  
And there is a picture of P looking pensive because D’s taking time getting the second round of Chicken Cheese Kabab. He grabs the last plate of the Kabab before it’s all gone. Incidentally, he also got the last plate of Mutton Pasinda from Aminia before it was all gone right before that. Looks like he had the Devil’s Luck.
And I leave you with a post-dinner happy picture of D and I. 
Written by Poorna Banerjee

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