In a nutshell:
Best Kolkata mutton Biryani in Kolkata. Aafreen Biryani tastes better but that is not mutton biryani.
Address & other details: Arsalan
Meal for 2: Rs. 250 onwards
Cuisine type: Predominantly Nonvegetarian with vegetarian options thrown in
Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:
The menu card is long. My reco to friends is that do not waste time & energy & imagination – just order Arsalan special Biryani with Mutton kosha, ishtew & chhamp as side dishes. For Kolkattans, a Mutton Burrah wud alsob a good idea. For Dilliwallas, The Burrah of Karims is a few shades better.
Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:
The gentleman serving us at the restaurant was known to us – so we heard stories of Arsalan during Pujos – He said it opens at 12.00 noon & serves till 3.00 am on initial days & almost 4.00 or even 5.00 am on shaptami, ashtami, navami. He was saying – ‘ U know , people come & order full course meal even at 4.30 am, straight with starters & ending at desserts. ‘ Needless to say there r queues during the Pujos & waiting time is maybe 10 mins to 30 mins.
Kolkata Biryani is a version of Lucknow Dum Biryani in which the spices, meat & the rice is slow cooked together, (sometimes with milk instead of water). This ensures that the flavors of the rice & meat mingle & a unique taste & flavor emerges. You get a piece of half a potato & a boiled egg as a part of The Biryani.
The rice strands of the biryani melt in the mouth, burst with flavors of the spices & the meat & most importantly the rice strands do not stick to each other. The meat flavors are unique due to the spices used & slow cooking tenderizes the meat to an extent that it melts in the mouth. The potato is cooked with the biryani – so the flavors enter it & the egg is unnecessary but interesting & nice.For the first time out of maybe the twentieth visit to this place, we found few mutton pieces of the Biryani not so ‘melt in the mouth’. The rice is less oily (Ghee) than the Lucknowi version that I have mentioned in the review of Kainoosh. I think that has to do more with cutting down of costs rather than trying to serve healthy food to customers.
History of Kolkata Biryani: When Wazid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Lucknow was deported by the British to Kolkata, he got with an entourage of cooks, nautch girls, poets & many more people & things that appealed to his taste. What has predominantly remained intact is the cuisine that those cooks introduced to this part of the country with some modifications.
Regarding the meat dishes, all of them are unique, sip water / cola between the two dishes – u will distinctly understand the differences. The meats are cooked in the gravy & hence are full of flavors. They are surely oily & not for the faint hearted.
The Ishtew (stew) was the best of the lot with also the maximum oil & the best of the spices. It does not even faintly relate to the bland, toned down version of the British Stew that is given to patients. Super soft meat in a thick flavorful, yummy, ‘make a statement’ kind of gravy. The korma was also very good & comparatively lighter & was served with a large piece of potato & a full boiled egg (with the curry).
For desserts came phirni – Milk & rice powder cooked together & set in tiny disposable earthen pots – Yesterday’s one was made in the morning, hence unrefrigerated & was simple awesome – first time ever. Usually u get it straight out of the refrigerator.
To end it all – Your taste buds will thank u for taking them to Arsalan – U just have to do a bit more of cardio next week to burn those extra calories:)