Cuisine: North Indian
The food of a dhaba and the soul of a college hangout
Atmospherics: Safdarjung Development Area caters not so much to those who live in the vicinity as to the army of students at the nearby IIT and Beeryani is no exception. The restaurant is on two floors, is dark, has cut-outs of stylized chillies, Western music of the 1970s and the kind of food you can find in a highway eatery. The manager is articulate and masterminds operations so that even if it is your first visit, you don’t feel like a stranger. On tap is draught beer but there are several brands of bottled beer, the better to go with your food. And despite what the name alludes to, it is not only biryani: in fact, the eight versions of meat, chicken and vegetarian biryanis on offer form no more than a tenth of the entire menu.
Table talk: It is hard to single out one section as being the best. Whether it is the bar snacks to go with beer like bullet chatpata aloo (Rs 150) or cheese balls (Rs 180) or indeed the kebabs like shami kebab (Rs 220 for 5 pieces) or even the chingdi korma (Rs 300), everything is cooked to a uniformly high standard. Take the bhindi nimbu churan (Rs 140). Cut into uneven pieces exactly as they would be in a dhaba, and fried with the tangy addition of lime juice and a home-made powder that had a churan-like appeal, the whole dish was sautéed with coarsely sliced onions and tomatoes. The murg lababdar (Rs 180) was exactly like a preparation you would find in a Murthal dhaba – the refinement that you expect in an air-conditioned restaurant was missing. However, it was the kachhe yakhni ki biryani (Rs 260) that impressed me the most. Everybody and his uncle in Delhi claim some degree of kinship with Hyderabadi biryani but because of the expertise involved, nobody even gets it close. Beeryani does a version that took me back to the eateries around the Char Minar.
Plus and Minus: The one slight disappointment was the ghosht nihari (Rs 190). Great value for money, it’s true, but the lingering flavours were missing in action. However, after ordering a meal for two, the bill was a modest Rs 1,000! In South Delhi.
Must try: Dilli Daawat Biryani; Cheeze kofta Korma, Soya Ganderi Korma
C 2, Ground Floor, SDA Market, opp IIT Gate, Outer Ring Road
Tel: 9999243021, 26601414
Open from 12 noon to 1 am
Meal for two: Rs 1,000
Credit cards; alcohol.