Located in Dillibazar, this well-run restaurant is a haven for followers of the cult of Biryani.
There are multiple, often conflicting theories regarding the origin of the sumptuous dish known now as Biryani. And while there isn’t a universally agreed-upon consensus regarding its conception – what can be agreed upon is that the dish is unquestionably a delicacy.
There are several restaurants in Kathmandu that serve good Biryani, but in terms of diligence and a dedication to authenticity, Haadi Biryani has to be right up there.
This cozy restaurant was started by two brothers around eight months ago. The two conducted extensive market research, both within Nepal and in Indian cities renowned for Mughal cuisine such as Delhi and Lucknow in order to have a firm grasp on their product. Their passion was evident to see and they have strived to ensure the restaurant, and more importantly for them, the kitchen functions at the highest possible standard. After about an hour of insightful and engaging conversation with the brothers, the starters arrived – Mutton Barra Kebab and Chicken Malai Tikka. After having a bite of each of the dishes, we could tell that these gentlemen walked the talk. Their devotion and passion were evident in the way the dishes were prepared – both the starters were absolutely delicious. I took a shine to the Chicken Malai Tikka in particular. The well-seasoned pieces of chicken were wonderfully seasoned, juicy and tender. The mutton too was flavorful and almost melted in the mouth.
The starters had whetted our appetite for what came next – Haandi Masu, mutton with gravy in a clay pot. We were served some crisp Parathas with the dish. The mutton, as we had come to expect at this point, was fantastically cooked and meshed perfectly with the slightly spicy gravy which was packed with wonderful flavours. The Paratha perfectly balanced out the dish; a truly great combo.
The quality of the dishes so far had us excited for the main event – the Chicken Haadi Biryani.
As we waited for what we assumed would be the showstopper to arrive, I took a stroll around the restaurant, soaking in the earthy ambience. The brothers say that they poured in a lot of resources towards the kitchen, since they consider the food to be the most important aspect of their enterprise. And while that seems an obvious assumption, it isn’t necessarily the case always. The brothers opine that several restaurants strive to ensure that the cosmetics of the space – the seating, lighting, etc. – are of the highest caliber, sometimes at the cost of quality of the kitchen. The two endeavored to prioritise the kitchen. That doesn’t mean they have skimped on the ambience – it is simple yet tastefully done and the ‘Exclusive Dining Room’ is a great place to have a meal for a family or a group of friends.
By now, our Biryani had arrived, in a sizeable clay pot that it was prepared in. First, we had to unseal the pot from its lid, sealed together with wheat dough to ensure the dish retains its flavor during the cooking process.
Along with the dish, we were served sides of Raita and Salan.
Once the lid came undone, we dug in. At this point, our expectations were quite heightened, primarily because of the dishes served beforehand.
I feel comfortable in stating that the dish met the high bar of expectations for our team of three. Just the quality of the rice alone is worthy of praise. The brothers tried 18 different varieties of rice for the dish to find the best possible one in terms of quality, consistency, and texture. That hard work didn’t go unrewarded. The rice in the Biryani was perfectly cooked and had a great texture. Having bathed in the plethora of flavors and spices inside the clay pot, the rice was deeply aromatic.
All the various ingredients that go into making a Biryani were in perfect harmony with each other, resulting in a dish that was a joy for the taste buds.
Finally, we called time on our trip to Haadi Biryani with the perfect dessert – Gaajar Kaa Halwa. I liked it so much I mooched a bit from the others.
We left the restaurant an immensely satisfied trio. I suspect so will most people who come to dine or order from Haadi Biryani.
The restaurant is highly recommending if you’re a fan of authentic Mughal cuisine. And if you’re not, it’s the perfect place to begin that journey.