A year back, some of my friends told me that a small hole in the wall restaurant named Yaa. Mohideen in Pallavaram serves the best biriyani in Chennai. For a guy who constantly looks out for good biriyani, this was a great news.
My wish came true this January when I decided to get myself a plate of biriyani from Yaa Mohideen. I went to the place and was surprised to see such a huge line in front of the place. There were more than a hundred people in line. After waiting for an hour, and when I was near the serving counter, they told me that the mutton biriyani got over. I waited for another 45 minutes and finally got my plate of mutton biriyani.
To be frank, I was disappointed. The quantity was less, the mutton pieces wasn’t cooked properly and the rice lacked the flavor of the biriyani. I came back home discontent. When I told this to my friend and a couple of others, they were close to getting on a fist fight with me. They strongly argued that that shop serves the best biriyani. They also said that it may be just one day and restaurants have a bad day sometimes.
I agreed. Restaurants have bad days. So, I told them that I will check it out another time, and will share my experience in my blog.
Last week, I went to the place again. This time they had a fully functional A/C restaurant a few kilometers from the old shop. I and my cousin went there at around 8 PM.
We took a look at the menu and came to know that they served only four dishes: Mutton biriyani, chicken biriyani, khuska, and chicken 65. It was good that they did not diversify too much and stuck to what they are known for.
We decided to order mutton biriyani, they said that the mutton biriyani is over and they have only chicken biriyani. We were a little disappointed and settled for chicken biriyani.
Five minutes later, we were served with a plate of chicken biriyani with bread halwa on the side. The bread halwa was amazing. There are only a few restaurants in Chennai that serve dessert along with biriyani and Yaa Mohideen is one such place.
Now, let’s come to the biriyani. The quantity of the biriyani was less. A guy in another table asked the waiter why was it so less. The guy said, we had recently reduced the quantity. When the customer asked the reason, the hotel guy wasn’t able to give a proper answer.
The biriyani was neither too greasy nor too dry. It was cooked well. But the taste got me a little worried. The rice was lacked flavor. The chicken pieces had good taste, but the rice stood out of the biriyani. It did not blend in. Also, the biriyani had too much of chicken pieces and very less rice. I felt like I was eating a chicken starter rather than eating a biriyani.
A good biriyani should have masala evenly spread across the rice and the meat. This is what makes the flavor uniform. Also, the chicken pieces in the biriyani should be a little less than the rice. This will usually give a fulfilling feeling. In case of Yaa Mohideen, the rice got over soon and I was left with three chicken pieces which I had to eat alone.
On my visit to the place for the second time, I would say that my opinion about the place hasn’t changed much. The biriyani seriously lacked balance in terms of flavor, piece to rice ratio and quantity. And, the price? The biriyani I ate was definitely not worth Rs.220. A week later, I had biriyani in E Sait biriyani, Tambaram. The biriyani had far better taste and cost me just Rs. 130
Is this Chennai’s best biriyani? Not really. Will this be on my top 10 biriyani’s list? Not at all.
Did I visit them during another one of their bad days? May be or may be not. Hope they rectify the shortcomings and serve the best biriyani in Chennai.