Biryani House

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Biryani House, 339 King St, West Melbourne. Phone: 9329 4323

Things change, bringing new routines and vistas.

Some work in Media House, requiring a two-minute walk from Southern Cross Station after a breezy 15-minute train ride.

Long may it last …

Another employment prospect requiring visits to the North Melbourne, West Melbourne, Vic Market area.

These may not qualify as western suburbs territory, but getting to them sure feels a lot more like nicking down to the neighbourhood shops than would getting to anywhere near Spring St, so I’m not complaining.

And, of course, there’s a lot of ever-changing foodiness going and worth exploring.

Business beckons, but before I heed its call I head across Flagstaff Gardens for a place on the CTS hit list.

I’ve long ago made my peace with the seeming fact that restaurant biryani is not perhaps always – if ever – what biryani should be.

I don’t care about tiresome debates about authenticity, and really like – for instance – the biryani at Indi Hots in Footscray.

And I have high hopes of a good rice meal at a place named after the dish is specialises in.

It’s a cheerful CBD cafe-style eatery that attracts a wide range of workers from nearby offices and workplaces. A lot of them are Indian and the service is brisk.

I’m surprised – maybe even a little shocked and dismayed – to be presented my chicken biryani ($9.90) minus any curry gravy.

It’s explained to me they’ve run out of the gravy specifically made for biryanis, but that I’m welcome to an equivalent pot of sauce from one of the bain marie curries.

That’s cool by me, and in fact the sauce from the chicken madras is just right for the job, with a nice, rich texture and flavour and nowhere near as fiery as its name suggests.

The raita is good, too, in that lovely, runny way that is commonplace with restaurant biryani.

The rice is more of a uniform yellow than is the norm, which is a mix of yellow and white grains. And it’s bit more moist than usual.

But it’s fine, redolent of the expected perfume of cinnamon and cardamon.

The chicken is a single maryland from a very small bird, but happily there’s enough flesh for a satisfying lunch and the meat comes from the bones with ease.

Heat levels in my biryani are typically rather high, but not overly so.

Just as good a bet here seem to be the regular curries served in combos ranging from $6.90 up to $8.50.

For the lower price you can get a single meat curry or two vegetable curries and rice – quite a deal considering the heaping size of the serves I see around me.

The paneer and peas is very popular.

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