Le Berian, a no-frills restaurant in Andheri, may be low on looks, but their delish food is a sure winner. With a quick delivery service, and finger-licking, value-for-money fare, it’s one eatery that we're putting on speed-dial
Ambiance: Rustic, basic
Le Berian might conjure up images of a French café. But as we make our way into a dingy lane, and not a cobbled-stone rue (French: street), to find Le Berian, illusions of a romantic space are broken. A quick Google search earlier revealed that ‘biryani’ is supposed to have been derived from the Farsi word ‘berian’, which means fried/roasted before cooking. Many food historians believe that the Persians brought biryani to north India.
The Afghani Tikka Biryani was a non-spicy favourite at the table despite having a hint of sweetness. Pics/Nikesh Gurav
‘Le Berian: Soulful Biryanis and More,’ reads a tiny, illuminated board. The nondescript space has its kitchen on the ground floor, while the terrace has a seating area. Spacious, this section sports faded blue-green cane furniture, unflattering upholstery, and low tables that aren’t comfortable to eat off. Interestingly, the service is efficient with well-informed servers.
The flavour-packed Prawn Masala Biryani came with generous amounts of succulent prawns
We plumb for their signature Bohri Style Lamb, (Rs 1,500/240/130 for kg/full serving/half serving) only to be told that they had run out of lamb. It didn’t seem like an excuse, when we catch a glimpse of the goings-on on the ground floor. It reminds us of an assembly-line: delivery boys seated neatly in a row, their names rattled off in the order in which they are seated, a package delivered from the kitchen and handed to them with a chit for the address. And repeat. Le Berian is a popular delivery joint, clearly.
Instead of lamb we try Prawns Masala Biryani (Rs 250, full). Making up for the bright yellow, plastic cutlery, this beautifully layered preparation includes a generous layer of succulent prawns, followed by flavourful rice, and fried onion garnishing. The biryani is moist with a balanced spice tempering that is enough to relish the flavour of the prawns. Served with raita, this can feed two people.
Next on our table is the Chicken Afghani Tikka Biryani (Rs 110 for half). Despite Afghani roots, the menu warns of a dish that's low on spice. Like all biryanis here, this too comes with a side of raita. While packed with flavours, it has a hint of sweetness. We follow this with the Paneer Bhuna Gravy (Rs 180). Served piping hot, this dish goes with rice or roti. A permanent fixture across restaurant menus, what sets this version apart is the addition of sauf (fennel seeds), which imparts a soothing yet additive flavour.
We sign off with their Saffron Phirni (Rs 70) that is served in an earthenware bowl. Stuffed, but clearly enjoying the fare, we take the route that seems most popular at Le Berian — a take-away.
We pack the Egg Biryani (Rs 170, full), which once again comes with a generous helping of egg; the succulent Butter Chicken Biryani (Rs 120, half); Paneer Lasooni Palak (Rs 190), where we can actually see the bits of lasoon to invite a strong aroma; another paneer dish — Paneer Makhani Roll (Rs 120), as paneer seems to be one of few options for vegetarians; Malai Chicken Cheese Kalimirch (Rs 140), a roll bursting at the seams with meat, cheese and black pepper; Kathi Chicken Roll (Rs 130), which leaves us wondering if it's served on a stick/kathi or in a roll. It turns out to be the latter.
We wipe off the meal with Chocolatewala Love (Rs 60), a melt-in-the-mouth vegan mousse that is served in a cutting chai glass. This dish is a metaphor for a restaurant that’s low on glitz but offers value for money, and delicious comfort food.
At: Snehanjali Co-Operative Housing Society, Adarsh Nagar, Andheri (W).
Open: Daily, 11 am to 3.30 pm, 7 pm to 11.45 pm
Free delivery within a certain timeframe in Lokhandwala, Juhu and Bandra.
Le Berian didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
Bollywood celebs show you colours for Navratri 2017
Photos: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kangana Ranaut at the Mumbai airport
Birthday special: Chris Gayle and his multiple records in cricket
In Pictures: 17 dreaded on-screen villains of Bollywood
'Ramayan' director's great granddaughter Sakshi's hottest photos