But the thought seemed to have been long lost in my memories when I hadn’t visited Bangalore for quite sometime. During my recent visit, soon as I landed I headed over to a friend’s house. Though tired off the bus journey and his home being in Old Airport Road, he suggested that for lunch that we go to Shivaji Military Hotel. That’s when I got excited and remembered the promise to myself I had taken a long time back to visit this establishment.
So off we were on the bike criss-crossing through the traffic all the way to Jayanagar to get our fix off the Donne Biryani. Now even though we too had to use the maps and still did find it a little difficult to locate but the easiest is to look for the Indian Oil Petrol Pump and the lane with Shivaji Military Hotel is right opposite that. Now the crowd wasn’t immense as expected and we were guided to our table shortly. So first orders off the single page pamphlet-like menu was for the Mutton Fry and a Chicken Donne Biryani.
The table had been cleaned from the before customers leftovers neatly and a new leaf had been set for us to partake. A service waiter walks around handing out cups and filling with Rasam for the Biryani. The ‘Rasam’ served is mostly Chicken and Mutton Stock and goes extremely well with the Donne Biryani. The Mutton Dry arrived in no time and was the best goddamn Mutton Dry I had in a long time. We both were left munching on the gorgeous succulent mutton and forgot about taking a break in between altogether.
The Chicken Biryani was full of flavors and the aroma of it all hit my nostrils soon as the ‘donna’ was placed in front of me. “Donne” means big sized cups /bowls made from areca nut palm leaf . These are eco friendly disposable plates and cups. As Biryani is served on these plates/bowls it is popularly known as “Donne Biryani”. Unlike authentic biryani’s, this biryani is not layered nor cooked in dum. This is very similar to preparing any Pulao but its cooked with mutton/chicken stock. But all the flavors envelope every single grain of rice. The best taste actually turned out to be mixing the Biryani with the rasam and a squeeze of the lemon wedge given along with.
Now what we ordered wasn’t enough obviously and so we called out to the waiter to get another donne of the Mutton Biryani and Chicken Dry. The Chicken Dry was lip-smacking good. With loads of the curry leaves, it had a nice tangy south-Indianish flavor to it. The Mutton Biryani seemed to have been just cooked and was piping hot while served. The flavors hadn’t penetrated enough yet and the mutton still required some time to soak in the stock.
I wouldn’t classify what I had at Shivaji Military Hotel to be Biryani but more leaning towards Pulao. But to have not gone to Shivaji would be a missing out on some great stuff that they be serving out to the people from the time of the Military Cantonments to the common man. Dining at Shivaji Military Hotel is an experience. The recipes are a close guarded secret and only passed on thorough generations in the family. I still salivate thinking of the amazing Mutton Dry I had in Shivaji Military Hotel and will go back no matter the distance to have another piece of it.