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The Udeshis have carved out a niche for themselves with Mughlai cuisine, writes QUAID NAJMI
It was left to a pure vegetarian Gujarati family in Mumbai to whip up and serve some of the most popular non-vegetarian Mughlai cuisine – specially their lipsmacking Chicken Biryani, Mutton Biryani and other varieties.
The renowned Borivali Biryani Centre – or simply, BBC – started in 2002 as a small mobile hawking stall on a main road corner near the Borivali railway station, with the home-cooked biryanis selling like, well, hot cakes!
“We stressed on quality and taste and thereby, total customer satisfaction. It was a tiny start and we could barely manage the flood of orders from our mix of customers,” Pradeep Udeshi, who started the stall with his younger son Hardik, says.
The name and fame, the unique taste of the biryani with the perfect blend of all the spices spread like wildfire and within five years, the Udeshis opened a small restaurant in Malad.
Again, that proved too small for the customer and business volumes and they moved to a larger space in Malad and by 2010 in Borivali, the birthplace of the family’s biryani business.
“Today, we have seven outlets in Mumbai and Thane. Two are run by us and the rest are franchises, but we ensure that same taste and quality without fail,” assures elder son Maharshi, a catering graduate.
The Udeshis prepare and taste all the non-veg items daily for quality reasons, but otherwise they remain a vegetarian family. Their simple view is, “Biryani is our bread and butter, so we spare no efforts.”
Maharshi personally trains all the chefs rigorously for four-six months at the BBC Borivali headquarters to make certain they follow the family traditions which have made their special biryani a household name in northern Mumbai and Thane in the past one-and-half decade.
The father-son trio is credited with bringing the good old biryani, once the monopoly of the royalty, onto the commoner’s palate, at affordable rates.
In fact, in most classy restaurants in Mumbai and other places, biryani is not the main item on the menu, but one of the expensive specialities, they explained.
The spic-n-span kitchen in Borivali hums with activity from daybreak as the chefs and their assistants start preparing the biryanis and other Mughlai items for the ravenous lunch time crowds and continue the process unbroken for the evening diners. There are occasional corporate/bulk orders.
The Udeshis said that all the biryanis are cooked on charcoal flames by the dum pukht method which emits the special aromatic fragrance – it spreads out onto the main road, luring more hungry patrons!
Interspersed are hundreds of take-away or home-delivery orders for their yummy chicken, mutton, fish and vegetable biryanis, besides a host of other Mughlai offerings.
“The secret of biryani is that it must be consumed immediately, failing which the patrons don’t enjoy the taste, as the flavour of the rice and masalas mixed together tends to go flat,” says Maharshi.
The Udeshis’ ‘BBC’ brand name is protected and it won the rights to use it even from the venerable BBC media conglomerate, besides other five-star hotels in Mumbai.