Biryani Fest @Howard Johnson – Thanisandra, Bangalore

Howard Johnson Hotels is one of the premium 4 stars hotels in Bangalore.  It is well established in US but in India, this is the first properly. 

They also chosen a location which is close to the IT Hub, ‘Manyata Tech Park’ which has the office space for many of the Software Companies.  It is a smart move coz there would be loads of engineer and management staff that would be travelling across the globe and being close to the IT, means that it would get good occupancy.  But, since it is a premium property situated in India, does not mean that they would only cater to the foreigners.  They also thrive to showcase some of the Indian cuisine to the travellers.  To be able to do that, they are having a Biryani festival for a week starting from 15Aug’15 until 22Aug’15.  I was invited for a special tasting of the biryanis which I will share more info on.  Let me share my opinion on the place before heading to writing about the food.

Location
If you are coming from Bangalore International Airport, take a left at Hebbal Flyover.  Drive along for 3-4 kms until you see the Manyata Tech Park to the left.  There is a flyover that take us to Bayapanahalli & Whitefield areas on the Ring Road.  Take the small road beside the flyover to the left.  Take a left at the signal and drive for 1/2kms.  You will find the Elements Mall to the left.  Howard Johnson hotel is situated in the first block.

First Look
This hotel has got an amazing ambiance. Infact, when you are entering from the outside, the feeling may not be that great. 

The reason why I say is that coz the area is a bit too crowded, road is single lane and then entrance to hotel on Elements mall does not look clean.  But once you enter, you will be simply astounded by the look.

The reception area is brilliant and well attended by staff.
Then we proceed to 3rd or 4thfloor of the hotel where there are 3 place for Food & Drinks.  Individually they are called NEST, VERVE & MAREA.  Let me share more details on the same.

NEST – Place were the buffets are served.  Its got loads of sitting space and looks simply brilliant.  The food would be spread out in a very thoughtful manner.

VERVE – This is the 24hr coffee shop.  It looks abit dull as the lighting is less.  But the interiors and seating are simply superb.

MAREA – Is the bar at the Howard Johnson Hotel.  It is quite spacious and the interiors are brilliant.  There is no problem with the lighting and seating.
Well, now that I shared info on the hotel in general, let me share my experience on the food that we were served at the hotel.

I want to be able to focus my attention purely on the Briyani that was made coz that was the highlight of the day.  But yes, I will still share some info on the other food items served.

Starters
Assorted Paapads
This in local terms is called the ‘Shandige’.  There were varieties of those that were served to us to keep ourselves occupied while we waiting for the food to be served.  Had to be very careful coz we would have ended up easily filling the stomach with them.

Stuffed Aloo
This was a great starter where in there this Aloo with various stuffing inside it.  Served along with mint-chutney, it tasted great.

Veg Kebab
This might be a standard dish that is available at all restaurant but the way these folks had done it, speaks volume about the experience of the Chef.

There were few more starters that were served.  But I thought its high-time I start to share info about the Biryani’s.

Biryani
Chef had made an assortment of 4 Vegetarian and 4 Non-Veg biryani’s.  Each one of them had a unique flavor and taste. 

Taste of which would lead a lasting impression in many of the cases.  Name of the biryanis for some were known as they had the place name attached as prefix.  But most of them were quite unique. Chef explained the reason behind the name for some of the biryani. 

Vegetarian Biryani’s
       Spinach Biryani
       Mushroom Biryani
       Ambur Biryani
       Hyderabadi Biryani

Non-Veg Biryani’s
       Awadhi Biryani
       Kolkata Biryani
       Thallesary Biryani
       Lamhe Biryani

Vegetarian Biryanis
Spinach Biryani
This was a pretty well made biryani where in the Chef had made sure that the Spinach flavor is put into the rice to get the flavor.  The garnishing was done well and the taste was quite unique. It was not spicy but then it was having the flavor of the Spinach in it.  I enjoyed taking this biryani.  But surely this wasn’t my absolute favorite to start with as there were 3 more to try.

Ambur Biryani
This is one of the most standard biryani that we get outside.  Infact, its so famous that some people goto the place and eat.  When I mean place, the name comes from the actual place that is situated between Bangalore & Chennai.
This was a decent biryani with good mix of spices.  It wasn’t all that spicy but it had veggies in it.  Again I would not still call it my favorite.

Hyderabadi Biryani
This was a biryani which had the flavors and masala like what we get in the normal Hyderabadi Biryani.  The unique this is that there was no gravy served.  I guess it would have added to the spice a little more.  But compared the first 2 biryanis.  This was still pretty good and quite enjoyable in this case with Raita.
This again will not be the best of the biryanis in the lot.

Mushroom Biryani
A very unique biryani that had the presence of Mushroom in abundance.  The flavor along with masala was simply superb.  And for me hands down was my favorite biryani for the day.  It was fine taken plain.  It also went along quite well with the raita. 
I am not sure if I have eaten the same anywhere else but I must say a very unique dish.  I hope Chef(s) continue to experiment with dishes this way so that we can get some unique flavors.
Non-Veg Biryani(s)
The name of them were quite unique and when I checked with other foodie/blogger friends visiting along with me, told me that it tasted quite good.  I will not say much but agree to their judgement.

Drinks
This was one of the most important item that helps you instead of a soda which is commonly taken in other restaurant.  But I thought the drink was fantastic along with Biryanis.
Mojito
This is surely one of my favorites coz its got the Vodka, Lemon in it.  The drink tastes quite good when loads of ice-cubes are also added.  I very much enjoyed the drink.

Long Island Ice Tea
This happens to be the favorite among many folks.  The flavor was simply super cool coz I could get the hint of tea coming along very well along with alcohol.

Shangria
This has become of the favorite items to take many of the places.  It is the red-wine flavored taste which takes it away.
Sweets
Rasmalai

This was a well prepared sweet for us visiting this place.  The taste was super yummy and I enjoyed every bit of the sweet.
Overall it was a wonderful experience trying Biryani at the famous Howard Johnson restaurant @Bangalore.  I hope many more people visit the place during the fest. 
And also I think Chef should introduce the Briyani fest to be there throughout the week.  If not on every weekend atleast 2 Veg & 2 Non-Veg biryani should be there for offering along with the brunch.

My rating in various departments would be –
Food – 4.0/5
Service – 4.5/5
Ambiance – 4.0/5
Drinks – 4.0/5
Food for 2 would cost anywhere between INR1250-2500.

NEST - Howard Johnson Bengaluru Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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Categories: Lifestyle

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