There’s an eternal love affair between the people of Kolkata and Biryani. Each day sees a new Biryani joint pop up in the city and people cannot seem to get enough of this delicious mixed rice dish. For its physical presence within the city, Biryani brands such as Arsalan, Royal Indian, Zeeshan, Shiraz, India Restaurant and Aliah have generated a huge fan following. Hundreds of people flock in to these restaurants for a plate full of goodness. But, nestled amidst the outskirts of Kolkata, Dada Boudir Hotel, in Barrackpore – located around 20 km from Shyambazar – have garnered a cult status among Biryani aficionados. While some people label it as the best Biryani they have had, others aren’t quite thorough with its repertoire – but seldom would you find anyone not acquainted with the name. To find out what distinguishes Dada Boudir Hotel from the other Biryani joints in Kolkata, Team WHEELS drove down to Barrackpore and had a go at this cult delight
Drive north along B.T. Road, from Shyambazar five-point crossing towards Barrackpore via Chiriamorh, Sinthee, and Kamarhati. Reach BMRC hospital and take left following the main road to arrive at Jayanti cinema hall followed by a T-junction. Turn right from the T-junction into SN Banerjee Road leading towards Sukanta Sadan and Barrackpore railway station. Dada Boudi’r Hotel is situated adjacent to Sukanta Sadan.
How it all started
Ramprasad Saha, the man who started the eatery – then unnamed – was only trying to feed a handful of working class people. Formerly a humble sattoo shop owner, Ramprasad Saha never imagined that he would run an eatery someday. He had even made his mind on returning back to his village if things did not work out in Barrackpore but to his fortune, it did. Later, his son Dhiren Saha carried the business forward, serving traditional Bengali fish, egg and chicken meals to people around the Barrackpore railway station area. Dhiren Saha was assisted by his wife in running the eatery and customers would fondly refer to them as Dada-Boudi, which ultimately led to the name Dada Boudi’r Hotel. The restaurant – now almost 60 years old, is run by third generation family members, Sanjib and Rajib Saha.
Md Kalim Khan, head cook at Dada Boudir Hotel was a childhood friend of Sanjib Saha. Before he joined the restaurant, Sanjib was continuing with the family tradition of serving Bengali meals. Khan started working at Dada Boudir Hotel from 1988 and he brought with him his panache and expertise in Biryani – Dada Boudir Hotel has been serving Biryani since then. Initially, selling around 3 kg Biryani per day proved to be a struggle for them but soon the sale of Biryani picked up. People from all over Barrackpore and nearby towns started visiting Dada Boudir Hotel and the eatery slowly evolved into one of Kolkata’s largest sellers of Biryani – presently selling around 500 – 600 kg Biryani per day.
The Biryani at Dada Boudir Hotel can best be described as an aromatic and luscious mix of spices, meat and rice. It contains the signature scent that Kolkata Biryani is famous for, is surprisingly easy on the palate and doesn’t leave behind a greasy mess. What’s best about the Biryani at Dada Boudir Hotel is that it isn’t dry – it is succulent and one can feel the essence of the aroma on every grain of rice. Complemented by a180 gm piece of meat and a potato, a single plate of Biryani weighs about 400 gm and is more than enough to fulfil your cravings.
The taste of the Biryani at Dada Boudir Hotel is also down to the wholesome ingredients used in the preparation. Desi Ghee, original Kesar and whole spices are added to the long grain Dehradun Rice while the meat cuts are chosen and bought by the owner himself. “We purchase mutton from twelve trusted retailers, and usually buy the pieces from the chest, ribs and the two front legs – the choicest parts of the animal,” says Sanjib Saha.
Dada Boudir Hotel
Dada Boudir Hotel operates from 11 am in the morning till 9 pm at night. Peak lunch and dinner hours are usually jam packed with people queuing up outside the stall. There are two places inside the premises for customers to sit and have their food – the main 28-seatre road-side stall and a backyard shade which can accommodate 40 people. The backyard also doubles up as a parking place that can accommodate up to 10 cars and is also the place where the Biryani is cooked – sort of a live kitchen experience.
Having already opened up a three-storied 56-seatre restaurant near the primary joint, Sanjib Saha says that they are planning to expand their business. The popularity and brand name that Dada Boudir Hotel has generated attracts foodies from all corners of not only Kolkata but also from other nearby places. With Sanjib Saha’s appearance in Dadagiri and Sourav Ganguly’s personal visit to the restaurant, Dada Boudi’r Hotel has seen their fair share of limelight. Recently, the U.S. Consul General in Kolkata, Craig L. Hall and his family visited the restaurant along with American Senator Director Jamie Dragon and his family and it stands as a testimony to the quality of food served by Dada Boudir Hotel – the entire video clip can be found on U.S. Consulate General Kolkata Facebook page.
Even though Sanjib Saha is not too keen to start franchising units of Dada Boudir Hotel, an eight-storied building with provisions for underground parking is in the offing to accommodate this large influx of people and to further put a mark in the city.
Dada Boudir Hotel: Barrackpore
Mutton Biryani: Rs 190
Chicken Biryani: Rs 180