“There is no love sincerer than the love of food- George Bernard Shaw*
When you are from a generation of masterchefs,you leave very little room for error. “AQNI” carries to its repertoire a legacy of delicious food. Though they have been around for quite a good chunk of time as ” Zaika”,this relatively new venture called “AQNI” just completed it’s first birthday on June 10th. Run by young entrepreneurs “Mr. Saeed Jaffery Mr.Asrar Sait and Mr. Abrar Sait”, who believe in proffering unto you dishes which are ambrosial, AQNI is a very ambitious venture.
The name ” AQNI” means a flavourful broth that constitutes the heart and soul of a “Biryani”. Despite, there being no dearth for restaurants providing you ” biryanis and kebabs” AQNI stands strong with its offering.
Being one of the first entrepreneurs to introduce ” MEMON” style biryanis to Bangalore, they stand undisputed in their claim. There have albeit been many comparison feats to other restaurants and their biryanis,yet I say that a certain style is what they have claimed. I certainly don’t say that this is the best biryani,as to every man/woman his/her opinion. But if you were to want the ” MEMON” style,you would know where to go. They also are the proud chefs who conceptualised and introduced ” KABAB MANCHURIAN” to Bangalore.
The decor tries hard to impress,and does a fair to middling impression. There are 2 sections to this place. One is a neatly done section,with red wallpaper and woodwork,whereas the other section is a vast expanse of sofas and chairs and tables. They would have to add on more upgrades to their restaurant to make it a comfortable dine-in experience. The most basic would be some air conditioning to start with.
You would be at the mercy of the bobbling table fan stuck at a corner,whirling its head right to left and left to right or you would be at the mercy of the ceiling fan,whirling at speeds just bearable. If you can be a sweetheart enough to overlook the decor,then you’re in for a tastebud gala event.
Well, here I go with a delicious break up of their signature dishes. One at a time… Giving each one the respect it deserves, my dish raves will have excerpts from my review on Zomato too. So,go ahead and read all about it..
Here is a list of my faves:
- MEMON style biryani(Rs.185/-): The biryani is made of jeera samba rice. Usually biryanis are made out of basmati rice,but the reason why I love this one is because of the short grain rice. The jeera samba rice is highly fragrant and the texture is a total spot on one. The thing with basmati rice is I don’t like the long grainy texture,it’s very much of an obstruction in the way of enjoying the Aqni of the biryani. The MEMON style,uses potatoes as an extra garnishing in their Chicken/mutton biryani.The biryani is a very lightly spiced and a pleasing one. Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. Remember the best dishes just have a handful of ingredients. Served with raita and baingan ka khatta,the biryani just wins my heart. It’s such a hot seller,if you land yourself up here after 9 pm,you aren’t gonna be bestowed with a chance to try it. So,try an earlier time,say 7 or 7:30 pm.. And get yourself a plate of this beauty. It looks beautiful doesn’t it? Well,it tastes much better. So, your visit sans this can be totalled as incomplete.
- The Kabab Manchurian(Rs.280/- for a full portion and Rs.150/- for half portion): This is one of those dishes that has you scratching your heads in awe. One of their fusion dishes. East meets Far East..ooh wait, isnt Manchurian more predominant in the northern side of India? More like Indo Chinese. I really dunno where we come up with all these names. Just like how basmati rice has been trademarked by the Americans, im sure The dear Chinese have no problems with us mutating a place named Manchuria into a dish named Manchurian. That’s the reason,Go USA or England, Our indian scientists are the next hottest things in the research world.
I had the privilege to get a small chit chat done with one of the partners at “AQNI”, Mr. Abrar Sait. I ended up asking him about how “Kabab Manchurian” was conceptualized. He says,” I was just in the kitchen one fine day,and i decided to kill some free time at hand. As i’m passionate about cooking,i decided to just play a mix and match with the things available in the kitchen. I had an idea of why not fuse two types of cuisine. We first tried dunking Chicken Tikka in the manchurian sauce.The results were good,but not astounding. After a few trials and errors,we struck gold with Chicken Kabab and Manchurian sauce”
Let me take the utmost pleasure in assuring you that this is completely true. The ” Kabab Manchurian” is one of their fastsellers. It is your Red Chicken kabab, seeped in the manchurian style sauce,garnished with curry leaves.The flavours are unique and juicy kababs that melt in your mouth are such an amazing burst with the sauce. Devour it with naans and rotis or eat it just like that.
- Lemon chicken(Rs.150/-):Oh My Gawwd! Like lemme not think about L.C now… I need to be impartial and not be preoccupied with the love of this world, I need to concentrate on the higher things in life, I need to cleanse my spirit of want, I need that LEMON CHICKEN now!!!Woops! I guess meditation doesn’t work all that well for me . I Love Lemon Chicken at Aqni. Period! The boneless juicy and succulent strips of chicken, fried on with a batter and dunked mercilessly in a gooey sweet and sour (read lemony sour) sauce and served with love is all I need. It’s such a great harmony of flavours,you really need to hold yourself back from ordering another plate.
- Hyderabadi Sukkha Gosht(Rs. 180/-): This one is a borrowed opinion. I do not eat mutton, but have no worries tasting the gravy.The gravy is a deep rich red or sometimes a little like molasses brown one,which has distinctive flavourings of the masalas. The semi dry gravy tasted great with the naans. As for the meat, I believe it was done tender and filled with just the right amount of spices. Yummy in every way is what my hubby says. Its the pièce de résistance for my mum too. The first thing these versatile carnivores order.
- Roghan Josh( Rs. 180/-): Highly famous for its Persian ancestry, Roghan josh forms an integral part of every Kashmiri household. AQNI offers a very delectable version suited for our palates,a must have gravy,if your looking for some heartiness in your meal
- Kut( pronounced as Cut): This is something that isn’t on the menu, but if you would like a sneak peek into the typical traditional muslims cuisine, then this kut will give you a pretty faint idea of what we eat. Not that I like to eat it, but my mum does. *desperately trying to make up for the folly*😳😅😅 Usually Kut is the concoction of horsegram seeped with a few ingredients. Its slow cooked for 2 days or so. Now, you know why its traditional.. My Goodness, im someone who cant do a dish that takes 2 hours, let alone 2 days..Every household has it’s own version, some like to add tomatoes, while some like to keep it simple, some households add ghee in the start, while some like to add temperings to it.Some add koftas, while some add eggs. So as diverse as we are, our kuts are also an expression of our personalities. My personality is Blank when it comes to Kut. The Kut here is a really nice one,i had stated before that it was just mediocre,but my view got altered after a few more takeaways. Kudos to them for getting it onto the menus. This item by the way is subject to availability.
- All Tandoori items,especially Malai tikka: .Anything Tandoori, Anything charred, Anything which says Tikka is bound to be delicious. They do a great job serving you the tandoori items.I have usually heard that their tandoori items are always very limited and get sold out fast.
- The Indian Breads: The naans are highly soft, melt in the mouth and so fluffy. They thankfully arent rubbery or hard. They have a decent range of breads,all of which are quite enjoyable. Their rolls are another feather in their cap. Filled with generous amounts of meat,they are such great short eats.
They are highly famous for the “Brain Pepper Dry” too. I am not the one to try,but a good word is always nice to spread around.
Vegetarians sadly have very limited choice,there isnt much to gorge on for them.They might have to face a tad bit of a disappointment,with the fare offered to them. I highly recommend the Dal Makhani, Dal Tadka, Ghee rice and Jeera rice for them.
I am ever so impressed with the way these young entrepreneurs have taken the task of running the joint with alot of dedication.They have plans to expand their venture,one step at a time. Multi-tasking personal commitments and running the restaurant.
Like as discovered,the spontaneous young Mr. Asrar Sait,is said to be one of the major reasons behind AQNI’s success. Juggling between college and his food passion,he delivers his 100%.. It’s so refreshing to see the young batch carry responsibilities with a panache.
They sure can use all the support that they can get. Yes, they do have a few management issues,at times the deliveries get delayed and henceforth..But they claim that they are in a cocoon stage,still trying to morph themselves as perfect. Guys, you have a 4/5 star rating from my side.