Chicken biryani at Guglee, Swiss Cottage

Went to Finchley Road to buy the son (more) cricket equipment and the husband suggested that we try a biryani from the aptly named Guglee Restaurant at Swiss Cottage.

For all you philistines: A googly is a kind of ball bowled in cricket by leg spinners. I refer you to this very nice explanation on how to bowl a Googly by the BBC, and for further reading on other kinds of spin bowling do read my all time favourite cricket novel – Chinaman. But enough of cricket and back to the other obsession of our lives – food!

So the entire family walked into Guglee to encounter an empty restaurant and a surly waiter. Hopes sank even further when I subjected Mr Surly to our “Aloo Jeera” test. You will remember (or at least I hope you do) that according to us a good Indian restaurant is a place that is willing to make things off menu. To find out whether they will do this for us – we ask them to make Jeera Aloo – a dish of potatoes spiced with cumin seeds and chilli, and garnished with coriander. Simples.

Guglee failed the Jeera Aloo test miserably.

But a quest is a quest – and we ordered a chicken biryani and went off to buy cricketing gear. We collected the biryani, got into the car and that’s when the fun began. The aromas that emanated from the paper takeaway bag became more and more intense with every mile. My delicate digestive system went “Hmm, hello.. what’s that”; my mother started breathing deeply and the husband tried hard to concentrate on the driving. The son was the first one to crack though – he opened the bag, took a peek and inhaled deeply – all the while pointing out how unfair it was that he was the only child on earth not allowed to eat in a car that was older than him and grubby to begin with.

Anyway we reached home, ripped the takeaway bag apart and took out the box of biryani. Our friend, the waiter had thrown in free papads for us so that was exciting as well. The biryani was served with Raita – a yogurt salad and – hold your breath for this – was the best biryani we had tasted thus far. Here is how it scored

Rice grain separation: 5/5

Meat/veg harmony : 4/5 (again disagreed with husband on this he loved the pieces of chicken I thought they could do better)

Spice blend perfection: 5/5

Potato content : 0/5 (yes! What a shame!)

Fried onion finish: 5/5

Wet/dry index : Pass (with flying colours)

Biryanometer rating: 4/5

To deploy a very poor joke – Guglee managed to throw a Googly at us. I think we are going to go there next week to try out their veg biryani… watch this space!