Chicken Biryani at Hot Munchies, Southwark Street

Chicken Biryani at Hot MunchiesHot Munchies How can you not eat from a place that has such a delightful name?

Well, I couldn’t.

Everyday for the last few years I would pass this little cafe on the way to work, peer in, get upset about their spellings, contemplate getting a takeaway and then get cold feet.

Why, you ask. Well, how do I put it? It’s not exactly an establishment that looks like it is terribly interested in maintaining standards of hygiene. If it was in India, I would be tempted to enter it with a bottle of Bisleri mineral water, a packet of Imodium, and some sanitised hand wipes in case the son inadvertently touched any of the surfaces.

So I pondered over this problem for months and thought to myself “Assuming my body doesn’t revolt at the spelling mistakes, will I get an infection if I have a chicken biriany (sic) from this place?” I asked the husband, who was a bit perplexed at what the problem was as he has seen me eat from worse places in India and suffer the consequences inspite of the mineral water, the Imodium and the wipes.

So last week I took a deep breath and walked in…only to be shocked by how spotless the place was. Mind you, it was 3.30pm, so way before the cafe’s drunk clientele made an appearance – but still there had done a great job of mopping up. I nervously ordered a chicken biryani and a vegetable curry and rice and took them home on the tube.

As is the case, the family gathered around when I opened the takeaway boxes and waited for me to have the first bite. It was very good! No potatoes and slightly dry…but a superb effort.

Here is how it scored on the biryanometer:

Rice grain separation: 4/5

Meat/veg harmony: 4/5

Spice blend perfection: 4/5

Potato content: Nada

Fried onion finish: 4/5

Wet/dry index: Fail

Biryanometer rating: 3.5/5

So good stuff, eh?

What is it that Buddha said about a beautiful lotus growing in murky waters? I leave you to ponder this and to be slightly impressed that not all my philosophy is gleaned from Hindi film songs. I do have some gems you know.