Biryani Park - Sri Lankan in Malden
I've never known of a Sri Lankan restaurant in town, maybe somebody can recall a time there was. Thanks to the hound that gets around, galangatron, for tipping us off to this new addition.
There's not much in the way of regional South Asian fare (Keralan, Chettinad, Goan, Sri Lankan, etc) here, nor really elsewhere, just hasn't really been a common cuisine for restaurant dining. The NYT ran a nice piece on the Sri Lankan enclave in Tomkinsville, Staten Island. You hear about the occasional Sri Lankan restaurant pop up here and there around the country, but it's slim pickings.
Biryani Park has got the classic chowhound charm of being tucked in the back of a well-worn little market. If they ever relocate to the city, sell out and get a liquor license, we'll skewer them. ;)
The proprietoress, incredibly warm & welcoming with a razor sharp sense of humour, is a Tamil Sri Lankan.
While I wait, she brings out a Lankan lagniappe, piping hot fish cutlet that jumped outta the fryer and into my gaping maw. Heckuva hand with the fryer, the cutlet is crispy, with fluffy fishy innards dotted with spuds.
Lamprais ('lump rice' on the menu), brought to you by the Dutch, is I'm sure something to behold when dining in - big pile of turmeric-tinted samba rice, with an ample array of accompaniements including eggplant, fish curry, chicken curry, hard-boiled egg, and ash plantains. Each component carefully prepared with attention to spicing, every bite is different, keeping the most ADHDs of palates dialed in.
String hopper kottu (shredded/chopped fine noodle 'dry' curry kinda dish) is laced with slivers of carrots, chiles, and the occasional hunk of goat, is a pretty intense curry, not incendiary but certainly spicy and complex.
Biryani puts on display the craft of the kitchen, just an exemplary version, inch-long grains of rice with a toof, saffron, cardamom, cloves etc permeating the dish with layers of flavour. Really top-tier.
An egg hopper hopped into my bag. Who doesn't like an egg crepe.
Coconut sambol provides potent punctuation to all the dishes, as does Katta Sambol (chiles, dried Maldive fish, lime) which I purchased a jar of and is already getting a heckuva workout.
The kitchen is comprised of highly-skilled South Indian chef and cooks and I have a hunch that side of the menu will be rewarding as well.
Interesting things happening in Malden. I need to also get to Moroccan Hospitality.
Malden, MA 02148
Open 7 days a week (11:30 am – 10 :00 pm)
Catering is also available
NOTE: string hoppers and lamprais require 24-hrs advance notice
I always enjoy a good biryani battle, g. Particularly with my Hyderabadi friends. ;)
The (pakki) biryani was most definitely well-integrated and layered with flavours and colours, suggesting that at some point a bed of rice was laid down, ontop of which chicken curry was ladled, ontop of which another layer of rice was laid down to bake for some period of time. There were patches of dense curry here and there throughout, but if you toss it around too much you mangle the rice. Marriage of flavours between rice and curry was unmistakably present. Maybe when I get home I'll upload an ultra-closeup of any random spoonful of rice where you'll see it flecked with flava. It may well have been scratch-made as the wait was considerable (~45 mins - I knew this in advance), or it is possible that rice and curry were cooked earlier and baked off for my order. Either way, it was biryani, no question.
Chicken biryani was suggested to me, however, they do have goat and vegetarian biryani as well.
Here's the menu:
I was so excited when I read this post this morning that I invited a dear vegetarian food-loving friend and neighbor to join me in exploring this place this evening.
We had a great meal and a great time. The owner is wonderful, and and the staff really helped us through the different aspects of the menu.
In a nod to the common Indian adaptation of Chinese flavors, we started with the Gobi Manchurian, which was more complex and interesting than we expected. The vegetarian Roti Kotthu, a Sri Lankan dish where naan is shredded and fried with vegetables, was a knock-out. And we much enjoyed the Aloo Baingan, an eggplant and potato dish.
We met the chef, a very personable man from Chennai who got his professional training on cruise ships (those chefs really learn their stuff well, in my experience - it's the Marine Corps of cooking).
There are 6 four-tops (3 tables with movable chairs, 3 with kind of built-in chairs) and it's surrounded by a nice little grocery market - they sell fruits under tents outdoors, too. It's on Rte 99 just a bit south of Rte 60 - the easiest thing to get there from Boston is to take Rte 1 and hit Rte 60 at Copeland Circle. From Melrose, where I live, it's easily reached from Lebanon Street.
This is a wonderful new find, and a place that is eager to introduce people to its foods and to please those people. The staff brought us little extras as we needed them. We got stuffed, and thought the prices very reasonable value.
It's nice to think of Malden as a city that is becoming a haven of places like this. FuLoon a few years ago, now Moroccan Hospitality (which I have yet to try) and Biryani Park.
I don't want to oversell this, but it was just a perfect Chowhound kind of place. If you're inclined, check it out and if you love it, help sustain this great new find.
105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148
re: Karl S
Went to Biryani Park yesterday for lunch. Drove right past it the first time, before turning around. It is right across from the McDonald's. Actually pretty easy to get to though, just straight up Route 99 from Boston. If you hit Route 60, you've gone a little too far.
It looks appropriately sketchy on the outside, and inside it's very comfortable --- there are packaged Sri Lankan foods and spices for sale around the outside of the large room, and there are a group of tables inside for dining. There's also a comfortable looking couch. There are ceiling fans.
We shared the goat biryani, which was the best dish, and I'd venture to say the best biryani I've ever had. The goat was succulent, the rice was so intensely flavored and yet fluffy, and the little bit of dryness worked just perfectly with the yogurt sauce that was provided.
We also shared the rotti kottu, a dish I had never even heard of before. It's chopped bread --- they call it naan on the menu, but it tasted like godamba roti that I've had in Singapore --- stir fried with vegetables, egg, and meat (we had chicken). It was also terrific. Not as aromatic as the goat biryani, but it was moist, satisfying, and also paired well with the yogurt sauce.
We also had the dosa with coconut sambal. They have 20 varieties of dosa on their dosa menu, in addition to one more (this one) on their regular menu. The name made me think of a sambal sauce, as I've had in Singapore, but I now understand that the Sri Lankan sambal is drier. The coconut does not refer to coconut milk. We were asked if we wanted it spicy and enthusiastically agreed, and what we received was a fairly spicy dish of sambal with a nice dosa, itself spicy with dried pepper pressed into its skin. The sambal was nice mixed in with the kottu as well.
My friend had a mango lassi, and I had a peach Laziza (a Lebanese malt soda I really like -- it means delicious in Arabic!). Service couldn't have been any more attentive (we were the only patrons eating in the restaurant for most of lunch) and the owner is an extremely friendly lady. A few other people came in for bottles of water or snacks. I hope more people to there to eat. I believe they are open each evening until 9:30 PM.
We were given a little dish of caramel pudding (flan) as a free dessert. The caramel sauce was tasty, but the texture of the flan itself was nothing special. If we weren't so full after lunch, we would have ordered the wattalappam, a Malaysian pudding, instead.
Major props to the hounds who found this one --- this is really unique, a terrific find, and some of the best South Asian food I've ever had.
105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148
So psyched to read about their so. indian specialties. Hoping to go tomorrow and will be curious to see how it compares to the superb meena's kitchen in nashua n.h.
-- i google mapped it, but sometimes those strip malls are tricky to find; any landmark to look for?
-- is all the food prep wicked slow or do dosas come out quickly but biryanis slowly, or other?
thanks so much, sam and nab and all you CHs- for detailed sharing and photos.
W Pearl St, Nashua, NH 03060