HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Discussion

Biryani Park - Sri Lankan in Malden

  • Nab Jul 18, 2011 07:06 PM

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.

105 Broadway(Rt99),
Malden, MA 02148
Tel:781-397-1307
Business Hours:
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

 
 
 
 
 
 
  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. WOW, next stop, Malden!

    1. Ouch. Sorry I missed this. Great post!

      1. Forgot to mention - for another opportunity at Sri Lankan cuisine & culture, there is the upcoming Sri Lanka Day in Acton on August 15th:

        http://www.slaneusa.com/content/sri-l...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nab

          The site says 13th BTW, which is a Saturday. Thanks for the info.

        2. Thanks Nab. Sounds great. Malden's really challenging for top ethnic spot lately. Was the biryani a real one or what we come to accept as biryani in these parts and was it available with goat?

          6 Replies
          1. re: gourmaniac

            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:

            http://mobi.snsmarketinc.com/

            1. re: Nab

              Wow, extensive and interesting menu and prices are reasonable. I keep hoping for a traditional complex biryani somewhere. I need to get me invited to an Indian wedding somewhere and eat for three days.

              1. re: Nab

                Also, for non-mobile users:

                http://snsmarketinc.com/#

                http://snsmarketinc.com/new-menu/

                toggle along the menu at right.

              2. re: gourmaniac

                Could Malden become our Jamaica / Flushing? Quincy was the leader for a long time, it seemed...

                1. re: Karl S

                  Not really, given that Chinatown and Allston each have an order of magnitude more cheap ethnic eats than Malden or Quincy likely ever will.

                  1. re: Luther

                    I do like the different palette now in Malden though.

              3. 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.

                -----
                Biryani Park
                105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                6 Replies
                1. 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.

                  -----
                  Biryani Park
                  105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                  1. re: lipoff

                    For people who don't want to deal with Rte 99 in Everett, you can also take Rte 1 over the Tobin Bridge (toll-free on the way out!) and get onto Rte 60 at Copeland Circle, and then hang a left at Rte 99.

                    1. re: lipoff

                      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.

                      two questions:

                      -- 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.

                      -----
                      meena's kitchen
                      W Pearl St, Nashua, NH 03060

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        It's not a strip mall. It's located across from the McDonald's on Rte 99 in Malden; behind it is Holy Cross Cemetery.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          you can't possibly miss it - the exterior and fence are painted in bright colors.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            We didn't order dosa and biryani on the same visit, so I can't say which would come first. The dosas did come out in 15-20 min, the rice dish we ordered at about the same time. Mullingatawny soup was brought right away.

                      2. Went for lunch today. Yum! Hubby had Mulligatawny soup and a masala dosa, I had a chicken tikka dosa, and the kids had the kid's cone dosa. Everything was delcious...I'm no dosa expert, but many times the dosa seems to get stale the minute it cools. No so here...the kid's cone was cute, a dosa simply twisted a bit into a giant cone shape, served point-side-up on a plate with 3 accompanying dishes (sambal? chubtney?) - one was coconut, peanut and mildly spicy, another was thicker and more spicy, and the third was like a thick lentil-and-something stew. (Sorry for the vague descriptions, with the kids in tow I don't always get a chance to ask questions about the food...).

                        The owners were very nice and quite sweet to our kids. There's an assortment of chairs and small couches arranged to the side of the dining area, which seemed odd to me at first but then we put them to use while we waited for our food (reading books with my five-year-old).

                        Oh, we tried the lemon rice too - very lemony with lots of whole spices and roasted peanuts. Yum! The owners gave each boy a free mango kulfi for dessert. We were stuffed, brought home too much food, and can't wait to go again. Between this and Moroccan Hospitality, I might just stop cooking for a while :-)

                        -----
                        Moroccan Hospitality Restaurant
                        188 Salem St, Malden, MA 02148

                        1. The string hoppers with spicy katta sambol started things off with a bang & the fireworks just kept coming with the goat biryani & its multi-layers of flavors. Added to the banana leaf with the lump rice was a spicy, piquant date puree made from scratch by the friendly owner - think I'd order this multi-ingredient dish first next time. We also had light, translucent hoppers w/jaggery & shared a couple flan. Owner insisted on an egg hopper at the end,which we were just too stuffed to finish. The rotti kottu was my least fav & bland tasting to me. Looking forward to going back to have the goat biryani again, try the lemon rice and some other treats.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Taralli

                            the goat biryani was incredible. the rice was infused with so many different spices and flavors. plus tender chunks of bone-in goat meat. would gladly go back again just for this dish. this was real biryani and it was delicious

                            1. re: galangatron

                              As I said above, the goat biryani was my favorite dish there and I was really, really impressed.

                              1. re: lipoff

                                I am having it as leftovers for lunch and it is pretty great!!!

                          2. We had a scrumptious meal last nignt. Gobi Manchuran for an app - cauliflower florets done tempura style, and served in a sweet-sour and very spicy sauce. For mains, we had the Madras Masala dosa and a chikcen saag - both excellent, and huge portions, the leftovers of which provided dinner tonight. We were just about to pay and leave when a couple of complimentary desserts - the Wattalappam - appeared, courtesy of the owner. She chatted with us about how we liked the food and how we had heard about the restaurant - kudos to chowhounds for that.

                            They were doing a flourishing takeout business, and by 8.30 or so all the tables were full.

                            Our waitperson was having a bit of trouble describing the more exotic dishes, and the menus on our table did not have the descriptions that are included on the on-line menu - hopefully they will print up a few of the more detailed ones.

                            Definitely coming back for more, probably take-out, as the ambience does not measure up to the quality of the food.

                            1. After visiting SL a few times, I am absolutely craving this food and will be there. It is so unique and flavorful that it cannot be compared to anything else like it.

                              Any chance they will be serving Old Arrack (Sri Lankan whisky) at the event?
                              That would make the experience exceptional -- nothing better than arrack and coke with curry!

                              Thanks for the post.

                              1. Checked out the latest chowhound darling. The owner and staff are very nice. The goat biryani was good but i prefer JMP's (allston supermarket food court) version which i found to be more fragrant. The Gobi Manchurian was tasty except for the coating (rice flour?) which was unpleasantly tough in parts. The best dish was the fish cutlets with 2 dipping sauces. Really scrumptious! Looking forward to checking out the rest of the menu.

                                1. Had a fail looking for it this weekend. Nav system thought 105 Broadway in Malden was actually up in Lynnfield and routed me that way.... :-P
                                  Just wanted to warn anyone who uses a nav to check the routing directions...

                                  1. Great Sri Lankan food ! , friendly attentive service , will go back for sure.

                                    1. More fun getting hopped up on hoppers at Biryani Park recently.

                                      String hoppers/iddiyappam come in a 10-pack of 'patties' served with delicious kiri hodi (kind of an all-purpose gravy) & coconut sambol, the whole dish a sort of cousin to idly-sambar.

                                      String hopper kottu, with spoon tender lamb & crisp crunch of carrots and veggies a textural treat. A nutritionally complete dish, I like it for breakfast the next day with a heaping spoonful of sambol.

                                      Devilled Grill (sic) with fish is a spicy and tangy stir-fry reminiscent of Indo-Chinese cuisine.

                                      Both the S. Indian and Sri Lankan food continues to delight. A beer/wine license is in the works and pretty soon we shall have a party.

                                      -----
                                      Biryani Park
                                      105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                       
                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Nab

                                        nab, the 1st 2 photos are of the String hoppers/iddiyappam ? and it's only on wkends, yes? thanks for your update; looking forw to returning.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          yes.

                                          no, per menu 24-hr advance ordering.

                                          as always, good idea to call in advance, even if it's only a couple of hours, as they are very accomodating.

                                      2. Finally made it to Biryani Park the other night and had a really great meal. We called ahead a few hours before we went, hoping to still order hoppers, and they were able to accommodate us. I managed to try the following items, some of which were not exactly on the menu.

                                        Egg hoppers - These were good, especially when they came straight out of the kitchen. After the first one came out with a less-runny yolk, we asked for the rest to be runny, and they were really great. We used these to scoop up the various dishes we had.

                                        Plain hoppers - These were good too. Like the egg hoppers, these are best fresh out of the kitchen, as they get a bit hard and tough as they cool. There is a slight coconut flavor to these which is really nice.

                                        Mutton rolls - These were piping hot, basically like a mutton filled spring roll. They were nicely fried and not too greasy.

                                        Eggplant - we ordered this in "Sri Lankan" style, and what came out was a stir-fry of eggplant, with lots of spices and chilies. I wouldn't really call it a curry, since there wasn't much of a sauce, but this was really good.

                                        Okra - We got only a small dish of this (we had just asked for basically any vegetable Sri Lankan style), and it was little pieces of deep fried okra and some chilies and spices. It made for a nice little condiment.

                                        Seeni Sambol - This is a caramelized onion sambol, which was great. Slightly sweet, with bits of cinnamon. I am not sure this is on the menu, but it should be! It was great, and I have learned that it's a very common Sri Lankan condiment.

                                        String hoppers - These are little discs of steamed noodles (see Nab's picture from October 3rd). I am not crazy about these (I'd rather eat rice or hoppers), but I LOVED the lentils that came with it (hodi? or parippu?). These lentils may have been my favorite dish of all, actually, and they had a nice coconut flavor. I was told this dish was called Parippu, not Hodi, although the menu doesn't say this. Not sure if these are the same or not? But next time I go, I will definitely ask for parippu since that is what the staff were calling it.

                                        Coconut (Pol) Sambol - This came with the string hoppers, and it was excellent. It was a toasty version, which I liked.

                                        Beef curry - We asked for this to be cooked Sri Lankan style. It wasn't as spicy as we would have liked (this may have been my fault, since I looked scared when ordering, and should have been more confident in my spice-handling abilities), but the beef was super tender and the sauce was great. It reminded me of Malaysian beef rendang.

                                        Dosa - Sri Lankan style - This dosa was very different than the South Indian versions we saw on other tables....it was two flat pancakes, with spices inside. Looked a lot like uttapam, actually, but not exactly the same as that either. Anyway, this was served with sambar (the sweetest version I had ever had, which I didn't love), coconut chutney (liquidy, white and very good) and tomato chutney (also really good). I liked this, but I think next time I would order a paper dosa, which looked amazing on a neighboring table.

                                        Roti Kotthu with chicken - I really like this dish, and find it very comforting. We were impressed by their rendition, and the serving was big, too.

                                        This ended up being way more than enough food for 4 of us, and nearly everything was excellent. The staff are very accommodating and I feel like next time I could easily communicate that I want to try more Sri Lankan specialties (and also that I'd be willing to have it be spicier). I'll definitely be back!

                                        Dave MP

                                        -----
                                        Biryani Park
                                        105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Dave MP

                                          The gravy that accompanied the string hoppers, sounds like it was parippu hodi (lentil gravy) - did it resemble the hodi that you see in the 2nd pic above ? In addition to coconut sambal, I believe it contains a splash of coco-milk. (along with tomatoes, chiles, onions, etc)

                                          Glad you enjoyed it. That chef is something else.

                                          1. re: Nab

                                            Yes, I think it was the same parippu hodi. I remember ours being slightly less liquidy than it looks in your picture, but maybe I'm remembering wrong too...but yeah, it's wicked good.

                                          2. re: Dave MP

                                            dave, we went back today. got the hodi ;so thnx much because that was certainly a fav.! The Globe G piece today didn't include lentils in its description, but that is certainly what it is. btw, i asked about the name.
                                            <String hoppers - These are little discs of steamed noodles (see Nab's picture from October 3rd). I am not crazy about these (I'd rather eat rice or hoppers), but I LOVED the lentils that came with it (hodi? or parippu?). These lentils may have been my favorite dish of all, actually, and they had a nice coconut flavor. I was told this dish was called Parippu, not Hodi, although the menu doesn't say this. Not sure if these are the same or not? But next time I go, I will definitely ask for parippu since that is what the staff were calling it.>
                                            The Sri Lankan word for the type of lentils used is parippu; but Hodi is what they're calling the dish(in Hindi i think) because only the owner is Sri Lankan (Kanupriya, Kanu for short,has always been our server and she is from No.India.)

                                            We also had the curd rice this time. Basmati mixed w/ yoghurt, mustard seed, curry leaf, cilantro, and served cold; this has become our fav rice dish there.

                                            They have indeed fixed up the decor; adding colorful tablecloths and wall decorations.The people are all so lovely there, and their bright white smiles are a wonderful part of the experience. They are tickled pink w/ the Globe piece(they have it framed on the wall), and i hope the crowds will follow.

                                            p.s. when i mentioned my fav from our previous visit, i mistakenly called it uppama (a farina dish) when i meant to applaud their Uttapam. It was terrific again today; a thick moist sour-tinged pancake, crispy on the outside. Both the coconut and the tomato condiments w/ it were particularly superior to others i've had.

                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                              Glad to read your good report. I will also chime in to say that the tomato and coconut chutneys (which come with uttapam and dosa) are great - bright flavors, very fresh, noticeably better than at other dosa places I've tried in and around Boston

                                              1. re: Dave MP

                                                dave, chutneys seem to be a very particular point of pride for indian chefs. When you eventually get up to Meena's Kitchen in nashua- i think you will really appreciate her unique chutneys too (completely diff from those you and i love at BPark.)

                                            2. re: Dave MP

                                              dave, we just came back from another fun time at BP. The Jimminy Cricket -like chef bounced out grinning, to both take our order and serve us while the owner was out (rainy late Tues, aftnoon)

                                              This time we were able to try your recommended Chicken Kootu. WOWWW! Our fav dish of all so far! It surely is better than its description, eh? Roti, veggies, chicken. Somehow i was expecting something like fattoush- big pieces of roti bread stir fried w/ the other components. Instead, it was the 3rd of Nab's 4 photos, above, a formed mound of said ingredients plus many more, which had been shredded and/or chopped small and griddled together (per the chef), packed in a form and turned out onto the plate.Great play off of crunchy, smooth and shreddy textures. Like you said, comfort food to the max (but w/ the protein and lack of fat, probably heathier than most comfort foods.)

                                              The hodi/parippu was completely diff from last time, this one soupy rather than thick lentil. The owner explained that she and the chef make diff versions(hers dry, his soupy.) I prefer hers.

                                              The uttapum was terrific again and the Sri lankan eggplant, w/ its distincly unique peanut element.

                                              Still love the Massachusetts Special Rava Dosa, all lacy crispness stuffed w/ various veggies, potato masala, nuts and chutnies. Kind of like a dosa version of a pizza with everything on it.

                                              I asked the owner about the restnt's name. She said the chef was known for his biryanis, and liked the name; that biryani is eaten all over India (having come originally from iraq area) and is a go out/ party dish in Sri Lanka. She also explained that she did not want to use an (obscure) Sri lankan word or Sri Lanka in the restnt name because of home troubles (35 years of ongoing warring between hindi and buddhist factions) that are even practiced by sri lankans here.

                                              The room is cozy comfortable now, filled w/ eclectic rugs, chairs and decorations. The chef and owner proudly brought out their recent reviews in the local Japanese newspaper, and also in Improper Bostonian. Good for them and lucky for us!

                                              p.s. closed Mondays

                                              this is another thread about BP:
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807275

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                Awesome update! I need to get back here sometime soon....

                                                Dave MP

                                            3. Enjoyed the "goat combo" which was large bowls of bone-in goat curry (top-notch), mixed vegetables curry (cauliflower, carrot, summer squash--very good), and rice cooked with a bit of shredded vegetables, plus a chapatti and a plain papad. (Note: I was asked my spicy heat preference. "Very" got me quite spicy enough, though some might want more.)

                                              1. Ooooh, how did I miss this?! I used to live around the corner from a Sri Lankan place with see-through-time spicy curries and excellent fish bread, and I've been yearning for good Sri Lankan food ever since it closed up shop.
                                                Does Biryani Park have pittu, by any chance?

                                                -----
                                                Biryani Park
                                                105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: another_adam

                                                  yes

                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    Excellent... thanks!

                                                    1. re: another_adam

                                                      http://snsmarketinc.com/lanka-menu/

                                                2. Really nice write-up in the Globe today. (Unfortunately today is the first day you have to subscribe so I hope people don't miss it!)

                                                  http://www.boston.com/ae/food/restaur...

                                                  Nice to see this place getting some love outside of the fans here!

                                                  1. Thanks to the wonderful hounds on this board for sending us to Biryani Park. We went last night, and were blown away by the food. Service was very friendly and warm but quite slow. This was 3 days after the positive Globe review, and the place was fairly full but not packed (no one waiting, an empty table or two, some takeout orders going on).

                                                    As we waited for our order we were comped a whole series of things (I'm not sure why):
                                                    -mini mango lassis. Very thick and rich, quite sweet.
                                                    -fish "cutlets," 4 fried balls of fish/potato, spiced deliciously and fried very well (from the Sri Lankan menu)
                                                    -2 string hoppers - as others have said, these don't do much for me, and I found the yellow sauce a bit monochromatic

                                                    What we ordered:
                                                    -Chicken 65. I believe this is the only a time a dish, upon arriving at my table, has activated some reptilian, evolutionary suspicion about the color being so intensely red that I might be about to ingest some kind of poisonous berry. Fortunately I overcame this evolutionary suspicion immediately. Delicious, very hot, nuggets of boneless chicken, some sort of citrusy or vinegary tang in there. Awesome. Too hot for me. Ate it anyway. There are several other "65" dishes with the same preparation. The name has a number of possible explanations, apparently.
                                                    -Gobi Manchurian on the rec of this board. Fried very, very crisp, studded with peppers and onions. Really great, not just your standard fried cauliflower app.

                                                    -Goat biryani. Revelatory. Complex melange of flavors, just incredible. You really should get some kind of biryani.
                                                    -Lamb Deviled Grill. This was big chunks of lamb layered with strips of cabbage, pepper and onion, plus "capiscums" (you know what those are) tho not especially spicy. Came off to me as sort of Chinese or more properly I guess Indo-Chinese. The least interesting of the dishes we had, and suffered by comparison (but only by comparison). Lamb was tender, but its flavor not really well integrated with the rest of the dish.

                                                    The table next to us got dosas, which were beautiful and the size of, like, a small watercraft.

                                                    All the dishes other than the string hoppers (which I'm guessing I just don't "get") and the lamb gave us that elusive sense of "I've never eaten anything quite like this before." We chatted some with the owner, who was very nice and friendly. Prices quite reasonable.

                                                    That said -- I hope they are able to make some progress with organizing their service a bit better, because they really deserve customers who are as happy with the pace and flow as with the food. We saw one table wait 20 minutes to have a credit card picked up, and another actually walk out after waiting some time to get an order taken. There were also a couple instances of staff literally running to and from the kitchen, which just conveys an unnecessary sense of panic and trouble. I hope they get to the point where managing 8-9 covers at a time plus some takeout does not overwhelm them, because I want to go back to Biryani Park more than once!

                                                    -----
                                                    Biryani Park
                                                    105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                                                    19 Replies
                                                    1. re: fesenjan

                                                      fes, your observations on the slowness are right on the money. we alot at least 2 hrs for lunch there(but we also get many dishes). they really are just getting started as an enterprise and i think they will eventually work it out- the food production- but right now it seems they only produce one dish at a time, and yes, that is a less than ideal situation. but so glad you got the chance to try them!

                                                      1. re: fesenjan

                                                        Revelatory is the right description for their goat biryani. I had a goat biryani at J.M.P. in the Super 88 / Hong Kong Market food court just last week and it was really fantastic, but not revelatory like the goat biryani at Biryani Park, which is the best I've ever had.

                                                        -----
                                                        Biryani Park
                                                        105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                                                        1. re: lipoff

                                                          Add me to the list of hounds who had a revelation when eating that goat biryani! I just polished off leftovers last night from my feast over the weekend and that dish is one of the best I've ever tasted EVAR. Every bite was full of complex layers of flavor and the (baby) goat meat is deliciously mild and spoon tender.

                                                          We also got the deviled chicken which was yummy (and spicy as ordered!) although I'd like to try another dry curry next time. Least favorite was the Sri Lankan dosa, only because I had in my minds eye the huge paper thin crepe style dosa and mistakenly ordered the other version. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for.

                                                          Sunday at noon the place was empty, but by 1 p.m. it was packed with families, and it took a long time to get our food. We spent 2 hours for lunch, which is fine for a Sunday but wont work for a lot of people. The owner was lovely and came to check on us several times and also one of the cooks from the kitchen came to inquire about the spice level and to apologize for the wait. They know they need to ramp up, especially if business continues to be good. I hope for their sake they can support all the business they can get!

                                                          If you're craving biryani, get here STAT. And please, other adventurers, please post your finds because I intend to make it through the whole menu eventually.

                                                           
                                                          1. re: yumyum

                                                            May I ask (as I have on another thread) why a Sri Lankan and South Indian restaurant names itself after a North Indian dish, however good it is?

                                                            Reversing North and South, it would be like a New England seafood place serving good fried clams, lobster rolls, clam chowder, and also serving good grits, calling itself Grits.

                                                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                              Because Americans are familiar with it. It's a hook.

                                                              A different standard Indian restaurant hook in some places is to add Woodlands into the restaurant name, to capture some of the burnish of the famous restaurant of that name.

                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                Still, in this slightly, faintly, less ignorant age (although one where birthers still exist prominently), you'd think playing up the unusual would sell better than playing up the usual.

                                                                My views on biryani are so strong and so inflexible, that, were it not for this board, I'd never stop at a place that called itself "Biryani Naked People" let alone "Biryani Park". But I would stop for String Hopper.

                                                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                  I definitely want to try this place, but this is a heck of a post! Birthers? Too funny :)

                                                              2. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                Do you intend to say that biryani originated in North India ? I smell somebody baiting a biryani battle .... :)

                                                                1. re: Nab

                                                                  Yes.

                                                                  1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                    FoodDabbler:

                                                                    1) By most accounts, biryani did not originate in North India. See wikipedia, or a google search for a "history of biryani"

                                                                    2) Biryani has been common in Sri Lanka for hundreds of years (if not more!), so my first point isn't even that important. I don't even see much evidence that biryani in North India predates biryani in South India or Sri Lanka, but this doesn't matter much either, in my opinion. There are lots of regional variations of biryani, and in Massachusetts it's most commonly seen at North Indian restaurants. But it can also be found at Middle Eastern places, Sri Lankan, South Indian, Persian, etc. For example, see Bob Dobalina's review of an Iraqi version in Lowell here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/798588

                                                                    3) Clearly Biryani Park makes some great biryani, and perhaps that *is* what they want to emphasize. It may be a hook like Karl S. says, but it also might be purposeful, since they are proud of this dish (which also happens to be more familiar to most people than, say, string hoppers

                                                                    )

                                                                    4) I can see in this thread from 2010 that you know all about biryani already: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725884 so I'm confused about your posts here. Calling a restaurant "Biryani Park" makes good sense to me - the name sounds nice and it's easy to remember!

                                                                    All this biryani talk is making me hungry, so I'm excited to return here soon to try some!

                                                                    Dave MP

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Biryani Park
                                                                    105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                                                                    1. re: Dave MP

                                                                      Let me say, first, that nothing I say is meant to diss this restaurant. People I respect very highly and whose taste buds I trust (this includes you) are saying that the food here is very good. I think that's terrific. The place is a little out of the way for me and I'm out of town frequently, so I haven't had a chance to try it. But it's high on my list.

                                                                      The biryani comment was a throwaway one based on what I've read of the origin of the dish. I'm on the road right and I don't have easy access to any of my books on the history of Indian food (the definitive one is by Achaya) but going by memory the basis of the dish appears to be an import, coming to India several hundred years ago from the middle east. The final version has Northern Indian tweaks and Northern Indian touches, and it's in that sense that I mean the dish "originated" in North India. Tandoori food has had a similar history.

                                                                      Biryani is certainly available all over India, where I've been (all over), and probably in Sri Lanka, where I've not been, but it's not considered a *distinctive* dish of the south. The only southern version of biryani that's famous is the one from Hyderabad, and if you look at a map of India you'll see that the city is not very south at all. So my comment was only meant to say that I found it curious that the owners named the restaurant something that has much stronger northern Indian associations than southern, especially since they seem to have so many distinctive southern dishes that you rarely see on the menu any place else (whereas biryani is on the menu pretty much everywhere).

                                                                      But, it's the quality of the food that matters, not the quality of the name.

                                                                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                        There is a biryani feature in the Sri Lanka episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, IIIRC, guided by Skiz "The Ill Saint" Fernando.

                                                                        1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                          Thanks. I just watched it off Netflix. You're right: biryani makes an appearance in the show.

                                                                    2. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                      "Originate" is a loaded word, and I should have been more careful rather than give a one-word reply. The dish certainly has roots outside India, but has received (as far as I remember -- I'll have to check) distinctive touches in north India. See longer explanation above.

                                                                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                        yes, it's so hard to talk about 'traditional' or 'original' this or that because one has to decide how long 'traditional ' has to represent. way back at the beginning or 400 or 100 or 20 years ago. Bolognese sauce might have 'originated' in Italy but Italian Americans may have developed their own traditional bolognese once they got here, 100+ yrs ago. etc etc.

                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                          Just a quick request, folks, that we keep this thread on food in Boston, rather than getting into broader topics. Whether it's the history and origins of Biryani, or the importance of traditional or original recipes, those subjects would be better suited to the General Topics board, and we'd ask that anyone who wants to continue down those paths please start a new thread there. You can leave a link here to invite others to join you.

                                                                          Thanks.

                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                            We got biryani at the Iraqi-run restaurant in Lowell - Babylon - a few weeks ago. I'm no biryani expert, but we enjoyed it. Just thought I would add that data point to the origin stories.

                                                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                              bob, i know we don't want to hijack this thread, but if you have time, would you open a new thread and post even a small review of Babylon? thnx much.

                                                                2. re: lipoff

                                                                  Lipoff, lipoff, I admire you more than anyone, but what you get at that food court is a tasty mix of meat and rice, but it is not biryani. I've written about this elsewhere. See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7258... and other posts above and below on that thread.

                                                              3. Tried the Lamprais , Fantastic. Worth planning the 24 hrs ahead.
                                                                Great food , Service.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: normalu

                                                                  would you describe their version for us? Thnx.

                                                                  btw, i found this info helpful about sri lankan cuisine:
                                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lank...

                                                                2. Finally made it to Biryani Park last night. Interesting space! Upon pulling up we weren't sure if it was dine-in, takeout only, or what. Seems strange to see a restaurant like that tucked behind a convenience store, but they certainly made it work.

                                                                  We started with a couple of vegetarian samosas, which were some of the best I've ever had. Crispy and seasoned exterior, with a soft and very flavorful filling. Served with a sweet chutney (tamarind?) and a nice -- but not spicy enough for my taste -- mint chutney.

                                                                  Moved on with an order of the house special chicken biryani. This was really a great biryani. Rice properly cooked (i.e. separate kernels, not mushy), well-seasoned, lightly spicy. The chicken was in the form of legs, and was falling-off-the-bone tender. Very nice, especially accompanied by the raita that it was served with.

                                                                  Next up, vegetarian string hopper kottu. This was my first experience with this dish and I found it to be a bit on the mushy side for my taste. I did enjoy the flavor and the spice level, but overall I was not impressed. We ended up bringing most of it home, and I ate some cold a couple of hours ago -- and found it to be much tastier. A very nice breakfast dish!

                                                                  Finally, we tried the chicken tikka dosa. The dosa itself was a bit on the thick side and not at all crispy, which was a big minus for me. The filling was fairly tasty but heavy on some sour component which made it difficult to get a big punch of the tikka flavor that I was hoping for. The biggest minus of this dish was that the chicken was not fully deboned. For something designed to be eaten without unwrapping, this is a huge error in my opinion. Luckily we noticed the bones right away and ate very carefully. The dish was served with sambar and coconut chutney. I found the sambar to be a bit on the salty side, but thought that the chutney was excellent.

                                                                  We were completely full at this point and declined dessert, but the owner kindly brought us a free order of wattalappam, which struck me as a cross between creme caramel and coconut custard. As a fan of pretty much every custard-like dessert I ended up finding the extra room in my stomach and managed to devour the thing. It's something I would definitely order in the future.

                                                                  All in all, I'm happy to have tried this place. The menu is large and unique for the area, with many dishes that I'd like to try on future visits. I would especially like to sample some of the other dosas, in addition to the various "65" dishes, different types of hoppers, and the lamprais dishes.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Biryani Park
                                                                  105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                    pro, great to hear you had some good things. could you plse describe the string hoppers part of the dish? we ordered just the kottu part and really liked that.thnx.

                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                      It was basically a bunch of chopped up noodles stir fried with finely chopped vegetables (mainly carrot and onion), plus egg and a somewhat spicy sauce. Hope that helps? I'm not sure how else to describe it.

                                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                        that's a good detailed description in my book, so th you.

                                                                  2. Taking a look at the Chettinad offerings, including the classic, Chettinad Chicken, continues down delicious roads - a highly aromatic gravy, fiery and sharp with the flavours of fresh-roasted spices/seeds (fennel, cumin, poppy, coriander, cumin).

                                                                    Uthappam, I went plain-jane, is crisp yet steamy, subtle sour notes distinguishing from other lesser insta-versions around. A slam-dunk in sambar. (feel free to ask for it extra crispy)

                                                                    Already thinking of breakfast the next day, grabbed some upma which was yet another example of BP transforming the most simple and humble dishes into something special.

                                                                    Also pictured below, the mutton roll which, while containing only a modicum of mutton, is something I'll look much more forward to once that license comes through.

                                                                    My bar was pretty low for this restaurant from the beginning - I would've been happy with just the 'interesting' factor. But every single thing I've ever ordered has practically been the exemplar. Heck, I may order a burger next time fercripesakes.

                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                    1. Just a quick few comments on Biryani Park -

                                                                      Again, thanks to all CHers for your recommendation on this place - not only would I never have trekked out to Malden for this chow on my own, but I would never have stopped at this place, given the sort of barren look it has. Definitely owning the "hidden gem" descriptor.

                                                                      We ordered mulligatawny soup and rasam soup - both were excellent, savory, complex in flavor -

                                                                      Masala dosa was a huge portion, nicely crispy on the outside, good amount of fillings - all around, we liked it better than the similar dosa from Dosa Temple in Somerville - just bigger, fresher, better looking crepe - couple of kids at another table got the cone dosas - way cool.

                                                                      Also a veggie biryani - again, complex spice, not overwhelming in terms of veggies - these were fairly scant and ok, but overall, the dish was very good.

                                                                      Noticed at the bottom of our check - MILD in all caps - we might adjust that expectation in the future. Also, staff could not have been nicer - apologized a dozen times about how slow the food was in coming out - except that it was not slow at all - in fact, not sure how but we totally line-jumped other tables - probably by sticking with the dishes we ordered - in any case, they were very nice.

                                                                      Ginger tea took a little while to come out - good non-alcoholic digestif!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                        congrats on making the trek, bob.i know they were glad to see you!

                                                                      2. Finally made it there this past weekend, and it was as awesomely outrageous as everyone has said it is. Had the Gobi Manchurian, Egg Bajji, and chicken 65 to start with, and having never had Sri Lankan food before really blew me away with with their freshness and flavors. My son who actively hates caulflower actually ate and claimed to like the Gobi Manchurian, though their deep frying capabilities could probably make a lump of dirt taste good.

                                                                        Had the goat biryani, I loved how buttery and crispy some of the rice bits were, and the meat was caramelized and tender. Also had the Massachusetts Special Dosa, which had a ton of fillings, but still managed to be crispy. It was massive, though I was envious of another table that ordered a dosa that was the size of a large sleeping bag.

                                                                        We also got the fish fry and shrimp fry plates, as well as the goan fish curry. The fried fish was perfectly moist in the middle with a spicy exterior crust. The shrimp were also expertly pan-fried.

                                                                        The roti was probably the best fried bread dish I have ever had of any kind. The sweet onion chutney, two other chutneys (I think one had lentils) and coconut were each distinctive, and I wanted to dump all of them on the bread simultaneously. The roti itself was perfectly pan-fried, and moist on the inside.

                                                                        I was really distressed that I couldn't finish every last bit of food then and there. Definitely will be back.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: nsenada

                                                                          Looks like you did some damage on the menu! I love their goat biryani.

                                                                          1. re: nsenada

                                                                            great report and reminder! fun reading that you had some of the things that we like and mentioned, but that haven't been written up as much!

                                                                          2. For all you buffet lovers (damn you), Biryani Park now offers one. They're still test-driving it out, but I think there will be a lunch and dinner service on weekends only. The cost this weekend was $20 and there were a good dozen or so dishes, fresh watermelon juice, fresh dosas, fresh fruit, fresh everything. The cooked dishes are being made in small batches with high frequency. Because this is still a beta-buffet, asbolutely call in advance to confirm the cost, time, offerings, etc.

                                                                            Goan fish curry that I had (not buffet) was spectacular (pic below). Veera has such a skilled hand with the curries - the spicing layered and integrated masterfully, just like the biryani. Also had a 'dry' fish dish, possibly the fish fry referenced by nsenada above - large cubes of fish coated in an intense spicing (almost black) and cooked in a white-hot karhai with an addictive tangy finish. Everything else - utthapam, lamb soup, cabbage/potato curry - all superb as usual.

                                                                             
                                                                            27 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Nab

                                                                              hmmmm, with you and nsenada's reports, i'm feeling a BP visit coming on soon! thx much.

                                                                              1. re: Nab

                                                                                man, that sounds good. concerned about the buffet as it may change the dynamic (and quality) with time.

                                                                                1. re: gourmaniac

                                                                                  Probably an indicator that their business may be softening. I hope it doesn't change the quality of their food etc. I'd prefer to see them raise their prices and axe the buffet.

                                                                                  1. re: treb

                                                                                    I can see your concerns, and believe me, I'm never in support of a buffet - but based on my conversations with them, I think their top priority & shared concern is the quality of the food.

                                                                                    I still order off the menu, and I encourage others to do so too. Actually, I should say I order *from* the menu, but believe me, they will love it if you ask them for Sri Lankan dishes *off-menu*. I get coaxed into it everytime. In fact, the fish fry I was referring to above was actually a Sri Lankan tuna fish fry - "the kind we eat at home" as described to me. Not that you can't score big ordering from any section of the menu, but it's also fun to get a dish at the chef's whim.

                                                                                    1. re: Nab

                                                                                      Indeed, one time I was there with a friend and we were trying to on a final dish to order. We were asked what we were looking for, and my friend said that he really wanted raw vegetables. What came out was an absolutely delicious "slaw" with some cooked potatoes and finely chopped cabbage, carrots, scallion, and more all bound together by wonderfully strong spices. Every time I go there, I end up trying something new and delicious.

                                                                                       
                                                                                    2. re: treb

                                                                                      I think I might go there more often if the buffet means reasonably similar food at a much faster pace. The menu is so expansive and they have clearly been sensitive about the time it takes to get the food out to meet collective expectations - hopefully, the buffet means they can concentrate on a few items at peak time and increase efficiency.

                                                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                        good point--last time I dragged friends there (weekend lunch) the wait was uncomfortably long, though the food was great.

                                                                                  2. re: Nab

                                                                                    Yep - that sounds like the fish and shrimp we had. I do remember that they were advertising the buffet - psyched to hear the food was nice n' fresh.

                                                                                    1. re: nsenada

                                                                                      Despite living in Melrose and just a couple miles from here, it's taken me until now to make it to Biryani Park. My love and I went last week at lunchtime and were blown away by the buffet. $9.99 gets you an amazing array of fresh and varied dishes, and in addition we were offered a glass of mango juice. The weekend buffet is priced at $13.99.

                                                                                      I'm awful with names so I'm going to have to go with general descriptions of the dishes.

                                                                                      There were two soupy dishes. One was Sambal and I'm not sure of the other. Both had a bit of heat but one was a lot spicer than the other.

                                                                                      Never a fan of okra, I've had to rethink that with their preparation, which was sort of an okra slaw. I had to get seconds of that one.

                                                                                      There were chunks of tender white meat chicken with a red mild spicy coating, sprinkled with onions and small chili peppers, similar to a tandoori style chicken Loved this.

                                                                                      Crispy fried vegetable patties were ethereally light. The accolades for their frying skills are well earned. I have no idea what vegetables were in there, based on color I'd guess eggplant but I really couldn't tell.

                                                                                      Chicken Curry and Aloo Gobi Masala were both great as well. The flavors were somehow lighter and cleaner than when I've had these types of dishes at other Indian restaurants. Everything had the perfect level of spice for me, which is probably not spicy enough for many, and too spicy for some.

                                                                                      There was a shredded vegetable dish that I particularly enjoyed, which was served in a tray next to rice. Spinach Daal was fine, very creamy but the one dish that I didn't love.

                                                                                      After our meal they brought to our table a savory bowl of something that then went out onto the buffet, sort of a salty cottage cheese with spices in it. I didn't love it, but my husband did. There was also a very sweet runny rice/milk sort of dessert that hit the spot for me and my sweet tooth.

                                                                                      Seriously, at this price, this is the best bargain around. We showed up a bit after 11:30 and had to wait a bit, the buffet came out around noon. Unfortunately there were only 2 other people there the entire time we were there (about an hour and 15 minutes) and it was later in the week. I really hope this was a fluke because I doubt they're even meeting their food costs if that volume is typical. Go, eat! I'm dying to get back there with more friends and explore some of the dishes you've all been raving about!

                                                                                      1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                        Glad you liked it. Your opinion carries a lot of weight on this board. NExt time, try stuff a la carte, too from the regular menu for dinner.

                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                          Hahaha you're making me blush. I'm a babe in the woods compared to you chow heavyweights, but thanks. Honestly I'm embarrassed it took me so long to get here! I'm excited to try some of the a la carte stuff and am going to drag my mom's night out group there for sure.

                                                                                          1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                            Just be sure to be ready for a leisurely pace a la carte. It's characteristic of Sri Lankan dining (like some other very tropical cuisines), I am told by a knowledgeable acquaintance from southern India. Less patient folks may want a snack before dining. The patience is worth it.

                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                              Good to know. I enjoy leisurely dining but when we had that sort of pacing when I brought the moms to Moroccan Hospitality, it put them off. Although I think I won them back over with the food!

                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                karl, i actually have called ahead and placed my order (to eat in) so they could get a head start before we arrived.

                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                  So, Chris, that means you need to vet ahead and then perhaps you can pre-order some items to prevent the dreaded Impatient Elder at Table Syndrome (I am very familiar with this, which I why I raised the issue - as my 88 year old parents would say in their defense, their appetite is a quicksilver thing, and they need to eat when they are hungry because if they wait, then they might not bother, and Bad Things Would Happen - sound familiar?)

                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                    Ordering ahead seems like the smart thing to do (although to clarify, my moms group is a bunch of moms like me, not my mom, who I love to death but would never ever ever ever eat Sri Lankan food or any Asian food that's come within 10 feet of a chili pepper) Is their whole menu available online? The website is down now, I assume part of the GoDaddy hacking issue hitting all sorts of sites today. More importantly (to really sell the moms) is there any alcohol? I see mention of a beer/wine license in the works last fall, but didn't notice anything indicating they had one last week.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                      Chris, glad to hear about your experience at BP.

                                                                                                      Absolutely you should pre-order some dishes to tide folks over and then order some on-site with Premila's input as there are often some daily kitchen creations, or things she and the chef have been tinkering with that are always worth a whirl.

                                                                                                      Their alcohol license is still in progress.

                                                                                              2. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                Did they have any of that roti (the flatbread) out at the buffet, or the dish made from chopped roti?

                                                                                                1. re: nsenada

                                                                                                  No, no flatbread or anything that looked like chopped flatbread but I think the shredded vegetable dish did have "roti" in the label. I wouldn't have said the texture was roti-like, so the label threw me, but now that I'm thinking it over, it might just have been.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                    The roti kottu is the delicious if unassuming-looking dish with the minced up roti in it; I've had friends who think that minced up roti is meat!

                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                      i think that's been our fav dish there, and i'm so thankful to the CHs who posted about it, because i never would have ordered it otherwise. but sometimes it is better than others.

                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                        Yes, that's right. I am actually glad the quality is not industrially uniform: not all cuisines are designed for expectations of precision in execution. It's also one of my favorite dishes there, and one I invariably recommend to newbies (particularly for vegetarians - the roti is so much better than TVP or seitan or whatever....).

                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                          when i've asked the owner about the variation in certain dishes, she has told me that she and her chef make certain dishes differently, so it seems she pops into the kitchen and helps out from time to time.

                                                                                            2. re: Chris VR

                                                                                              Did they have their cauliflower dish? really excellent. I generally stay away from buffets but, this assortment is a wonderful way to taste a lot of different items from their menu. One of my favs was the deviilled fish which I believe was made with halibut. When I went, on a Saturday at noon, there was a party of 6 and us but, it was early in the day. I've yet to try their goat.

                                                                                              1. re: treb

                                                                                                They had Aloo Gobi Masala, which was Potatoes and cauliflower in a brown sauce. It wasn't what I was expecting when I saw the Aloo Gobi label but I loved it after I got over my expectations.

                                                                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                  I suspect he meant the Gobi Manchurian dish (Manchurian being the Indian term for dishes with spicing they believe is more East Asian, as it were).

                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                    they do a number of chinese influenced dishes at BP. usually deep fried w/ a light sweet and sour sauce.Their 'chili chicken' and that cauliflower dish and 'chili mushrooms' as well . it can be a nice counterpoint to the complex spiciness of the other dishes.

                                                                                                    chris, thx so much for posting on the buffet. had no idea they were doing one. we'll go soon to fill out the ranks.

                                                                                        2. We had a new item for us when we had lunch here last week:
                                                                                          22. Pancharatna Dosa
                                                                                          Thin & crispy Rava and rice crepe layered with potato masala, 3 kind of nuts, mixed vegetables, , pacharatna dal and our special dosa podi – Served with tomato chutney, coconut chutney and sambar.

                                                                                          Easiest way to explain it is - a large dosa filled with many types of dal +things listed above ,and folded over a few times and cut in sections, so it ended up being kind of like a lasagna, with the dosa serving as the pasta sheets. Really terrific and unusual.

                                                                                          Also, in case anyone loves mushrooms and fried things and sweet and sour, the 'Chili Mushrooms' are delicious but badly named. They are basically just like their indo-chinese cauliflower dish, deep fried mushroom wedges in a sweet and sour sauce ( chili flakes are in it but it is not hot at all.)

                                                                                          The utthapum was still first rate with its sour tangy chewy crispiness.

                                                                                          1. Since I saw here (Thanks!) that they now do a buffet I decided to try it since I have never had Sri Lankan food before.
                                                                                            The Rasam soup lacked veggies apart from the chili, but it was nice regardless and it was SPICY, not deadly so but not for the faint of heart. Chicken curry was really nice and hot and fresh, Gobi something, forgot that Gobi is cauliflower that I don't really like, Chicken "65" was really nicely spiced but was reheated from yesterday or the day before but was tasty (and RED). Dal Curry was nice, really good flavor, The Okra was cold but when I pointed that out, I was told that it was supposed to be a cold appetizer, Veg Kotty Paratna (Probably have the name wrong since I can't even Google it) was, I think, shredded cabbage and was tasty but cold, Malabar Chicken Curry was fresh and really good. Rice was nice. Not to much business, it was only me there today. There was a couple more dishes that I didn't try. Really nice and friendly people working there, their office was a table about 6 feet from my table! Interesting food, not your normal Indian buffet. My GPS took me on wild ride to get there, should have looked at a bigger map before starting out. Pass FuLoon and hang a right and they are just up the street.

                                                                                            http://thedailylunch-woburn.blogspot....

                                                                                             
                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Ferrari328

                                                                                              Sounds like a lot of the same stuff that was there last week. The okra wasn't cold, more room temperature, when we went. Funny, I almost headed there for lunch today myself!

                                                                                            2. Went last Saturday afternoon at about 2pm, buffet was mostly out, thought they'd re-fill it... not. What remained was cold, the chef and owner were apologetic, asked us what we would like, made some fresh selections but not many and served us. One great item on the buffet, that was edible, was pumpkin curry, really flavorful and delicate. Lesson learned, if you go to the lunch buffet, get there between 12:30 an 1pm. IMO, it's still a deal.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: treb

                                                                                                Me and my partner took Chow's suggestion. Went to biryani park for dinner with my parents.The first thing we noticed was the very homely decor.

                                                                                                I am vegan. I had one of the best meal ever. Not only yummy and flavorful, but fresh and not oily!! The Veg Thali (Sri Lankan Rice and Curry) was excellent. Also, their juice selection is pretty fantastic. Papaya drink was yummy.

                                                                                                My parents were visiting from Malaysia. They loved the lumrise, vegetarian kottu rotti, rava dosa, gobi manchurian, samosa chat, sri lankan rice flake porridge and the hot black ginger tea.

                                                                                                We look forward to attend the deewali festival banquet dinner on November 12th/13th with my friends. I was told there will be plenty of food including many vegan dishes to try on...

                                                                                                This is definitely a restaurant to book mark.

                                                                                                1. re: raveen

                                                                                                  This is the first I've heard about their special festival banquet next week. Anyone planning to go? Back 30 yrs ago, Annapurna in Worcester used to do special festival dinners like this once a month;i still have some of the printed menus. Such memories!

                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                    raveen, thx again for the deewali notice. we took a friend and enjoyed ourselves. nice to see it so crowded and lively. The owner was smiling big time and really seemed happy.

                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                      Whoops, didn't see this when I posted my own notice about the Diwali buffet. I went on Monday by chance and stumbled into it. Very crowded on Monday as well. I don't think normally they are crowded at all though.

                                                                                                  2. re: raveen

                                                                                                    Thanks for the heads up, glad you enjoyed your meal, it's a great place for vegan entree's..

                                                                                                2. just had a KILLER meal here last night. the owner came and sat at our table and helped us pick out the unique south indian dishes that they do. my friend isnt into spicy, which means i have to go back and get some full strength versions, but they were very willing to accomodate her tastes. and the unspiced versions were still very very flavorful. very unique food. extremely friendly staff. super funky vibe. we were the only dinners there on a monday nite other than a few take out orders which makes me worry for their future but they seemed to be ramping up the foodtruck end of things and hopefully that will draw people to the resturant. GO HERE!

                                                                                                  -

                                                                                                  1. November 2013 Report:

                                                                                                    My wife and I ate at BP last night with another couple. It was the first time for all of us. Our friends arrived before we did, and the owner sat down with them and explained the menu before she took her elderly mother to church. By the time we arrived, she was gone. We went through the menu and ordered two appetizers and four entrees, sticking to South Indian or Sri Lankan dishes. The food was fantastic. There was not a dud among the dishes. Standouts for me were the Samosa Chat and the Chicken 65, the fish curry and the Sri Lanka version of risotto - unfortunately, I do not remember what it was called. The spices in all the food were amazing - deep and complex. We had leftover Dosa, which actually tasted better at room temperature than it did when it came out on the table.

                                                                                                    Service was, well, servicable. Our dishes came out one at a time -- we rarely had more than one plate on the table at any given time because we would finish one before the next dish came. I am pretty sure that one of the dishes was not what we ordered, even though we wrote everything out for the server. (We ordered the Puttu, but were delivered a different dish - probably belonging to the unfortunate couple mentioned below). The dining room was not full, and I would guess that things move more smoothly when the owner is present.

                                                                                                    Anther couple came in shortly after we did, and ordered only a few minutes later. They were visibly seething as they watched the server bring us dish after dish -- oh, the aromas! -- while they had not received a single one. Another couple came in after them, and started receiving their food before this couple did. They made one inquiry, were told their food would be out in five minutes, waited another 10, and then left, visibly upset.

                                                                                                    The restaurant itself is great -- overflowing with decorations and dishes and vases. I could do without the large screen tv, but in a way, it added to the atmosphere.

                                                                                                    I am dreaming of my next meal there.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: weg

                                                                                                      The service, alas, has been somewhat erratic almost every time I've been there, whether to eat in, or for takeout ("ready to pick up in 20 minutes" morphed into an extra 30 minute wait, on a not very busy night). It's infuriating when the food is so fantastic.

                                                                                                      1. re: weg

                                                                                                        yes, it is a fact that BP has always been not together on the service end. You do not want to go there when you are starving or have a time constraint. gosh i hate to think of them losing those customers.......

                                                                                                        a friend has eaten from the POSquare food truck a few times and enjoyed it.

                                                                                                        maybe you alrdy read this in one of the BP threads, but there is a dish or two that goes by 2 diff names, depending upon who is talking- the owner or the chef. In addition to the dosas , our fav became the shredded bread and meat dish. Hope you'll try that.

                                                                                                        1. re: weg

                                                                                                          Thanks for the update, haven't been in a while but, have to get back soon.