Mao Mao, her husband and I met Redhead for a late lunch. We decided to go and eat biryani as it is something that Redhead would not get readily in Hong Kong. Mao Mao went online and found two biryani restaurants with good ratings near Arab Street. By the time we got the area, it was pouring heavily.
Since we were early, we decided to brave the rain and search for the restaurant among the maze of shophouses. Mao Mao had printed out a simple map showing the locations of the two restaurants. So we opened our umbrellas and step out into the rain. The rain was coming down so heavily that an umbrella offered little protection. My shoes got wet and the rain had soaked through them when we were about halfway to the restaurant.
After 30 mins of walking, we managed to reach the spot where the restaurant was located. To our surprise, the restaurant was nowhere to be found. We tripled checked the map to determine that we were in the correct spot, then we walked along the whole street but we could not even spot a sign for the restaurant. We concluded that the restaurant must have closed down.
“Never mind,” Mao Mao said. “The second biryani restaurant is just 5 mins walk from here.”
So we turned into a side street where the second restaurant was supposedly located. What we found at the location was a furniture studio instead. There was no trace of the restaurant left. By now my stomach was growling and my feet were so wet that I might have been walking in a lake.
Luckily there were plenty of biryani restaurants in the area. Mao Mao picked one nearby saying that it’s the one that smelled the nicest among those that we had passed by in our search. It is called Bokhara Biryani and Kebab. It was a rather dark little restaurant and there were not many customers. But Mao Mao has a good nose so we entered the restaurant.
Mao Mao’s husband and I both ordered drinks. I had a sweet lassi ($4) while he had badam milk ($4). The lassi was sweet but still had a distinctive yogurt flavor which some people would find too strong.
We made our orders first and Redhead arrived just as the first dishes were brought to the table.
The first to arrive were the garlic and butter naans ($3 each), still warm from the oven. We thought the naans tasted ok although the flavors were a bit mild. Apart from the butter naan being oilier, there wasn’t a big difference between the two.
We also ordered one chicken biryani dum ($7.50) and one mutton biryani ($8) which came in shiny metal pots. The meats were covered up by the rice and cooked until they were tender. We especially like the mutton which was very tender and tasted so good that we ordered a second helping of it. Each grain of rice was distinctive and I liked that the spices did not overpower the dish.
To complement the naans and rice, we order some gravy dishes. I suggested the butter chicken ($10) which was one of my favorite dishes. The chicken was cooked in a tomato-based gravy giving it a scary red color. The butter chicken was a little more spicy than I had expected and tasted ok.
We had the mutton keema ($8.50) which was good. It was minced mutton with potatoes and peas. I felt it was the tastiest among the three gravy dishes. I think Bokhara is really good at cooking mutton.
Mao Mao loved the fish masala ($10) which was a little tangy. This dish had too much fish bones for my liking and I did not like the tangy gravy.
Bokhara Biryani and Kebab
749 North Bridge Road