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Bawarchi Biryanis is an Indian chain restaurant with the biggest selection of traditional mixed rice dishes you'll find anywhere in the city.
With over 40 locations in the States already, this spot is the brand's first entry into Canada.
Almost warehouse-like in its spaciousness and high ceilings, Bawarchi has ample room inside and plenty of parking behind it to accommodate evening and weekend crowds, when the restaurant is at its busiest serving heaping bowls of spicy rice and other Indian classics.
While it's still expanding, the biryani menu is not for the faint of heart. Bawarchi is famous for their massive selection of more than 30 rice dishes and even the most ardent biryani fans might have trouble recognizing all the options here. Many of their dishes originate in South India, like the Avakai chicken biryani ($12.99) from Andhra, or Ulavacharu goat biryani ($14.99), (also popular in Hyderabad) but the menu actually spans the entirety of India with northern dishes like paneer tikka and Hakka-style cauliflower.
Biryani here is made in bulk using three bases: vegetable, mutton, and chicken, which are all placed at the bottom of big custom-made Handi pots that can cook between 10 to 20 portions at a time.
Rice from Punjab is then scooped over top of the protein bases, covered with aluminum foil and left to steam, keeping the rice moist and flavourful. After uncovering, the rice is topped with saffron, fried onions, and fresh mint before being mixed. There's no oil used, just ghee, and everything here is halal.
The results are heaping portions of biryani that can easily be shared between two people. Depending on your heat tolerance, there's a number of sauces here that will likely set your mouth on fire.
Bowls like the Vijayawada special boneless chicken biryani ($12.99) all come with half a boiled egg and red onions on top.
The Temper goat biryani ($12.99) also has a little jalapeno slice on top, to signify that yes, it is hot. All biryanis come with small bowls of mirchi ka salan, a side of chilli and peanut-based curry to add to your meal, and raitha, a refreshing yogurt condiment that helps with the heat. Dosas are also a popular order here, with these large crispy crepes made fresh with your choice of fillings.
Crepes are made with a rice and lentil batter, with options like plain or masalas made from potato or onion ranging from $8.99 and upwards.
Orders come with a sambar sauce and two very spicy chutneys.
If the heat is too much for you, you can opt for the makai kofta ($11.49). These filling veggie dumplings come in a cashew cream sauce that's mild and super tasty, which you can get it with rice or your choice of plain or butter naan.
Deep fried chili paneer ($10.49) are sautéed with onions and green chilies.
The Chicken 555 ($10.99) uses Bawarchi's signature 555 sauce to cook pieces of deep fried chicken with cashews.
Apollo fish ($13.99) is cooked in a hot sauce that has a sort of Chinese-style flavour.
Standard viscous mango lassis are available for $3.99.
The chikoo milkshake ($4.99) is a more uncommon offering, using the popular sweet fruit sapota, or sapodilla, that makes this drink taste more nutty than fruity.
No doubt you'll be filled by the enormous portions at Bawarchi, and biryani connoisseurs should have fun trying all the different types of rice available here.