When it comes to Chennai, good food and hospitability go hand in hand. From unstinting portions of meals served at weddings till the diner says enough, to the mess tradition where people were served sumptuous tiffin and meals for a meager amount, food reflected generosity and affection. In a time when fine dining and fast food culture is spreading like fire in the city, these longstanding restaurants remind us of Madras and its food culture back in the day where money was secondary to both quality and quantity and the only priority was the customer, perhaps why they still continue to rule the roost.
Best of Biryani
Buhari Hotel was started back in 1951 and is still known for its rendition of the much beloved Biryani – the credit of the dish becoming famous among the locals of Madras goes to Buhari Hotel. Biryani served in Buhari is distinctly different from the Ambur or the Hyderabadi styles considering the taste was tweaked to suit the Madras palate. Also, unlike how the Biryanis used to be served on banana leaves at Muslim weddings, Buhari used to serve it in the conventional restaurant format. One of the signature practices at Buhari is how they placed a boiled egg atop a mutton or chicken biryani back in the day and the custom is still followed. In the 80’s, anybody who would visit Madras on a holiday or for work would be asked ‘did you have the Biryani from Buhari?’. Chicken 65, the ever famous bar snack and side dish is supposed to have been invented at Buhari by its founder A.M.Buhari, a pioneer in the South Indian food industry.