Does your favourite restaurant mock palates by serving pitiable quantities of biryani, that tries to compete with in-flight mini meals? Time to switch over to ‘A Star’, a corner stall that sells ‘dum biryani’ by weight and is hoping to bank on the ‘size zero’ look of their rib-tickling brand ambassador Santosh Pandit.
A venture of three brothers - Assis, Manaf and Noushad - ‘A Star Biryani Corner’ is now flocked by biryani-loving crowd of this North Malabar town who vouch for the lip-smacking-quotient of the dishes served. ‘A Star’ is known for the variety of biryanis they serve - chicken, fish, beef and vegetable - and Thalassery’s unique ‘irachichoru’.
The choice of Santosh Pandit as their brand ambassador was not without a reason, if Assis can be believed.“Health conscious people are a bit concerned when they savour delicacies like biriyani. But we ensure our customers that they can remain as lean as Santosh,” quips Assis.
But unlike the biryani, the choice of Santosh Pandit as the brand ambassador has not gone down well with the locals. “I met Santosh when he visited Thalassery recently and invited him to the stall, but some locals vehemently opposed it. So I’ve decided to ensure police security before his visit to our stall soon,” he said.
“We must honour the talent of anyone, a lesson I Iearnt while working with my cousin’s wayside eatery in Mumbai,” Assis adds with a tinge of sadness.
Manaf who does not hide his leftist sympathies says he would like to satisfy the poorest among the poor. “In January we are planning to launch low-priced mid-day meals. Lunch consisting of rice, chicken parts, vegetable curry, salad and pappad will be sold for `15 only,” says Manaf.
“Every week we prepare biriyani using different kinds of oil except dalda, so every week food buffs can enjoy a distinct taste,” Noushad, who is the main cook, said.
The rush one can witnesses here at lunch hour proves that their experiment is a grand success. The friendly query of Santosh Pandit in Thalassery dialect “Alla, ingalu njammala biriyani kayichinaa” (“hello, have you tasted our biriyani,”) may spread a smile even among passers-by.