Taking Hyderabadi biryani places

A Tamilian fell in love with a Hyderabadi staple and decided to take it across the country and then the globe.
Aparna & Raymond Andrews
Aparna & Raymond Andrews

HYDERABAD: A Tamilian fell in love with a Hyderabadi staple and decided to take it across the country and then the globe. Meet Raymond Andrews, the co-founder of popular chain Biryani Blues that is taking the Hyderabadi biryani places, quite literally. He started the place with his wife Aparna Andrews eight years ago and there has been no looking back.

Born and brought up in Hyderabad, the Tamil native had a clear favourite when it came to food. Justifying his ‘pakka Hyderabadi-ness’ he says, “I’m Tamil by tongue, but Hyderabadi at heart. I grew up in the city, I graduated from St Mary’s and Nizam College. I later went to Pune to pursue my specialisation. Aparna and I have known each other for two decades now, were in corporate services for 13 years before we dabbled into the food business,” he shares.

The couple always harboured the dream to create something like Biryani Blues. “In fact,” Raymond says, “we would carry tonnes of biryani back to the cities we were working in. We would freeze them and have them to our fill. So, we were looking for an opportunity and knew that we wanted to build something with biryani that was a QSR chain, like the Domino’s Pizza of sorts -- one that is affordable and has standard quality.” They started out as a small 16-seater store in March in Delhi, which began to do phenomenally.

Their biryani successfully competed against popular places serving burgers and pizzas across cities in India. “We were told that people up North don’t eat rice much and our idea would tank, but our business proved that there was demand, there just wasn’t anybody willing to cater to it with supply,” says Raymond.
Right now, the founders’ focus is on upscaling throughout the country — they are looking at Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and many other places down South. You’d be surprised to know that the couple hasn’t ventured into Hyderabad yet! “We sure have thoughts to bring Biryani Blues to Hyderabad, but just not immediately. This winter looks good, though. Honestly, the city is saturated with good biryani places. Also, it would be a low-hanging fruit,” he says. On claiming to serve authentic Hyderabadi biryani, we learn how they maintain authenticity. “We do not tamper with the originality of the recipes,” he says. The only change is in terms of the meat-to-rice ratio, Raymond says.

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