The Brook – Home to the best biryani in Cambridge?

After reading Lee Heryet’s post about his quest to find the ultimate biryani in Cambridge, I simply had to visit for myself, especially after his bold claim that The Brook on Mill Road was one of the best and most authentic biryani’s in the city. It was not just Lee I had heard this from either, with other people (including family) also mentioning that The Brook was offering something special. 
“I love their authentic curry’s anyway but their Biryani blew me away! They only do it in a Saturday. It’s the best Biryani I’ve ever had. The on the bone chicken and spices infused into the rice to make it so tasty. It comes with some kind of Raita which complements the curry so well.
£12.99 with a free beer is exceptional value. My Mrs had a curry so I had a bit of her curry sauce as well. The landlord has really turned this pub around and is now a great place to go and have a beer so to have these amazing home made curry’s makes it even better!”
What is even better is that the Biryani comes as part of a package deal with a pint of beer for £12.99. Carling and Amstel were the choices of beer which come to at least £4-5 these days. This brings the biryani itself down to £8-9 for the dish itself. There is no doubt that this is great value but if you do not like a pint of low end lager then you are stuck paying for it either way. I would be nice to have an option to have the dish on its own. 
There were two options available. The vegetarian dish which was done with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and the chicken dish which was served on the bone. Both coming to the same cost.
There are so many variations of biryani across the world, with the “standard British biryanai” we are familiar with which comes with a side curry. This however, did not. The dish came with a side of raita and that was all. 
My initial thought was that is going to be a very dry dish, with even the raita being a very small portion (hardly enough to manage the fairly large bowl of rice by itself). That said, the dish was done in such a way that it was not dry at all. The chicken on the bone was very succulent and eating it had a great texture. It was quite a deceiving dish to look at but both my mother and I who had the dish were pleasantly surprised.

There was a real depth of flavour which struck me too. Not just with the chicken but throughout the rice too. The spices really came through with each bite. You will forgive me for saying that the dish looks very bland but upon eating it was nothing of the sort. It is a very deceptive dish in almost every way. The eye gives nothing away.

The dish is supposed to be “home made” and the pub is run by an Indian family, so I can see how this has been executed so well. I am not sure what “home made” means in a pub but it certainly came across as made by someone who eats this dish frequently. 

The Brook also sells generic pub food too. Nothing offensive but nothing which is going to win any awards either. This is the kind of meals you get while you are having a few drinks in the pub anyway to fill a gap. Good value, standard quality, and does exactly what it sets out to do.  My sister was a little disappointing with the amount of beef in her lasagne and was almost entirely cheese.
I thoroughly enjoyed my biryani at The Brook. I was glad to be able to try the dish after hearing so much hype from numerous people. I am not normally a man who goes for the biryani but it was nice to be able to experience a more authentic take on it. It is a dish which is deceptive to look at with the eye, as it looks dry and that being mostly rice would lack any sort of depth of flavour, but it could not be any further from the truth.
I would love to know which part of the world this version is from. If anyone is able to shed some light on this then it would be greatly appreciated. 
Have you visited The Brook? What do you think? 

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