Looking about for a place to grab lunch, Bhagya suggested PODI. Getting all excited after seeing their FB page and spotting a bacon wrap, we set off with rumbly stomachs and a request to bring some chocolatey desserts back to office. We expected a bistro, but discovered a bustling buth kadey instead.
We entered a narrow, well lit building packed with people and a queue stretching partway across reaching towards the counter. The walls were newsprint, with one being a blackboard with the menu scribbled on it. Pretty cool so far. There's also an upstairs, but they've blocked off natural light, and haven't lit it well, so it's a cheerless, stuffy place (the AC didn't cool it).
Major revelation when we noticed that half of the crowd seemed to have stepped out of office for lunchbreak and were carrying out packets of rice and curry. Realization struck a moment later when we noticed the buth-kadey styled rice and curry display — white rice, biryani, fried fish, and your regular selection of veggies and alternate curries. Nearly everything's pre-prepared, with the staff quickly dispensing food onto plates/ packets and handing it out to the customers.
We decided to try the chicken biryani (Rs. 350) and seafood nasi goreng (Rs. 410), picking the latter because it's one of the few items they make afresh. The wait was about 20 minutes, which seemed a long time, but then again they had a really full house.
The nasi goreng was good. Quite a generous portion with a couple of pineapple pieces and the customary egg on top, this was fresh off the stove, fragrant, and delivered in terms of flavour. There were chunks of prawn in there, and the spice was spot on — enough heat to be felt, but not enough to burn your tastebuds off.
We were disappointed with the biryani though, because it was mostly coloured rice and no flavour. Also, being cold didn't do it any favours because it was just... glutinous. The rice wasn't fragrant long rice either, and was more of a bola samba variation (I'm not too familiar with rice varieties). We left it since the nasi goreng was good, and dug into that instead.
Their mango juice (Rs. 200) was nice, pulpy without being difficult to drink, authentic, and with minimal sugar. It was chilled properly as well, great for our hot days.
We got a Chocolate Cheese cup (Rs. 180), Chocolate Biscuit Pudding (Rs. 210), and Chocolate Mousse (Rs. 240) for takeaway. The mousse looked super, with whipped cream and shavings of chocolate on top, but Imaad noticed a bit of green mould on the side after getting back to work, so that really put us off. We didn't try it, tbh.
The biscuit pudding was overly soggy, with the biscuits having morphed into mush.
The Chocolate Cheese Cup was nice. Catered for those with a sweet tooth, it's a tart-shaped thing, a cross between a thick chocolate cake and a denser cheesecake.
The staff — or at least the ones who seemed to be behind the venture, were friendly and nice. Service was a tad slow, and tables weren't really cleaned properly once customers left, but that's probably due to being shortstaffed. We saw just one person running around and clearing plates up. The owner noticed us taking pics, and, when we were paying up, waived a the mango juice and a dessert off our bill. We insisted on paying, but he said it was complementary.
They get around 170ish people for lunch, so they're obviously super popular as the local lunch spot. We were happy with our nasi goreng, and will check out the rice and curry next time. Not a huge fan of the desserts, so maybe stick with the juice if you want any. Good for take-away if you're in the area and need to pick some food up super quick.