Foodies make a beeline for biryani outlet in Thiruvananthapuram run by a couple, who were teachers

Food Text Chapter 01 near Bakery Junction run by Shajahan S and Sulphy MJ, who retired from service as teachers, serves dum biryani

Published - June 10, 2024 03:33 pm IST

Biryani being packed at Food Text, Thiruvananthapuram

Biryani being packed at Food Text, Thiruvananthapuram | Photo Credit: SREEJITH R KUMAR

Food Text Chapter 01 is not a name that you would associate with a restaurant. The husband-wife duo of Shajahan S and Sulphy MJ chose to name their eatery that sells dum biryani so because they were teachers.

Tucked in a small lane near Bakery Junction is the outlet, which was opened in 2022 by the couple after they retired from service.

As I sit down for a chat with the duo inside the comfy eatery soaked in a warm light, they had just finished another busy day at work. “The biryani got over quite early today. We had a lot of bulk orders,” says Shajahan.

(From left) Sulphy MJ, Shajahan and Fasil Sha at Food Text

(From left) Sulphy MJ, Shajahan and Fasil Sha at Food Text | Photo Credit: SREEJITH R KUMAR

It was work that brought Shajahan and Sulphy, natives of Punalur and Anchal respectively to Thiruvananthapuram 20 years ago. They used to teach political science at Peringamala Iqbal Higher Secondary School in the district until they retired in May 2022.

“We wanted to do something after our retirement. It was our second son’s (Fasil Sha) idea to start a biryani outlet although we have had no experience in running any food-related venture. Both of us cook and our biryani has lot of fans among our friends and family. We enjoy travelling to explore culinary destinations. We have been to places across Kerala and in other states. Biryani has always been our favourite food,” says Shajahan.

The couple adds that they invested all savings and retirement benefits into setting up this venture.

Their two sons, Suhail and Fasil, both engineers, are also interested in the business of food, he adds. Suhail runs a shawarma place in Kochi, while Fasil is into running Food Text.

Food Text was opened as a biryani takeaway counter near the present location in August 2022. It became a take away-and- dine-in place with eight seats. It expanded to accommodate and now it is a 35-seater restaurant with ample parking space.

Biryani options are aplenty in Thiruvananthapuram with home chefs, cloud kitchens and restaurants serving their own versions of the rice and meat dish. “Our biryani, made of Kaima rice, is perhaps a mix of different varieties you get here,” Shajahan says.

Chicken is fried and cooked on dum with the biryani masala. “The masala is a homemade mix and the ingredients are a secret,” says Sulphy.

Chicken dum biriyani at Food Text

Chicken dum biriyani at Food Text | Photo Credit: SREEJITH R KUMAR

The central kitchen functions at Kaithamukku where they prepare chicken, mutton, beef and vegetarian biryani and chicken fry. Chicken and beef varieties are priced ₹190. There are mini versions of the same (₹150 and ₹160) with lesser number of pieces. Mutton biryani costs ₹280.

“We hope to open more branches. That’s why it is named Food Text Chapter 01,” says Shajahan.

The restaurant is open on all days from 11am to 5pm.

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