Recently, on one of our off-days, we made like tourists and went a-hunting in Little India to Bismillah Biryani, long regarded as the best biryani in Singapore. Unlike most biryani, which are slathered in a thick curry blanket, Bismillah serves its biryani the Pakistani-style, dry, sans gravy, with the meat buried beneath a mound of the most flavoursome long grains of fluffy bismati rice.
For such a no-frills, nondescript shack of an eatery, service was surprisingly classy. Food was churned out speedily, and the boss-man came over to check on us a couple of times - asking if the food was too spicy, and suggesting that we douse the heat with the yoghurt-y cucumber cream.
It wasn't easy locating the hole-in-the-wall stall, because its fraying signboard was in tatters. Just look out for this chalkboard - listing a decidedly limited menu of 4 variants of biryani, a couple of proteins and some thirst-quenching options.
A must-try is their Mutton Biryani ($15), studded with meltingly tender, sparkling fresh meat. I'm no fan of mutton, but this was a game-changer. The mutton was soft, like the kind of soft that geriatrics on dentures can actually indulge in, and its robust flavour was matched equally by the heady spice mix. The rice was deeply aromatic and layered, and for such glorious intensity of flavour, managed a clarity that was so light.
The white-meat version, Chicken Biryani ($8), was no slouch either. Even the breast meat was moist and succulent. Absolutely sumptuous stuff. Try the cream as well, it's the yin to the yang of the fiery spice.
50 Dunlop Street
Tel: 9382 7937
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch; 5.30pm to 9pm for dinner