After visiting hip cafes and eating mostly Western cuisine over the past weeks, we go back to our local culture and had lunch at the Singapore Islamic Restaurant at North Bridge Road, one of the oldest restaurants in the country. It is in Kampong Glam with the Sultan Mosque just across the road.
The sign at the Islamic Restaurant claims to be Singapore’s first and original briyani since 1921. We cannot verify this claim but the interior of this restaurant does look very quaint and atmospheric. We would not be surprised if they have been here for almost 100 years.
The decor of the Singapore Islamic Restaurant reminded us of that at the Valentino Italian restaurant where we had been to recently. Lots of knick knacks, soft lighting and walls of photographs of famous and powerful people who were customers. But that is where the similarity ends. Unlike the oasis of calm at the Italian restaurant, the atmosphere at the Singapore Islamic Restaurant is slightly more chaotic. It is a small restaurant. The tables are very close together and turnover of people is high.
The main attraction at the Singapore Islamic Restaurant is the briyani but there are quite a wide range of food available as well. You can either view the food at the display counter and point or order from the menu. Here are some pages from the menu for your preview.
We ordered a mix of different bryani ($9 to $10 each) and some side dishes. The biryani dishes all looked the same. The difference among them were the type of meat buried in the rice. We tried the fish, mutton and chicken ones. The consensus was that the chicken bryani was the best. It was also the lowest priced and so it also the most sensible choice.
As for the side dishes, we ordered the chicken curry ($7), brinjal pachady ($5) and fish cutlets ($1.50 per piece).
The side dishes were all good and added interest to the meal. The brinjal in particular was very well made and the creamy texture of the vegetable provided contrast to the biryani main dishes. Ice water costs $0.50, lime juice $3 and hot ginger tea $2.
Overall, the biryani is quite good, although not the best we have tried in Singapore. It is nevertheless nice to have lunch at the Singapore Islamic Restaurant once in a while for the experience. There are the usual service charge and GST over and above the prices mentioned. This is not a place to eat and linger, more an eat and leave kind of place. Fortunately, here in Kampong Glam, there are lots of coffee and dessert places where you can adjourn to after that. Your options include Symmetry Cafe, Maison Ikkoku and Karafuru. All highly recommended.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
745 North Bridge Road
Tel: 6298 7563
#Street Fact – The Singapore River effectively divided the old city of Singapore. The road north pf Elgin Bridge was named North Bridge Road; and so the road on the other side of the bridge was called the South Bridge Road.