Mughals Hyderabadi Biryani On Race Course Road

2008January27-Biryani-40

“Tomorrow I will bring you all to the best Biryani in Singapore!” declared eslim after a somewhat disappointing dinner.

“It is so good that TTC finished an entire pot himself”, he continued.

Coming from one of the most respected foodie in Singapore with an endorsement from a fellow foodie of similar prominence, such a claim is not to be taken lightly.

Of course, our group of friends have become used to spending the weekend in a luscious daze of good food and wine, so any opportunity at spending the weekend in a luscious daze of good food and wine must not be missed.

And as this was before my trip to Eastern Europe, it was a chance to get my fill of Asian food before going on a strict hardship diet of goose liver, pate, cheeses, paprika, lamb, chicken, duck, beef and very good Hungarian wine.

We went to the original restaurant hidden in a back lane near Race Course Road but we were directed to their new and grander restaurant because it would seat our party of 7 more comfortably what with our wine bags and glasses.

Reservations are a must because of the biryani’s popularity; they are usually sold out by noon. The process was a breeze with one phone call and no corkage was administered to us. Already things were brightening up as we were shown to a corner in the restaurant that must be reserved for special guests as it had a huge copper sign that proudly displayed the restaurant’s name at the head of the table.

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This bode well because we’ve always had a good time in restaurants with copper or bronze signs. πŸ˜‰

The menu at Mughals Hyderabadi Biryani is pretty comprehensive, catering from meat lovers to vegetarians and everyone in between. I’ve always felt that the vegetarians in Asia eat better than their western sisters because of the variety of spices and simply, the variety. Then again, I’m not too familiar with vegetables.

Again, eslim took the lead and ordered for us while a few of us selected and proposed what looked good in the menu. One unspoken agreement was that we’ve not recovered from the dodgy fish head curry from the night before. When it came to appetizers, it was easy; we just ordered all the deep-fried stuff they had. Well, we needed something to soak up all that Champagne.

2008January27-Biryani-28

A variety of Pekoras came with two dips (mint and yogurt). My favorites were the Onion Pekoras and the mix veggies Pekoras. The goats cheese version was completely overwhelmed by the Champagne.

There was a brief moment of hilarity when we asked for a ice bucket to chill our wines and the service staff came back with a ice bucket the size of a cup. To give him credit, he brought several of the ice buckets.

Here’s some background to give you an appreciation of the deep and rich tradition that is behind the Mughal Hyderabadi Biryani. Basically the Mughal Empire was an imperial power that ruled over the Indian sub-continent for centuries and left behind the distinctive architecture like the Taj Mahal. So great were their achievements, the word “mogul” as in “business mogul” was derived from the word “Mughal” and I suspect, so did “Minas Morgul”.

Hyderabadi cuisine is a blend of Mughal and Persian cuisine and the Hyderabadi Biryani was designed as a MRE (Meals-Ready-To-Eat) or more locally known (by the SAF) as “combat rations” for the Mughal Army.

I guess that’s the real reason why the Mughal army conquered and ruled over such an expansive empire for centuries and why we are a small little red dot. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, the Mutton biryani arrived in the traditional biryani metal bowl. There’s a choice of chicken or vegetarian biryani but the authentic Hyderabadi Biryani is with mutton (actually lamb, but that’s a different price-point).

2008January27-Biryani-42

Apparently, the “modern” addition to this traditional military meal is the ubiquitous over-cooked hard-boiled egg. It looked a little dry to me, but that wasn’t a big problem because the side dishes of curries and kormas arrived en masse. They were all very strongly spiced and delicious with the Basmati rice. My personal favorite was the curry that had cashews and grapes in it. I am told that fruit and nuts are healthy food. Keeps you regular, although this blog is an extra-large.

It was a mild but lusciously thick curry that I can finish a whole pot of.

2008January27-Biryani-45

And how was the mutton biryani? On it’s own, without the curries, it was delicately spiced with hints of lemon and yogurt. Those expecting the rice to be strongly infused with the mutton flavor will be very disappointed. The only way to have a strongly infused flavor is to add mutton fat to the rice, similar to how the Chinese do Chicken Rice.

The Basmati rice wasn’t as dry as I expected it to be and it was cooked with just the right amount of chew and softness.

And how did I find the mutton? Well, I lifted out the rice into a plate and there it was.

2008January27-Biryani-46

πŸ˜›

Slightly pinkish lean nuggets that broke apart at the nudge of the fork. It was not as strongly flavored as some people feared. Thankfully, even after all that cooking to get it so tender, the mutton was not as dry as I’d expected despite not having any discernible fat.

While it cannot be described as “melt-in-your-mouth”, it was a darn sight better than most biryani I’ve tasted as there was an undefinable richness lingering at the back of you mouth from the rice, similar to that almost ethereal finish you get after swallowing bone marrow from Tulang Merah.

2008January27-Biryani-43

If you are looking for a cheap and authentic Indian restaurant (of which Devagi’s is not according to this person) serving good food, Mughals Hyderabadi Biryani is a good place to start. Reservations is easy and they are confident enough of their food not to charge corkage.

As an indication of good food, like most ethnic restaurants, you only need to see the composition of the clientΓ¨le. Clearly Mughals serves very good food, because it was full of ethnic as well as local Indians enjoying the Biryani, unlike what someone observed at Devagi’s where there were (as he rudely terms them) “angmohs” having a party. This blog speculates that is because of a lack of options rather than choice.

Mughal’s Hyderabadi Biryani is at 72, Race Course Road, Singapore 218573, Tel. 62941466, 62970679.

2008January27-Biryani-18


Posted on 3rd Mar 2008 in Indian

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There Are 10 Comments

 

TTC commented on March 3, 2008 at 9:28 pm


You all did not order the aloo gobi? Their’s really good! Wished I had joined you. Strangely about this restaurant, been back a few times and somehow the food during lunch tasted better. Could it be different cook?


 

Mama BoK commented on March 4, 2008 at 10:38 am


I’m envious..! and absolutely drooling..! i haven’t had good mutton for a long, long time.


 

Ivan commented on March 5, 2008 at 12:26 am


@TTC: We wanted to but the suggestion was voted down on account of “we have too much food”. GV wants to organize another lunch there soon.


 

TTC commented on March 5, 2008 at 12:50 am


Please don’t do it on a Sunday again. πŸ™


 

tgwttihs commented on March 21, 2008 at 8:13 pm


Looks good. I had a disappointing bryani at Tekka market today. Rojak was great though.


 

ivan commented on March 21, 2008 at 11:50 pm


@tgwttihs: Ach… No worries, we are going to organize another makan session soon. Will contact you.


 

ram commented on February 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm


Is this restuarant exists? I heard its closed.. can anyone plzz confirm..


 

ivan commented on February 20, 2010 at 4:00 am


Did you call and check?


 

hi commented on May 29, 2011 at 3:19 am


this restuarant closed


 

ivan commented on May 30, 2011 at 10:52 am


@hi: Thanks for the information; the outlet at the back remains open. πŸ™‚


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