On the end of a row of three very similar looking Muslim restaurants serving up Halal food directly opposite the Sultan Mosque and at the junction of Arab Street and North Bridge Road, Singapore’s Al-Tasneem claims to have the country’s best biryani and murtabak (known as mataba in Thailand) – and certainly has the crowds to back up its boast.
RELATED: Food Porn: Deer Murtabak
RECOMMENDED: Check Agoda’s rates at the Kam Leng Hotel
Al-Tasneem appears to attract far fewer tourists than neighbouring Zam Zam, and in fact is less busy overall. But don’t let that fool you – the demographic here is reassuringly skewed towards families and groups of old women chatting over their tea and murtabak. Like Roti Mataba in Bangkok, if the pavement tables are full (as they were on our visit), then head to the second floor for more seating in air-conditioned comfort.
Downstairs the open kitchen – watch the cooks at work from the street – knocks out Singaporean Muslim staples like biryani and a range of curries. The undeniable draw here, though, is the murtabak, filled with beef, chicken, mutton, sardine or deer ($10-$20 depending on size and filling). Al-Tasneem‘s murtabak are less greasy than most, and posters in the upstairs dining area proclaim them to be the first in Singapore to be made with olive oil. The minced deer, perhaps the most exciting of the fillings and certainly the most expensive, is toothsome and has a flavour that somewhat resembles a cross between lamb and beef.
RELATED: Authentic southern mataba in Bangkok
RECOMMENDED: Check Agoda’s rates at Singapore’s Kam Leng Hotel
The menu of teas, coffees and soft drinks at Al-Tasneem, starting from $1, includes a refreshing mango lassi ($4.50). As is the case with all three of the Muslim restaurnats on this block, take a seat at any vacant table and wait for your order to be taken; part way through your meal you will be brought the bill, which you take downstairs to pay when you are done.
RECOMMENDED: Check out the Kam Leng Hotel on Booking.com
709 North Bridge Road, Singapore (MRT Bugis); 6291 1781