The Bamboo Briyani from 99 Bistro is the new talk of the town and you’ve probably already seen it circulating on social media platforms and websites. I just had to try it for myself to find out if it tastes as good as it looks and I’m glad to say that it more than exceeds expectations.
99 Bistro is just a short walk from Paya Lebar MRT, located at the basement of the Lifelong Learning Institute.
The bistro-style restaurant space seemed like nothing much at first glance, but the reasonably-priced sedap food definitely had me planning my next visit. The great service and warm-hearted staff also truly added to the overall memorable meal.
With many of the dishes inspired by Chef Syad’s travels and origins; the aesthetics, flavours and taste of the dishes served here are a testament to his experience.
Available exclusively only during the dinner service, the menu features a unique take on Indian food. The first dish on our agenda was the Masala Fries ($7). Beautifully plated, the spicy masala flavour of the fries combined with a dash of lime made it one of a kind.
This is the first plate of fries I’ve tried that required no condiments at all — I could simply enjoy it as it is.
Also only available during dinner, the Panafric Chicken ($10/ $18) was fried to perfection with just the right amount of crispiness while still retaining the tenderness of the meat. I like my food on the salty side and really enjoyed the addition of a seaweed seasoning.
It definitely beat all the well-known fried chicken joints out there, with its unpretentious take on this classic.
Though already partially full, we couldn’t wait for the Bamboo Briyani that came after. The Bamboo Briyani that is served all day comes with a side of three condiments and two drinks (Blue Satin, Honey Lemon Ginger) in a set that costs only $24.
The “Bamboo Briyani ritual” starts with Chef Syad explaining what the Bamboo Briyani is all about. Cooked and served in bamboo trunks that are imported from India, the briyani and a two hour braised Australian lamb shank have been steamed for about 20 minutes.
The Chef then proceeds to rhythmically knock out the briyani from the bamboo. The visually appealing orange coloured briyani rice and the aroma from various Indian spices will definitely get you salivating even before you start to dig in.
Coming from someone who loves anything briyani, this Bamboo Briyani wins hands down. The briyani rice was soft and fragrant but still crunchy with peanut bits in each bite.
The Australian lamb shank was so soft and tender and made for a combination that was a glorious affair for my taste buds. The portion size was rather huge for just two ladies, so I recommend getting the briyani to share amongst three.
Have it with the Salata Hara, a green Arabic salsa sauce that adds a tangy, zesty and spicy flavour if it gets too jelak. A small serving of salad (mixed vegetables with yogurt) is also served to cleanse your palate between bites.
The last side dish is the dessert which you should only have after tackling the bamboo briyani.
We ended our meal with the Oreo Milkshake ($6) and Affogato ($6). The Oreo milkshake came with a large serving of Oreo crumbs and was great as a dessert.
The Affogato that came with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream was perfect for me as I’ve never liked the bitterness of espresso shots.
Besides the popular bamboo briyani, you can also try the Indian, Western and Asian wok-fried options from the cafeteria-style service during lunch hours.
With 99 Bistro’s earnest approach to cooking and its unpretentious atmosphere, this halal joint provides a laid-back space and food that’s excellent for takeaways, quick meals and casual gatherings.
Expected damage: $15 – $20 per pax