I love Thai-Muslim food and am always on the lookout for a better khao mok (biryani). This dish isn't too hard to find in Bangkok, but most of the time it's little more than rice made yellow by the addition of turmeric, and accompanied by a joint of stringy chicken and stock-cube broth. The versions of the dish that I do like - namely those served at Naaz and Yusup - involve a dried spice mixture that goes much deeper than simply turmeric, alternative meats (beef, goat, fish, mutton) and even surprises such as raisins and nuts.
I became aware of Sara about a year ago, via a review in the Bangkok Post. Since this review, the restaurant has moved into the adjacent Nouvo City Hotel, but still continues to serve a short but interesting menu spanning a couple appetizer, main and dessert courses for each of the restaurant's three cuisines: Thai, Indian and European. Sara once won a prize for the city's best phat Thai - despite the fact that the kitchen is halal and most of the staff are Muslim.
But I was here for the khao mok.
At 280B (about $9) it's expensive, at least as far as khao mok is concerned, but is one of the better versions I've encountered lately. The rice was perfectly cooked and fragrant, although I thought it lacked the richness of my two fave biryanis. I ordered khao mok phae, goat biryani, and the meat was fall-apart tender and quite rich. Unusually, at least compared to Thai-style khao mok, the dish wasn't served with the usual sweet/sour dipping sauce or a bowl of stock, but rather, was accompanied by a tart but delicious and seemingly homemade mango pickle and raita, cucumber and yogurt salad.
Not bad, but I'm still on the lookout...
Sara Ground fl, Nouvo City Hotel 2 Soi 2, Th Samsen, Bangkok 02 282 7500 6am-10pm
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