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Indian Indulgences

Indian Indulgences

Featuring Springleaf Prata Place (Jalan Tua Kong), Sin Ming Roti Prata (Faisal & Aziz Curry Muslim Food), New Mahamoodiya Restaurant, Meat Smith at Cocotte, Khansama Tandoori Restaurant (Little India), Haig Road Market & Food Centre, Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre, Sakunthala's Restaurant (Syed Alwi Road), CAFE O (Raffles Holland V), Ananda Bhavan (Syed Alwi Road)
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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Sitting quietly at the corner of Joo Chiat Road and Duku Road is an unassuming coffeeshop devoted to South Indian fare such as prata and nasi biryani. I tried the latter today and found it to be quite a lot better than most. The rice was light and very aromatic (it had plenty of fried shallots) while the chicken masala I chose tasted superb. My pick of the thigh meat portion was practically fall-off-the-bones tender and it had the spices deeply infused into it. I enjoyed the masala gravy for its thickness, fragrance and well-seasoned flavour.

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While out and about creating content for @burpple yesterday, I was fed a cauliflower by Chef @kurt.sombero at Meatsmith Little India. It’s not like any other cauliflower I’ve had in recent memory that’s for sure. And considering it’s been smoked then grilled in the tandoor oven, naturally it’s a tempting little number that’s spicy, juicy and crunchy. I found it even more delicious eaten with the tangy smoked tomato relish and fried curry leaves.
Although this dish is intended as a main course for vegetarians, I think it’s so good even carnivores should aim to sink their teeth into it.

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According to owner Souren, everything at “Butter and Spice” is cooked to order by his chef who hails from Orissa, India.
We loved the aroma and flavours of all the dishes we had. And thanks to the 1-for-1 Set Meal deal I redeemed on Burpple Beyond, it saved us close to $40.
After we finished our appetiser of Fish Tikka which we really liked, our two mains of Curry Fish and Chicken Masala arrived. The former was unlike the usual South Indian style and had its own unique fragrance perfumed by mustard seeds, coriander and cumin. We couldn’t help but splash a lot of that gravy on our basmati rice. If you can handle the heat, you will relish the Chicken Masala like we did. The thick, spicy sauce was so good eaten with the freshly baked naan.
Dessert was the classic Indian Gulab Jamun but what made the one here stand out was the ginger I tasted in the syrup. Yums!

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We had devised a little strategy to have part one of our dinner at Thevar and half elsewhere. Thus, Burppler Jayne and I only ordered nearly all of the items in the first section of the menu. But before we knew it, Chef Mano slid over with a plate of his other new dish, the Baby Potato Chaat with Tamarind and Yogurt Dressing to let us have a try.
Having traveled to India more then once, Jayne is very familiar with the food there. And she said eating this transported her back in an instant as the flavours were exactly what she missed about the street food there. I may not have been to India myself but the blend of acidity, fragrant spices and crunch, rallied together by the soft skin-still-on potatoes was unmistakably delicious.
Definitely get this to share so you can try more dishes here.

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Since my previous visit about a month before, Chef-owner Mano Thevar has added a few new items to the menu. From the small bites section is the Pulled Duck Murtabak shown above. And oh my, did it scale like a ninja on speed to the pinnacle of my “Favourites at @thevar.sg” chart to tie for top spot with the whimper-worthy Chettinad Chicken Roti ($16++).
Think of this delectable bite as the most enlightened form of a murtabak.
[ Aside to those who aren’t from this part of the world: a murtabak is a South Indian style of fried filled dough pancake that’s eaten with curry. It is made by first pulling the dough, then repeatedly flipping it before stretching it out till tissue-thin. Onto that go eggs, chopped onions and either minced mutton, chicken or canned sardine. Next, the dough is folded into a neat flat package for frying. This dish can be easily found at Indian eateries around Singapore and Malaysia ].
Anyway, Chef Mano’s take is a refined miniaturised form of it with a thin dough that retains a subtle chewiness even though it is fried crisp. The filling is a stark contrast of very moist, tender and flavourful duck meat. Representing the curry are dollops of thick, spicy curry sauce while the classic accompaniments of raw cucumber and onions appear in pickled form here. When I tasted all the components in one bite, I swear I attained some sort of gastronomic nirvana.

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My dad and I chose this to kick off our 1-for-1 set meal, an offering on Burpple Beyond worth $39.90+. We both liked it a lot because the dory fish was cottony-soft and well-marinated. Each of us were served two large pieces of it and to accompany, a yogurt dip as well as finely-cut cucumber and raw onions.

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Hands up those of you who must order “Butter Chicken” whenever you are at an Indian restaurant. Well, I’d like you to meet the “Butter Mushrooms” at Thevar. It’s a mixed mound of meaty fungi that’s been sautéed then served on an insanely aromatic, rich curry paste. The finishing touch is a snowfall of finely grated paneer cheese. Freshly made, hot and flimsy naan bread follows on a separate plate. To eat, you can tear it and use the pieces to scoop/swipe up the mushrooms. Alternatively, fold the whole naan in half to hold the filling so you end up with a “Butter Mushroom taco”. It doesn’t matter really because what you want is to get that deliciousness as quickly as possible in your mouth.

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Putu Mayam was a childhood favourite breakfast item of mine. I think it‘s how it is eaten—tearing up a bite-size piece of the stringy rice flour pancake at a time, dabbing it in the neon bright orange sugar and sprinkling on the freshly grated coconut—that had me so enthusiastic. The simplicity of its taste was also a draw.
Nowadays, when I get a craving, I visit “G.S. Oli Thosei and Food Stall“ at Geylang Serai Market for my fix. Besides their ultra-fine-strand Putu Mayam, they also do a very good Appam, as well as Thosai (the made-to-order cheese and egg one that Burppler Jayne Tan ordered was fabulous). Early risers can also try the stall’s Roti Jala. I have not yet had it myself because unfortunately, it’s always sold out by the time I’m there.

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In three months since its opening, Thevar has become the sparkling gem I knew it was destined to be.
This modern Indian grill restaurant was running at full capacity last night, and from my counter seat overlooking the kitchen area, I could see chef-owner Mano Thevar and his team deep in their zone, firing up dishes non-stop.
Much to my delight, the menu has been expanded a little and one of the new items is the “Crispy Pork with Sambal Aioli” ($14++). Prettily wrapped in a fresh Betel Leaf, the big cut of pork has a dry and insanely crunchy curried coating. Once your teeth cracks that surface, it’s met with pure unctuousness. Think of the meat as having undergone a procedure and now goes around saying ”You can call me Butter”.
What’s great is it’s not only the new items that are gorgeous.
I discovered the immensely tasty small bites I‘d enjoyed on my first visit have also caught up in the presentation department. They are seriously slick these days, striking strong poses on the plate with their graphic shapes. Taste-wise, all of them deliver the same robust complexity of Indian spices that I adore.
If you are partial to Indian cuisine but haven’t tried Thevar, I suggest you make a reservation ASAP.

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Just like the transformation of the Mackerel Bun into the Mackerel Dosai, the Chettinad Chicken Roti has evolved since my last visit, albeit nowhere near as dramatically.
In modern beauty speak, I’d say it’s the equivalent of the Chicken Roti having undergone a “non-invasive procedure” for a facelift rather than the the-whole-nine-under-G.A.-yards surgical sort. Everything about it looks taut and plumped up, and I am very pleased to add the filler is none other than the same fiery South Indian style of thick chicken curry that Chef Mano Thevar had been serving before. Creamed up with a dollop of garlic aioli and tightened with a burst of acidity via the housemade pickle, it is wonderfully vibrant in flavour.
Honestly, if not for my desire to try new items on Thevar’s menu, I’d have scoffed at least four of these.

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The “Mackerel Buns” I fell in love with on my first ever visit to @thevar.sg, which took place about three months ago, is all grown up. In a way that makes its original, as astoundingly delicious as it was, seem like a duckling to the swan it is today.
No longer is the fish flaked into bits and sealed into thin-walled bread but cut into a slab and grilled (I think in the tandoor oven because it remains moist) then placed on a freshly made dosai and smothered with a thick and very aromatic spicy curry paste. A piquant finely-chopped tomato chutney lights things up as brightly as my eyes did when I bit into what is re-christened the “Mackerel Dosai”.

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Isn’t it so cool that many versions of “Rojak” exist? And they differ hugely too. Due to the influence of my late maternal grandmother who enjoyed it a lot, I have a soft spot for Indian Rojak especially. It’s one of the few hawker dishes she always requested me to takeaway for her on a regular basis. In those days, I would buy it from a stall at Bedok Bus Interchange food centre as it was a convenient stop on my way back from school, and we would eat it together the moment I got home. Time has smudged out the name of the stall from my memory but I can still remember theirs was very tasty.

The one shown above was bought by my parents from Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, and it’s good too. I like that every item tastes freshly prepared and the sweetish dipping sauce has enough spiciness to keep me happy. They do their fritters crunchy and pack a decent amount of small prawns within. Furthermore, they don’t stinge on the complimentary lettuce, cucumber and purple onions.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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