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, Haig Road Market & Food Centre, Khansama Tandoori Restaurant (Little India), Samy's Curry Restaurant, Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre, Sakunthala's Restaurant (Syed Alwi Road), CAFE O (Raffles Holland V)
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

After all these years, the banana leaf curry rice experience at this institution can still satisfy me like nobody’s business.
For my solo lunch, I had ordered the popular Masala Chicken ($5.90) and Black Squid (small: $9). Their respective spice paste and sauce were astonishingly good. For the former, I was served a huge piece of chicken breast with wing and drumlet still attached, so let’s be frank, the meat was bound to be a tad dry at its thickest point. To fix that, I shredded it up and mixed in a generous amount of the paste-rich, spicy gravy. Instantly, it became more shiok! I also liked that the squid was cooked just right - slightly chewy but not rubbery. The young gentleman at the payment counter told me that this dish, which features a savoury sauce studded with soft pieces of garlic, is what the staff recommends to customers who can’t handle spicy food. I think you ought to order it anyway because it is very appetising.
Eating off a large piece of banana leaf never fails to add to the pleasure of dining at Samy’s Curry. The two complimentary vegetables of dryish potato and a wet-style cabbage I got yesterday, were really aromatic and delicious too. On top of that, they are generous with their papadum.
In case you are wondering, my bill, inclusive of a fresh coconut, came to about $16.30. But my level of satisfaction was off-the-charts 😄

I got to know about this Indian eatery through Executive Chef Greg Bess of Spago and CUT at MBS. He had been taken here by one of the long-time chefs on his team - Chef Yash who’s originally from Mumbai.
Situated right smack in Singapore’s Little India, “Handi” looks rather nondescript but the one thing I noticed right away was that ALL of their customers were Indians. I couldn’t tell for sure if they were foreigners or locals but there was not a single tourist in sight - and to me, that’s a good thing. The feeling I got was that this was a place for “everyday food” so there wasn’t anything fancy or jazzed up to attract the tourist dollar. Heck, from the menu to the walls, not one photo of what they serve exists. I guess they cater to people who already know what their food is about. But that is not to say we weren’t made to feel welcome in any way. In fact, the tall gentleman manning the counter where the dishes were on display, was very nice and patient with us. He answered my many questions before suggesting we get the Set Meal.
Priced at $15 each, they were huge as you can tell from the above image. Each set came with a choice of meat and a vegetable. Since variety was what we were after, I picked the Curry Fish for myself and Butter Chicken for T.H., and the Dhal (which is the default) and the Sambar. These were ladled onto trays which were then loaded with basmati rice, roti, chutney, fresh tomatoes and cucumber, as well as a sweet ending of Gulab Jamun.
The food was very good. For me, it was apparent with my first slurp of the Sambar which was thick, fragrant and complex in flavour. The Butter Chicken, a dish that has easily fallen into blandness and/or overt creaminess in my experience, was spot on. But it was the Curry Fish that truly wow-ed us. It‘s unlike any fish curry I’ve had, and despite my probing questions, I couldn’t get more information about it. One thing’s for sure, it’s the biggest reason we would revisit Handi. That, and to try the other items on their text-only menu.

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Springleaf Prata Place is in my opinion, on another level with their food. Take their Chicken Murtabak for example. Aesthetically a design lover’s dream, it fits perfectly on the silver tray it is served on. Such precision creates a modern graphic look which is an interesting contrast to a very traditional dish.
In terms of taste, I think the Murtabak is good as the dough itself is very thin and fried to a glorious golden-brown crisp. The minced chicken filling though can be a tad dry but once curry is splashed on, it is no longer an issue. Especially since Springleaf Prata Place does a most excellent fish curry that’s aromatic and thick. Another plus point? It is free-flow.
I have long loved fresh green chilli in my Prata and Murtabak, so I pay extra for some to be thrown in. If you are keen to have a fruity brightness and heat cutting through, I recommend giving it a go.

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The prices here are a bit higher than most similar type of eateries but it is spacious, bright and perhaps because it is relatively new, looks quite clean.
Besides an egg prata with sliced green chilli, I decided to order a plate of fried beehoon to share. Because I had requested for tomato ketchup to be left out, the beehoon came out white and tasted quite peppery. Which I didn’t mind as it was quite tasty and worked with the fluffily fried noodles. But for $5, there was really not much ingredients. Not counting the fried egg on top, I only found canned peas, small pieces of potato, a bit of egg, cabbage and white onions.

It is clear that the egg pratas are made with attention. I like that compared to the average one out there, they are slightly bigger in size and not oily. I like to order mine with sliced green chilli as I feel its fresh, almost-fruity spiciness is a nice addition to the fried dough.

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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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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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