From the delectable aromas of south Indian tiffins to the tantalizing lure of Punjabi dishes, Singapore is a heaven for Indian food lovers. The sizeable diaspora of Indians living in the island nation has resulted in the mushrooming of several restaurants that cater to taste buds of all kinds. While there are pockets such as Farrer Park/Little India where you will be spoilt for options when it comes to Indian food, it can also be a bit overwhelming for someone new to Singapore or Indian food in general to pick out a restaurant. So, like the good Samaritan that I am, I decided to list down my favourite eating joints that serve delicious Indian fare in sunny Singapore. From quick bites to elaborate set courses, I have tried to include choices for all occasions. A disclaimer though, I am a vegetarian and have not tried any meat/seafood dishes but have dined with friends who do, so the list below includes restaurants that serve both veg and non-veg food. Here are our picks for the Top 10 Indian restaurants – Singapore
1. MTR: My favourite place to satisfy cravings for Mum’s dishes – MTR is a pure vegetarian restaurant located a short walk away from Farrer Park MRT. The dosas here are heavenly and if you love coffee then do not miss the filter coffee on the menu. Service is fast and while the ambience might not be much to write home about, the food does all the talking.
Must try dishes: Masala Dosa, Rava Idli, Filter Coffee, Daily specials
2. Kailash Parbat: Whenever my husband, Sid, and I are unable to decide on a restaurant, we end up going to Kailash Parbat. We have eaten almost everything from the menu here and have never been disappointed with any dish. There are two branches and we prefer the one near Little India because it is a bigger space and is less crowded. The menu has a nice balance of Punjabi and Gujrati dishes with some Chinese, Continental fare also available. The food can leave you feeling a bit heavy so we prefer going there for Lunch.
Must try dishes: Chaats, Paneer base curries, Koki, Bread basket
3. Bismillah: Possibly one of the best kept secrets of Singapore’s bustling Indian food scene, Bismillah isn’t really a restaurant unless you consider hoards of people waiting outside a shack in the sweltering sun to grab a parcel of gob-smacking delicious biryanis the definition of what an eating joint should be. We would recommend take-out although people do sometimes eat inside, but these are mostly tourists. Even meat lovers swear by Bismillah’s vegetarian biryani and despite hailing from the land of biryanis – Hyderabad, both Sid and I consider this one of the best biryanis we have had.
Must try dishes: Veg biryani, Kulfi, Mango Lassi
4. Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra: Situated in the swanky Marina Bay Sands, Punjab Grill by noted chef/restaurateur Jiggs Kalra is one of my favourite restaurants in Singapore, period . While there are lots of Indian food serving restaurants here, very few are what I would call ‘date night worthy’ places. The food here is impeccable – we have eaten here on multiple occasions ranging from their amazing value for money lunch buffet, ala carte to the set menus for special days like Valentine’s – and have always come back with happy stomachs. The service is great with the staff in general very courteous, checking in on the diners yet giving enough space for a private meal. I would rate this over some of the similarly priced high end Indian restaurants such as Shahi Maharani and Yantra.
Must try: All items on the menu. Go for the buffest/set course to get a taste of everything.
5. Mustard: I love this place, I do. Except for that one tiny problem – you never get a table. Located along Race Course Road, Mustard is a Punjabi + Bengali cuisine restaurant which scores points just for offering unique items. Say goodbye to just Paneer dishes and greasy parathas (although I love them both) and instead order some authentic dishes. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. This is a budget friendly place to throw a treat or go for a romantic dinner.
Must try: Makki ki roti and Sarson ka saag, authentic Bengali dishes
6. Zaffron Kitchen: Our time spent on the East Coast was made pleasant thanks to this lovely restaurant. Conveniently located opposite I12 Katong Mall amidst a plethora of joints, Zaffron Kitchen offers typical north Indian food with a consistently good taste and service level. My favourite part about the place though is its charming decor. The industrial design, glass panes and yellow lights make the place stand out from the crowd.
Must try: Chef Sampler Chaats, Tandoor dishes, Palak Paneer, Halwas
7. 5th Season: Aah, I could write a love letter to Indian-Chinese food. You know the kind that is served up across street stalls in India. Yum! It is tough to explain what Indianized Chinese food is so we are glad 5th Season solved our dilemma by having a restaurant purely for this cuisine and aptly naming it Tangra Chinese. The food is top notch albeit a bit pricey for the quantity but cravings are never cheap now, are they?
Must try: Veg Manchurian, Hakka Chowmein, Chow Chow Rice, American Chopsuey
8. Nalan: Tucked away in a corner near the busy Bugis area, Nalan is a vegetarian restaurant that offers a perfect blend of north and south India food. It offers the best value for money and the food is consistently good. I have lost count of the number of times we have ended up eating food at Nalan because while the food is tasty, it also feels quite homely i.e. not as rich in oil and spices.
Must try: Samosa Chaat, South Indian dishes and Thaalis
9. Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan: A relatively new favourite of mine which is shocking considering this restaurant is located just next to MTR. Again a pure vegetarian restaurant specializing in South Indian cuisine, the food here reminds me more of Andhra cuisine than any of the other south Indian restaurants like Ananda Bhavan or Komala Vilas. The look and feel of the place is a bit chaotic reminding you of the dhabas in India but the food is top notch.
Must try: Andhra style thali, Masala Dosa, Filter Coffee
10. Khansaama Tandoori Restaurant: A perennial favourite, Khansaama has made a name for itself thanks to the wonderful quality of their paranthas. The curries are of course good too but the wide range of breads is unique. They deliver to home as well and have been our favourite party catering choice for some time.
Must try: Samosas, Paneer Bhurji, Onion/Aloo/Paneer Parantha, Gulab Jamun. Naans
As you can imagine, it has been a challenge for us to keep our weight down thanks to all these wonderful eateries. But, you know what they say – ‘A happy stomach is a happy soul’ (not sure who said it but I live by it)
How many of these places have you tried? Would love to hear what you thought of them. Psst…do leave your suggestions below as we are always open to taking our tummies on adventures.