Indulging In Indian

Indulging In Indian

I don't eat Indian food very often, but when I do, I go for the best and dump it here in this list.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

As for the classics, you can’t go wrong with an onion prata ($2.30 per piece). Although I wish it was stuffed with more onions, I still enjoy Springleaf’s version. The edges are charmingly crispy, while the inner parts are satisfyingly doughy. The diced onions provide a mild sweetness that gets accentuated when you dip it into the curry, and speaking of curry, Springleaf’s curry chicken ($5.80) is quite delicious. It’s pretty heavy on the spices and light on the coconut milk, so it does feel a little scratchy on the throat. The chicken is moist and cooked well, and is the perfect platform to soak up the curry.⠀

The odd thing here is the orange object, which is Springleaf’s unique Hi-Fibre Plain Prata ($1.70 per). It’s not that much different than a standard prata other than being denser & stodgier, and I’m not too sure how effective it actually is at keeping your pipes flowing free, but it doesn’t hurt to try.⠀

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Every year, @springleafprataplace invents a new crazy prata combo. From the famous Murtaburger, to the Plaster Blaster, the Prata Alfredo and now the Praclette ($10.20 nett) from 2021, there’s always a wacky mashup that’s going to raise an eyebrow. The Praclette is a plain prata that has sriracha smeared on it as the sauce base, and a slice of turkey ham alongside sautéed black olives, onions, mushrooms are placed over it. ⠀

For the finishing touch, a thick layer of molten Swiss raclette cheese buries everything under it, hence the portmanteau Praclette, from the root words ‘prata’ & ‘raclette’. It’s a piece of fried dough with turkey ham, olives, onions and mushrooms under an avalanche of melted cheese, it was always going to be absolutely addictive. It really does taste like a pizza, and you could argue that it fulfils all the criteria to be classed as a pizza.⠀

Thanks for the invite, @springleafprataplace & @thestephaniebenedetti!

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Dunman Food Centre’s culinary options were pretty limited, but @uncle_briyani_sg has decided to set up shop there and add more desperately needed variety. I decided to have myself some briyani the day @veronicaphua posted about them, but they were sold out well before one pm on that day. No prizes for guessing why. However, the second time’s the charm, and I snagged myself some breathtaking briyani for lunch.⠀

The mutton briyani ($8) I got was utterly marvellous. A colossal cut of mutton is stewed to tender perfection in an eclectic mix of spices and was an absolute treat for me to tear into. The mutton’s natural gaminess is well ameliorated by the spices it had been stewed in, and each bite of mildly gamey mutton instead exuded aromas of star anise, cinnamon, cloves & peppercorns. There’s even more mutton in the curry on the side, chopped up in that delectably rich, slightly spicy and thick curry.⠀

The mutton was splendid, but the briyani itself was heavenly. Each individual grain of basmati rice was impossibly light and yet so supremely satisfying. Normally briyani is greatly gratifying but almost guaranteed to put you in a food coma, but Uncle’s briyani will have you effortlessly dodging any grub-induced drowsiness. However, the briyani is no less scrumptious than any of its contemporaries, and consuming all the tremendously tasty rice on the plate is a pleasurably easy task.⠀

I enjoyed the inclusion of the spicy pickled carrots, chilies & pineapples on the side. Not only do you get some much needed fibre with the abundance of carbs & proteins, you also get to refresh your palate from the delicious onslaught of the fatty, flavourful mutton to better appreciate the brilliance of the briyani. Absolutely outta sight, and at just eight bucks for a supersized serving, I r8 it 8/8 m8.

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Mr & Mrs Moghan are prata aristocracy, and I simply had to try them given that they were now within range of my sweatshop. I’ve heard years worth of praise for their prata, so I had to get the trifecta of hits: plain, plaster, and cheese & onion.⠀

Not gonna lie, it’s just above average. Sure, they’re competently crispy, but it is positively dripping in grease. In fact, there was so much oil that the USA invaded my plate to spread democracy (thanks, Joe Biden). While they might be on par with Springleaf, the Moghans get utterly blown away by the colossus that is Chindamani.⠀

The plaster was serviceably appetising, with a fried egg cooked into the prata dough. It possesses a delightful dough to crisp ratio, but my arteries were squeezing in protest as the oil trickled from the fried dough. Same goes for the plain prata, but the cheese & onion was a regret. What seems to be a slice of Kraft cheese is plopped atop a smattering of chopped onions, and that’s all she wrote. The cheese didn’t add any sapidity, only an unnecessary creamy richness.⠀

The real standout here is that marvellous mutton curry. It’s poignantly piquant thanks to the mutton that’s been cooked into the curry, and the mellow spiciness aided in tempering the greasiness of the prata. Just a little bit, but every little bit matters here.⠀

While my review might seem a bit harsh on the Moghans, I would like to clarify that it’s a decent prata place. It just isn’t among the top prata palaces in Singapore.

@harryssingapore Curried Lamb Shank ($30++) is one of the entrées in the Asian Palate selection menu section. As such, it’s eligible for #burpplebeyond as long as you get another of the same dish. The free dish is obviously going to be the lower priced one, and since the Curried Lamb Shank is the most expensive dish on the menu, it’s unlikely that you’re gonna save thirty bucks.⠀

Still, the lamb is well worth its pricey admission fee. You get the leg of lamb, which is cooked quite agreeably and doused in a satisfyingly savoury curry. Think more north Indian curry and butter chicken-ish than our beloved Singaporean nyonya curry, and you’ve got Harry’s curry. The luscious, velvety curry adequately obfuscates the ubiquitous gamey odour that lamb naturally carries, and flavours the meat marvellously. It’s sweet & tangy from what I assume to be the tomatoes that are an integral part of the gravy, and it’s salted sensationally.⠀

As for the meat itself, it was cooked a little too long for my liking as it was starting to go a little grey, but it still retained tremendous tenderness and fell apart relatively easily. While this is definitely not the most luscious lamb dish out there, it’s rather commendable for a pub. Shoot, I might just rob another Mary of her little lamb.

Pasta Loft is a bold new adventurer, setting up shop in the graveyard of F&B outlets known as The Midtown (professional architect’s opinion: the shop spaces at Midtown were basically designed to fail right from the planning stage). However, Hougang Central has zilch in the way of pasta options since Pastamania upped & left about a decade ago, so this is quite the welcome development.⠀

@gastronomickitchen Chicken Tikka Masala Pasta ($9.90 nett) sounds like something a western European soccer mom/expatriate who still considers her holiday to India a decade ago to be her spiritual awakening would throw together for an ‘Asian Inspired’ dinner, but it works. I was advised by the lady at the counter that fusilli was a better pasta for the tikka masala than linguine, so that’s what I’m running here.⠀

The creamy, unctuous & mildly spicy tikka masala was a perfect sauce for the adorably al dente fusilli, and that’s all you really need for a piquant pasta. Although I must say, the origins of the chicken tikka masala was a little sus given that there was a briyani diner immediately next door (Siri, play hmmmm.avi). Still, the masala was majestically mouthwatering, and I didn’t need much motivation to polish off the pasta with gusto. The only problem with this pasta was the miserly portion of chicken strips given, but I’m confident that’s gonna be an easy error to correct.

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Influenced by both @veronicaphua & @juliuslim, I paid @mrbiryanisg a visit after a two month overdue visit to the barber since it was in the same ‘hood and all. Of course, they only do takeaways & deliveries for now, so I was sat on the train back home with everyone looking at the delicious package dangling between my legs. I’m talking about the package containing my order of Rack of Lamb Biryani ($16) and a side order of Veg Kurma ($7), you filth.⠀

The Rack of Lamb Biryani was crafted from a gargantuan lamb rack which was ravishingly redolent, and only very mildly gamey. I’ve had lamb biryani at other brilliant biryani merchants, and I must say that Mr Biryani’s is the probably most luscious lamb I’ve had out of the trio. It’s stunningly seasoned, mildly gamey, and it’s the most juicy & tender lamb that ever came with a biryani. It’s cooked with a masala mix, but the meat itself was pretty mild.⠀

Well, I later found out where all that masala had gone to. It was fully absorbed by fluffiest, most competently cooked dhum basmati rice at the bottom. The rice was dhummy good, I tell ya hwat. Better yet, there was so much of it I left half of it for another meal and still had more than enough for both meals. Oh, that masala was savagely spicy, and I became a dragon the next morning. Well, I wasn’t spewing fire out my mouth, it was coming out the other end of the digestive tract.⠀

Despite that, the biryani hurts so good. I’ll just have to remember to keep a pint of milk on deck so I don’t spit fire from the wrong end.

I’m gonna be honest with you, when it comes to Indian food, my knowledge is limited to briyani, curry, murtabak & prata. That’s probably one of the reasons why I decided to be a little more adventurous and order @mrbiryanisg veg kurma ($7) as a ‘healthier’ side to the lamb biryani. Even though I’ve never tried it before, it sounded like a relatively decent dish.⠀

The waitress explained to me that the vegetable kurma was cooked with masala, but a quick Google search online cast some doubt on that. Maybe it’s Mr Biryani’s proprietary recipe, I don’t know. But I do know that I relished every spoon of that sumptuous spicy stew of vegetables. ⠀

It was actually thick & lavishly creamy, almost like a curry. It was mildly spicy and utterly unctuous, and the liquid was delicious enough on its own. The string beans, carrots and other mystery veggies inside were really more of a complement to the stellar kurma.⠀

Eating your vegetables is a whole lot easier when it’s immersed in this absolutely ambrosial elixir. Take note, parents of kids who refuse to eat vegetables.

While everyone and their dog’s heard of Bismillah Briyani on Dunlop Street, Tip Top Bryani is a much more humble briyani dealership just two doors down (not three) from it’s more famous enemy. However, it might just best Bismillah in the briyani brawl.

At just $7, I got a reasonably large plate of mutton briyani, complete with a side of raita, a side of curry & dessert, which is gajar halwa (I think, I’m probably wrong). The rice was astonishingly aromatic thanks to all the scintillating spices cooked into the basmati rice, and each and every light, fluffy & well cooked grain of rice was satisfyingly savoury.

The massive slab of mutton was very subtly gamey, which shouldn’t offend anyone other than the most picky of people, and like the rice, it was ravishingly redolent. Better yet, the meat was acceptably moist & tender, with all the fat (usually where most of the gamey odour comes from) being thoroughly cooked & rendered down.

I get annoyed everytime a hard boiled egg is served as an accompaniment to rice, and this time was no exception. Cmon guys, lubrication is key. Use a half boiled egg instead, thank me later. The raita on the side really helped to keep the mutton briyani from being overwhelming with the sharp pickled cucumbers & onions serving as a piquant palate cleanser. And of course, the sweet orange (might be young too, idk fam) thing was a sweet ending to a stellar dish.

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While a lot more than five guys were queuing for that new burger joint, I checked out Burger+ much more lowkey opening at The Central @ Clarke Quay. Besides burgers, they serve hot dogs & Korean fried chicken. What’s a Korean restaurant without Korean fried chicken, right?

Of course I was getting their signature Bulgogi burger, what else would I get at a Korean burger place? The one thirty gram beef patty was flavourful enough with the slightly sweet and satisfyingly savoury Bulgogi sauce, and was garnished with competently caramelised onions and Bulgogi mayo before getting smothered by two soft brown potato buns. ⠀

Frankly speaking, it’s basically an improved samurai burger with a lot less mess and better quality ingredients. The sauce is less sweet than the teriyaki sauce Mickey D uses and is a lot more balanced & nuanced. With that being said, I’m still unconvinced that this burger is fully deserving of the $13.80 I shelled out on it.

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If a buffet doesn’t serve up whole roasted turkey during Christmas season, is it really Christmas? Beach Road Kitchen, just like every other self respecting buffet restaurant out there, has a full bird on deck. However, unlike many others this year, they’re keeping it pure and taking the purist approach instead of adding mala spices, marmalades or what have you to the turkey.

Taste wise, it’s bang on target. It’s satisfyingly savoury and the skin is a riot of redolent herbs & spices that would put the Colonel out of commission. Unfortunately, they decided to shred the turkey meat instead of having a guy behind the line slicing it to order, and as such, most of the moisture is lost.

Also, without any thick, tantalising gravy, or cranberry sauce, or stellar stuffing to accompany the turkey, the turkey felt decidedly incomplete and lacking. It’s still a decent bird for the night, but it could be a lot more fulfilling.

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This is just the regular plaster prata from Springleaf, but it might just be better than the legendary Plaster Blaster. Simplicity is occasionally supreme, and when a humble fried egg is mated to Springleaf’s felicitously crispy pratas, a thing of simple beauty that anyone can appreciate is born.

So how does this compare to Chindamani’s astoundingly crisp pratas? Well, Springleaf’s prata is heavier as there’s more dough within each dough disc, but it’s no less crispy. Chindamani’s pratas are more akin to paper prata, and they are lighter and as such, less guilt inducing.

At the end of the day, it’s all about what you want from your pratas.

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Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol. Insta: @okwhotookmyusername

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