Keep calm and curry on: The hottest Indian restaurants to satisfy your craving for spice
Wannabe a spice girl?
It’s hard to find a dish more comforting than a delicious curry on a rainy day – or just any day, come to think of it – and Indian food has just the right amount of kick to spur you on for the rest of the day (but eat in moderation or you’ll be lethargic after your meal). But there is more to Indian food than just prata, thosai and briyani. Whether it’s North or South, meat or vegetarian, naan or rice, you’ll get a taste of India at these 10 restaurants; try them the next time you get a craving for spicy food.
A Michelin Star Restaurant, The Song Of India has won a number of accolades over the years and is the ultimate in luxury fine dining. Housed in a classic black-and-white heritage bungalow, it’s an iconic venue and has an al fresco dining area too, as well as private rooms. But it’s not just a pretty face – the food certainly lives up to the expectations you’ll have as you walk into this opulent restaurant. It serves modern Indian cuisine and takes you on a gastronomical journey throughout that country. Signature dishes include Star Spiced Foie Gras (pan-seared French foie gras delicately spiced with star anise masala), Lobster Molley (lobsters in pan-seared lemon and chilli marinade with a delicate Kerala moily sauce) and Lahsoona Jhinga (jumbo prawns stuffed with spiced crayfish and shrimps in a garlic-enhanced tandoor marinade).
An award-winning restaurant that has been satisfying diners since 1985. The food here is from all over India, showcasing diverse spreads from areas such as Goa, Mangalore, Lucknow and Punjab. Some dishes also follow healthier preparation methods while retaining their original Indian heritage. With such a rich history, each dish tells a story and the waiters are more than happy to recount them for you. Lunch and dinner sets are available, or you can choose something from the a la carte menu. Don’t miss signature dishes such as Mango Curry and Bailey’s Irish Cream Kulfi. It also does a fantastic Sunday Brunch which will leave a smile on your face – and in your belly – and fit in your plans for a lazy Sunday.
Authentic North and South Indian cuisine is the order of the day in this casual restaurant, with dishes made from the freshest ingredients and the purest spices. If you’re a meat lover, don’t be surprised if you salivate at the spread of tandoori dishes – Chicken Tikka, Seekh Mutton Kebab or Tandoori Mixed Grill if you can’t make up your mind. Vegetarians won’t feel left out, with veggie tandoori options such as Paneer Tikka, Tandoori Gobi and, of course, a Tandoori Mixed Grill too. There are also burgers (yes, really!) such as Chicken Tikka Burger and Lamb Burger and wraps (chicken tikka, fish tikka, seekh mutton and vegetarian). Don’t miss the Char Masala Fries – crunchy masala fries served with assorted homemade chutneys.
Founded in the 1950s as a small establishment on Tank Road, this restaurant has been credited for creating dishes such as Mysore Mutton and Fish Cutlet. It moved to its current location at Dempsey Road in the ’80s but the quality of food hasn’t changed and it still attracts foodies from all over Singapore, as well as tourists who can’t get enough of spicy food. The menu is filled with chicken, mutton, fish and prawn dishes, as well as a few vegetable ones too, including Palak Paneer, Potato Masala and Cabbage Dhal. Enjoy these dishes with white or biryani rice, or choose from a selection of naans such as garlic, butter and cheese. Then wash it all down with a crowd favourite – Samy’s Lime Juice.
A restaurant serving Maharastrian cuisine, Gajalee is a branch of a chain of restaurants in India which has won a number of accolades. Seafood takes centrestage here but there are other options on the menu too, if that isn’t your thing. Crabs, lobsters, prawns, clams, oysters…if they live in the sea, they probably serve it here. Most meats are available in tandoori and kebab form, which are great options to try if you’re not too adventurous, and those who want a spicier option should try the masala variations. There are also vegetarian specialties such as Crunchy Paneer Cheese Masala and Mushroom Peas Masala.
What started off as a small business selling home-cooked Indian food in 1969 has now grown into a chain of three restaurants almost five decades later. The food is still authentic and mixes the best of traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine. The open-kitchen concept also adds to the enjoyment of the dining experience here. The Fish Head Curry is a must-try, as it was this restaurant that pioneered the popular dish. If you love your food extra spicy, try dishes such as Stir Fry Mysore Mutton, Flower Crab and Muthu’s Chicken Chukka. End your meal with a kulfi (homemade Indian ice-cream, available in plain, mango and pistachio variations) or classic Indians desserts like Gulab Jaamun and Ras Malai.
One of the most popular South Indian restaurants in Singapore, which serves a selection of North Indian dishes too. Enjoy your meal on a banana leaf, a practice that started at this restaurant since it opened in 1974. It’s also hygienic and environmentally-friendly so it gets a big thumbs up from us. But it’s not just the banana leaf that makes an impression, the food is extremely delicious and will keep you going back for more. Must-try signature dishes include Apolo Chicken Masala, Apolo Chicken Dum Biryani, Apolo Fish Head Curry and Paneer Makhani (cottage cheese cubes simmered in creamy tomato gravy).
54 Race Course Rd & 48 Serangoon Road, #01-32 Little India Arcade; thebananaleafapolo.com
Dine like royalty at this restaurant which aims to bring the opulence once enjoyed by Indian royalty to its customers. Located in Sentosa Cove, it’ll certainly make you feel like a distinguished person as you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful seafront and marina. Why not sip on a glass of wine – or a bottle of Kingfisher Premium – while you wait for your food and take in this stunning view? Then indulge in their classic dishes such as Murg Yakhni Pulao (pulao of spring chicken and long grained basmati rice, flavoured with aromatic spices) and Khumb Makai Palak (button mushrooms, American corn and spinach cooked to perfection into an unusual exquisite delicacy).
A perennial favourite in Singapore’s dining scene – it’s been around since 1971 – this fine-dining establishment has won numerous awards and been cited by many food and drink publications as one of the best. Rang Mahal serves a paradigm of cuisines from the northern, coastal and southern regions of India so you’ll get a taste of several food styles here. And it does so using only the finest ingredients and preparing the dishes in classic techniques. Signature dishes include Rang Mahal Tandoori Chicken, Raarha Gosht (a lamb dish) and Benarasi Aloo Gobhi if you prefer vegetarian nosh.
Level 3, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard; rangmahal.com.sg
This restaurant is owned by a Singaporean man and his wife who discovered the authentic taste of Indian coastal seafood cuisine while on a trip there and decided to bring this experience home and share it with others here. The Mango Tree Indian Coastal Restaurant serves cuisine from India’s Malabar Coast, including Goa, Kerala and Mumbai. Must-try dishes include the Rasam (a peppery and light tamarind soup), Squid Molaga (spicy sauteed squid with black peppercorns) and the restaurant’s speciality, The Mango Tree Garlic Crab (steamed stonecrab stuffed with garlic and butter marinade).