Fire up your tastebuds at these curry houses, North Indian spots, and South Indian establishments in the city
Bollywood movies, fragrant chai tea, gorgeously vibrant silks – there are so many reasons to love the bountiful land that is India. But the biggest (and tastiest) reason of them all: the top-notch cuisine. So get your grub on with our top picks of the best Indian restaurants in Singapore. And if you can’t take the heat, you know what they say – get out of the kitchen!
With its swanky interiors, an extensive wine menu, and impeccable service, dining at Rang Mahal is unsurprisingly a pricey affair. But judging by its food, it’s all worth it – think classic Indian cuisine served with flawless attention to detail and contemporary flair, like the tandoori portobello starter, prepared in a traditional Indian tandoor oven. Honourable mention also goes to Table by Rang Mahal, its casual offshoot at Naumi Hotel, which serves similarly conceptualised fare with a healthy spin at prices that won’t break the bank.
Rang Mahal, Level 3, Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595, p. 6333 1788. Open daily 12-230pm (lunch), 630-1030pm (dinner).
Table by Rang Mahal, Naumi Hotel, 41 Seah Street, Singapore 188396, p. 6403 6005. Open daily 12-230pm (lunch), 630-1030pm (dinner).
It’d be a travesty not to mention the doyenne of all Indian restaurants in Singapore – the Tiffin Room. Housed in the iconic and revered Raffles Hotel, dining in this century-old establishment is an Anglo-Indian experience like no other: swanky, elegant, and downright opulent. The traditional serving of food in tiffins (stacked metal lunchboxes), which gave Tiffin Room its name is no longer and has been replaced with lunch and dinner buffets of North Indian staples like chicken tikka masala, naans, and spicy chutneys.
Tiffin Room, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673, p. 6412 1816. Open daily Breakfast: 630-1030am (breakfast), 12-2pm (lunch), 3-530pm (high tea), 7-10pm (dinner).
There aren’t many Indian restaurants in Singapore with focused bar programs, but that’s where Flying Monkey fits in – seriously good Indian food, and Indian-inflected cocktails that aren’t merely an afterthought. Kick off your pan-Indian feast with the Galouti kebab, a terrine-like dish made with very finely minced lamb. Then, move on to mains like the basil marinated tulsi cod, and of course, the incredibly tender nalli gosht. End the meal with an Indian-inspired nightcap like The West Indian – a spicy, refreshing cocktail that features a base of coconut water and Plantation 3 Stars White Rum, yellow chartreuse, fresh lemon juice, and ground cardamom.
Flying Monkey, 67 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199480. p. 6291 0695. Open daily 11.30am-11pm.
One of the many restaurants Eastsiders get to boast about is this cosy East Coast establishment that has been serving up North Indian, South Indian and fusion dishes for over a decade. We recommend the steaming pots of Mysore mutton and the crowd-pleasing butter chicken that go perfectly well with the fluffy garlic naans. Dessert often takes a slightly unconventional twist as restaurateur, Dershini Winodan, is fearless in dreaming up exciting new takes on Indian classics like kulfi.
Chat Masala, 158 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 455254. p. 6876 0570. Open daily 12pm-1.45pm, 6.30pm-9.45pm.
The Song Of India
True enough, satisfied diners have sung praises a-plenty for this opulent dining experience. Sequestered within a Bungalow away from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road, The Song of India adds a homely touch to modern Indian cuisine, yet presents it with savoir faire that’s fit for a Maharaja. Pan-seared foie gras accompanied with mango coriander chutney, soft awadhi lame kebab and lemon chilli lobster in kerala moily sauce can be found on its non-vegetarian Degustation Menu at $119. Did we also mention that this longstanding establishment has one Michelin star to its name?
The Song Of India; 33 Scotts Road; Singapore 228226; 6235 9604; Open daily from 12pm-3pm and 6pm-11pm
Saha Signature Indian Restaurant & Bar (temporarily closed)
Joining Violet Oon’s National Kitchen and adding yet another fine dining establishment to the National Gallery is this modern Indian restaurant, formerly located at Duxton. Running the kitchen is executive chef, Preetam Singh Sodi, who serves up contemporary dishes engineered by celebrity chef Abhijit Saha. These often feature non-Indian ingredients and unusual techniques; a clear example of this is his pan-seared sous vide duck prepared with pepper and kokum. Also represented are more traditional dishes from various parts of India like rich curries from Tamil Nadu and spice-heavy Kashmiri dishes.
Saha, #01-03, National Gallery Singapore, 1 Saint Andrews Road, Singapore 178957. Open Tue-Sun 12pm-3pm, Tues-Sat 6pm-11pm. Closed on Mon.
This one is particularly passionate about Indian street food. Maziga, situated in the heart of Clarke Quay, is perfect for party-goers who want to fuel up with light bites, and perhaps a drink or two. Executive Chef, Javed Ahmed, has put together a stunning menu with highlights like crispy soft shell crab with tandoor smoked apple salad, a crispy masala pasta, and even oddities like the Punjab-inspired naan pizza and Amritsar fish & chips.
Maziga, 3C River Valley Road, The Cannery @ Clarke Quay #01-10 and #02-03, Singapore 179022. p. 6253 7307.
This Little India stalwart hardly needs any introduction. Devoted diners love Komala Vilas for one simple reason – simple yet authentic vegetarian fare that has remained unchanged throughout its 67 year history. From 40 different types of dosai (lentil and rice flour pancakes) to parata (flatbread) and idli (steamed rice cake) served with lashings of sambar stews and chutney, Komala Vilas’ menu is vast and an example of hearty Indian cuisine at its finest.
Komala Vilas, 76 Serangoon Road, Singapore 217981, p. 6293 6980.
Muthu’s Curry Restaurant
We don’t need to tell you that the ‘curry’ in its moniker refers to Muthu’s Curry’s star offering – the deliciously eye-watering and deceptively dangerous fish head curry. Few may argue but many will agree that it is the best you can find around Singapore. But if you’re looking for less spicy options that won’t have you sweating bullets, Muthu’s Curry also serves up a range of Indian fare, from North to South Indian, and even vegetarian options.
Muthu’s Curry Restaurant, various outlets. See website for details.
This resto’s forte lies in Punjabi and Bengali cuisine (the latter a rather uncommon style in Singapore) and serves up a selection of authentic dishes like the crumbed fish cutlets with a home-made mustard sauce, a special kolkata chicken biryani with spiced potato, as well as a selection of vegetarian grill options. You’ll also find unique sweets to end your meal with like rossogolla (cottage cheese balls in a light sugar syrup) and pati shapta (rice flour crepes with sweetened shredded coconut and thickened milk).
Mustard, 32 Race Course Road, Singapore 218552. p. 6297 8422. Open daily 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10.45pm.
For good food and a cultural immersion in all things Indian, Tandoor is the place to be. The Dinner Gourmet Trails (from $48 to $78) are taster sets which allow diners to get a sample of everything on the menu, from the samosa chaat starter to jalapeno corn kebab, mango curry, murg lemongrass kebab and saffron pistachio kulfi dessert. Coupled with Tandoor’s menu of absolutely scrumptious cocktails like the Chai Mojito and Bollywood Bellini, and you’ve got a winner.
Tandoor, Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, 11 Cavenagh Road, Singapore 229616, p. 6733 8333. Open daily 12-230pm (lunch), 7-1030pm (dinner).
Madras New Woodlands
Like Komala Vilas, Madras New Woodlands needs very little introduction. You’ll get a lot of Indian food aficionados swearing either by this joint or Komala Vilas since these two restos have been open for years and developed their own loyal followings. We think they’re both pretty darn good, but if you find yourself at Madras New Woodlands, make sure you try the VIP thali set: a massive platter of various dhals, curries and a hearty portion of rice. To stave off the food coma, make sure you order a cup of its signature masala tea or coffee.
Madras New Woodlands, 14 Upper Dickson Road, Singapore 207474. p. 6297 1594.
Singapore Zam Zam
The name is synonymous with one thing, and one thing only: murtabak (Indian flatbread stuffed with egg, minced meat and onion). Having been around for over a century, this Kampong Glam institution has devotees coming from all corners of the island just for a taste of its signature dish – that’s how good it is. Be it mutton, chicken, or even deer murtabak (yes, really), Singapore Zam Zam really does it best. But it’s no one-trick pony: also on the menu is a mind-boggling array of classic supper fare like mee goreng (fried noodles), briyani, and prata.
Singapore Zam Zam, 697 North Bridge Road, Singapore p. 6298 6320. Open daily 8am-11pm.
Yantra by Hemant Oberoi
Another worthy contender in the Indian fine dining scene is Yantra, a classy joint that isn’t afraid to push the envelope and experiment with its offerings. And the result is inventive fare that is nothing short of delicious like the garfa tiki (a clever blend of garbonzo and fava beans into a falafel), tandoori chicken calzone, and shucked oysters with chilli ice cream.
Yantra, Tanglin Mall, #01-28/33, 163 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247933, p. 6836 3088. Open daily 12-3pm (lunch), 630-10pm (dinner on weekdays), 630-11pm (dinner on weekdays).
Singapore’s oldest vegetarian eatery, Ananda Bhavan, has been serving up quality, no-frills vegetarian Indian food since 1924. If you’re looking to fuel up on a pocket-friendly, calorie-heavy brekkie, treat yourself to the appam set. This fermented rice batter pancake is a popular Kerala dish and is loved for its soft fluffy centre and crispy edges. Dip it in the provided coconut milk and dab it off in the orange sugar for the ultimate morning pick-me-up. While Ananda Bhavan has several outlets, we recommend you visit the original one at the entrance of Little India.
Ananda Bhavan, 58 Serangoon Road, Singapore 217964. p. 63965464. Open 7.30am-10pm daily.
This swanky tandoor specialist will be a treat for meat-lovers! Their menu features a variety of tandoori dishes including dahi ke kebab, tandoori guchki, kurkuri, salmon tikka and the rather unconventional tandoori duck. The best way to experience the restaurant’s varied menu is to opt for the chef’s avant-garde five-course degustation menu.
Punjab Grill, 2 Bayfront Avenue, #B1-01A The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972. p. 6688 7395. Open daily 11.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm.
When one thinks of kebab culture, the imagery of Turkish fast food is often brought to mind. Challenging this conception is Roll Up, a modest joint that spices up the art of kebab rolls with traditional Indian cuisine. The Pistol & Mortar ($11) is a winner if chicken tikka gets you drooling; The Fish-Ti-Cuffs ($11) is a flour-wrapped version of fish tikka; and the Mughal Mouton ($13) offers chewy meatball-like textures with mutton seekh kebabs that are neither too gamey nor tough.
Roll Up, 31 Circular Road, Singapore 049387. Open Mon-Thu 12pm-11pm, Fri 12pm-1am, Sat 6pm-1am.
It may not win any fancy culinary awards but for many, Mr Prata is already a winner for its always-tasty and (most importantly) cheap supper fare that never fails to hit the spot when the midnight munchies kick in. As its name suggests, this 24-hour joint excels in the art of prata with over 20 different flavours that sometimes veer into the wacky territory (banana with cheese prata or pineapple prata, anyone?). But that’s not all: also on its already-extensive menu are other hearty offerings like burgers, pasta dishes, and sandwiches – making it the perfect pit stop after a night at the clubs.
Mr Prata, 26 Evans Road, Singapore 259367, p. 6235 6993. Open 24 hours.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking Zaffron Kitchen as a high-end gastropub. Afterall, with its sleek fixtures and cool downtown vibe, it definitely does not look like your typical Indian resto. But rest assured, the menu serves the real deal with classic Indian fare that looks good but tastes even better. An absolute must-try is the dum chicken briyani, a seriously moreish dish with fluffy basmati rice and succulent pieces of chicken. Bonus: its East Coast outlet is kid-friendly too with a play area and baby-changing facilities.
Zaffron Kitchen, East Coast Road and Westgate mall.
“Eat what you want, give what you feel. We believe you, we trust you.” That’s the Annalakshmi mantra. For 30 years, this vegetarian restaurant has served as the culinary arts branch of the Temple of Fine Arts. This social enterprise restaurant is volunteer-run, and offers a smorgasbord of lunch offerings with no fixed price. The dishes you’ll be served vary according to who’s manning the kitchens, but staples like dhal, chutney and sambar are staples. While it is pay-as-you-wish, that’s no excuse to short-change them! The restaurant has helped many people going through financial difficulties get a wholesome meal during dire times; so if you can afford it, it’s worth putting in a little bit more for those who can’t.
Annalakshmi, 104 Amoy Street, Singapore 069924. p. 6223 0809. Open daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm.