Singapore - South Indian vegetarian at Komala Vilas
Komala Vilas is arguably the most established South Indian vegetarian spot in Singapore - which is probably I'd never thought of writing about it here: it's just way too mainstream - a place which appears on practically *every* tourist brochure and publication about dining out in Singapore. But I guess Komala Vilas is too good not to deserve its own thread here - it's unpretentious, it's value-for-money, and it provides anything and everything one ever wants to find in a South Indian vegetarian restaurant.
What we had for breakfast here:
- Paper "thosai", which is super-crisp (it's called "dosa" in much of India, except that in Singapore, we still use the Tamil term for it), and came with a rich, white coconut chutney, a slightly spicy orange-hued chutney, and a watery dhal/yellow lentils curry sauce. It's one of my favourite breakfast items of all time.
- Mini-"idlis", served floating in a "dhal" curry with "murungakkai" (the pod-like Indian drumstick vegetable) pieces. Also served with two types of coconut chutneys.
- "Prata", the crisp, light Singapore cousin of the South Indian "paratha". We ordered a pair, which came with a creamy-rich vegetable "Navratan khorma" curry, instead of my usual fave dhal curry. Maybe I should have specified that we preferred the dhal curry.
- A pair of crisp, freshly-fried potato-filled samosas. The ones here were not the best I'd had in Little India but quite delectable when fresh & hot out of the fryer.
Through the years, like many other Singaporeans who grew up with Komala Vilas (it started in 1947), I sort of took Komala Vilas for granted. That is, until I came across the South Indian vegetarian spots in London, Artesia in Los Angeles, Fremont & Sunnyvale in the SF Bay Area, Kuala Lumpur, etc. - that I realised how good Komala Vilas really is.
For lunch, the "thali" set is a veritable feast, but I still prefer the breakfast options.
Komala Vilas (Serangoon Rd Main Branch)
76 Serangoon Road
Tel: +65 6293 6980
Komala Vilas (Buffalo Rd Branch)
12 Buffalo Road
Tel:+65 6293 3664
I'm glad it lasted this long - so many good Indian restaurants come & go in Singapore. The best sweet appams were from an eatery on Race Course Rd which closed down about 15 years back (can't remember its name now!), and I can't find one as good anymore.
Omar Khayyam was best for North Indian but it closed in the late-80s, whilst Ujagar Singh's closed in the early-90s.
Same sentiments here. Komala Vilas is more of an all-rounder, rather than a standout for any particular item, for e.g., the best chappatis in Singapore are from Azmi at Thye Chong Eating House:
The best tandooris in a casual environment has to be from Jaggi's on Race Course Rd, the spot where other Indian restaurant chefs come to eat after hours.
Best roti prata? IMO, the much-maligned Thasevi which I feel still delivers after all these decades. Their pratas can be erratic but, on good days, are without peer: