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Oct 24, 2013 05:05 AM

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.

Address details
Komala Vilas (Serangoon Rd Main Branch)
76 Serangoon Road
Singapore 217981
Tel: +65 6293 6980

Komala Vilas (Buffalo Rd Branch)
12 Buffalo Road
Singapore 219785
Tel:+65 6293 3664

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  1. My parents were just there for lunch yesterday! I love their rava masala dosa - always get that when I am there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: boogiebaby

      It's an old dependable place - not the best food - you'll get better idlis from Murugan's, better thosais & appams from Madras New Woodlands, etc. - but, looking at it as a whole, Komala Vilas does deliver on variety and a guarantee of above-average quality.

    2. oh this was one of my fav places when i lived in singapore, i used to eat here a few times a month. you got all my favs

      occasionally i used to get that rice thali thing (its so much food though)

      i wish they had south indian food like this in NY!!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lau

        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.

        1. re: klyeoh

          yah is it still pretty crowded? it was always fairly crowded when i went

          1. re: Lau

            It still is - probably because the absolute number of people in Singapore has risen: from 2.5 million in 1983 to 5.7 million on 2013.

            The Indian-Singaporean citizens/permanent residents percentage have also gone up from 6% to nearly 11% today.

            1. re: Lau

              It was pretty crowded when we were there. Barely able to find an empty table.

        2. We ate there just this week. Yeah, I wouldn't call it exceptionally brilliant food, but I would call it reliably good and tasty and definitely worth the money spent.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LMAshton

            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:

            1. re: klyeoh

              My two favourite Indian restaurants in Singapore are Komala Vilas and Tandoor at Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre (

          2. Klyeoh - one question. Are the branches worth trying or should I go to the mothership?

            1 Reply
            1. re: PhilD

              Go to the main outlet on Serangoon Road - it's got a wider menu than the branches, and the chefs there tend to be the more experienced ones.