Sakunthala's Restaurant Tasting Session

September 23, 2017 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Sakunthala's Restaurant Tasting Session
66 Race Course Road
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 10:30pm

151 Dunlop Street
Opening Hours: Daily 9:30am - 11pm

88 Syed Alwi Road
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 3am

8 Changi Business Park Avenue 1
#01-53 UE Biz Hub East
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 11am - 9pm, Closed Sun



http://www.sakunthala.com.sg/


This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.
Attended with representatives from HungryGoWhere, and Chubby Botak Koala.



Fish Head Curry (SGD $26 / $30)



Tasty, Consistent, Halal, South & North Indian Cuisine

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 6
Value for Money: 8
Budget about SGD $27 per person.


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Established since 1997, Sakunthala's Restaurant is owned and operated by 4 siblings, who named the place after their mother. Starting out specialising in primarily South Indian cuisine, they gradually expanded to include North Indian cuisine, and gained halal certification. Sakunthala's Restaurant is also the first Indian restaurant in Singapore to offer Chinese cuisine, and they're known for their fresh, live seafood.

Sakunthala's Restaurant Signage
Sakunthala's Restaurant Signage



Ambience at Sakunthala's Restaurant is styled like a palace, exuding a sophisticated splendor. The clean, brightly lit place feels grand with ornate pillars and white marble tiles. Comfortable modern furniture arrayed in neat rows sit before the live seafood tanks, offering diners a view of their dinner. They've retained a small hot food counter display, and glass panelling around the kitchens allow you to watch the chefs at work.

Sakunthala's Restaurant Exterior
Sakunthala's Restaurant Exterior


Sakunthala's Restaurant Interior
Sakunthala's Restaurant Interior


Seating
Seating



Service at Sakunthala's Restaurant is decently functional. It helps if you're able to speak Tamil or Hindi, as it enables easier conversation with the staff. That said, staff are friendly and courteous, quickly greeting and seating guests. The menu is comprehensive, but beyond telling diners the name of the dish being served, they usually don't display further product knowledge. I note they're efficient at clearing empty / dirty tables when diners leave.

Sakunthala's Delivery Motorcycle
Sakunthala's Delivery Motorcycle


Kitchen Counter
Kitchen Counter



Food at Sakunthala's Restaurant includes South Indian, North Indian, and Chinese cuisine. Specialities include South Indian street food, live seafood, and North Indian tandoori meats and breads. Generally, dishes here are executed to a consistently high standard, and are tasty and delicious. Portions are designed for communal dining, and it's recommended to have at least 3 people or more. Prices are affordable, lower than most casual restaurants, budget about SGD $27 per person for a meal here.

Dosa Chef
Dosa Chef


Live Fish
Live Fish



Jugs of cold Water are provided to each table. I got a Masala Chai (SGD $3) too, which is milky and rich with earthy warm notes, but it's less sweet and spicy as those I've had in India.

Masala Chai & Water
Masala Chai (SGD $3) & Water



What I like best about the Papadum (SGD $Complimentary) here; it's crisp, light, and crunchy. You know how at other places, you may get some that are soft or limp in texture? I did not experience that here, which is great!

Papadum
Papadum (SGD $Complimentary)



A standard vegetarian Rice Meal (SGD $4.50), which is served with fluffy sticky white rice, a trio of vegetables of the day, chicken curry gravy, buttermilk, and rasam. During this visit, the vegetables included crunchy string beans, soft brinjal / eggplant / aubergine, and tender bitter gourd. Tasty and very filling on its own, good value for money. Good!

Rice Meal
Rice Meal (SGD $4.50)


Rice Meal



The Biryani Rice (SGD $3) features long grain basmati rice, with a delicate fragrance. Light, airy texture to the rice grains.

Biryani Rice
Biryani Rice (SGD $3)


Biryani Rice



The signature Chicken Masala (SGD $7) has tender bone-in chunks of chicken, coated in a rich, thick, savoury spicy gravy, which lends bold flavour to the natural sweet savoury chicken meat. Mild in heat, this will appeal to most.

Chicken Masala
Chicken Masala (SGD $7)


Chicken Masala



The Chicken Biryani (SGD $10.50) features a combination of Biryani Rice and Chicken Masala, along with a spicy Egg Masala. Well worth ordering as a set, I enjoyed this.

Chicken Biryani
Chicken Biryani (SGD $10.50)


Chicken Biryani



The Mutton Chop (SGD $6) features a bone-in chunk of mutton / lamb, coated in a rich, thick, savoury sweet spicy tomato onion paste. The meat is really tender, coming apart easily. Nicely done.

Mutton Chop
Mutton Chop (SGD $6)


Mutton Chop



The Mutton Biryani (SGD $11.50) features a combination of Biryani Rice and Mutton Chop, along with a spicy Egg Masala. I enjoyed this more, on a personal level, as I perfer mutton to chicken in my biryani. However, the portion size for this is smaller.

Mutton Biryani
Mutton Biryani (SGD $11.50)


Mutton Biryani



Interesting to discover that the intern hadn't eaten Butter Chicken (SGD $9) before! Well, he got one of the best versions of the dish in Singapore to start off with; this is rich and creamy, with bold sweet savoury flavour, and tender chunks of boneless chicken. Can't get enough of that delicious gravy. Highly recommended!

Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken (SGD $9)


Butter Chicken



The Pepper Mutton (SGD $8) is a signature dish here. Think of it like pulled mutton, tender shreds of lamb meat, nicely savoury salty peppery, with a light spicy kick. It's less fiery than I remember, though I suppose most people will find this level of spice acceptable. Worth ordering!

Pepper Mutton
Pepper Mutton (SGD $8)


Pepper Mutton



The Tandoori Platter, Non-Veg (SGD $25) is best shared between 4 - 5 people. A huge serving of North Indian style tandoori meats and breads, all well executed and delicious. Highly recommended!

The breads include:
The Plain Naan, made with wheat flour and having a semi-crisp, semi-chewy texture;
And the Kashmiri Naan, which is stuffed with dried fruits and nuts.

The tandoori meats include:
The bone-in Tandoori Chicken, which is marinated in a mix of yoghurt and spices;
Its counterpart the boneless Chicken Tikka, which is marinated the same way and is tender and juicy;
The Fish Tikka, cubes of tender flaky white fish fillet marinated in spices;
The Fish Malai Kebab, which is white fish marinated in cream;
And the Tandoori Jhinga, which are fresh large tiger prawns, marinated in spices, and grilled till smoky sweet.


Tandoori Platter, Non-Veg
Tandoori Platter, Non-Veg (SGD $25)


Tandoori Platter, Non-Veg


Tandoori Platter, Non-Veg



The Fish Head Curry (SGD $26 / $30) is a signature dish here, done fusion South Indian and Singaporean Chinese style. A whole angoli fish head (which is a premium fish) is semi-stewed in a rich, thick curry gravy filled with assorted spices and lemongrass. Hardy vegetables like okra / lady's finger and brinjal / eggplant / aubergine are added, and the entire claypot is stewed till the ingredients are soft and tender. The result; the curry is fragrant and flavourful with bold savoury spicy notes, while the fish is clean-tasting, fresh, with a delicate sweet flavour. You can tell just by tasting the curry gravy that the fish head was cooked in it, not separately. Highly recommended!

Fish Head Curry
Fish Head Curry (SGD $26 / $30)



Commendable that the 2 kitchens here are each headed by a suitable chef - the Indian kitchen is headed by an Indian chef, while the Chinese kitchen is headed by a Chinese chef. For the Chili Crab (SGD $40), it's produced in Singaporean Chinese fashion. While the crab is of the usual high quality, being fresh and meaty sweet, the main difference here is the gravy. It's thicker in texture than elsewhere, with less egg, and the flavour is more sweet spicy, with a lingering burn. Don't expect to dip any bread in this version. Still, the taste is rather spot on, and it's good value for money at 800g per crab. Good!

Chili Crab
Chili Crab (SGD $40)


Chili Crab



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These are some other dishes I've eaten at Sakunthala's Restaurant. Most of them are archived in the 'Best Of Singapore Street Hawker Food' section of my blog, which I wrote in the earlier years.

Papadum
Papadum [in Dec-2011]


Chapati
Chapati [in Dec-2011]


Economic Rice (Indian) / Thali, North Indian
Economic Rice (Indian) / Thali, North Indian [in Nov-2011]


Economic Rice (Indian) / Thali, South Indian
Economic Rice (Indian) / Thali, South Indian [in Nov-2011]


Egg Poriyal / Egg Bhurji
Egg Poriyal / Egg Bhurji [in Oct-2010]


Halwa
Halwa [in Dec-2011]


Mutton Mysore
Mutton Mysore [in Jun-2012]


Mysore Pak
Mysore Pak [in Dec-2011]


Puri
Puri [in Oct-2010]


Thosai Plain
Thosai Plain [in Nov-2011]


Thosai Egg & Onion
Thosai Egg & Onion [in Nov-2011]


Thosai Masala
Thosai Masala [in Nov-2011]


Vegetable Fry / Bhindi Fry / Okra Fry
Vegetable Fry / Bhindi Fry / Okra Fry [in Jun-2012]


Uttappam
Uttappam [in Dec-2011]



I've dined at Sakunthala's Restaurant many times over the years, and each time, I'm glad to say I've had a good dining experience. The comfortable ambience, consistently high quality and tasty food keeps me coming back, though service may tend to be hit-or-miss. Will return to Sakunthala's Restaurant for more!


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