For most non-Indian Singaporeans or residents of Singapore like those of the expatriate Japanese community, Indian food in Little India means Muthu’s Curry or Banana Leaf Apolo along Race Course Road. Those aren’t bad, but if I could suggest something to these folks, I’d say try restaurants that Singapore Indians eat at.
One good pick would be Chettinadu Restaurant along Chander Road, which is the first street parallel to Race Course Road.
I was first taken here by my good friend Rajagopal who praised its authentic south Indian taste, but warned me that the food is somewhat spicier than at other places. I’ve been here several times now, and I’ve always found the food good.
One dish I never do without, so long as it’s available, is the fish cutlet. I order a fish cutlet whenever I’m at a south Indian restaurant that has them, and the one at Chettinadu is my favourite.
It’s spicier than most, and is hand-moulded to be neither too tightly-packed nor loose. Fried just right. I enjoy it enough to sometimes swing by just to tar pow (takeaway) a few fish cutlets.
A friend James, whom I in turn introduced to Chettinadu, was with me at this meal and he really enjoyed the varied spices of the different dishes. One meat dish he and I liked was the Chicken Mysore (in the photo), with its complex combination of spices. The mutton and fish curries were also good.
As for the ordering protocol here, just take a seat, and the banana leaf, rice, vegetables and papadums (round savoury crackers) will be brought to your table. There’s a choice of white or briyani rice, and while I used to get the white, now I go for the briyani, which is so flavourful just on its own.
You then tell the staff there what additional items you want. I should add that there isn’t really a menu, so you’ll just go up to the display case, see what you want, and tell the order-taker accordingly.
When you eat there, you’ll have the confidence that you’ve chosen a restaurant where the overwhelming majority of customers are Indians who are there not because the restaurant has been recommended in some food guide, but because they know their food and recognise the authenticity of the delicious south Indian dishes at Chettinadu.
Meal eaten on 9 May 2016 at 12:40pm
41 Chander Road
Meal for two, including two set meals with briyani rice and vegetables and papadum, plus a serving of Chicken Mysore for two, a serving of mutton curry for two, one piece of fish and two fish cutlets – $24.50
Coupon parking along Chander Road; parking also available at the multi-storey carpark at Block 671 at Klang Lane; also at the Grand Imperial Hotel on Belilios Road (more expensive than URA parking).